The ancient Western Xia kingdom (1038–1227 AD) encompassed a vast expanse of land, overlapping regions of what is now Ningxia, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. Established by the nomadic Dangxiang clan of Qiang ancestry, the kingdom had twelve kings and developed its own written language, which combines influences from Mongolian, Tibetan and Chinese. The Western Xia territory survived prior to independence by playing off the Song or Liao dynasties against each other. In 1038, Li Yuanhao, leader of Western Xia, was militarily powerful enough to oppose Song jurisdiction and thus this third kingdom was created. A prosperous period ensued as the kingdom benefited from controlling the trade routes into central Asia. The new era saw a time of great cultural development, a state academy was erected, and future officials took Confucian examinations. Less emphasis, however, was placed on military matters, and in 1227 the Western Xia were obliterated by the Mongol empire of Genghis Khan.

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Video: 10 Taiwanese street foods you need to try

Video: 10 Taiwanese street foods you need to try

Street food in Taiwan has a charm that restaurants just can't match. There's a distinct pleasure to be found in wandering through the labyrinthine stalls glo…

03 Aug 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
7 Chinese street foods you need to try

7 Chinese street foods you need to try

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27 Jul 2017 • Aimee White insert_drive_file Article
An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Hong Kong

An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Hong Kong

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28 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
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