Deserts and islands

The politics of border control, 1547–49

Authored by: Roland L. Higgins

The Ming World

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138190986
eBook ISBN: 9780429318719
Adobe ISBN:


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Border control and protection were major concerns of the early modern Eurasian empires emerging after the collapse of the Mongol imperium in Asia. From the East China Sea to the Caspian Sea, officials of the Ming empire, as well as of the Romanov, Ottoman, Safavid, and Moghul empires, along with the successor Qing empire in China, all shared similar preoccupations with establishing, maintaining, and defending territorial boundaries from external enemies’ encroachments and strikes into the heartlands. In general, these empires made the boundary with central Asia a top strategic priority, since nomadic tribes and coalitions of tribes might once again pose an existential threat, as the Mongols under Chinggis Khan and his descendants had done in the thirteenth century. 1

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