The history of China in the period covered by this book is of internal wars, rebellions, conquests by foreign nations, and the arrival of European traders and Christian missionaries. For almost half of the seven centuries between the Song and Manchu dynasties, China was ruled by foreigners. Although there was great development, invention and culture inside the country, the Chinese people, like the Japanese, turned inward and tried to shut them selves off from the rest of the world.

Japan could do this because it was an island, but China could not.

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