Asia Essay Research Paper AsiaAsia is the — страница 6

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and Turkey a poor third, with 67,739,000 acres, or 35% of its total area, under crops. Other large arable landholdings are in Iran, which has 50,002,000 acres, or 12% of its total area, under crops; Indonesia, which has 47,938,000 acres, or 10% of its area, cultivated; and Pakistan, which has 42,219,000 acres, or 24% of its total area, planted to crops. Forest and Fish Resources Forests cover about one-third of Russia and 20% of the rest of Asia. Russia has the largest reserves of commercial softwoods in the world (mostly east of the Urals) and leads the world in timber production. Deciduous forests are extensive in southern Asia, especially in the tropical and subtropical parts of monsoon Asia. Indonesia and India together account for half of all Asian woods cut from deciduous

forests. In the wake of industrialization, however, deforestation is occurring in South and Southeast Asia, as it had earlier in China. Japan and Russia are the world’s two top-ranking fish producers, and both maintain large oceangoing fishing fleets. China is the third-ranking fish producer, and India is fourth. In keeping with the intensive cultivation of land in Asia, fish are also raised in flooded rice fields. PEOPLE Traditional Culture Areas Asia has a long cultural heritage of great diversity. Sedentary agriculture and the beginnings of urban life and civilization developed before 4000 BC in Mesopotamia (southwestern Asia), about 3000 BC at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley, now in Pakistan , and about 2000 BC in the unrelated development of Chinese culture in

the loess lands of China’s middle Huang He valley . These three areas of early civilization served as “culture hearths,” or centers from which major cultural traditions, modified by later differences in religion, nationalism, and historical circumstance, were transferred outward and adopted over wide areas of Asia (and sometimes beyond). Six major cultural regions are recognized in Asia. The three dominant ones are Southwest (or Islamic) Asia, South (or Indic) Asia, and East (or Sinic) Asia, which developed from the three original culture hearths. The fourth is Southeast Asia. Set between China and India, this region is what political and cultural geographers call a “shatter zone,” or culture area dominated by two or more strong neighboring cultures. The remaining two

culture areas are Northern (or Russian) Asia and Central (or Interior) Asia, both sparsely populated and peripherally located in terms of the major culture hearths. Southwest (or Islamic) Asia roughly coincides with the dry belt of desert and semidesert lands that extend eastward from the eastern Mediterranean (Levant) shores as far as Afghanistan. This area is customarily linked with North Africa under the labels Near or Middle East or Arab World; the latter is misleading, however, because non-Arabs constitute a majority of the population in Iran, Israel, and Turkey. The Southwest Asian culture area saw the development of early agriculture in Mesopotamia and the rise and fall of numerous ancient kingdoms and empires. It was unified by Islam in the 7th century, but important

concentrations of non-Islamic peoples remain, including Christians in Syria, Armenia, and Lebanon, and Jews, mainly in Israel. South (or Indic) Asia is located on the Indian subcontinent and dominated by India. The culture dates from about 1500 BC when Aryans invaded northern India. Their Vedic religion merged with indigenous customs and beliefs to produce Hinduism, which continues to play a major role in social organization and structure; it remains an important influence even in northern areas where Islam now prevails. Buddhism, founded in India in the 6th century BC, had its main cultural impact elsewhere. The nations included in East (or Sinic) Asia share a common culture developed by the ancient Chinese in the Huang He loesslands and unified during the Shang dynasty about

1500 BC. Periodically invaded by nomads from the northern steppes, the East Asian culture region included most of modern China by about 100 BC, began to move southward into Vietnam about the same time, and reached out to Korea and Japan about AD 400. Social organization and structure within the region are strongly influenced by ancient Chinese concepts of familial duty and ancestor worship that were articulated in Confucianism and Japanese Shinto, and to a lesser degree in Daoism (Taoism) and Chinese Buddhism. Southeast Asia embraces the peninsulas and islands located between India and China. The indigenous peoples of this region were pushed from the lowlands into isolated hill areas by migrants from China and the rest of Asia in a process beginning 2,500 years ago. Buddhism