Ancient China | Map, Timeline, & History
History of Ancient China
Ancient China: Modern China is very much the product of its ancient past a glimpse into the rich tradition of the Middle Kingdom will help us understand the country’s journey from the grandeur of Imperial China with its emphasis on honor and duty in its devotion to philosophy and art to the thriving and productive socialist dictatorship state it is today European civilizations had often overshadowed one of the greatest civilizations of ancient times China yet the events and people that shaped ancient China had far-reaching implications China’s ancient history began millions of years ago according to the widely accepted creation story the land that is now China was created from the body Pangu a giant God who made the heavens and earth he fashioned tiny humans out of clay they came to life upon his death when his giant body decomposed it forced mountains and forests to spring up rivers and lakes to form and plants birds and animals to flourish while the ancient stories are intriguing the archaeological history is just as fascinating fossil evidence shows that an early cousin to modern man Homo erectus settled in China as far back as two million years ago during the Paleolithic era these pre humans evolved differently than their counterparts in Africa the stone tools they used in the settlements they established demonstrated their uniqueness Homo Sapien modern man appeared on the scene about 300 thousand years ago bringing more advancements in agriculture hunting and tool making early humans quickly learned that the fertile lands around large rivers such as the Yellow River Way river and Yangtze River were ideally suited for agriculture so they made their homes there over time they spread from the Yellow Sea and the Pacific Ocean to the Gobi Desert the surrounding mountains jungles in oceans kept these early people relatively isolated the people were free to develop their society ritual culture and government.
The Copper Age: The ancient Chinese have further established their complex and sophisticated societies with kinks and shamans ruling over farmers and merchants in large villages on the brink of becoming cities from the ancient historian Sima Qin we learned some of the key events of ancient China from around the 3rd millennia BCE much of the information however was recorded many years after events mixing them with myths and folklore for example some rulers were described as having supernatural abilities ruling for extraordinarily long periods Sima Chin’s texts tell us about the five Emperor’s who ruled ancient China beginning with the Yellow Emperor considered the father of the Chinese people under the yellow Emperor’s rule sometime between 2700 and 2600 BCE the Chinese people moved from a nomadic lifestyle to permanent villages and cities with a hierarchy of rulers and Long’s the yellow Emperor’s reign was also the time when the Chinese people developed writing mathematics and a calendar method engineering feats soon followed around 2200 to 2100 BCE ancient China was ruled by you the great who earned his spot on the throne by designing and overseeing the construction of a system of dams and canals that alleviated seasonal flooding and irrigated farm fields as ruler you the great commissioned the construction of roads established trade routes and United several tribes into one he exhibited all the qualities of a wise and just king his people even felt that the taxes he imposed were fair and reasonable his efforts of modernization helped moved the Chinese culture forward by laying the groundwork for the great Chinese dynasties to come.
China’s Shang Dynasty the earliest of China’s dynasties that can be confirmed through historical evidence was a period of advancements in art writing and calendar keeping that were founded by its predecessors this dynasty’s first ruler Tom rose to power around 1675 BCE after a military confrontation with Jia a brutal and unjust ruler as a battle between tongue and Jia was about to commence Tung stood tall to address the soldiers on both sides of the battlefield in a rousing speech Tung outline Gia’s litany of flaws his speech was so persuasive that many of Gia’s generals switched sides to fight with tongue under tongs rule taxes were reduced as were the number of prescriptions to the army his prowess as a diplomat increased the land holdings of the dynasty to include territories in the middle and lower Yellow River Basin he even doled out money from the royal treasury when his people suffering from the impact of a disastrous drought needed financial relief endeared by his subjects Tung earned a reputation as one of the greatest kings in ancient China however the Shang Dynasty encountered a few centuries of instability after tongs death by about 1350 BCE under the leadership of King phangan.
The Golden Age of the shang dynasty: shang dynasty began metalworking agriculture art and religious worship progressed quickly during this time coexisting with the people of the Shang Dynasty were the Shu people of the plains of Zhu a Chinese speaking group the Jude took refuge from the warring barbarians in the way River Valley there they adapted their way of life to be more like this young people they built cities and implemented the Shang agricultural techniques occasional fighting broke out between the Shang people and the Shu people but the Shang Dynasty remained in power and continued to view the shoe as their less advanced more barbaric distant cousins that ended when the ambitious zu leader king went hatched a plan to overthrow the Shang Dynasty he enlisted the help of neighboring tribes bolstering his army and giving him the military might that he needed to defeat the Xiang army in 1046 BCE King wen Sun Wu led an army of 50,000 soldiers into the Battle of mu Yi against a much larger Xiang army of 700 thousand according to legend the soldiers of the Xiang army were so disheartened living under the of the Shang Dynasty that most refused to fight in the battle some even fought in the side of the zoo seeing the defeat of his men the Shang king retreated to his palace setting it on fire in the act of suicide for the next eight centuries the zhu dynasty ruled China as the longest dynasty in ancient Chinese history the Shu dynasty witnessed the cultural awakening of China this was a period when many innovations were invented in agriculture the iron plow was created plants were grown and rose for the first time and canals and other waterways were built to transport farm crops to market coins made a bronze and iron were introduced during the Shu dynasty the Chinese system of writing was improved medical advances were also made including categorizing physicians by their specialties and keeping medical records on patients Chinese inventors toyed with physics questions leading them to create flying kites in warfare Chinese warriors improved on the crossbows design making it a weapon with deadly accuracy the longest period.
Dynasties in Chinese history
In ancient Chinese history is that of Imperial China beginning in 221 BC and extending until 1912 the era known as Imperial China is marked with the rise and fall of several dynasties including the kind– Ming and jin dynasty’s one of the early dynasties in the Imperial era was the han dynasty which ruled China from 202 BC to 220 a during the Han Dynasty various factions of China were unified under a strong central government headed by an emperor this was a time of political stability and advancements in art science and religion that greatly affected the country for the next two thousand years the land holdings of the han dynasty expanded to include most of present-day china perhaps the most significant movement of the Han Dynasty was the adoption of Confucianism as the dominant school of thought Confucianism based on the writings of the teacher and philosopher Confucius who lived from 551 to 479 BCE held that humans were the masters of their own destinies confucius taught that people could learn and improve themselves to reach enlightenment with an emphasis on moral correctness commitment to self-improvement and devotion to community the ideals of Confucianism promoted a stable orderly society with a focus on scholarly pursuits like mathematics science art and literature universities were established great books were written and monuments carved during the latter years of the Han Dynasty important trade routes like the Silk Road opened bringing the people of China in contact with foreign traders from as far away as Rome although China’s culture and civilization evolved in relative isolation.
The ancient Chinese rivaled the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians in its sophistication societal structure and accomplishments like other ancient cultures the Chinese created a system of writing that allowed them to record historical events share news and ideas and conduct a trade some of the earliest examples of ancient Chinese writing dates to the 13th century and the Shang Dynasty beginning as a pictograph form of writing in which a symbol was drawn to look like the item it represented Chinese texts evolved into a logographic writing style in which one character stood for a complete word or phrase the Chinese written language remains one of the most complex and difficult languages with over 50,000 individual characters perhaps the most significant and impressive tangible artifacts that remain from ancient China are the famed terracotta warriors unearthed in 1974 the collection of approximately 8,000 statues are all unique each is a life-size depiction of a Chinese soldier with different facial features clothing and insignia the army of statues guard.
The Tomb of the First Emperor
The tomb of the first emperor of China kin Chi Quan and stand ready to serve Him in the afterlife the Terracotta Warriors were made to be buried they remained in tombs since 210 BCE until they were discovered by farmers digging a well and excavated by archaeologists later the site where the Terracotta Warriors were discovered now a world heritage site is still being studied because of the important insight it offers the fall of the Han Dynasty in 220 ad signaled us shift away from the era of ancient Chinese the Yellow Turban rebellion of 184 to 205 weakened the rule of emperors yang allowing militant rebels to assert their strongholds several of the traditional institutions of the Han Dynasty were destroyed and a handful of warlords fought each other for control eventually one warlord tchau tchau forced reunification of the factions under the tenuous leadership of emperors Jiang the last emperor of the Han Dynasty Chou Chou then forced the Emperor to step down seizing power for himself this transition of power is used by historians to mark the end of ancient China and movement to modernity ancient Chinese leaders and emperors established the foundation for a nation built on dedication to the common good even the prevailing philosophical ideology Confucianism set China on a path to its present state as a socialist country ruled by a highly functional Communist Party a world power and economic leader China is the most populous nation on earth yet the people are fairly homogeneous in their beliefs and views just as the people living in Imperial China centuries ago to discover.