Akilah Beasley
College Composition 105 WISE
November 30, 2009

“An Isolated China: Does China’s Geography determine its Development?”

Geography plays an essential role in the cultivation of a civilization. The geographical placement of a civilization determines its agriculture, climate, natural resources, military status, architecture, and much more. Ancient China was once geographically isolated; natural barriers isolated China’s fertile river valleys from other parts of Asia. This factor made it difficult for China to share its ideas with other civilizations and vice versa. As a result of this isolation, China’s development was extremely distinct; they became more advanced than other civilizations. With such information, it is safe to infer that China’s geographic isolation made it a stronger, more advanced and prosperous civilization in comparison to divergent civilizations that were in existence during the same time period.

Ancient China was located on the huge continent of Asia. China was considered a quarantine- it’s natural barriers forced it to be isolated from the rest of the world for thousands of years. It had several natural barriers which included mountains, deserts, rivers, and seas, for example, the China Sea and the Yellow Sea. Both of these seas were located in the Pacific Ocean; they provided a vast coastline for China which offered extensive trade routes and easy access to food. Because of Ancient China’s geographical isolation, they were able to avoid interaction with the other existing civilizations. This isolation allowed China to develop differently from the other civilizations; they were allowed to discover a plethora of new things.

Geographic isolation permitted the ancient Chinese to invent new types of technology, discover new ways to utilize their natural resources, and establish standardized aspects of living– without any influence from other empires. The Ancient Chinese discovered paper, silk, matches, wheelbarrows, the decimal system, the waterwheel, the sundial, astronomy, iron technology, porcelain china, lacquer paint, the pottery wheel, fireworks, the compass, an assortment of medicines, dominoes, jump ropes, kites, embroidery, folding umbrella, ink, calligraphy, the multiplication table, animal harnesses, playing cards, winemaking, printing, the abacus, wallpaper, the hot air balloon, the crossbow, rockets, the helicopter rotor, propeller and much more. The ancient Chinese empire was the first to have a standardized system of commerce, writing, language and measurement. The empire had an extremely resilient military, with powerful and advanced weaponry. The military was the first to be equipped with Guns, Gunpowder, and Cannons.

The Ancient Chinese were not just successful in manipulating their resources to discover new technology; they were also able to explore philosophy. Their new inventions made certain tasks easier to execute; this factor enabled the citizens of the Chinese empire to have more idle time. With more time on their hands, the Chinese were able to explore their surroundings in detail. They were able evaluate the relationships between different people; this type of evaluation helped to create standard ethics and morals for their society. The Ancient Chinese followed a philosophy called Confucianism- created by a man named Confucius. Confucius’ main belief was that a strong family structure would lead to a strong China. The Ancient Chinese valued Confucius’ belief greatly; they based their family structure on respect, especially respect for elders. The fact that the Ancient Chinese were able to indulge in philosophy, further proves that they were more advanced than their counterparts. While other empires were thinking of ways to invent technologies that would be beneficial to their society, the Ancient Chinese had already discovered those technologies and were able to spend more time evaluating the social and philosophical aspects of their empire.

The ancient Chinese were also responsible for building one of the greatest wonders of the world, The Great Wall of China. The Great Wall drapes across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus. The length of the wall is stretches approximately 8,851.8 kilometers (5,500 miles) from east to west of China. The Great Wall is one of the most appealing attractions in the world because of its great architectural and historical magnitude. There are other empires that are responsible for creating great wonders such as pyramids, tombs, statues, temples, and more, however, none of these wonders are as significant as The Great Wall of china.

There are many aspects that separate the Ancient Chinese Empire from its peer empires. Its geographical isolation however, is the aspect that allowed China to grow in a unique direction. Because the Ancient Chinese Empire was not influenced by other empires, they were able to uncover things that allowed their empire to grow rapidly. They were able to come up with many new inventions, explore philosophy, and construct one of the greatest world wonders—The Great Wall of China. There was no other empire that could match the accomplishments of the Ancient Chinese Empire because they were not geographically isolated; their isolation helped to make them successful and prosperous.