India And Japan - A Study In Interaction During 5th Cent.- 14th Cent. A.D.

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The distant origins The dissemination of relevant information and advice to farmers, however, has a long if chequered history prior to the emergence of modem forms of agricultural extension in the nineteenth century. The first known example was in Mesopotamia roughly, present-day Iraq around B.

India and Japan: A Study in Interaction During 5th Cent.-14th Cent. A.D.

Archaeologists have unearthed clay tablets of the time on which were inscribed advice on watering crops and getting rid of rats - important for mitigating any potential loss of taxation revenue from farmers Ahmed, , as quoted in Bne Saad, Some hieroglyphs on Egyptian columns also gave advice on avoiding crop damage and loss of life from the Nile's floods. An important advance was the beginning of agricultural writings. Though few have survived, the earliest were written during the ancient Greek and Phoenician civilizations, but some of them were adapted by Roman writers.

From the second century B. At around the same period in imperial China, early forms of advancing and disseminating agricultural information also began. That landowners and their tenants should improve their production was a matter of concern to the state since, from the sixth century B. The support of relevant agricultural research and the dissemination of information and advice had certainly begun by the late Han Dynasty A.

The Sung and Yuan Dynasties with their firm local government administrations were notable in organizing and promoting agricultural research, extension work, and the teaching of agriculture and sericulture, much facilitated by the invention of woodblock printing, which allowed agricultural treatises and practical handbooks to be widely distributed.

Similar activities continued during the succeeding Ming and Chi'ing Dynasties, driven not only by the growing population and periodic threats of famine, but also by the state's recognition of the importance of well-coordinated extension work on agricultural recommendations if the most benefit was to be achieved Perkins, ; Elvin, ; Bray, ; Delman, Necessary conditions for agricultural extension to evolve Apart from the importance of farmers and agriculture in the society and economy concerned, several conditions appear to be necessary for the initiation and organized development of agricultural extension work.

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The prime condition is that information has been assembled, systematized, and made available on good or progressive or new agricultural practices suited to a particular environment, and is based on either or both the accumulation of experience or findings from research however rudimentary. Second, this information is used, among other things, to educate professional agriculturists who may further enlarge or refine this body of knowledge or become active promoters and disseminators of it.

Third, an appropriate administrative or organizational structure exists by and within which the dissemination activities may be established and conducted.


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Fourth, there is a legislative or some other official mandate or influential proponent which prescribes or enables that agricultural extension work is desirable and must occur. Fifth, there are invariably a variety of antecedents which have attempted protoforms of agricultural information and advice dissemination. In addition, the incidence of critical situations, such as famine, crop failure, soil exhaustion, or altered economic conditions or relationships, may create an immediate cause for initiating the organization of extension work.

All or several of these conditions have been present in the evolution of modem forms of agricultural extension. Towards the Modern Era The direct antecedents of organized agricultural research and dissemination of its results which occurred in nineteenth century Europe and North America can be traced back to the "renaissance" which began in the fourteenth century. Between and , European society became transformed from its medieval feudal forms into recognizably modem social systems.

It was a period of complex, multistranded development. Along with the growth of national states and European exploration and "discovery" of the rest of the world was the "new learning. All of this was considerably facilitated by the invention of printing using movable type, usually attributed to Gutenberg around , and the rapid diffusion over Europe of the printing press, for whose output there existed a ready market.

The earliest known renaissance agricultural text was written in Latin by Pietro de Crescenzi in and was translated into Italian and French. This became the first book on agriculture to be printed in the mid-fifteenth century. Others soon followed, often based on the old Latin texts or on the collected wisdom of farmers and their families.

India and Japan : a study in interaction during 5th cent.-14th cent. A.D.

A well-known example, a compendium of helpful advice in simple verse and a bestseller in Tudor England, was Thomas Tusser's A hundredth goode pointes of husbandrie, published in and expanded in to five hundred good points with as many on "goode housewiferie" Tusser, Less popular, but of greater significance, were Francis Bacon's writings early in the next century based on his observations and scientific experiments on his estate north of London - the beginnings of the application of science and scientific method to agriculture Russell, By the mid-eighteenth century, throughout much of Europe, progressive landowners frequently aristocrats and their agents and a few similarly minded farmers were being known as "improvers.

At their regular meetings and demonstrations, locally and regionally, landowners and leading farmers exchanged ideas and information and discussed farming improvements. Two main forces underlay the movement. First, many landowners were eager to learn of ways to improve their estates and the production capabilities of their tenants so as to increase the value of their estates and their rental incomes.

Secondly, progress was being made towards modern science and its application to agriculture, especially in agricultural chemistry and plant physiology Russell, These societies sought to alter radically the traditional modes of farming by initiating experiments, arranging demonstrations, disseminating information, and advocating the adoption of innovations. It was considered almost a duty by their elite membership to make their initiatives and activities known to "the generality" of farmers through publishing their proceedings and reporting their meetings in newspapers Hudson, Although such agricultural societies initially spread slowly - the first had been formed at Rezzato near Milan in Coletti, - they had become common throughout much of Europe by , and a small number had been established by that year in the young United States and eastern Canada.

It is not possible, here, to enter into detail on the interactions between a growing scientific knowledge of agriculture and its application in practice, the many examples of increasingly widespread agricultural improvement, and the numerous personalities involved in Europe and North America during the century or so after Reference must, however, be made to one figure whose ideas and activities were of pivotal significance to the developments of the time, and later.

This was Philipp Emanuel von Fellenberg , who in purchased the estate of Wylhof, which he renamed Hofwyl, near Bern in Switzerland Gray, ; Guggisberg, Over the next decade or so, he established agricultural schools at Hofwyl for the children of peasants and of the poor and for the aristocracy and their agents. Although not the first agricultural schools in Europe, those of von Fellenberg became a model for many more which were established before , especially in Denmark, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, thus assuring a cadre of trained agriculturists. At Hofwyl, von Fellenberg also established an experimental-cum-model farm to test and develop suitable husbandry practices and technology.

He publicised the work at this veritable "educational colony" through a journal and agricultural festivals shows at Hofwyl and by welcoming a large number of visitors from all over Europe and maintaining a voluminous correspondence with these and others. Many of his visitors became active proselytes of his methods, recognizing their practical value in disseminating useful information on agriculture - and other topics.

One such notable visitor was Lord Henry Brougham, referred to earlier, who became the main publicist of von Fellenberg's work in Britain and whose Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge was an early form of organized "extension. A crucial missing element, however, was an effective means by which the "generality" of farmers could be directly given information, advice, and encouragement.

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This required itinerant agriculturists who could meet farmers in their home localities, give instructional talks and demonstrations, advocate superior or new practices, and have discussions with the farmers. The notion of "itinerancy" was not new: since late medieval times, tradesmen and proto-professional men had travelled through rural areas to serve their clients. The first examples of itinerant agricultural lecturers-cum-instructors were in parts of New England and New York in the s True, and in France, where a first migratory agricultural teacher was appointed in the Gironde in , followed by nine more in various areas of the country in succeeding years Boulet n.


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  • In Europe, agricultural science was evolving rapidly by the s, with notable strides being made in Germany by Justus von Liebig at Giessen, and with the establishment of agricultural experiments at Rothamsted in England in by John Bennet Lawes and Henry Gilbert. Agricultural societies and their shows were flourishing. Numerous publications and periodicals were aimed at farmers.

    Agricultural schools, if not commonplace, had been established in most European countries. Thus a small minority of younger landowners and farmers had received a formal education in their calling, while purposely trained agriculturists were available to be engaged as estate agents or teachers. Many of the more progressive landowners employed agents to travel around their estates to urge improved methods on their tenants. The main element necessary to create modern agricultural extension services was for legitimate authorities to establish the necessary organizations - and the germ of this had already been present in France, Germany, and the United States.

    The birth of modern agricultural extension services The first agricultural extension service of a modem kind came into existence as the result of a crisis and the initiative of the occupant of a high office of authority. The crisis was the outbreak of potato blight in Europe in In Ireland its effects were particularly severe because the predominantly peasant population relied on potatoes in their diet, and "the potato famine" persisted until The new British viceroy appointed to Ireland in , the Earl of Clarendon, soon after his arrival in Dublin wrote a letter Jones, to the president of the Royal Agricultural Improvement Society of Ireland founded in , which acted as the central society for numerous local agricultural societies.

    This letter, no less than an official directive, urged the society to appoint itinerant lecturers to travel around the most distressed districts to inform and show small farmers, in simple terms, how to improve their cultivation and how to grow nutritious root crops other than potatoes. Over the four years of its existence, the scheme was funded to about half its total cost by landowners and charitable donations, with the remainder coming from government-controlled funds Jones, , After some ten years, the system grew rapidly, influenced in part by the crisis among vine growers resulting from the devastation caused by phylloxera aphid infestations, and became formalized Jones, Normally, the Wanderlehrer spent the summer half of the year travelling around their districts giving talks, demonstrations, and advice to farmers; during the remainder of the year they taught farmers' sons at winter agricultural schools.

    Although officially they were part of the activities of the agricultural associations, their work was in all cases supported heavily by state funds, and their advice was free to farmers. By the close of the nineteenth century, agricultural extension systems modelled to a considerable extent on the German Wanderlehrer had spread: to Denmark from onwards; to the Netherlands, where a few extension workers wandelleraren had been appointed by agricultural societies in the late s and s, but had then disappeared before being revived as a government system in the s; to Italy, where the first itinerant agricultural teacher cattedra ambulante di agricoltura was appointed in at Rovigo, near the estuary of the River Po, with many others following in the next decade and funded largely by public donations, the church, and the banks; to Switzerland; to much of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; and to Russia.

    Meanwhile, in France the first national, wholly state-funded agricultural extension service was established in The few itinerant agriculturalists appointed before referred to earlier had continued, but they served in only a very small minority of the country's departements. In , the minister of public instruction in the reforming Third Republic issued a circular letter strongly commending the system and advocating its extension J.

    This resulted in an additional thirty-three itinerant agricultural teachers being appointed by departements over the next five years, and a law passed in officially instituted the office of a department-level itinerant agricultural teacher professeur departmental d'agriculture. This law was given practical effect by a decree in and an explanatory ministerial circular early in Min. From then on, each professeur was a state-appointed civil servant. His duties included giving agricultural instruction to trainee primary school teachers. Mainly, however, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, he was to be "nomadic" within his departement, "to keep farmers informed regarding modem discoveries and new inventions which could be applied economically and with advantage," "to be a populariser vulgarisateur of progress," "to carry enlightenment into the heart of the countryside.

    The growth of agricultural education and extension work in continental Europe was to have a strong impact on the emergence of comparable activity in the United Kingdom.

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    An official commission on technical education in the early s included a detailed review of the European developments Jenkins, At the end of the decade, a cluster of enactment's, which established county-based local government, created a board of agriculture, promoted technical including agricultural education, and allocated funds for the purpose, enabled agricultural extension work to be initiated.

    It was to be part of the services provided by the local government authorities. They either employed their own agricultural officer or more commonly sponsored lectures and travelling schools on agriculture especially dairying as part of the university extension system. This meant drawing on the staffs of the agricultural departments which were being created in new institutions of higher education. Government funds were available to support these activities, but funding also had to be provided by the local county authorities Jones, By the turn of the century, such work existed throughout Great Britain.

    This system and its underlying legislation, however, did not apply to Ireland then entirely a part of the United Kingdom. There, agricultural extension work became established in as a result of the initiative of Horace Plunkett, well known for his advocacy of agricultural cooperation. An official committee in , chaired by Plunkett, reviewed the developments in Europe and North America Report, Recess Committee, and set out to adapt the various systems to suit Irish conditions.

    In , a Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction was established in Dublin, governed by a board of representative Irishmen. This initiated itinerant agricultural instruction, organized within each county as in Britain and similarly resourced partly from local and partly from central funds. A vague recollection existed of Lord Clarendon's "practical instructors" half a century earlier, and the title "itinerant instructors" was applied to the new extension workers, who were expected to provide information and advice, each to be "the guide, philosopher and friend of the existing farmers" Plunkett, , p.

    Many visitors and several official delegations from North America to Europe, particularly from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, reported back on the progress in agricultural research and education, including the itinerant teachers. In the United States and eastern Canada, agricultural societies had become common during the first half of the century and, usually supported by their state or provincial legislatures, some had at times sponsored itinerant lecturers in agriculture.

    However, two other developments after were of more significance to the evolution of agricultural extension in the United States. First was the Morrill Act of , signed by President Lincoln during the Civil War, which was seminal in the creation of state colleges "of agriculture and the mechanic arts" in the northern United States; its land-grant provisions enabled the states to establish and fund their colleges. Second was the beginning at about the same time of the farmers' institute movement.

    These institutes organized one-or two-day and later longer meetings, which became popular after , arranged by and for farmers. Both developments had been widely discussed during the previous decade, and their growth over the next half century was closely interwoven. The visiting speakers at the institutes were largely professors at the state colleges of agriculture, and both depended on the formal support of their state legislatures and of farmers, especially through their agricultural societies True, , ; Kile, Over the next forty years, these activities were influenced also by the university extension movement in Britain and the growing interest in adult self-improvement inspired, for example, by the Chautauqua adult education institution in New York State.

    By , when the second Morrill Act granted federal funds for the establishment of agricultural colleges in the remainder of the United States, the farmers' institutes had spread throughout and become a national institution with federal support and supervision, further stimulated by the formal establishment of experimental work at the state colleges of agriculture under the Hatch Act. A comparable development of farmers' institutes began in Ontario, Canada, in These were financially supported by the provincial legislature and spread rapidly with lecturers mainly from the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph founded in Thus, by the end of the last century, a system of agricultural extension work had become well established in a large part of North America.

    In the United States, the colleges and their leading professors, including several notable proponents of more practical extension work, progressively took over the initiation and organization of the activity.

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    This culminated in with the passage of the Smith-Lever Act, establishing the Cooperative Extension Service - a tripartite cooperation of federal, state, and local county governments, with the state college as the extension agency - "in order to aid in diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects relating to agriculture and home economics, and to encourage the application of the same.

    Several agricultural "show" societies were formed in the second half of the nineteenth century, although their effect was slight, but as the state administrations became more organized, departments of agriculture were established in the s and s with the aim of developing the potential of their territories. They recognized the importance of agricultural education, influenced by British, Irish, and some American examples whose activities were widely reported in the Australian press. Before the end of the century, under specific state legislation, the departments of agriculture had established agricultural colleges and experimental work in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland Black, Associated with this development was the official appointment in these states of the first itinerant agricultural instructors in the late s.

    At the same time, because of the potential importance of milk products, travelling dairy schools were begun, while state exhibitions, especially the Centennial Exhibition in Melbourne in , showed what was possible and gave considerable impetus to farming improvements. The few "government experts," some from the United Kingdom or the United States, grew in number during the s and the first decade of this century, developing the range of the extension work. Its impact and that of the agricultural colleges in their early years was probably slight, but the basis had been laid for further development Logan, Agricultural extension work had also started before in Japan.