Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368) And Shanghai (1900-1950) (Essay Sample)
Part 3: a 3000-word end-of-term paper, 20%
The final paper builds on the two in-class presentations and aims at developing the student's mastery (China) of concepts and building a deep expertise in one country of their choice. (Yuan Dynasty and Qing Dynasty)
Paper will include:
(1) A historical map and timeline of key historical events during the period using O'Brien's Atlas of World History
(2) Historical datasets and primary sources found by the student himself as appendices and text boxes, and key indicators and contemporary narratives of national GDP, economic growth and standards of living in the country during the selected period [excluded from word count]; student will discuss and evaluate these sources: where did they come from (contemporary sources or reconstructed at a later historical stage? By whom? What was the purpose of the author when collecting and sharing the data or story? How reliable are they? Do the sources, as a whole, convey all the possible points of view and interpretation, and what are the “holes”?
(3) The student's analysis of primary sources through applying leading economic theories of growth discussed in class, with a strong focus on evaluating the role of institutions, geography, culture and accidents of history;
(4) A presentation of existing interpretations by contemporaries, historians and experts of economic growth from varying perspectives and points of views, and a critical analysis by the student of their contributions and limits as explanations of the country's position
(5) An assessment of the impact and implications of economic growth on society, culture and the environment, including (a) standards of living (at the national level, but also broken down across social groups and ethnicity to reflect on inequalities); (b) political freedoms, political cohesion, group identity and culture (tensions between new and traditional, including indigenous, cultures; impact of economically driven migrations); (c) the environment (climate change, pollution with impact on health, etc.)
(6) In conclusion, the student's own perspective, conclusions and key learning points
YUAN DYNASTY (1271 - 1368) AND SHANGHAI (1900-1950)
The Yuan Dynasty emerged from Mongol Dynasty that ruled the northern part of China that is the present day Mongolia for centuries. However, it was renamed in 1271 when Kublai Khan adopted a Chinese model of administration based on a centralized bureaucratic government, decentralized political setup and a centralized tax regime (Rossabi, 1988). Kublai Khan, the Yuan founding emperor constructed the Grand Canal and improved public infrastructure such as roads and established an efficient postal system. The Yuan dynasty further played a pivotal role in the Chinese cultural transformation that led to the formation and subsequent adoption of the novel as an important form of literary art (Mote, 1999). The re-unification of China under Kublai Khan enhanced foreign trade thus leading to economic stability. This research paper sets out to explore two primordial Chinese dynasties namely the Yuan (1271 - 1368) and Shanghai (1900-1950) dynasties.
Summary and Background History
Yuan dynasty was founded by Kublai Khan in 1272AD and lasted till 1368AD (Rossabi, 1994). It is documented as the Chinese dynasty with the shortest history. Khan was the founding emperor who also doubled as the head of Mongolian Borijin clan. Yuan dynasty came after the Song dynasty while its fall in 1368 paved way for the Ming Dynasty. The dynasty was largely confined towards Northern China, and expanded to cover the rest of China in 1271 (Morgan, 2007). The capital city for Yuan dynasty was Khanbaliq (present day Beijing). The official languages spoken were Mongolian and Chinese while the predominant religion was Buddhismeven though other religions such as Confucianism, Roman Catholic, Judaism, Islam and several other Chinese traditional religions existed (Allsen, 2001). The dynasty was a monarchy and was headed by an emperor who was the supreme ruler. Kublai Khan was the first emperor, and reigned from 1260-1294AD. He was succeeded by ToghonTemur who ruled the dynasty from 1333-1368AD. The dynasty was born out of the Mongol empire that was founded by Genghis Khan in 1206AD, even though it was officially declared in 1271 (Hsiao,1994). The formation of Yuan Dynasty was preceded by successive wars. These wars includes the Battle of Xianyang which lasted from 1268-1273AD. It was followed by the conquest of the Southern Song in 1276 and later the battle of Yamen and the red rebellion which occurred in 1279 and 1351-1368 respectively (Rossabi, 2012). Two key events preceded the disintegration of the Dynastynamely the decline and subsequent fall of Khanbaliq in 1368 and the creation of the Northern Yuan Dynasty that encompassed the northern Chineseterritory in 1368-1388.
The Yuan Dynasty covered an expansive geographical area that was approximately 11,000,000 Km2. The Dynasty had an estimated total population of 77,000,000 in 1290AD which increased to 87, 147,000 toward the end of the Dynasty in 1350AD (Ebrey, 2010). Paper currency was introduce during the reign of Khan and was the most commonly used currency (chao) even though Chinese currency was occasionally used. By 1279, the Dynasty had expanded toward the North thus encompassing the whole of china. Khan, the founder, controlled and reigned over the greater Chinese territory including the present-day Mongolia (Allsen, 2001). Figure 1 below shows the map of the Yuan dynasty.
Figure 1: Map of Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty stands out as the first Chinese Dynasty to ever reign over the entire Chinese territory. However, Khan'sreign over China was short-lived as they were deposed and pushed further northwardsto their original Mongolian empire from where they reigned over t...
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