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The Gusuku Period (AD 1050 to 1429)

The Gusuku Period (AD 1050 to 1429)

A New Order

(p.145) Chapter 7 The Gusuku Period (AD 1050 to 1429)
Ancient Ryukyu
Richard Pearson
University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter describes the cultural and social changes in the Ryukyu Islands during the Gusuku Period. The period marked a fundamental change in the life of the Ryukyu islanders, a transformation from hunting and gathering to cultivation and to small states within a span of a few centuries. Ironworking, which had been introduced into the Amami Islands around AD 500 (Kamimura 1999), became widespread throughout the Ryukyus. In addition, a new magnitude of extensive trade links connected the island communities to the surrounding regions of East Asia. More than a millennium of prior experience in the trade of various tropical marine shells to Japan as far north as Hokkaido, and to China and Korea, allowed the people of the Ryukyus to use the knowledge, capital, and economic expertise that flowed into the islands to achieve new forms of political and social organization.

Keywords:   Gusuku Period, Ryukyu Islands, Ironworking, Amami Islands, Ryukyus, Hokkaido

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