China

History of China

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Perspective


The history of China is that of 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) that 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. But 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. As a result, these states fought with one another throughout the following Warring States period, and 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. From this came the beginnings 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. In consequence, 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. As one example among many, the Chinese Civil War the 20th century raged for more than 20 years before China regained its footing in 1949. This was complicated by the threat from the “barbarians from beyond the Wall”, though these steppe peoples were 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 (ROC) in 1912, and then by the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) under Mao Zedong in 1949. With this, the government of 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.

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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



history of China

China: Index


Ancient China


history of Ancient China

Ancient China

society in China

Society

origins of China

Society: Origins

environment of China

Society: Environment

religion in China

Religion

Up to Index

Xia Dynasty


Xia dynasty

Xia Dynasty: Index

society in the Xia Dynasty

Society

history of China | Xia Dynasty | origins

Society: Origins

history of China | Xia Dynasty | founding myths

Society: Founding Myths

Shang Dynasty


Shang Dynasty

Shang Dynasty: Index

society in the Shang dynasty

Society

Up to Index

culture in the Xia Dynasty

Culture

Shang dynasty | magic

Magic

science and technology in the Shang Dynasty

Science and Technology

history of China | Shang Dynasty | written language

Written Language

religion in the Shang Dynasty

Religion

history of China | Shang Dynasty | power

Power

Up to Index

Zhou Dynasty


Zhou Dynasty

Zhou Dynasty: Index

society in the Zhou Dynasty

Society

history of China | Zhou Dynasty | culture

Culture

history of China | Zhou Dynasty |  philosophy

Philosophy

Yang Zhu

Yang Zhu

Confucius

Confucius

Up to Index

Confucius | background

Confucius: Background

Confucius | concerns

Concerns

Confucius | politics

Politics

Confucianism

Confucianism: Index

Confucian Classics

Confucian Classics

Confucianism | morality

Morality

Up to Index

Confucianism | The Way of the Higher Man

The Way of the Higher Man

Confucianism | legacy

Legacy

history of China | Zhou Dynasty | Legalism

Legalism

history of China | Zhou Dynasty | Daoism

Daoism

history of China | Zhou Dynasty | Mencius

Mencius

Mencius | Background

Background

Up to Index

Mencius | beliefs

Beliefs

Mencius | politics

Politics

Mo-Tzu

Mo-tzu

Xun-tzu

Xun-tzu

Zhuang-tzu

Zhuang-tzu

history of China | Zhou Dynasty | power

Zhou Dynasty: Power

Up to Index

history of China | Zhou Dynasty | rise

Rise

history of China | Zhou Dynasty | feudal states

Feudal States

Warring States

Warring States Era

history of China | Zhou Dynasty | decline

Decline

history of China | Zhou Dynasty | economy

Economy

Qin Dynasty


Qin dynasty

Qin Dynasty: Index

Up to Index

Qin Dynasty | power

Power

Qin Shihuangdi

Qin Shihuangdi

Lord Shang

Lord Shang

King Zheng

King Zheng

history of China | Qin dynasty | decline

Decline

Han Dynasty


history of China | Han Dynasty

Han Dynasty: Index

Up to Index

society in the Han Dynasty |

Society

culture in the Han Dynasty

Culture

Han Dynasty | philosophy

Philosophy

Han Dynasty | scholarship

Scholarship

history of China | Han Dynasty | science and technology

Science and Technology

history of China | Han Dynasty | Buddhism

Buddhism

Up to Index

power in the Han Dynasty

Power

Former Han Dynasty

Former Han Dynasty

Han Dynasty | Gao-tzu

Gao-tzu

Han Dynasty | Han Wudi

Han Wudi

Han Gynasty | Wang Mang

Wang Mang

Later Han dynasty

Later Han Dynasty

Up to Index

history of China | Han Dynasty | decline

Decline

history of China | Han Dynasty | economy

Economy

Jin and Northern Wei Dynasties


Jin and Northern Wei dynasties

Jin and Northern Wei Dynasties


Sui Dynasty


Sui Dynasty

Sui Dynasty

T’ang Dynasty


T'ang Dynasty

T’ang Dynasty: Index

history of China | T'ang Dynasty | society

Society

Up to Index


history of China | T'ang Dynasty | cuture

Culture

history of China | T'ang Dynasty | literature

Literature

history of China | T'ang Dynasty | scholarship

Scholarship

history of China | T'ang Dynasty | science and technology

Science and Technology

history of China | T"ang Dynasty | sculpture

Sculpture

history of China | T'ang Dynasty | Buddhism

Buddhism

Up to Index

history of China | T'ang Dynasty | power

Power

T'ang Dynasty | Xuanzong

Xuanzong

history of China | T'ang Dynasty | decline

Decline

history of China | T'ang Dynasty | economy

Economy

Song Dynasty


Song dynasty

Song Dynasty: Index


history of China | Song Dynasty  | society

Society

Up to Index

history of China | Song Dynasty | culture

Culture

history of China | Song Dynasty | science and technology

Science and Technology

history of China | Song Dynasty | power

Power

history of China | Song dynasty | power

Economy

history of China | Song Dynasty | trade

Trade

Mongol Empire


Mongol Empire

Mongol Empire

Up to Index

history of China | Mongol empire | society

Society

history of China | Mongol empire | power

Power

history of China | Mongol empire | governance

Governance

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan

Kublai Kahn

Kublai Khan

history of China | Mongol empire | fragmentation

Fragmentation of the Empire

Up to Index

Turkic Empire

Turkic Empire

history of China | Mongol Empire | economy

Economy

Yuan Dynasty


Yuan dynasty

Yuan Dynasty: Index

history of China | Yuan dynasty | society

Society

history of China | Yuan dynasty | culture

Culture

history of China | Yuan dynasty | power

Power

Up to Index

history of China | Yuan Dynasty | economy

Economy

Ming Dynasty


Ming Dynasty

Ming Dynasty: Index

history of China | Ming Dynasty | society

Society

history of China | Ming Dynasty | culture

Culture

history of China | Ming Dynasty | art

Art

history of China | Ming Dynasty | literature

Literature

Up to Index

history of China | Ming Dynasty | scholarship

Scholarship

history of China | Ming Dynasty | religion

Religion

history of China | Ming Dynasty | power

Power

Hongwu

Hongwu

Yongle

Yongle

Yongle | expansion

Yongle: Expansion

Up to Index

Yongle | naval expeditions

Yongle: Naval Expeditions

history of China | Ming dynasty | decline

Decline

history of China | Ming Dynasty | economy

Economy

Qing Dynasty


Qing dynasty

Qing Dynasty: Index


history of China | Qing Dynasty | society

Society

history of China | Qing Dynasty | culture

Culture

Up to Index

history of China | Qing Dynasty | power

Power

Manchus

Manchus

Qianlong

Qianlong

Kangxi

Kangxi

history of China | Qing Dynasty | decline

Decline

history of China | Qing Dynasty | the West

The West

Up to Index

Opium Wars

Opium Wars

history of China | Qing Dynasty | revolt

Revolt

Cixi

Cixi

history of China | Qing Dynasty | loss of territory

Loss of Territory

history of China | Qing Dynasty | Sino-Japanese War

Sino-Japanese War

history of China | Qing Dynasty | economy

Economy

Up to Index

history of China | Qing Dynasty | trade

Trade

Modern China


Modern China

Modern China: Index

history of China | Modern China | society

Society

history of China | Modern China | culture

Culture


history of China | Modern Chna | power

Power

Revolution of 1911

Power: Revolution of 1911

Up to Index

Revolution of 1911 | cultural movements

Revolution of 1911: Cultural Movements

Revolution of 1911 | political movements

Revolution of 1911: Political Movements

May Fourth Movement

Political Movements: May Fourth Movement

Republic of China

Power: Republic of China

Republic of China | governance

Republic of China: Governance

history of China | Modern China | Chinese Civil War

Power: Civil War

Up to Index

history of China | Modern China | Chinese Civil War | Japan

Civil War: Japan

Manchukuo

Japan: Manchukuo

history of China | Modern China | war with Japan

Japan: War

history of China | Modern China | defeat of Japan

War: Defeat of Japan

Chinese Communist Party

Power: Chinese Communist Party

Chinese Communist Party | consolidation

Chinese Communist Party: Consolidation

Up to Index

Chinese Communist Party | rise

Chinese Communist Party: Rise

Chinese Communist Party | industrialization

Chinese Communist Party: Industrialization

Mao Zedong

Power: Mao Zedong

Great Leap Forward

Mao Zedong: Great Leap Forward

Mao Zedong | Cultural Revolution

Mao Zedong: Cultural Revolution

Zhou Enlai

Power: Zhou Enlai


Deng Xiaoping

Power: Deng Xiaoping

history of China | Modern China | economy

Economy

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Taiwan

Taiwan

Up to Index

Samples

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