|History of China|
|3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors|
|Xia Dynasty 2100–1600 BCE|
|Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE|
|Zhou Dynasty 1045–256 BCE|
| Eastern Zhou
Spring and Autumn Period
Warring States Period
|Qin Dynasty 221 BCE–206 BCE|
|Han Dynasty 206 BCE–220 CE|
|Three Kingdoms 220–280|
|Wei, Shu & Wu|
|Jin Dynasty 265–420|
|Western Jin||16 Kingdoms 304–439|
|Southern & Northern Dynasties 420–589|
|Sui Dynasty 581–618|
|Tang Dynasty 618–907|
|( Second Zhou 690–705 )|
|5 Dynasties &
|Northern Song||W. Xia|
|Yuan Dynasty 1271–1368|
|Ming Dynasty 1368–1644|
|Qing Dynasty 1644–1911|
|Republic of China 1912–1949|
of China (Mainland China) 1949–present
|Republic of China (Taiwan)
The last Chinese Civil War（1927-1949） resulted in two political powers today, even though both governments agree on they are one nation:
- The People's Republic of China (PRC) (since 1949), commonly known as China, has control over mainland China and the largely self-governing territories of Hong Kong (since 1997) and Macau (since 1999).
- The Republic of China (ROC) （since 1912), commonly known as Taiwan, has control over the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu.
China has one of the world's oldest civilizations and has the oldest continuous civilization. It has archaeological evidence over 5,000 years old. It also has one of the world's oldest writing systems, and is viewed as the source of many major inventions.
Origins[change | change source]
History[change | change source]
[change | change source]
Ancient (2100B.C. -1912A.D.)[change | change source]
Ancient China was one of the first civilizations and was active since the 2nd millennium BC as a feudal society. Chinese civilization was also one of the few to invent writing, the others being Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley civilization, the Maya civilization, the Minoan civilization of ancient Greece, and Ancient Egypt. It reached its golden age during the Tang Dynasty (about A.D. 10th century). Home of Confucianism and Daoism, it had great influence on nearby countries including Japan, Korea and Vietnam in the areas of political system, philosophy, religion, art, and even writing and literature. China is home to some of the oldest artwork in the world. Statues and pottery, as well as decorations made of jade, are some classic examples.
Before Qin Dynasty united China, for hundreds of years there were hundreds of small states that fight each other. Although the continuing wars make people suffer, it was the time when many great philosophers and politicians were born, including Confucianism and Daoism. Since Tang Dynasty has been the center of the eastern-asian culture for most time of the history. It had great influence on nearby countries including Japan, Korea and Vietnam in the areas of political system, philosophy, religion, art, and even writing and literature. Confucianism and Daoism alone, have been the foundation of many social values seen in modern eastern-asian culture.
Relationship with the northern people[change | change source]
Its land area has mostly looked like that of modern China, except with northern and western edges that varied. It was often attacked by northern nomadic people(people who live on horses), such as the Turkics, the Mongolians with Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan. During the history of ancient China, the northern nomadic people and the Chinese people had been fighting each other, and taking turns to rule the land and the people of China. However, when the northern people beat the Chinese people and rule the kingdom, they always learned the Chinese way of living and became like Chinese. Many of the strongest dynasties of China were ruled by the northern people, including Qin, Tang, Yuan(Mongolian), and Qing. Each time, they also brought new elements into the Chinese Culture. For example, the northern people made the clothes more suitable for activities.
Blending into the new Age
While China achieved many things in the First millennium and early 2nd millennium, it became an isolationist country in the 15th century C.E. This was because Spain found enormous silver in the new continent, the main currency(money) in China and Eruope then, and China did not want to be bought by the foreigners.
By the Renaissance, European powers started to take over other countries in Asia. While China was never actually taken over, many European countries, such as Britain and France built spheres of influence in China. Since China had cut itself off from the world over the previous few centuries, by the Qing Dynasty, it had fallen behind other countries in technology, and was helpless to stop this from happening. This had become clear when it lost the Opium Wars to Britain in the 19th century.
Modern (1912A.D.-??)[change | change source]
In 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria, a place in the northeastern part of China. On July 7, 1937, the Japanese attacked the rest of the country, starting what was called the Second Sino-Japanese War. The war later became part of World War II. The war was fought for eight years and millions of Chinese people were killed. In 1945, after the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered.
However, the Chinese Civil War later started between the Kuomintang (Nationalists) of the Republic of China (ROC) and the Communists of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The Communists wanted to make China like the Soviet Union, whereas the other side wanted to keep China in its current state at the time. The Chinese Civil War was going on throughout World War II. The Communists were led by Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi and others. Later Liu lost influence with Mao and his death to this day remains unresolved. The Communists eventually won the war. The Nationalists (led by Chiang Kai-shek) fled to the island of Taiwan and set up their new capital city in Taipei. After the Chinese Civil War, the Communist leader Mao Zedong declared a new country, the People's Republic of China (PRC), in Beijing on October 1, 1949.
Under Mao the country stayed poor while Taiwan became richer. His attempt at industrialization with the Great Leap Forward led to the deaths of many people from famine. The Cultural Revolution caused great social upheaval. Following his death in 1976, China underwent open market reforms under Deng Xiaoping, and experienced rapid economic growth. China is now one of the largest economies in the world, relying mainly on exports.
In recent history, China has had problems with protests, blocking of information on the Internet, and censorship in the news. 1989 was notable for the government killing thousands of protesters with tanks in Beijing.
Culture[change | change source]
China is the origin of Eastern martial arts, called Kung Fu or its first name Wushu. China is also the home of the well-respected Spa Monastery and Wudang Mountains. Martial art started more for the purpose of survival and warfare than art. Over time some art forms have branched off, while others have retained their distinct Chinese flavor.
China has had renowned artists including Wong Fei Hung (Huang Fei Hung or Hwang Fei Hung) and many others. Art has also co-existed with a variety of paints including the more standard 18 colors. Legendary and controversial moves like Big Mak are also praised and talked about within the culture.
China has many traditional festivals, such as Spring Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-autumn Festival and so on. The most significant is Chinese New Year. People in China will have holidays to celebrate these festivals.
Festivals[change | change source]
Spring Festival is the Chinese New Year. It lasts fifteen days. It starts with the first day of the Chinese lunar year and ends with the full moon fifteen days later. On the first day of the Spring Festival, people call on friends and relatives. Because most of people watch the Spring Festival Celebrations on CCTV all the night on New Year's Eve and don't go to bed until 12:00 AM, they usually get up later in the next day. The fifth day of the Spring Festival is the day to welcome the god of Wealth (Chinese:财神爷), many people make and eat dumplings (Chinese:饺子). They believe that dumplings can hold the god of Wealth and bring luck.The last day of the Spring Festival is the Lantern Festival. On this day, the moon becomes the full moon. People go out and watch the lantern festivals everywhere. After that, they eat sweet dumpling (Chinese:汤圆,元宵), a kind of dumpling which is round and looks like the full moon.
Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet of the State of Chu during the Warring States period. He persuaded his emperor not to accept Qin's diplomats' offers several times but his emperor did not listen to him. He was very sad and ended up jumping into the river to end his life. The people loved him so much that they did not want the fish to eat his corpse. They made and threw rice dumplings into the river. They hope the fish eat these dumplings instead of the poet's corpse. They also rowed dragon boats in the river to get rid of the fish. Such practices, eating rice dumplings and holding dragon boat races, become what Chinese do in this festival nowadays.
Held on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, Mid-Autumn Festival is a festival for families. Now when the festival sets in, people would sit together to eat moon cakes, appreciate the bright full moon cakes, appreciate the bright full moon, celebrate the bumper harvest and enjoy the family love and happiness. To the Chinese people, the full moon symbolizes family reunion, as does the "moon cakes." Hence the Mid-Autumn Festival is also called the Family Reunion Festival.
Notes[change | change source]
- Eden, Richard. Decades of the New World (1555) 'The great China whose kyng is thought the greatest prince in the world.'
References[change | change source]
- Haggett, Peter.  (2001). Encyclopedia of World Geography, Volume 23. Edition 2, illustrated. Marshall Cavendish publishing. ISBN 0-7614-7289-4, 9780761472896. p 37. p 2836.
- "China", Online Etymology Dictionary
- Wood, Francis, Did Marco Polo go to China (1995), p. 61.
- Gernet, Jacques.  (1996). A history of Chinese civilization Edition 2, illustrated. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-49781-7, 9780521497817. p 40.
Other websites[change | change source]
|The Simple English Wiktionary has a definition for: China.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide about: China|