China

Digital History of China

Mind maps of history: Vitruvian Man

WisdomMaps: The Future of the Past


Experience our digital history of China and its unique civilization with WisdomMaps!

Perspective


China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations and one of its cradles of civilization. Neolithic civilizations arose at various centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River as early as 8,000 years ago. Written records such as the Book of Documents mention and describe a Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BCE), who ruled in the Yellow River valley, the cradle of Chinese civilization. These Neolithic civilizations arose millennia before the Shang, China’s first historical dynasty.

The Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) succeeded the Shang, and used the concept of the Mandate of Heaven to support their rule. The Zhou government weakened from internal pressures and barbarian predations in the 8th century BC, and the country eventually disintegrated into smaller states during the Spring and Autumn period. These states fought with one another throughout the following Warring States period, but much of traditional Chinese culture first developed during those troubled times.

In 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang conquered the various warring states and established himself as Huangdi or “emperor” of the Qin. This was the beginning of China’s empire. However, his oppressive rule was replaced by the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). The Han and the dynasties that followed governed in ways  that enabled the emperor to rule China’s enormous territories directly. For the more than 2,000 years leading up to the advent of the Chinese republic in 1912, government was handled by a special elite of scholar-officials, well-versed in calligraphy, history, literature, and philosophy. They were carefully selected through rigorous examinations that were available to all to take.

Between periods of political unity and peace, there were times of war and failed statehood. The Chinese Civil War raged for more than 20 years before China regained its footing in 1949. China was often threatened by “barbarians from beyond the Wall”, but these steppe peoples were mostly assimilated into the mainstream Chinese culture and population. Between eras of fractured kingdoms and warlords, Chinese dynasties absorbed and ruled parts or all of China as far away as Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia. Traditional culture, in part influenced by such cultural assimilation and foreign contact), underpins  the modern culture of China.

China’s last dynasty, the Qing (1644–1912), was replaced by the Republic of China in 1912, and then by the Peoples’ Republic of China under Mao Zedong in 1949. The Republic of China fled to Taiwan in 1949, and since then, both the PRC and the ROC claim to be the sole legitimate government of China. This has resulted in an ongoing dispute even after the United Nations recognized the PRC as China’s sole government in 1971. Hong Kong and Macau became sovereign Chinese territories in 1997 and 1999, respectively.

That said, here’s our assortment… please enjoy! When you’re done perusing a map, just close it, and you’ll be back here.

Index

China Index | Ancient China: SocietyOriginsEnvironmentReligion | Xia Dynasty: SocietyOriginsFounding Myths | Shang Dynasty: SocietyCultureMagicScience and TechnologyReligionPower | Zhou Dynasty: SocietyCulturePhilosophyYang ZhuConfucius: BackgroundConcernsPoliticsConfucianism: Confucian ClassicsMoralityThe Way of the Higher ManLegacyLegalismDaoismMencius: BackgroundBeliefsPoliticsMo-TzuXunziZhuangzi | PowerRiseFeudal States Warring States EraDeclineEconomy | Qin DynastyPowerLord ShangKing ZhengQin Shi Huangdi Decline | Han Dynasty: SocietyCulturePhilosophyScholarshipScience and TechnologyBuddhismPowerFormer Han DynastyGaozuHan WudiWang MangLater Han Dynasty Decline | Economy | Jin and Northern Wei Dynasties | Sui Dynasty | T’ang Dynasty: SocietyCultureLiteratureScholarshipSculptureScience and Technology | BuddhismPowerXuanzongDeclineEconomy | Song Dynasty: SocietyCultureScience and TechnologyPowerEconomyTrade | Mongol Empire: SocietyPowerGovernanceGenghis KhanKublai KhanFragmentation of the EmpireTurkic EmpireEconomy | Yuan Dynasty: SocietyCulturePowerEconomy | Ming Dynasty: SocietyCultureArtLiteratureScholarshipReligionPowerHongwuYongleExpansionNaval ExpeditionsDeclineEconomy | Qing Dynasty: SocietyCulturePowerManchusQianlongKangxiDeclineThe WestOpium WarsRevoltCixiLoss of TerritorySino-Japanese WarEconomy: Trade | Modern China: SocietyCulturePowerRevolution of 1911Cultural MovementsPolitical MovementsMay Fourth MovementRepublic of China: GovernanceCivil WarJapanManchukuoWar with JapanDefeat of JapanChinese Communist Party: ConsolidationRiseIndustrializationMao ZedongGreat Leap ForwardCultural RevolutionZhou EnlaiDeng XiaopingEconomyHong KongTaiwan



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Xia Dynasty


Shang Dynasty


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Zhou Dynasty


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Qin Dynasty


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Han Dynasty


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Jin and Northern Wei Dynasties



Sui Dynasty


T’ang Dynasty


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Song Dynasty



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Mongol Empire


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Yuan Dynasty


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Ming Dynasty


art of the Ming Dynasty

Art

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Qing Dynasty



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Modern China



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