Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent
    https://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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The ethnic groups of Japan

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on February 19, 2019

After suffering years of discrimination and forced assimilation, the Ainu people have finally been recognised as “indigenous” Japanese people, giving them the right to support for their communities and a boost to local economies.

The official number of the Ainu is 25,000, but unofficially is estimated at 200,000, as many Ainu have been completely assimilated into Japanese society and have no knowledge of their ancestry.

The Ainu have often been considered to descend from the Jōmon people, who lived in Japan from the Jōmon period (c. 14,000 to 300 BCE). One of their Yukar Upopo, or legends, tells that “[t]he Ainu lived in this place a hundred thousand years before the Children of the Sun came”.

Researchers suggests that the Ainu retain a certain degree of uniqueness in their genetic make-up, while having some affinities with other regional populations in Japan as well as with the Nivkhs of the Russian Far East.

Recent research suggests that the historical Ainu culture originated in a merger of the Okhotsk culture with the Satsumon, one of the ancient archaeological cultures that are considered to have derived from the Jōmon-period cultures of the Japanese archipelago.

The Okhotsk culture is an archaeological coastal fishing and hunter-gatherer culture of the lands surrounding the Sea of Okhotsk (600–1000 in Hokkaido, until 1500 or 1600 in the Kuril Islands): the Amur River basin, Sakhalin, northern Hokkaido, the Kuril Islands, and Kamchatka.

It appears to have spread outwards from the Amur River region, only to be partially absorbed or pushed back by the Satsumon culture spreading north from Japan, but nevertheless surviving, for example, in the Nivkh of Sakhalin and the Amur and in Itelmen of Kamchatka.

The historical Ainu people appear to have retained a strong element of the Okhotsk, but the Satsumon culture, and perhaps language, appears to have dominated the mix of people who contemporaneously became known as the Ainu. Fundamental Okhotsk elements remained, however, such as the bear cult.

Jōmon people is the generic name of people who lived in the Japanese archipelago during the Jōmon period. Today most Japanese historians believe that the Jomon were not a single homogeneous people but were at least two or three groups.

The Jōmon shared some physical characteristics, such as relatively abundant body hair and light skin, with Caucasians, but anthropological genetics shows them to derive from a separate genetic lineage from that of Europeans.

It is suggested that they belong to the Proto-Mongoloid type, similar to Native Americans. A research, analysing the autosomal DNA of several Jomon bones, suggest an origin of the Jomon people in Siberia or northeastern Central Asia near lake Baikal.

Mark J. Hudson posits that Japan was settled by a Paleo-Mongoloid population in the Pleistocene who became the Jōmon, and that their features can be seen in the Ainu and Ryukyuan people.

The Ryukyuan people are the indigenous peoples of the Ryukyu Islands between the islands of Kyushu and Taiwan. Although unrecognized, Ryukyuans constitute the largest ethnolinguistic minority group in Japan.

They are not a recognized minority group in Japan, as Japanese authorities consider them just a subgroup of the Japanese people, akin to the Yamato people and Ainu.

Their languages make up the Ryukyuan languages, considered to be one of the two branches of the Japonic language family, the other being Japanese and its dialects.

Currently (2019) it is not known what language or languages were spoken during the Jomon period. Suggested languages are: The Ainu language, Japonic languages, Tungusic languages, Austronesian languages, Paleosiberian languages or unknown and today extinct languages.

It is thought that the haplogroups D1b and C1a1 were frequent in Jōmon people. Haplogroup D1b is found in about 38% and haplogroup C1a1 in about 10% of modern Japanese people.

Haplogroup D-M174 is common in modern Japanese, Tibetans, Pumi, Nakhi and Andamanese tribes. A medium distribution of haplogroup D is also found in Central Asia and other minority groups in southern China.

Haplogroup C1a1 is found in Jomon people, modern Japanese, Paleolithic and Neolithic Europe. It is suggested that it reached Japan via the Korean Peninsula via Altai Mountains from South-west Asia.

The culture of the Jomon people is known as “Jōmon culture”. They used stoneware and pottery, and lived in a pit dwelling. Some elements of modern Japanese culture may come from one or more of the Jomon groups.

The Jōmon pottery is a type of ancient earthenware pottery which was made during the Jōmon period in Japan. The term “Jōmon” means “rope-patterned” in Japanese, describing the patterns that are pressed into the clay.

Japanese are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world. Worldwide, approximately 129 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 125 million are residents of Japan.

Japanese people are a nation and an ethnic group that is native to Japan and makes up 98.5% of the total population of the country. The modern Japanese language includes native Japanese words and a large number of words derived from the Chinese language.

Currently, the most well-regarded theory is that present-day Japanese are descendants of both the indigenous Jōmon people and the immigrant Yayoi people. The Yayoi period is an Iron Age era in the history of Japan traditionally dated 300 BC–300 AD. Since the 1980s, scholars have argued that a period previously classified as a transition from the Jōmon period should be reclassified as Early Yayoi.

The period is named after the neighborhood of Tokyo where archaeologists first uncovered artifacts and features from that era. Distinguishing characteristics of the Yayoi period include the appearance of new Yayoi pottery styles and the start of an intensive rice agriculture in paddy fields.

A hierarchical social class structure dates from this period and has its origin in China. Techniques in metallurgy based on the use of bronze and iron were also introduced from China over Korea to Japan in this period.

The origin of Yayoi culture has long been debated. During the Yayoi period, cultural features from China and Korea arrived in this area at various times over several centuries, and later spread to the south and east. This was a period of mixture between immigrants and the indigenous population, and between new cultural influences and existing practices.

There are many similarities in the remains from the Yayoi and the Jiangsu, an eastern-central coastal province of China. During the earliest Chinese dynasties, the area that is now Jiangsu was far away from the center of Chinese civilization, which was in the northwest Henan; it was home of the Huai Yi, an ancient ethnic group.

During the Zhou dynasty more contact was made, and eventually the state of Wu (centered at Gusu, now Suzhou) appeared as a vassal to the Zhou dynasty in south Jiangsu, one of the many hundreds of states that existed across northern and central China at that time.

Near the end of the Spring and Autumn period, Wu became a great power under King Helu of Wu, and defeated in 484 BC the state of Qi, a major power in the north in modern-day Shandong province, and contest for the position of overlord over all states of China.

The state of Wu was subjugated in 473 BC by the state of Yue, another state that had emerged to the south in modern-day Zhejiang province. Yue was in turn subjugated by the powerful state of Chu from the west in 333 BC. Eventually the state of Qin swept away all the other states, and unified China in 221 BC.

The rulers of the State of Wu had the surname Ji, the same as the Zhou royal family. The Zhou dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty and preceded the Qin dynasty.

The military control of China by the royal house, surnamed Ji, lasted initially from 1046 until 771 BC for a period known as the Western Zhou and the political sphere of influence it created continued well into Eastern Zhou for another 500 years.

The Yayoi followed the Jōmon period and Yayoi culture flourished in a geographic area from southern Kyūshū to northern Honshū. Archaeological evidence supports the idea that during this time, an influx of farmers from the Asian continent to Japan absorbed or overwhelmed the native hunter-gatherer population.

According to Hanihara, modern Japanese lineages began with Jōmon people, who moved into the Japanese archipelago during Paleolithic times from their homeland in southeast Asia, followed by a second wave of immigration, from northeast Asia to Japan during the Yayoi period.

Following a population expansion in Neolithic times, these newcomers then found their way to the Japanese archipelago sometime during the Yayoi period.

As a result, admixture was common in the island regions of Kyūshū, Shikoku, and Honshū, but did not prevail in the outlying islands of Okinawa and Hokkaidō, and the Ryukyuan and Ainu people of Jōmon ancestry continued to dominate there.

Mark J. Hudson claims that the main ethnic image of Japanese people was biologically and linguistically formed from 400 BCE to 1,200 CE. Currently, the most well-regarded theory is that present-day Yamato Japanese are descendants of both the indigenous Jōmon people and the immigrant Yayoi people.

A 2017 study on ancient Jōmon aDNA from the Sanganji shell mound in Tōhoku estimated that the modern mainland (Yamato) Japanese inherited <20% of Jōmon peoples’ genomes. The population found to be closest to the Jōmon was the Ainu, followed by the Ryukyuans and then the mainland (Yamato) Japanese.

The Yamato people (also in older literature “Yamato race”) and Wajin (literally “Wa people”) are an East Asian ethnic group and nation native to the Japanese archipelago. The term came to be used around the late 19th century to distinguish the settlers of mainland Japan from minority ethnic groups who have settled the peripheral areas of Japan.

The ethnic groups include the Ainu, Ryukyuans, Nivkh, Oroks, as well as Koreans, Taiwanese, and Taiwanese aborigines who were incorporated into the Empire of Japan in the early 20th century.

People of Yamato Province incorporated native Japanese as well as Chinese and Korean migrants. Clan leaders also elevated their own belief system that featured ancestor worship into a national religion known as Shinto.

The name was applied to the Imperial House of Japan or “Yamato Court” that existed in Japan in the 4th century, and was originally the name of the region where the Yamato people first settled in Yamato Province (modern-day Nara Prefecture).

Generations of Japanese historians, linguists, and archeologists have debated whether the word is related to the earlier Yamatai. The Yamato clan set up Japan’s first and only dynasty.

Yamatai-koku or Yamato-koku (c. 1st century – c. 3rd century) is the Sino-Japanese name of an ancient country in Wa (Japan) during the late Yayoi period (c. BC 300 – c. 300 AD).

In the 6th century, the Yamato dynasty founded a state modeled on the Chinese states of Sui and Tang, the center of East Asian political influence at the time. As the Yamato influence expanded, their Old Japanese language became the common spoken language.

The earliest textual references to Japan are in Chinese classic texts. Wa (“Japan, Japanese”, from Chinese Wō or Wa) is the oldest recorded name of Japan.

Possibly the earliest record of Wō “Japan” occurs in the Shan Hai Jing “Classic of Mountains and Seas”. The textual dating of this collection of geographic and mythological legends is uncertain, but estimatas range from 300 BCE to 250 CE. Within the official Chinese dynastic Twenty-Four Histories, Japan is mentioned among the so-called Dongyi “Eastern Barbarians”.

The Chinese as well as Korean and Japanese scribes regularly wrote it in reference to Yamato (ancient Japanese nation) with the Chinese character until the 8th century, when the Japanese replaced it with “harmony, peace, balance.”

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