China

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See also: People's Republic of China and Republic of China
History of China
History of China
ANCIENT
3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors
Xia Dynasty 2100–1600 BCE
Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE
Zhou Dynasty 1045–256 BCE
  Western Zhou
  Eastern Zhou
    Spring and Autumn Period
    Warring States Period
IMPERIAL
Qin Dynasty 221 BCE–206 BCE
Han Dynasty 206 BCE–220 CE
  Western Han
  Xin Dynasty
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu & Wu
Jin Dynasty 265–420
  Western Jin 16 Kingdoms 304–439
  Eastern Jin
Southern & Northern Dynasties 420–589
Sui Dynasty 581–618
Tang Dynasty 618–907
  ( Second Zhou 690–705 )
5 Dynasties &
10 Kingdoms

907–960
Liao Dynasty
907–1125
Song Dynasty
960–1279
  Northern Song W. Xia
  Southern Song Jin
Yuan Dynasty 1271–1368
Ming Dynasty 1368–1644
Qing Dynasty 1644–1911
MODERN
Republic of China 1912–1949
People's Republic
of China
(Mainland China) 1949–present
Republic of China (Taiwan)
1945–present

China (traditional Chinese: 中國; simplified Chinese: 中国) is a cultural region, an ancient civilization, and a nation in East Asia.

The last Chinese Civil War resulted in two nations:

China has one of the world's oldest civilizations and has the oldest continuous civilization.[1] It has archaeological evidence over 5,000 years old.[2] It also has one of the world's oldest writing systems, and is viewed as the source of many major inventions.[2]

Origins[change | edit source]

The first recorded use of the word "China" is dated 1555.[nb 1][3] It is derived from Cin, a Persian name for China popularized in Europe by Marco Polo.[3][4]

History[change | edit 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,[2] the others being Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley civilization, the Maya civilization, the Minoan civilization of ancient Greece, and Ancient Egypt.[5] It reached its golden age during the Tang Dynasty (about A.D. 10th century). 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.

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 people, such as Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan. While China achieved many things in the First millennium and early 2nd millennium, it became an isolationist country in the 15th century C.E.

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.

In 1911, the Republic of China was founded by Sun Yat-sen, but its government was very weak. Warlords controlled many areas. Chiang Kai-shek led wars against them, and became President and dictator.

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 | edit 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 brewed some of the most 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 | edit 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 looks like the 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 | edit source]

  1. Eden, Richard. Decades of the New World (1555) 'The great China whose kyng is thought the greatest prince in the world.'

References[change | edit source]

  1. http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/grade3/whatisa.html
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Haggett, Peter. [2001] (2001). Encyclopedia of World Geography, Volume 23. Edition 2, illustrated. Marshall Cavendish publishing. ISBN 0-7614-7289-4, 9780761472896. p 37. p 2836.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "China", Online Etymology Dictionary
  4. Wood, Francis, Did Marco Polo go to China (1995), p. 61.
  5. Gernet, Jacques. [1996] (1996). A history of Chinese civilization Edition 2, illustrated. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-49781-7, 9780521497817. p 40.

Other websites[change | edit source]