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    • Laos
      *Author credit to: Natenapa (will create an acct. very soon)
      The earliest signs of human habitation in Laos is in the Stone Age. Artifacts have been found extending into northeast Thailand, and on the Plain of Jars. The society built around the Plain of Jars existed circa 500 BC. Huge stone mortuary urns are found throughout the site, the "jars" as modern discoverers came to call them. It is hypothesized that these people were Austroasiatic, and that they were the ancestors of the Khamu, which remain an important ethnic group in Laos today.
      In the fourth and fifth centuries AD, Chinese people of the Yunnan region moved into the Laotian lands. There was also commerce and and other connections with India starting circa the eighth century, which culminated in the people adopting Buddhism as their religious path. Starting in the early 11th century, Laos belonged to the Khmer Angkor empire, and the Lao people displaced and dominated the region. Laotians originated in neighboring Thailand.
      During the time of Mongol expansion (13th - early 14th centuries), Laos was affected. The Mongols probably allied with the Khmer Angkor kingdom.
      However, the Khmer Angkor kingdom collapsed before mid-century, and a home-grown kingdom, the Lan Xang, was formed by 1349. Fa Ngoun (reigned 1353–1373) was the first king. The Lan Xang empire occupied somewhat larger geography than does Laos today. The boundaries of today's Laos have only been in place since 1907. The region we think of as Laos only includes a fraction of those who have, through history, considered themselves Laotian (Lao). From the 14th century until 1907, the boundaries of Laos extended into current-day northeastern Thailand.
      Lan Xang survived for three centuries. On various occasions it was invaded by, or at war with, neighboring Thailand/Siam, Burma (Myanmar), Khmer (future Cambodia), and Vietnam. During its period of largest expansion, the 17th century, Lan Xang controlled Laos itself, and portions of Yunnan, China, south Burma, the Vietnamese and Khmer plateaus, and much of northeast Thailand.
      In 1707, Lan Xang split into two kingdoms: Vientiane, with a capital city of the same name, covered southern Laos. Luang Phabang was the kingdom of northern Laos. The split, plus the dissentions which had caused the rift of an empire, weakened these people, and the end was in sight.
      External invasions were repulsed until the 18th century, when internal politics created a situation where Thailand took advantage, and control, of the former Lan Xang empire. In the 1870's, Laos was absorbed into French Indochina. Laos remained under French control until 1953, with a brief WWII occupation under Japan.
      In the year 1953, King Sisavang Vong managed to acquire full independence for Laos. This was challenged by nationalist forces, commonly known as the Pathet Lao, who formed an alliance with the Viet Cong of Vietnam. Their goal was to expell any remaining French. The nation also had conflicts with China to the north. Currently, Laos is being run by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.
      References:
      Laos History and Laos Culture: http://www.iexplore.com/dmap/Laos/History
      History from FactMonster: http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/world/A0859186.html
      Laos Travel Guide: http://www.visit-mekong.com/laos/
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      Eyvisl Yngling

    • MONGOLIA
      The transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic way of life was a turning point in humankind's social & economic development comparable in importance to the industrial and scientific revolutions of the nineteenth & twentieth centuries.
      The contrast between a temporary Mesolithic camp and a village of Neolithic farmers is certainly striking enough to justify the term 'Neolithic revolution', but just as modern technology makes its most dramatic appearance in countries with low technology, so the Neolithic was at its most 'revolutionary' when, in its fully developed form, it spread beyond the Near-Eastern area where it had evolved into Mesolithic Europe, Africa & Asia.
      The innovations of the Neolithic are many, the cultivation of wheat & barley, the domestication of goats, sheep, pigs & cattle, the used of fired pottery and polished stone tools, opposed to the Mesolithic chipped flints. The pre-pottery early period of Neolithic times, archaeologists found their settlements were largely in fertile crescents, that could be easily irrigated, always close to a water supply.
      The 'incipient agriculture region' of where Turkey is today, archaeologists discovered a walled hamlet covering some ten acres whose inhabitants planted corn and kept domesticated goats. Apart from the fortification, which implies a level of social organisation, the diggers of this excavation called it 'the missing link' which falls easily into place within the Near Eastern evolutionary sequence.
      Reference used : Ancient Europe : by Colin McEvedy.
      By the 6th millennium the fully evolved Neolithic had spread from the fertile crescents across Anatolia to the Balkans, at the same time of evolution, the original Neolithic communities of the Near East passed into the cultural phase known as Chalcolithic meaning 'copper but still stone-using' -  although some archaeologists prefer the expression of 'The Bronze Age'.
      However, in the Chalcolithic period, the metal copper dominated the early metal-working technology of the Near East, adding tin to the copper to produce Bronze, a harder and stronger metal, the site of Belovode on the Mountain of Rudnik in Serbia has the oldest securely-dated evidence of copper-smelting, from 5,000BCE.
      Three major cultural zones the entered The Copper Age before any other community, are Halafian, of Syria, & Northern Mesopotamia, the Ghassulian of Palestine & the Hacilar, of Anatolia. Copper working remained confined to the Near East for 2,000 years after its discovery and during most of this period of the 6th & 5th millennia, - the line marking the limit of the Neolithic techniques seems to have been quite static.
      By 4,000BCE there were two breakthroughs, one from Palestine to Egypt and the North African Coast, and another from the Lower Danube region across Central Europe. In the case of Lower Danube, the reason for their sudden rapid progress is easy to discern, - they cleared their fields by burning the cover off the virgin lands and tilled these new clearances, that gave them several seasons of high yield.
      The people of the Lower Danube, though they were Neolithic, were far more mobile than other Mesolithic populations of the Baltic & Iberian coastlines, that were sufficiently supplied with a diet of shellfish.
      The 'Ertebolle' peoples of today's Denmark and various other Mesolithic groups on the Eastern Borders of the New Neolithic zones learnt from the people of the Lower Danube, to make pottery and how to polish the stone tools, but kept the food-gathering traditions rather than turning their hands to farming methods.
      Reference used : Colin McEvedy.
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       Eyvisl Yngling

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