China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce, exploration and colonialism. The accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism (particularly East Asia) as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions. (Full article...)
Typhoon Maemi (pronounced [mɛ.mi]), known in the Philippines as Typhoon Pogi, was the most powerful typhoon to strike South Korea since record-keeping began in the country in 1904. Maemi formed on September 4, 2003 from a disturbance in a monsoon trough in the western Pacific Ocean. It slowly intensified into Tropical Storm Maemi while moving northwestward, becoming a typhoon on September 8. That day, favorable conditions facilitated more rapid strengthening; the storm developed a well-defined eye and reached peak maximum sustained winds of 195 km/h (120 mph). While near peak intensity, Maemi decelerated and began turning to the north-northeast. Soon after, the eyewall passed over the Japanese island of Miyako-jima on September 10 and produced an air pressure reading of 912 mbar (26.9 inHg), the fourth-lowest recorded in the nation. Due to warm waters, Maemi was able to maintain much of its intensity before it made landfall just west of Busan, South Korea, on September 12. The typhoon became extratropical in the Sea of Japan the next day, although its remnants persisted for several days, lashing northern Japan with strong winds.
The typhoon first affected the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. On Miyako-jima, strong winds damaged 104 buildings and left 95% of residents without power. Maemi caused heavy rainfall there, with rates of 58.5 mm (2.30 in) in an hour and 402.5 mm (15.85 in) in 24 hours, the latter setting a record. One person died on Miyako-jima after being struck by airborne debris. Elsewhere in Japan, the storm caused flights to be canceled, and rainfall-induced landslides blocked roads. There were two other deaths in Japan, and damage totaled ¥11.3 billion yen (JPY, $96 million USD). Damage was heaviest in South Korea, particularly where it moved ashore. On Jeju Island, Maemi produced a peak wind gust of 216 km/h (134 mph) and a minimum pressure of 950 mbar (28 inHg), both setting records for the country; the pressure reading broke the longstanding lowest pressure set by Typhoon Sarah in 1959. Winds in Busan near the landfall location reached 154 km/h (96 mph), the second-highest on record. The port there sustained heavy damage, restricting exports in the months following the storm. Nationwide, the high winds destroyed about 5,000 houses and damaged 13,000 homes and businesses, leaving 25,000 people homeless. About 1.47 million households lost power, and widespread crop damage occurred, resulting in the poorest rice harvest in 23 years. Across South Korea, Maemi killed 117 people, and overall damage totaled ₩5.52 trillion won (KRW, US$4.8 billion). (Full article...)
Present-day Laos traces its historic and cultural identity to Lan Xang, which existed from the 14th century to the 18th century as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. Because of its central geographical location in Southeast Asia, the kingdom became a hub for overland trade and became wealthy economically and culturally. After a period of internal conflict, Lan Xang broke into three separate kingdoms: Luang Phrabang, Vientiane and Champasak. In 1893, the three territories came under a French protectorate and were united to form what is now known as Laos. It briefly gained independence in 1945 after Japanese occupation but was re-colonised by France until it won autonomy in 1949. Laos became independent in 1953, with a constitutional monarchy under Sisavang Vong. A post-independence civil war began, which saw the communist resistance, supported by the Soviet Union, fight against the monarchy that later came under influence of military regimes supported by the United States. After the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the communistPathet Lao came to power, ending the civil war. Laos was then dependent on military and economic aid from the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. (Full article...)
Alexander II's portrait on the obverse of a tetradrachm
Alexander II Theos Epiphanes Nikephoros (Ancient Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος Θεός Ἐπιφανής ΝικηφόροςÁléxandros Theós Épiphanḗs Nikēphóros, surnamed Zabinas; c. 150 BC – 123 BC) was a HellenisticSeleucid monarch who reigned as the King of Syria between 128 BC and 123 BC. His true parentage is debated; depending on which ancient historian, he either claimed to be a son of Alexander I or an adopted son of Antiochus VII. Most ancient historians and the modern academic consensus maintain that Alexander II's claim to be a Seleucid was false. His surname "Zabinas" (Ζαβίνας) is a Semitic name that is usually translated as "the bought one". It is possible, however, that Alexander II was a natural son of Alexander I, as the surname can also mean "bought from the god". The iconography of Alexander II's coinage indicates he based his claims to the throne on his descent from Antiochus IV, the father of Alexander I.
Alexander II's rise is connected to the dynastic feuds of the Seleucid Empire. Both King Seleucus IV (d. 175 BC) and his brother Antiochus IV (d. 164 BC) had descendants contending for the throne, leading the country to experience many civil wars. The situation was complicated by PtolemaicEgyptian interference, which was facilitated by the dynastic marriages between the two royal houses. In 128 BC, King Demetrius II of Syria, the representative of Seleucus IV's line, invaded Egypt to help his mother-in-law Cleopatra II who was engaged in a civil war against her brother and husband King Ptolemy VIII. Angered by the Syrian invasion, the Egyptian king instigated revolts in the cities of Syria against Demetrius II and chose Alexander II, a supposed representative of Antiochus IV's line, as an anti-king. With Egyptian troops, Alexander II captured the Syrian capital Antioch in 128 BC and warred against Demetrius II, defeating him decisively in 125 BC. The beaten king escaped to his wife Cleopatra Thea in the city of Ptolemais, but she expelled him. He was killed while trying to find refuge in the city of Tyre. (Full article...)
Image 13The third Inter-Korean Summit, which was held in 2018, between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un. It was a historical event that symbolized the peace of Asia. (from History of Asia)
Image 35Projected shares of global GDP by region to 2050 (from Asian Century)
Image 36Detail of Chinese silk from the 4th century BCE. The characteristic trade of silk through the Silk Road connected various regions from China, India, Central Asia, and the Middle East to Europe and Africa. (from History of Asia)
Image 59The global contribution to world's GDP by major economies from 1 AD to 2003 AD according to Angus Maddison's estimates. Before 18th century, China and India were the two largest economies by GDP output. (from Asian Century)
A farmer harvests seaweed growing on a rope, on the small island of Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia. Wooden posts demarcate the bay into rectangular plots that are owned by different families. Seaweed farming is a fairly simple process: Attached plants are placed in the sea and allowed to grow naturally, with little human intervention.