History of China

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History of China
History of China
Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC
Xia dynasty c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC
Shang dynasty c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC
Zhou dynasty c. 1046 – 256 BC
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn
   Warring States
Qin dynasty 221–206 BC
Han dynasty 206 BC – 220 AD
  Western Han
  Xin dynasty
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu and Wu
Jin dynasty 265–420
  Western Jin
  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms
Southern and Northern Dynasties
Sui dynasty 581–618
Tang dynasty 618–907
  (Wu Zhou interregnum 690–705)
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

Liao dynasty
Song dynasty
  Northern Song W. Xia
  Southern Song Jin
Yuan dynasty 1271–1368
Ming dynasty 1368–1644
Qing dynasty 1644–1911
Republic of China 1912–1949
People's Republic
of China

Republic of
China on Taiwan


The History of China covers thousands of years. The earliest records are from about 1250 BC but a few things are known about earlier times. Chinese history covers many periods and dynasties. It may be divided into the following parts:

Prehistory[change | change source]

Prehistory means history of a time before any written record. In such cases, it is very difficult to tell anything definite about the prehistory of China or any other country. Even then, historians believe some facts about the China of that period. About a million years ago Homo erectus, an early human species, lived in China. Later, about 65,000 years ago, modern human beings Homo sapiens reached China from Africa. For food, they hunted wild animals. They also began to pick and gather fruits, eventually resulting in the Chinese learning to farm by 5000 BC. They had started cultivating rice and possibly other types of grains. By 2500 BC, the Bronze Age had come to China. A ruling class with kings and queens had come into society.

Ancient history[change | change source]

Xia dynasty[change | change source]

Some scholars think that about 4000 years ago, the Xia dynasty ruled China. Yu(Da Yu) was the first ruler of this dynasty. There are few credible sources about Yu(who could have been legendary), his time, and other rulers of the Xia dynasty.

Shang dynasty[change | change source]

From the time of the Shang Dynasty, some written history is available. Writings were done on Oracle Bones. Several such bones and shells have been found. Scholars believe that present day Henan was the ninth and last capital of kings of the Shang Dynasty.

Most Chinese historians of that time think that one dynasty came after another but it is possible that two dynasties were ruling in different parts of China at the same time. Therefore, some scholars think that Xia dynasty and Shang Dynasty may have ruled at the same time, but in different areas of China.

Zhou dynasty[change | change source]

About 1046 BC, the Zhou Dynasty defeated the last king of the Shang Dynasty and came to power. They changed the capital from Henan to a place near present-day Xi'an, near the Yellow River. The Zhou Dynasty also brought a new theory to China(see the Mandate of Heaven). Almost all dynasties of Chinese rulers continued to repeat this theory. The kings of this dynasty won many new areas. For the first time in the history of China, a large number of people also moved from one area to another area for settlement.

Spring and Autumn period[change | change source]

The Spring and Autumn Period was around the 8th century BC. The Zhou dynasty continued, but its power waned as the lords gained lands and followers. Many kings ruled in different parts of China. China became several fragmented states, each ruled by a different king. In some cases, a king ruled just a village with a small fort.

During this period of China, many new lines of thinking arose. Some of them still continue to be important. They are Confucianism, Taoism, Legalism and Mohism.

Warring States period[change | change source]

The Spring and Autumn Period continued for about 300 years. By the 5th century BC, there were only seven main Chinese states left. They had taken over all the smaller areas. These states continued to fight each other. Historians call this period the Warring States Period due to wars and fights among these states. In 221BC, Ying Zheng, king of the State of Qin, united all the seven states. He made himself the Emperor of China and founded the Qin Dynasty.

Imperial China[change | change source]

Qin dynasty[change | change source]

The Great Wall of China

Qin Dynasty was a very important dynasty in the history of China. They followed the philosophy of Legalism. Their capital was at Xianyang. Under the king of this dynasty, China became a powerful country. Many new things were done for the first time. A tight legal system was followed. Written language was developed. Common currency was used. The building of the Great Wall of China was started.

Han dynasty[change | change source]

The Han dynasty was founded by Liu Bang after the Qin dynasty ended. During the Han dynasty, the territory of China expanded, and many advancements in science and technology took place. It was considered to be a golden age in Chinese history.

The Three Kingdoms[change | change source]

The Three Kingdoms period (traditional Chinese: 三國; simplified Chinese: 三国; pinyin: Sānguó) is a period of history where China was divided into the states of Cao Wei, Shu Han, and Eastern Wu. The Eastern Han dynasty lost all power. Eventually, the Han dynasty emperor abdicated.

Jin dynasty[change | change source]

The Jin dynasty (1115–1234) is also known as the Jurchen dynasty, and as the Great Jin. It was one of the last dynasties before Mongol invasion (and eventual conquest) of China.

The dynasty was founded by the Wanyan (完顏 Wányán) clan of the Jurchens.[1] These were the ancestors of the Manchu, who established the Qing dynasty some 500 years later. The Jin Dynasty was founded in northern Manchuria, The founder was Wanyan Aguda (完顏阿骨打).[2]

The name of this dynasty is sometimes written as Jinn to differentiate it from an earlier Jin dynasty (265-420) of China whose name is spelt identically in the Roman alphabet. The History of Jin recorded that Tangkuo Dingge (唐括定哥), Consort Gui (貴妃) was a Jurchen woman. She was first married to the Jurchen Jin royal Wanyan Wudai (完顏烏帶. She had an affair with her Han Chinese slave, Yan Qi'er (閻乞兒) and with Wanyan Liang (Prince Hailing). When Wanyan Liang became emperor of the Jin dynasty he forced Dingge to have her husband Wanyan Wudai killed by her other slaves, Ge Wen (葛溫) and Ge Lu (葛魯) and he promised that she would be named empress. Wanyan Liang broke his promise after he got bored of her when she entered the harem. Dingge then smuggled Yan Qi'er into the palace through a trunk after first smuggling a trunk full of her clothes as a dummy and then reprimanded him for looking at her clothes so he wouldn't look when Yan Qi'er was smuggled in next. Dingge and Yan Qi'er had sex until a Jurchen maid, Guige (貴哥) told on them to the emperor and Dingge was strangled and Yan Qi'er was beheaded.[3][4][5][6]

Sui dynasty[change | change source]

The Sui Dynasty (隋朝 Suí cháo; 581-618) was founded by Emperor Wen, or Yang Jian. Its capital was Chang'an (present-day Xi'an). The dynasty is important because it reunited Southern and Northern China and the Grand Canal was built in that time.

Tang dynasty[change | change source]

The Tang Dynasty was founded by the Li (李) family, who came to power during the fall of the Sui Empire. The dynasty was interrupted for a short time by the Second Zhou Dynasty (16 October 690–3 March 705) when Empress Wu Zetian managed to claim the throne, becoming the first and only Chinese Empress.

The capital of the Tang, Chang'an (today Xi'an), was the biggest city in the world at the time. Many historians see the Tang dynasty as a high point in Chinese civilization and as a golden age of cosmopolitan culture.

The concept of inalienable private property grew in China since the Tang dynasty.[1] Chinese land deeds are preserved from medieval times[2] and there were even land deeds for the afterlife in tombs in the Six dynasties.[3]

The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms[change | change source]

Song dynasty[change | change source]

The Song dynasty maintained the image and memory of the "universal empire" of the Han dynasty and Tang dynasty periods despite contracting in size.[4]

One of the descendants of the Yan clan during the Song dynasty was Yan Zhengqing. When Eastern Jin was set up by Han Chinese nobles fleeing south, Yan Han was among the nobles and he was the ancestor of the Yan clan, who were related by blood with the Langye nobles who they married including the Wang clan of Langye, the Yin Clan of Chen commandery and Shen clan of Wuxing. Yan Han was the 13th generation ancestor of Yan Zhenqing.[5]

Yuan dynasty[change | change source]

The Yuan Dynasty was first ruled by Genghis Khan, a Mongolian leader who took control from the Song Dynasty. He was considered a barbarian and not civilized. His grandson, Kublai Khan, was one of the most famous and liked rulers of the Yuan dynasty. He opened up China to many other cultures and improved life for the Chinese very much.

Ming dynasty[change | change source]

In 1368, a rebellion led by Zhu Yuanzhang broke out in southern China, and eventually overthrew the Yuan Dynasty. Then Zhu Yuanzhang founded the Ming Dynasty at Nanjing, its capital until Emperor Yongle changed the capital to Beijing. In the 15th century, a man named Zheng He took the majority of the Ming navy and explored the Indian Ocean, and brought wealth and power to the Ming Dynasty. The empire experienced a prosperous period until 1449, when the Battle of Tumu Fortress broke out. In the battle the Mongol descendants of Yuan captured the emperor and surrounded the capital. After the war with the Mongols, the Ming started to decline. During this time, the empire had two wars with the Japanese (the first against the Japanese pirates took place at southeastern China; the second against the armies of Toyotomi Hideyoshi that invaded Korea), and one war with the Portuguese of Macao. These wars eventually weakened the declining empire. In 1616, rebellions broke out at Manchuria and Shanxi. Twenty-eight years later, the Manchus crossed the Great Wall, invaded the capital, and destroyed the Shanxi rebels.

Qing dynasty[change | change source]

Horses, cattle, farms, villages, servants, slaves, homes and wives were given by Nurhaci to Jurchens who defected like Guwalca, Hurha and Warka as well as Han Chinese defectors and Mongol defectors to the Later Jin.[6]

Jurchen chiefs were given Korean women as wives by Joseon to control them.[7]

Scholars commission by Qianlong when editing historical texts and making commentaries on them often made up fanciful and completely fictional etymologies. One of the works they did was analyzing Jurchens clans mentioned in History of Jin and trying to match their names to Manchu clans still existing.[8][9]

Some Han bannermen promoted to Manchu banners added giya to the end of their surname.[10][11][12] The ethnic identity of the Tong family of Liaodong during the late Ming and early Qing has been debated by historians.[13][14][15][16][17]

The Oirat Torghut Kalmyk Mongol leader Khatun Khan was jailed by Yaqub Beg as he was attacking the Oirats in Kurla and attacking Hui forces for Tuo Ming, Daud Khalifa in Ürümqi with the help of Han militia under Xu Xuegong.[18][19][20][21]

Modern era[change | change source]

The Republic of China[change | change source]

People's Republic of China[change | change source]

Mao Zedong was the leader of the People's Republic of China from 1949 until his death in 1976.

In the 21st century, China became the richest country in the world in terms of GDP.

References[change | change source]

  1. Schurmann, H. F. (1956). "Traditional Property Concepts in China". The Far Eastern Quarterly. 15 (4): 507–16. doi:10.2307/2941921. JSTOR 2941921. S2CID 163415578.
  2. "Chinese Land Records". ULS Digital Collections Digital Pitt.
  3. "Deed of land purchase for afterlife". Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  4. Ge 葛, Zhaoguang 兆光 (2019). "Imagining a Universal Empire: a Study of the Illustrations of the Tributary States of the Myriad Regions Attributed to Li Gonglin". Journal of Chinese Humanities. NV, Leiden: Koninklijke Brill. 5 (2): 124–148. doi:10.1163/23521341-12340077. S2CID 225545785.
  5. McNair, Amy (1998). The Upright Brush: Yan Zhenqing's Calligraphy and Song Literati Politics. University of Hawaii Press. p. 94. ISBN 0824865146.
  6. Chinese Economic Journal and Bulletin, Volume 1, Issue 2. Chinese Government Bureau of Economic Information. 1927. p. 733. As regards the Mongols , the Chinese , the Warka , Hurha and Guwalca who have of late come to swear allegiance , they have even been given wives , houses , slaves , servants , villages , fields , cattle and horses .
  7. Huang, Pei (2011). Reorienting the Manchus– A Study of Sinicization, 1583–1795 (illustrated ed.). Cornell University Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-1933947921.
  8. Stary, Giovanni (1998). "The Manchu Identification of Jurchen Clan Names As Found in the "Manjusai da sekiyen-i kimcin" (Manzhou yuanliu kao)". Saksaha: A Journal of Manchu Studies. 3. doi:10.3998/saksaha.13401746.0003.002.
  9. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/p/pod/dod-idx/manchu-identification-of-jurchen-clan-names-as-found.pdf?c=saksaha;idno=13401746.0003.002;format=pdf
  10. Crossley, Pamela Kyle (1999). A Translucent Mirror– History and Identity in Qing Imperial Ideology. ACLS Humanities E-Book (illustrated, reprint ed.). University of California Press. p. 81. ISBN 0520234243. the Jurchen lineage whose name was written with the characters "Jiagu,"" In Möngke Temür's time the lineage name was what would ... and include Magiya (Majia), Gaogiya (Gao jia), Janggiya (Zhangjia), Joogiya (Zhaojia), Ligiya (Lijia), ...
  11. https://california.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1525/california/9780520215665.001.0001/upso-9780520215665-chapter-5 https://california.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1525/california/9780520215665.001.0001/upso-9780520215665-chapter-6?rskey=b3dAN3&result=10
  12. Huang, Pei (2011). Reorienting the Manchus– A Study of Sinicization, 1583–1795 (illustrated ed.). Cornell University Press. p. 224. ISBN 978-1933947921. For a broad discussion of the Manchu naming and clan names, see ibid., 1–69. ... For the grandsons of Tuhai, see Majia shi zupu, comps. Ma Yanxi et al. (Peiping [?] ... For the sixteen characters, see the same Magiya clan genealogy, vol.
  13. Rowe, William T. (2010). China's Last Empire: The Great Qing. Vol. 6 of History of Imperial China (illustrated ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0674054554.
  14. https://www.iwp.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/20150127_RoweChinaLastEmpireChapter1pp.1130.pdf
  15. Crossley, Pamela (1983). "The Tong in Two Worlds: Cultural Identities in Liaodong and Nurgan during the 13th-17th centuries". Ch'ing-shih Wen-t'i. 4 (9): 21–46.
  16. Crossley, Pamela Kyle (1987). "Manzhou Yuanliu Kao and the Formalization of the Manchu Heritage". The Journal of Asian Studies. 46 (4): 761–90. doi:10.2307/2057101. JSTOR 2057101. S2CID 162618002.
  17. Corradini, Piero (2002). "ON THE QIDAN AND JURČIN CAPITALS". Rivista Degli Studi Orientali. 76 (1/4): 169–213. JSTOR 41913109.
  18. Kim, Hodong (2004). illustrated (ed.). Holy War in China: The Muslim Rebellion and State in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877. Stanford University Press. p. 96. ISBN 0804767238. Ya'qūb Beg spent the winter of 1870 in Urumchi where Xu Xuegong visited and presented him with gifts. Xu had visited him when Ya'qūb was staying in Turfan and provided him some troops and provisions. His younger brother also ...
  19. Millward, James A. (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. Gale virtual reference library (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0231139243. In his first attack on the Tungan - held city , in 1870 , Ya'qub Beg was joined by Xu Xuegong , a non - Muslim Han Chinese militia leader who had taken to the hills with 1,500 troops following the Tungan uprising .
  20. Dixon, Jeffrey S.; Sarkees, Meredith Reid (2015). A Guide to Intra-state Wars: An Examination of Civil, Regional, and Intercommunal Wars, 1816-2014. Correlates of war series A guide to intra-state wars (revised ed.). CQ Press. p. 457. ISBN 978-1452234199. Dates: January 1870 to November 1870. Battle-related Deaths: Total ... Narrative: In early 1870, some 20,000 Tungans seized Kurla. ... Participants: Armed Forces of Kashgaria versus Urumchi Tungans and Xu Xuegong–led Guerrillas.
  21. Mende-Altaylı, Rana von (1999). Die Beziehungen des Osmanischen Reiches zu Kashghar und seinem Herrscher Ya'qub Beg, 1873-1877. Papers on inner Asia: Central Asia. Indiana University, Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies. p. 77. Shusagun ( Shusagvan , i . e . der Milizführer Xu Xuegong ) , der zunächst Ya'qub Beg , der ihn nach Guan Shouxin ( 1996 , 69 ) unter Berufung auf das Qinding pingding Shaan Gan Xinjiang Huifei jilüeh ( j . 233 , 1870 ) unter ...

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