chapter  3
13 Pages

The shift to the modern world in East Asia: war, memory and regional identity

ByPeter Preston

East Asia entered themodernworld of reason, science and industrial-capitalism via a tangled exchange with extra-regional powers in Europe andNorthAmerica duringwhich indigenous forms of lifewere more or less thoroughly remade. Incoming groups sought trade but were not averse to the use of violence or the establishment of settlements, and so indigenous polities were slowly overborne as empire holdings were established. East Asia became a peripheral area within a globe-spanning industrial-capitalist system centred on Europe and North America. But these sprawling multiethnic empires were never going to last. Simple demographics ensured their demise, but the manner of their eclipse, the contribution of local agents, and the nature of their political successors were not guaranteed. It was a contingent process; one part of a general crisis of empire systems.