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The Art of War  

Sun Tzu

The Warring States era (464 to 221 BCE) was a crucial turning point in Chinese history. During this time, the many effectively independent states into which China had become divided were at ... More

Coverage of the Tiananmen Square Protests  

British Broadcasting Corporation

In May 1989, a protest movement gathered strength in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, as students convened and constructed a large statue called the Goddess of Democracy. By the beginning of ... More

Emperor Qianlong’s Imperial Edict to King George III  

Emperor Qianlong

The reign of Qianlong (r. 1736–1795) marked both the high point and the beginning of the decline of the Qing dynasty. Several European nations, driven by their desire to corner the market ... More

Fighting for Perpetual Peace  

Mao Zedong

For most people, the greatest conflict of the second half of the twentieth century was one that emerged within and then divided peoples of the Western tradition: that is, the rival ... More

Goban Taiheiki  

Chikamatsu Monzaemon

This one-act puppet play is one of the first fictionalized (though only thinly disguised) treatments of a famous event that occurred in Tokugawa Japan in 1701–1703. The historical incident ... More

Iron Sword with Jade Handle, Earliest Cast-Iron Object (Western Zhoe), from Henan Museum, Guo State, Sanmenxia City  

Anonymous

When this sword was discovered in 1990, it challenged conventional wisdom about when and under what circumstances Chinese people made the first cast-iron object. The dating of the object to ... More

“Khubilai Khan at War”  

Marco Polo

Marco Polo (1254–1324) was a member of a clan of Venetian merchants, who had been active in trade in the Middle East for some decades. Polo claims to have accompanied his father and uncle ... More

Letters To George III  

The Qianlong Emperor

In 1793 the Earl of Macartney arrived in Beijing with a retinue of assistants and a baggage train of gifts carefully selected to impress the Qianlong emperor (1735–1795) with the ingenuity, ... More

Lin Zexu’s letter to Queen Victoria of Great Britain  

Lin Zexu

In March 1839, the Daoguang emperor sent Lin Zexu (1785–1850), a widely respected official with a reputation for courage and honesty, to Canton as an imperial commissioner, charged with the ... More

Model of a Ming Ship in the Flotilla of Zheng He  

Anonymous

Between 1405 and 1433, a series of naval expeditions were sent out by Yongle, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, under the command of the remarkable Zheng He (1371–1435). The largest of ... More

Narrative of the British ship Nemesis during the First Opium War  

W. H. Bernard and W. D. Hall

When hostilities broke out between China and Britain in 1839, the British fleet was the most powerful in the world and in a high state of readiness. The Chinese had no real naval forces to ... More

Proclamation of the Boxers United in Righteousness  

Boxers United in Righteousness

The nineteenth century saw an accumulation of disasters for China. In two Opium Wars in the 1840s and 1850s, British invasion forced the trade concessions demanded earlier. These conflicts ... More

Records of the Grand HIstorian  

Sima Qian

Sima Qian (c. 145 to after 91 BCE) is to Chinese history writing what Herodotus and Thucydides combined are to Western historical writing. A scholar and official under the Han, he began ... More

The Tale of the Heike  

Anonymous

The Tale of the Heike is the most famous of a whole set of medieval Japanese war tales. It tells the story of the Gempei War (1180–1185), the culmination of a civil war that ... More

Treaty between Koxinga and the Dutch government, Formosa  

Anonymous

In the seventeenth century, the Manchus crossed the Great Wall, captured Beijing, and founded a new regime, the Qing, or “pure,” dynasty. Some Ming loyalists fled to the island of Formosa ... More

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights  

United Nations General Assembly

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, was one of the most significant and lasting results of the Second World War. ... More

The Zuo Commentary (Zuozhuan)  

Zuo

The Spring and Autumn Annals (Chunqiu), a chronicle covering the years 722–483 BCE and composed at the court of Lu (the home state of Confucius), was acknowledged even at the time to be ... More

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