Asia is the largest and most populous continent with the most nationalities on the Earth. Being home to the oldest civilizations, it has once led the world in economy, politics, culture and technology over thousands of years.
Asia has a long history, having given birth to a wide variety of cultures, arts, religious spirits, philosophical ideas, and even the unique wisdom for state governance and development. And in exploring the relationships between man and nature, man and society and man to man, the people of Asia have produced a rich and colorful scroll painting of civilizations.
Without understanding its past, you cannot understand its present and future. Now, let's start a time journey to learn about its history, seek out the wisdom of Asian ancients, and identify the origins of Asian civilizations.
Part I: Origination of Civilization and Harmonious Coexistence
Mankind has morphed from the hunters/gathers of foods into the producers in a long course of constant evolution. The settled lifestyle brought by agricultural development led to the emergence of cities, with the lights of the earliest civilizations on the Earth glittering through the darkness out of the wildness along larger river basins. Each civilization has nurtured its own unique social life, culture, art, religion and philosophy.
During the period from about 10,000 - 2,000 years ago in the long history of human beings, the sparks of civilization first burst forth on the Mesopotamia (the land between the Tigris and Euphrates), in the Indus Valley and the Yellow River Basin, where human ancestors evolved from living on gathering natural fruits and hunting wild game to producing foods, and in the course, agriculture gradually became the primary way of life over time, completing the epochal transition from the Paleolithic Age to the Neolithic one: ushering in a brand-new era and rushing into a bold new world.
年代：公元前7500年 - 前5500年
大河流域因其平坦的地势、湿润的气候、充足的光热，为农业的发展提供了便利的条件。亚洲大陆上最重要的早期文明都诞生在大河流域沿岸，越来越多的人口在这里集聚，继而进一步形成了城市与国家。 With flat terrains, humid climates, and abundant sunshine, these valleys of larger rivers provide suitable conditions for agricultural development, so all the most important early civilizations on the Asian continent sprang up everywhere on the banks of larger rivers. As the populations there swelled, came along earliest cities and nations.
Part II: Inclusiveness and Diversification
As classical civilizations continued to extend outwards, and strong empires constantly sprang up, unified and vast territories gradually merged and overlapped with each other, linking various parts on the Asian continent. The infiltration and collision of various regional cultures created new sparks, enriching connotations of original ones and injecting new vigor and vitality to classical civilizations.
约公元前1200年前后，赫梯、亚述与埃及三大帝国之间常年征战不休，国力日渐式微。闪米特人趁此机会掀起了入侵浪潮：腓尼基人占领了地中海沿岸一带，阿拉米人占据了叙利亚北部、巴勒斯坦和美索不达米亚北部，希伯来人占有了巴勒斯坦和叙利亚南部。 Due to endless wars, three most powerful empires: Hittite, Assyria and Egypt were on the decline from around 1200 B.C. onwards, and the Semites seized the opportunity to launch massive invasions, with the Phoenicians occupying the Mediterranean coastal region, the Aramis taking possession of northern Syria, the northern of Palestine and Mesopotamia, and the Hebrews conquering the south of Palestine and Syria.
There had existed delicate relationships between farming civilization centers and the surrounding nomadic nations. These nomads sometimes served settled farming folks as mercenaries for their martial prowess and also, from time to time, invaded and ransacked these farming societies’ newly-established regimes. The two influenced each other, and territorial re-demarcation and population migration also promoted cultural exchanges.
年代：公元前5世纪末 - 前4世纪初
Part III: Spiritual Communication and Emotional Affinity
Most of the world's major religions cultures originated in Asia, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, etc., and these religions have been in existence for thousands of years. Religions in ancient Asia came along always with cultures and beliefs that have still influenced the lives of most people around the world till now.
Part IV: Openness, Accommodation and Mutualism
Territorial stability enhances accessibility. As the connectivity within Asia, Europe, and even linking Africa, increased through land and maritime silk roads, civilizations also spread along economic and trade routes. Over thousands of years, envoys, merchants, tourists, scholars, craftsmen, and religious believers of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds have exchanged their products and thoughts along the silk roads.
Zhang Qian’s Mission to the West was the first initiative in Chinese history to explore the unknown world westwards, greatly enhancing mutual understanding between the East and the West. Trade between East Asia and the West have boomed along the trail blazed by Zhang Qian, with the fine silks from the East flowing into Central Asia, and then, farther to Europe.
Extending as far away as Eastern Africa, North Africa, Red Sea Coast and Europe via East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia, the Maritime Silk Road was an important maritime route for transportation, trade and cultural exchanges in the ancient world. With the goods from China mainly being silks, porcelains and tea leaves, and the goods from the West spices and jewelry, the Maritime Silk Road came down as “Ceramics Road”, “Spice Road” and “Tea Road”.
Each Asian civilization in history has its distinct features and advantages, needs each other and complement each other. Today's Asian nations are culturally diverse, inclusive and learn from each other. Inspired by historical experience and real needs, we uphold the concept of diversified, harmonious and inclusive coexistence instead of the theory of civilization supremacy, civilization clash and civilization segregation. We also are committed to seeking common progress and prosperity by breaking down constraints of solidified civilizations, jointly writing a new civilized chapter of harmonious coexistence and development of human beings.
Standing at a new starting point, we will continue to carry on and promote the resplendent achievements of Asian civilizations and promote new dialogues among civilizations based on common cultural roots and shared visions of development. We are committed to working together with all the countries to forge a community with a shared future for Asia and build a better world for all.