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View Diary: Haven't Heard About Revolution In China? There IS A Reason (181 comments)

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  •  yeah, i'd say east africa was it (1+ / 0-)
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    part of what confuses people is that the chinese sources have a 'marco polo effect' going on, where the authors spend a lot of time talking to arab merchants, and so get geographic information about areas - like sicily or spain - that they never actually saw with their own eyes (to say nothing of some of the more fantastic mythical islands). the trick is trying to sort of what is likely to be eyewitness, and what is hearsay (although both kinds of diffusion of knowledge are interesting).

    as for the pre-european diversity of the trading population of guangzhou, that's beyond question, i think. just the archaeology alone shows a significant muslim and tamil religious presence there (and quangzhou) from the tang through early ming, and there's a ton of textual evidence starting from the song as well.

    yeah, singapore, KL, malacca, etc. all have a very south seas feel to them (and the best food in the freaking world IMO). i imagine that there was a similar sort of melting pot bazaar port community feel in guangzhou and quangzhou way back when, in the foreign quarters. there's reason to believe that a significant % of the south seas trade between the song and the ming was by a sort of hybrid bicultural population made up of the descendants of arab/SEAsian merchants who grew up in chinese ports and followed the trade winds to and fro. teasing out identity/ethnicity info from sparse sources is difficult, though, so it might not ever be provable.

    •  Thanks. I will study up. (1+ / 0-)
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      wu ming

      I don't really know the history of Guangdong well but geographically it's almost a natural to beome a melting pot.

      And it would make sense from a political perspetive as well because Guangzhou is do far from the historical capitals of China that it has been left to do it's own thing.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 06:41:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  guangzhou was the southernmost port (0+ / 0-)

        so it got designated the official south seas trade port pretty early on. china's first mosque was built there, IIRC.

      •  oh, a good place to start reading (0+ / 0-)

        about the south seas/guangzhou is pretty much anything by wang gungwu. there are a bunch of denser academic books too, but none of them are terribly light reading, and they tend to be fixated on less than thrilling discussions such as whether the critical period of south fujian's development as an urban center was in the five dynasties or the song dynasty, and whether that was driven by trade or whether the trade followed the development, blah blah blah.

        me, i like the weird stuff lurking in the shadows and on the edges of the map.

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