Asia Essay Research Paper AsiaAsia is the — страница 7

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became the dominant religion, but Islamic influences, brought by Arab traders after the 12th century AD, and colonial penetrations by the British, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Americans after the 17th century brought much cultural diversification. North Asia (Asiatic Russia) borders on Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China to the south and extends northward across Siberia to the shores of the Arctic Ocean. The Russians brought European influences into North Asia and the steppe regions to their south from the 17th century on. Central (or Inner) Asia is made up of five former Soviet republics–Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan–plus Mongolia and three autonomous regions of China–Tibet, Xinjiang-Uygur, and Inner Mongolia. Isolated by high mountains or

broad deserts, Central Asia was for centuries the domain of nomadic herders and various indigenous peoples, including Mongols, Tatars, Tungus, and Yakuts. Central Asia was long feared by the Chinese as the homeland from which invaders repeatedly entered the settled lands of eastern China. Chinese settlement and influence in much of this region has greatly increased in recent years. Islamic influences have gained strength in much of former Soviet Central Asia since 1991. Racial and Ethnic Groups Asia has a great diversity of ethnic groups, with two-thirds of all Asian peoples belonging to the Mongoloid group. The largest ethnic group is the Han Chinese, who constitute about 94% of the total population of China and dominate the eastern half of that nation. The remaining 6% of that

nation’s population includes Mongols, Uygurs, Huis, Zhuangs, Tibetans, and other groups. The second largest Asian group is the Japanese, who except for a few thousand Ainu on the northern island of Hokkaido, constitute a single ethnic group in Japan. India, by contrast, is ethnically