Other ages and other lands have seen the development of feudal institutions. In Japan the feudal system was well ordered before the 10th cent., and it persisted with modifications until the 19th cent. (see bushido; daimyo). In other areas, as in China, where feudal practices were in existence by 1100 B.C., society became feudalistic but not precisely feudal. Feudalism in India and in the Saracen and Ottoman civilizations was in many ways analogous to Western feudalism, but it proved less durable than its European counterpart. The existence of feudalism in several civilizations has given rise to theories of feudalism as a necessary and inevitable stage of political development. Some scholars, however, consider the European feudal system a unique phenomenon.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.