History of China

History of China

Overview


Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 and the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

 valleys in the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

s. The written history of China can be found as early as the Shang Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 (c. 1700 – 1046 BC), although ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian
Records of the Grand Historian
The Records of the Grand Historian, also known in English by the Chinese name Shiji , written from 109 BC to 91 BC, was the Magnum opus of Sima Qian, in which he recounted Chinese history from the time of the Yellow Emperor until his own time...

(ca.
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Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 and the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

 valleys in the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

s. The written history of China can be found as early as the Shang Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 (c. 1700 – 1046 BC), although ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian
Records of the Grand Historian
The Records of the Grand Historian, also known in English by the Chinese name Shiji , written from 109 BC to 91 BC, was the Magnum opus of Sima Qian, in which he recounted Chinese history from the time of the Yellow Emperor until his own time...

(ca. 100 BC) and Bamboo Annals
Bamboo Annals
The Bamboo Annals is a chronicle of ancient China. It begins at the earliest legendary times and extends to the Warring States Period , particularly the history of the Wei state...

assert the existence of a Xia Dynasty
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

 before the Shang. Oracle bone
Oracle bone
Oracle bones are pieces of bone normally from ox scapula or turtle plastron which were used for divination chiefly during the late Shang Dynasty. The bones were first inscribed with divination in oracle bone script by using a bronze pin, and then heated until crack lines appeared in which the...

s with ancient Chinese writing from the Shang Dynasty have been radiocarbon dated
Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years. Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" ,...

 to as early as 1500 BC. Much of Chinese culture
Culture of China
Chinese culture is one of the world's oldest and most complex. The area in which the culture is dominant covers a large geographical region in eastern Asia with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, cities and provinces...

, literature
Chinese literature
Chinese literature extends thousands of years, from the earliest recorded dynastic court archives to the mature fictional novels that arose during the Ming Dynasty to entertain the masses of literate Chinese...

 and philosophy
Chinese philosophy
Chinese philosophy is philosophy written in the Chinese tradition of thought. The majority of traditional Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States era, during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significant intellectual and...

 further developed during the Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 (1045-256 BC).

The Zhou Dynasty began to bow to external and internal pressures in the 8th century BC, and the kingdom eventually broke apart into smaller states, beginning in the Spring and Autumn Period and reaching full expression in the Warring States period
Warring States Period
The Warring States Period , also known as the Era of Warring States, or the Warring Kingdoms period, covers the Iron Age period from about 475 BC to the reunification of China under the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC...

. This is one of multiple periods of failed state
Failed state
The term failed state is often used by political commentators and journalists to describe a state perceived as having failed at some of the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government...

hood in Chinese history (the most recent of which was the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

).

In between eras of multiple kingdoms and warlordism, Chinese dynasties (or, more recently, republics) have ruled all of China (minus Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

 and Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

) (and, in some eras, including the present, they have controlled Xinjiang and/or Tibet as well). This practice began with the Qin Dynasty
Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

: in 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang , personal name Ying Zheng , was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC during the Warring States Period. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC...

 united the various warring kingdoms and created the first Chinese empire. Successive dynasties in Chinese history
Dynasties in Chinese history
The following is a chronology of the dynasties in Chinese history.Chinese history is not as neat as is often described and it was rare for one dynasty to change peacefully into the next. Dynasties were often established before the overthrow of an existing regime, or continued for a time after they...

 developed bureaucratic
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

 systems that enabled the Emperor of China
Emperor of China
The Emperor of China refers to any sovereign of Imperial China reigning between the founding of Qin Dynasty of China, united by the King of Qin in 221 BCE, and the fall of Yuan Shikai's Empire of China in 1916. When referred to as the Son of Heaven , a title that predates the Qin unification, the...

 to directly control vast territories.

The conventional view of Chinese history is that of alternating periods of political unity and disunity, with China occasionally being dominated by Inner Asia
Inner Asia
Inner Asia has a range of meanings among different researchers and in different countries. Denis Sinor defined Inner Asia broadly as the homelands of the Altaic peoples and the Uralic peoples .German makes a distinction between "Zentralasien", meaning Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang, and...

n peoples, most of whom were in turn assimilated into the Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 population. Cultural and political influences from many parts of Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, carried by successive waves of immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

, expansion, and cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

, are part of the modern culture of China.

Paleolithic



What is now China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 was inhabited by Homo erectus
Homo erectus
Homo erectus is an extinct species of hominid that lived from the end of the Pliocene epoch to the later Pleistocene, about . The species originated in Africa and spread as far as India, China and Java. There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H...

more than a million years ago. Recent study shows that the stone tools found at Xiaochangliang
Xiaochangliang
Xiaochangliang is the site of some of the earliest paleolithic remains in East Asia, located in the Nihewan Basin in Yangyuan County, Hebei, China, most famous for the stone tools discovered there.-Stone Tools:...

 site are magnetostratigraphically
Magnetostratigraphy
Magnetostratigraphy is a geophysical correlation technique used to date sedimentary and volcanic sequences. The method works by collecting oriented samples at measured intervals throughout the section. The samples are analyzed to determine their characteristic remanent magnetization , that is, the...

 dated to 1.36 million years ago. The archaeological site of Xihoudu
Xihoudu
Xihoudu is an archological site located in the Shanxi Province of China. The site dates to the Paleolithic Age. In total 32 stone implements were found at the site....

 in Shanxi
Shanxi
' is a province in Northern China. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋" , after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period....

 Province is the earliest recorded use of fire by Homo erectus, which is dated 1.27 million years ago.
The excavations at Yuanmou
Yuanmou Man
Yuanmou Man , Homo erectus yuanmouensis, refers to a member of the homo genus whose remnants, two incisors, were discovered near Danawu Village in Yuanmou County in southwestern province of Yunnan, China. Later, stone artifacts, pieces of animal bone showing signs of human work and ash from...

 and later Lantian
Lantian Man
Lantian Man , formerly Sinanthropus lantianensis is a subspecies of Homo erectus. Its discovery in 1963 was first described by J. K...

 show early habitation. Perhaps the most famous specimen of Homo erectus found in China is the so-called Peking Man
Peking Man
Peking Man , Homo erectus pekinensis, is an example of Homo erectus. A group of fossil specimens was discovered in 1923-27 during excavations at Zhoukoudian near Beijing , China...

 discovered in 1923-27.

Neolithic



The Neolithic age in China can be traced back to between 12,000 and 10,000 BC. Early evidence for proto-Chinese millet
Millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

 agriculture is radiocarbon-dated
Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years. Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" ,...

 to about 7000 BC. The Peiligang culture
Peiligang culture
The Peiligang culture is a name given by archaeologists to a group of Neolithic communities in the Yi-Luo river basin in Henan Province, China. The culture existed from 7000 BC to 5000 BC. Over 70 sites have been identified with the Peiligang culture. The culture is named after the site discovered...

 of Xinzheng
Xinzheng
Xinzheng is a small county-level city of Zhengzhou in the south of Henan province of Central China. The city has a population of 600,000 people and covers an area of .-History:...

 county, Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

 was excavated in 1977. With agriculture came increased population, the ability to store and redistribute crops, and the potential to support specialist craftsmen and administrators. In late Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 times, the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 valley began to establish itself as a cultural center, where the first villages were founded; the most archaeologically significant of those was found at Banpo
Banpo
Banpo is an archaeological remain discovered in 1953 and located in the Yellow River Valley just east of Xi'an, China. It contains the remains of several well organized Neolithic settlements dating from 5600 - 6700 BP according to radiocarbon dating. It is a large area of 5-6 hectares and...

, Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

. The Yellow River was so named because of loess
Loess
Loess is an aeolian sediment formed by the accumulation of wind-blown silt, typically in the 20–50 micrometre size range, twenty percent or less clay and the balance equal parts sand and silt that are loosely cemented by calcium carbonate...

 forming its banks gave a yellowish tint to the water.

The early history of China is made obscure by the lack of written documents from this period, coupled with the existence of accounts written during later time periods that attempted to describe events that had occurred several centuries previously. In a sense, the problem stems from centuries of introspection on the part of the Chinese people, which has blurred the distinction between fact and fiction in regards to this early history.

By 7000 BC, the Chinese were farming millet
Millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

, giving rise to the Jiahu
Jiahu
Jiahu was the site of a Neolithic Yellow River settlement based in the central plains of ancient China, modern Wuyang, Henan Province. Archaeologists consider the site to be one of the earliest examples of the Peiligang culture. Settled from 7000 to 5800 BC, the site was later flooded and abandoned...

 culture. At Damaidi
Damaidi
Damaidi , is the location of 3,172 sets of early Chinese petroglyphs, carved into the cliffs which feature 8,453 individual figures. These are believed to represent possibly the earliest writing system known in China....

 in Ningxia
Ningxia
Ningxia, formerly transliterated as Ningsia, is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. Located in Northwest China, on the Loess Plateau, the Yellow River flows through this vast area of land. The Great Wall of China runs along its northeastern boundary...

, 3,172 cliff carvings
Neolithic signs in China
Since the second half of the 20th century, inscriptions have been found on pottery in a variety of locations in China, such as Banpo near Xi'an, as well as on bone and bone marrows at Hualouzi, Chang'an County near Xi'an...

 dating to 6000-5000 BC have been discovered "featuring 8,453 individual characters such as the sun, moon, stars, gods and scenes of hunting or grazing." These pictographs are reputed to be similar to the earliest characters confirmed to be written Chinese. Later Yangshao culture
Yangshao culture
The Yangshao culture was a Neolithic culture that existed extensively along the central Yellow River in China. The Yangshao culture is dated from around 5000 BC to 3000 BC. The culture is named after Yangshao, the first excavated representative village of this culture, which was discovered in 1921...

 was superseded by the Longshan culture
Longshan culture
The Longshan culture was a late Neolithic culture in China, centered on the central and lower Yellow River and dated from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC...

 around 2500 BC.

Xia Dynasty (c. 2100 - c. 1600 BC)



Major site(s): possibly Erlitou

The Xia Dynasty of China (from c. 2100 to c. 1600 BC) is the first dynasty to be described in ancient historical records such as Records of the Grand Historian
Records of the Grand Historian
The Records of the Grand Historian, also known in English by the Chinese name Shiji , written from 109 BC to 91 BC, was the Magnum opus of Sima Qian, in which he recounted Chinese history from the time of the Yellow Emperor until his own time...

and Bamboo Annals
Bamboo Annals
The Bamboo Annals is a chronicle of ancient China. It begins at the earliest legendary times and extends to the Warring States Period , particularly the history of the Wei state...

.

Although there is disagreement as to whether the dynasty actually existed, there is some archaeological evidence pointing to its possible existence. The historian Sima Qian
Sima Qian
Sima Qian was a Prefect of the Grand Scribes of the Han Dynasty. He is regarded as the father of Chinese historiography for his highly praised work, Records of the Grand Historian , a "Jizhuanti"-style general history of China, covering more than two thousand years from the Yellow Emperor to...

 (145-90 BC), who wrote the Shiji or Records of the Grand Historian, and the so-called Bamboo Annals date the founding of the Xia Dynasty
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

 to 4,200 years ago, but this date has not been corroborated. Most archaeologists now connect the Xia to excavations at Erlitou
Erlitou culture
The Erlitou culture is a name given by archaeologists to an Early Bronze Age urban society that existed in China from 2000 BCE to 1500 BCE. The culture was named after the site discovered at Erlitou in Yanshi, Henan Province...

 in central Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

 province, where a bronze smelter from around 2000 BC was unearthed. Early markings from this period found on pottery and shells are thought to be ancestral to modern Chinese characters. With few clear records matching the Shang oracle bones or the Zhou bronze vessel writings, the Xia era remains poorly understood.

According to mythology, the dynasty ended around 1600 BC as a consequence of the Battle of Mingtiao
Battle of Mingtiao
The Battle of Mingtiao was a battle between the Xia Dynasty and the Shang Dynasty. This semi-mythological battle resulted in a Shang victory which created the circumstances for the elevation of the Duke of Shang to the throne of China.-Background:...

.

Shang Dynasty (c. 1700-1046 BC)



Capital: Yinxu
Yinxu
Yinxu is the ruins of the last capital of China's Shang Dynasty. The capital served 255 years for 12 kings in 8 generations.Rediscovered in 1899, it is one of the oldest and largest archeological sites in China and is one of the historical capitals of China and a UNESCO World Heritage Site...

, near Anyang
Anyang
Anyang is a prefecture-level city in Henan province, People's Republic of China. The northernmost city in Henan, Anyang borders Puyang to the east, Hebi and Xinxiang to the south, and the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei to its west and north respectively....

 (Yin Dynasty period)



The earliest written record of Chinese past so far discovered dates from the Shang Dynasty in perhaps the 14th century BC and takes the form of inscriptions of divination records on the bones or shells of animals—the so-called oracle bones. Archaeological findings providing evidence for the existence of the Shang Dynasty, c. 1600-1046 BC, are divided into two sets. The first set, from the earlier Shang period comes from sources at Erligang
Erligang culture
The Erligang culture is the term used by archaeologists to refer to a Bronze Age archaeological culture in China. The primary site was discovered at Erligang, just outside of the modern city of Zhengzhou, Henan, in 1951....

, Zhengzhou
Zhengzhou
Zhengzhou , is the capital and largest city of Henan province in north-central China. A prefecture-level city, it also serves as the political, economic, technological, and educational centre of the province, as well as a major transportation hub for Central China...

 and Shangcheng. The second set, from the later Shang or Yin (殷) period, consists of a large body of oracle bone writings. Anyang
Anyang
Anyang is a prefecture-level city in Henan province, People's Republic of China. The northernmost city in Henan, Anyang borders Puyang to the east, Hebi and Xinxiang to the south, and the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei to its west and north respectively....

, in modern-day Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

, has been confirmed as the last of the Shang's nine capitals (c. 1300-1046 BC). The Shang Dynasty featured 31 kings, from Tang of Shang
Tang of Shang
King Cheng Tang of Shang was the first ruling king of the Shang dynasty in Chinese history. He overthrew Jie, the last ruler of the Xia dynasty.-Early life:...

 to King Zhou of Shang
King Zhou of Shang
Emperor Xin of Shang was the last king of the Shang Dynasty. He was later given the pejorative posthumous name Zhòu . He is also called Zhou Xin or King Zhou . He may also be referred to by adding "Shang" in front of any of his names...

. In this period, the Chinese worshipped many different gods - weather gods and sky gods - and also a supreme god, named Shangdi
Shangdi
Shangdi , also known as Di in Oracle Bone Inscription and Thirteen Classics, refers to the supreme god or a divine power regarded as the spiritual ultimate by the Chinese people from the Shang Dynasty. He controlled victory in battle, harvest, the fate of the kingdom, and the weather...

, who ruled over the other gods. Those who lived during the Shang Dynasty also believed that their ancestors - their parents and grandparents - became like gods when they died, and that their ancestors wanted to be worshipped too, like gods. Each family worshipped its own ancestors.

Around 1500 BC, the Chinese began to use written oracle bones to predict the future. By the time of the Zhou Dynasty (about 1100 BC), the Chinese were also worshipping a natural force called tian, which is usually translated as Heaven. Like Shangdi, Heaven ruled over all the other gods, and it decided who would rule China, under the Mandate of Heaven
Mandate of Heaven
The Mandate of Heaven is a traditional Chinese philosophical concept concerning the legitimacy of rulers. It is similar to the European concept of the divine right of kings, in that both sought to legitimaze rule from divine approval; however, unlike the divine right of kings, the Mandate of...

. The ruler could rule as long as he or she had the Mandate of Heaven. It was believed that the emperor or empress had lost the Mandate of Heaven when natural disasters occurred in great number, and when, more realistically, the sovereign had apparently lost his concern for the people. In response, the royal house would be overthrown, and a new house would rule, having been granted the Mandate of Heaven.

The Records of the Grand Historian states that the Shang Dynasty moved its capital six times. The final (and most important) move to Yin
Yinxu
Yinxu is the ruins of the last capital of China's Shang Dynasty. The capital served 255 years for 12 kings in 8 generations.Rediscovered in 1899, it is one of the oldest and largest archeological sites in China and is one of the historical capitals of China and a UNESCO World Heritage Site...

 in 1350 BC led to the dynasty's golden age. The term Yin Dynasty has been synonymous with the Shang dynasty in history, although it has lately been used to specifically refer to the latter half of the Shang Dynasty.

Chinese historians living in later periods were accustomed to the notion of one dynasty succeeding another, but the actual political situation in early China is known to have been much more complicated. Hence, as some scholars of China suggest, the Xia and the Shang can possibly refer to political entities that existed concurrently, just as the early Zhou is known to have existed at the same time as the Shang.

Written records found at Anyang confirm the existence of the Shang dynasty. However, Western scholars are often hesitant to associate settlements that are contemporaneous with the Anyang settlement with the Shang dynasty. For example, archaeological findings at Sanxingdui
Sanxingdui
Sanxingdui is the name of an archaeological site and its deduced culture in China, now believed to be the site of an ancient Chinese city. The previously unknown Bronze Age culture was re-discovered in 1987 when archaeologists excavated remarkable artifacts, that radiocarbon dating dated as being...

 suggest a technologically advanced civilization culturally unlike Anyang. The evidence is inconclusive in proving how far the Shang realm extended from Anyang. The leading hypothesis is that Anyang, ruled by the same Shang in the official history, coexisted and traded with numerous other culturally diverse settlements in the area that is now referred to as China proper.

Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC)




Capitals: Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

 and Luoyang
Luoyang
Luoyang is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province of Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast.Situated on the central plain of...



The Zhou Dynasty was the longest-lasting dynasty in Chinese history, from 1066 BC to approximately 256 BC. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 began to emerge in the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 valley, overrunning the territory of the Shang. The Zhou appeared to have begun their rule under a semi-feudal
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 system. The Zhou lived west of the Shang
Shang
The shang is a flat ritual upturned handbell employed by Bönpo and Asian shamans. The sizes of the shang range from approximately 3 to 20 inches in diameter. It is traditionally held to have originated in Zhangzhung and is symbolically similar to the tantric dril-bhu. Shang are traditionally...

, and the Zhou leader had been appointed "Western Protector" by the Shang. The ruler of the Zhou, King Wu
King Wu of Zhou
King Wu of Zhōu or King Wu of Chou was the first sovereign, or ruler of the Chinese Zhou Dynasty. The dates of his reign are 1046-1043 BCE or 1049/45-1043. Various sources quoted that he died at the age of 93, 54 or 43. He was considered a just and able leader. Zhou Gong Dan was one of his...

, with the assistance of his brother, the Duke of Zhou
Duke of Zhou
The Duke of Zhou played a major role in consolidating the newly-founded Zhou Dynasty . He was the brother of King Wu of Zhou, the first king of the ancient Chinese Zhou Dynasty...

, as regent, managed to defeat the Shang at the Battle of Muye
Battle of Muye
The Battle of Muye was fought in China perhaps 1046 BC. The battle led to the end of the Shang dynasty, and the beginning of the Zhou dynasty.-Background:...

. The king of Zhou at this time invoked the concept of the Mandate of Heaven
Mandate of Heaven
The Mandate of Heaven is a traditional Chinese philosophical concept concerning the legitimacy of rulers. It is similar to the European concept of the divine right of kings, in that both sought to legitimaze rule from divine approval; however, unlike the divine right of kings, the Mandate of...

 to legitimize his rule, a concept that would be influential for almost every succeeding dynasty. The Zhou initially moved their capital west to an area near modern Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

, on the Wei River
Wei River
The Wei River is a major river in west-central China's Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. It is the largest tributary of the Yellow River and very important in the early development of Chinese civilization....

, a tributary of the Yellow River, but they would preside over a series of expansions into the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

 valley. This would be the first of many population migrations from north to south in Chinese history.

Spring and Autumn Period (722-476 BC)


Capitals: of the State of Yan, Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

; of the State of Qin, Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...




In the 8th century BC, power became decentralized during the Spring and Autumn Period, named after the influential Spring and Autumn Annals
Spring and Autumn Annals
The Spring and Autumn Annals is the official chronicle of the State of Lu covering the period from 722 BCE to 481 BCE. It is the earliest surviving Chinese historical text to be arranged on annalistic principles. The text is extremely concise and, if all the commentaries are excluded, about 16,000...

. In this period, local military leaders used by the Zhou began to assert their power and vie for hegemony
Hegemony
Hegemony is an indirect form of imperial dominance in which the hegemon rules sub-ordinate states by the implied means of power rather than direct military force. In Ancient Greece , hegemony denoted the politico–military dominance of a city-state over other city-states...

. The situation was aggravated by the invasion of other peoples from the northwest, such as the Qin
Qin (state)
The State of Qin was a Chinese feudal state that existed during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods of Chinese history...

, forcing the Zhou to move their capital east to Luoyang
Luoyang
Luoyang is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province of Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast.Situated on the central plain of...

. This marks the second major phase of the Zhou dynasty: the Eastern Zhou. In each of the hundreds of states that eventually arose, local strongmen held most of the political power and continued their subservience to the Zhou kings in name only. For instance, local leaders started using royal titles for themselves. The Hundred Schools of Thought
Hundred Schools of Thought
The Hundred Schools of Thought were philosophers and schools that flourished from 770 to 221 BC during the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period , an era of great cultural and intellectual expansion in China...

 of Chinese philosophy blossomed during this period, and such influential intellectual movements as Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

, Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

, Legalism and Mohism
Mohism
Mohism or Moism was a Chinese philosophy developed by the followers of Mozi , 470 BC–c.391 BC...

 were founded, partly in response to the changing political world.
The Spring and Autumn Period is marked by a falling apart of the central Zhou power. China now consists of hundreds of states, some of them only as large as a village with a fort.

Warring States Period (476-221 BC)


Several capitals
Historical capitals of China
The Chinese phrase Four Great Ancient Capitals of China traditionally refers to Beijing , Nanjing, Luoyang, and Chang'an ....

, due to there being multiple states


After further political consolidation, seven prominent states remained by the end of 5th century BC, and the years in which these few states battled each other are known as the Warring States Period
Warring States Period
The Warring States Period , also known as the Era of Warring States, or the Warring Kingdoms period, covers the Iron Age period from about 475 BC to the reunification of China under the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC...

. Though there remained a nominal Zhou
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 king until 256 BC, he was largely a figurehead and held little real power.
As neighboring territories of these warring states, including areas of modern Sichuan
Sichuan
' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

 and Liaoning
Liaoning
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the northeast of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "辽" , a name taken from the Liao River that flows through the province. "Níng" means "peace"...

, were annexed, they were governed under the new local administrative system of commandery and prefecture
Prefecture
A prefecture is an administrative jurisdiction or subdivision in any of various countries and within some international church structures, and in antiquity a Roman district governed by an appointed prefect.-Antiquity:...

 (郡縣/郡县). This system had been in use since the Spring and Autumn Period, and parts can still be seen in the modern system of Sheng & Xian (province and county, 省縣/省县). The final expansion in this period began during the reign of Ying Zheng, the king of Qin. His unification of the other six powers, and further annexations in the modern regions of Zhejiang
Zhejiang
Zhejiang is an eastern coastal province of the People's Republic of China. The word Zhejiang was the old name of the Qiantang River, which passes through Hangzhou, the provincial capital...

, Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

, Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 and Guangxi
Guangxi
Guangxi, formerly romanized Kwangsi, is a province of southern China along its border with Vietnam. In 1958, it became the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, a region with special privileges created specifically for the Zhuang people.Guangxi's location, in...

 in 214 BC, enabled him to proclaim himself the First Emperor
Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang , personal name Ying Zheng , was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC during the Warring States Period. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC...

 (Qin Shi Huang).

Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)




Capital: Xianyang
Xianyang
Xianyang is a former capital of China in Shaanxi province, on the Wei River, a few kilometers upstream from Xi'an. It has an area of...



Historians often refer to the period from Qin Dynasty to the end of Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 as Imperial China. Though the unified reign of the Qin Emperor lasted only 12 years, he managed to subdue great parts of what constitutes the core of the Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 homeland and to unite them under a tightly centralized Legalist
Legalism (Chinese philosophy)
In Chinese history, Legalism was one of the main philosophic currents during the Warring States Period, although the term itself was invented in the Han Dynasty and thus does not refer to an organized 'school' of thought....

 government seated at Xianyang
Xianyang
Xianyang is a former capital of China in Shaanxi province, on the Wei River, a few kilometers upstream from Xi'an. It has an area of...

 (close to modern Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

). The doctrine of Legalism that guided the Qin emphasized strict adherence to a legal code and the absolute power of the emperor. This philosophy, while effective for expanding the empire in a military fashion, proved unworkable for governing it in peacetime. The Qin Emperor presided over the brutal silencing of political opposition, including the event known as the burning of books and burying of scholars
Burning of books and burying of scholars
Burning of the books and burying of the scholars is a phrase that refers to a policy and a sequence of events in the Qin Dynasty of Ancient China, between the period of 213 and 206 BC. During these events, the Hundred Schools of Thought were pruned; legalism survived...

. This would be the impetus behind the later Han synthesis incorporating the more moderate schools of political governance.


The Qin Dynasty is well known for beginning the Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups...

, which was later augmented and enhanced during the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

. The other major contributions of the Qin include the concept of a centralized government, the unification of the legal code, development of the written language, measurement, and currency of China after the tribulations of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods. Even something as basic as the length of axles for carts
had to be made uniform to ensure a viable trading system throughout the empire.

Han Dynasty (202 BC–AD 220)


Capitals: Chang'an
Chang'an
Chang'an is an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an literally means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese. During the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored...

, Luoyang
Luoyang
Luoyang is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province of Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast.Situated on the central plain of...

, Liyang
Liyang
Liyang is a city in the southwest of Jiangsu province of Eastern China. It is administratively a county-level city under the administration of Changzhou City, and in 1999 had a population of 781,430.-Administration:...

, Xuchang
Xuchang
Xuchang is a prefecture-level city in central Henan province in Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the northwest, Kaifeng to the northeast, Zhoukou to the east, Luohe to the southeast, and Pingdingshan to the southwest....




The Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

 (202 BC – AD 220) emerged in 206 BC, with its founder Liu Bang proclaimed emperor in 202 BC. It was the first dynasty to embrace the philosophy of Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

, which became the ideological underpinning of all regimes until the end of imperial China. Under the Han Dynasty, China made great advances in many areas of the arts and sciences. Emperor Wu consolidated and extended the Chinese empire by pushing back the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 (identified with the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

) into the steppes of modern Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

, wresting from them the modern areas of Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

, Ningxia
Ningxia
Ningxia, formerly transliterated as Ningsia, is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. Located in Northwest China, on the Loess Plateau, the Yellow River flows through this vast area of land. The Great Wall of China runs along its northeastern boundary...

 and Qinghai
Qinghai
Qinghai ; Oirat Mongolian: ; ; Salar:) is a province of the People's Republic of China, named after Qinghai Lake...

. This enabled the first opening of trading connections between China and the West, along the Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

. Han Dynasty general Ban Chao
Ban Chao
Ban Chao , courtesy name Zhongsheng , was born in Xianyang, Shaanxi, and the younger brother of the famous historian, Ban Gu who, with his father Ban Biao, and sister, Ban Zhao, wrote the famous Hanshu, or 'History of the Former Han Dynasty'....

 expanded his conquests across the Pamirs to the shores of the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. The first of several Roman embassies to China is recorded in Chinese sources, coming from the sea route in AD 166, and a second one in AD 284.

Nevertheless, land acquisitions by elite families gradually drained the tax base. In AD 9, the usurper Wang Mang
Wang Mang
Wang Mang , courtesy name Jujun , was a Han Dynasty official who seized the throne from the Liu family and founded the Xin Dynasty , ruling AD 9–23. The Han dynasty was restored after his overthrow and his rule marks the separation between the Western Han Dynasty and Eastern Han Dynasty...

 founded the short-lived Xin ("New") Dynasty
Xin Dynasty
The Xin Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty which lasted from AD 9 to 23. It followed the Western Han Dynasty and preceded the Eastern Han Dynasty....

 and started an extensive program of land and other economic reforms. These programs, however, were never supported by the landholding families, because they favored the peasants. The instability brought about chaos and uprisings.

Emperor Guangwu
Emperor Guangwu of Han
Emperor Guangwu , born Liu Xiu, was an emperor of the Chinese Han Dynasty, restorer of the dynasty in AD 25 and thus founder of the Later Han or Eastern Han...

 reinstated the Han Dynasty with the support of landholding and merchant families at Luoyang
Luoyang
Luoyang is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province of Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast.Situated on the central plain of...

, east of Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

. This new era would be termed the Eastern Han Dynasty. Han power declined again amidst land acquisitions, invasions, and feuding between consort clan
Consort clan
The consort clan is the family, clan of or group related to an empress dowager or a spouse of a Chinese dynastic ruler or a warlord. The leading figure of the clan was either a sibling, cousin, or parent of the empress or consort.- Han Dynasty :...

s and eunuchs. The Yellow Turban Rebellion
Yellow Turban Rebellion
The Yellow Turban Rebellion, also translated as Yellow Scarves Rebellion, was a peasant revolt that broke out in 184 AD in China during the reign of Emperor Ling of the Han Dynasty...

 broke out in AD 184, ushering in an era of warlord
Warlord
A warlord is a person with power who has both military and civil control over a subnational area due to armed forces loyal to the warlord and not to a central authority. The term can also mean one who espouses the ideal that war is necessary, and has the means and authority to engage in war...

s. In the ensuing turmoil, three states tried to gain predominance in the period of the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms
The Three Kingdoms period was a period in Chinese history, part of an era of disunity called the "Six Dynasties" following immediately the loss of de facto power of the Han Dynasty rulers. In a strict academic sense it refers to the period between the foundation of the state of Wei in 220 and the...

. This time period has been greatly romanticized in works such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a Chinese historical novel based on the events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in...

.

Wei and Jin Period (AD 265–420)



Capitals: of Cao Wei
Cao Wei
Cao Wei was one of the states that competed for control of China during the Three Kingdoms period. With the capital at Luoyang, the state was established by Cao Pi in 220, based upon the foundations that his father Cao Cao laid...

 and Western Jin, Luoyang
Luoyang
Luoyang is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province of Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast.Situated on the central plain of...

; of Shu Han
Shu Han
Shu Han was one of the three states competing for control of China during the Three Kingdoms period, after the fall of the Han Dynasty. The state was based on areas around Sichuan, which was then known as Shu...

, Chengdu
Chengdu
Chengdu , formerly transliterated Chengtu, is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status...

; of Eastern Wu
Eastern Wu
Eastern Wu, also known as Sun Wu, was one the three states competing for control of China during the Three Kingdoms period after the fall of the Han Dynasty. It was based in the Jiangnan region of China...

 and Eastern Jin, Jiankang
Jiankang
Jiankang was the capital city of the Eastern Jin Dynasty and Southern Dynasties. Its walls are extant ruins in the modern municipal region of Nanjing.-History:...

; of Western Jin, Chang'an
Chang'an
Chang'an is an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an literally means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese. During the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored...



After Cao Cao
Cao Cao
Cao Cao was a warlord and the penultimate chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty who rose to great power during the dynasty's final years. As one of the central figures of the Three Kingdoms period, he laid the foundations for what was to become the state of Cao Wei and was posthumously titled...

 reunified the north in 208, his son proclaimed the Wei
Cao Wei
Cao Wei was one of the states that competed for control of China during the Three Kingdoms period. With the capital at Luoyang, the state was established by Cao Pi in 220, based upon the foundations that his father Cao Cao laid...

 dynasty in 220. Soon, Wei's rivals Shu
Shu Han
Shu Han was one of the three states competing for control of China during the Three Kingdoms period, after the fall of the Han Dynasty. The state was based on areas around Sichuan, which was then known as Shu...

 and Wu
Eastern Wu
Eastern Wu, also known as Sun Wu, was one the three states competing for control of China during the Three Kingdoms period after the fall of the Han Dynasty. It was based in the Jiangnan region of China...

 proclaimed their independence, leading China into the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms
The Three Kingdoms period was a period in Chinese history, part of an era of disunity called the "Six Dynasties" following immediately the loss of de facto power of the Han Dynasty rulers. In a strict academic sense it refers to the period between the foundation of the state of Wei in 220 and the...

 Period. This period was characterized by a gradual decentralization of the state that had existed during the Qin and Han dynasties, and an increase in the power of great families. Although the Three Kingdoms were reunified by the Jin Dynasty
Jìn Dynasty (265-420)
The Jìn Dynasty , was a dynasty in Chinese history, lasting between the years 265 and 420 AD. There are two main divisions in the history of the Dynasty, the first being Western Jin and the second Eastern Jin...

 in 280, this structure was essentially the same until the Wu Hu uprising.

Wu Hu Period (AD 304–439)



Several capitals, due to there being several states and warring

Taking advantage of civil war in the Jin Dynasty, the contemporary non-Han Chinese (Wu Hu
Wu Hu
Wu Hu was a Chinese term for the northern non-Chinese nomadic tribes which caused the Wu Hu uprising, and established the Sixteen Kingdoms from 304 to 439 AD.-Definition:...

) ethnic groups controlled much of the country in the early 4th century and provoked large-scale Han Chinese migrations to south of the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

. In 303 the Di
Di (ethnic group)
The Di were an ethnic group in China from the 8th century BCE to approximately the middle of the 6th century CE. Note that the character Di is used to differentiate this group from the Beidi , a generic term for "northern barbarians". They lived in areas of the present-day provinces of Gansu,...

 people rebelled and later captured Chengdu
Chengdu
Chengdu , formerly transliterated Chengtu, is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status...

, establishing the state of Cheng Han
Cheng Han
The Cheng Han was a state of the Sixteen Kingdoms during the Jin Dynasty in China. It represented two states, the Cheng state proclaimed in 304 by Li Xiong and the Han state in 338 by Li Shou...

. Under Liu Yuan
Liu Yuan (Han Zhao)
Liu Yuan , courtesy name Yuanhai , formally Emperor Guangwen of Han was the founding emperor of the Chinese/Xiongnu state Han Zhao.-Family background:...

, the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 rebelled near today's Linfen County
Linfen County
Linfen County is a small Chinese county in Shanxi province. Its main city is Linfen city, previously called Pingyang, population 680,000. Hukou falls on the Yellow River is in this county. Coordinates are 35º23’ to 36º37’, eastern longitude from 110º22’ to 112º34. Shanxi Teachers' University is in...

 and established the state of Han Zhao
Han Zhao
The Han Zhao , or Former Zhao, or Northern Han , was a Southern Xiongnu state during Sixteen Kingdoms period coeval with the Chinese Jin Dynasty...

. Liu Yuan's successor Liu Cong captured and executed the last two Western Jin emperors. Sixteen kingdoms
Sixteen Kingdoms
The Sixteen Kingdoms, or less commonly the Sixteen States, were a collection of numerous short-lived sovereign states in China proper and its neighboring areas from 304 to 439 AD after the retreat of the Jin Dynasty to South China and before the establishment of the Northern Dynasties...

 were a plethora of short-lived non-Chinese dynasties that came to rule the whole or parts of northern China in the 4th and 5th centuries. Many ethnic groups were involved, including ancestors of the Turks, Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

, and Tibetans. Most of these nomadic peoples had, to some extent, been "sinicized
Sinicization
Sinicization, Sinicisation or Sinification, is the linguistic assimilation or cultural assimilation of terms and concepts of the language and culture of China...

" long before their ascent to power. In fact, some of them, notably the Qiang and the Xiongnu, had already been allowed to live in the frontier regions within the Great Wall since late Han times.


Southern and Northern Dynasties (AD 420–589)



Capitals: of the Northern Dynasties
Northern dynasties
The Northern Dynasties included Northern Wei Dynasty, Eastern Wei Dynasty, Western Wei Dynasty, Northern Qi Dynasty, Northern Zhou Dynasty.Also see Southern and Northern Dynasties.-External links:*...

: Ye
Ye, China
Ye or Yecheng was an ancient Chinese city located in what is now Linzhang County, Hebei and the neighbouring Anyang County, Henan....

, Chang'an
Chang'an
Chang'an is an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an literally means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese. During the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored...

, of the Southern Dynasties
Southern dynasties
The Southern dynasties comprise the Liu Song, Southern Qi, Liang Dynasty and Chen Dynasty, whose capital were at Jiankang , and Emperor Yuan of Liang, as well as the later Western Liang emperors , also set their...

: Jiankang
Jiankang
Jiankang was the capital city of the Eastern Jin Dynasty and Southern Dynasties. Its walls are extant ruins in the modern municipal region of Nanjing.-History:...



Signaled by the collapse of East Jin Dynasty
Jìn Dynasty (265-420)
The Jìn Dynasty , was a dynasty in Chinese history, lasting between the years 265 and 420 AD. There are two main divisions in the history of the Dynasty, the first being Western Jin and the second Eastern Jin...

 in 420, China entered the era of the Southern and Northern Dynasties
Southern and Northern Dynasties
The Southern and Northern Dynasties was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589 AD. Though an age of civil war and political chaos, it was also a time of flourishing arts and culture, advancement in technology, and the spreading of Mahayana Buddhism and Daoism...

. The Han people managed to survive the military attacks from the nomadic tribes of the north, such as the Xianbei
Xianbei
The Xianbei were a significant Mongolic nomadic people residing in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and eastern Mongolia. The title “Khan” was first used among the Xianbei.-Origins:...

, and their civilization continued to thrive.

In southern China, fierce debates about whether Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 should be allowed to exist were held frequently by the royal court and nobles. Finally, near the end of the Southern and Northern Dynasties era, both Buddhist and Taoist followers compromised and became more tolerant of each other.

In 589, Sui
Sui Dynasty
The Sui Dynasty was a powerful, but short-lived Imperial Chinese dynasty. Preceded by the Southern and Northern Dynasties, it ended nearly four centuries of division between rival regimes. It was followed by the Tang Dynasty....

 annexed the last Southern Dynasty, Chen
Chen Dynasty
The Chen Dynasty , also known as the Southern Chen Dynasty, was the fourth and last of the Southern dynasties in China, eventually destroyed by the Sui Dynasty....

, through military force, and put an end to the era of Southern and Northern Dynasties.

Sui Dynasty (AD 589–618)



Official capital: Daxing
Chang'an
Chang'an is an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an literally means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese. During the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored...

; secondary capital: Dongdu
Luoyang
Luoyang is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province of Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast.Situated on the central plain of...



The Sui Dynasty
Sui Dynasty
The Sui Dynasty was a powerful, but short-lived Imperial Chinese dynasty. Preceded by the Southern and Northern Dynasties, it ended nearly four centuries of division between rival regimes. It was followed by the Tang Dynasty....

, which managed to reunite the country in 589 after nearly four centuries of political fragmentation, played a role more important than its length of existence would suggest. The Sui brought China together again and set up many institutions that were to be adopted by their successors, the Tang
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

. Like the Qin, however, the Sui overused their resources and collapsed. Also similar to the Qin, traditional history has judged the Sui somewhat unfairly, as it has stressed the harshness of the Sui regime and the arrogance of its second emperor, giving little credit for the Dynasty's many positive achievements.

Tang Dynasty (AD 618–907)




Capitals: Chang'an
Chang'an
Chang'an is an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an literally means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese. During the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored...

 and Luoyang
Luoyang
Luoyang is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province of Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast.Situated on the central plain of...



On June 18, 618, Gaozu took the throne, and the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 was established, opening a new age of prosperity and innovations in arts and technology. Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, which had gradually been established in China from the 1st century AD, became the predominant religion and was adopted by the imperial family and many of the common people.

Chang'an
Chang'an
Chang'an is an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an literally means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese. During the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored...

 (modern Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

), the national capital, is thought to be the world's largest city at the time. The Tang and the Han dynasties are often referred to as the most prosperous periods of Chinese history.

Since the second emperor Taizong
Emperor Taizong of Tang
Emperor Taizong of Tang , personal name Lǐ Shìmín , was the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty of China, ruling from 626 to 649...

, military campaigns were launched to dissolve threats from nomadic tribes, extend the border, and submit neighboring states into tributary system
Imperial Chinese tributary system
The Imperial tributary system of China was the network of trade and foreign relations between China and China's "tributaries" that, for millennia, drove much of East Asian affairs...

. Military victories in the Tarim Basin
Inner Asia during the Tang Dynasty
Inner Asia in the 7th and, to a lesser degree, 8th centuries AD was marked by the expansion of the Tang Dynasty's realm in the Tarim Basin, across the Gobi Desert and into Middle Asia. Wars were fought against the Gokturk Empires and Xueyantuo, but also against the states of the Tarim basin...

 kept the Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

 open, connecting Chang'an
Chang'an
Chang'an is an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an literally means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese. During the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored...

 to Central Asia and areas far to the west. To the south, lucrative maritime trade routes began from port cities like Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

. There was extensive trade with distant foreign countries, and many foreign merchants settled in China, boosting a vibrant cosmopolitan culture. The Tang culture and social systems were admired and adapted by neighboring countries like Japan
Nara period
The of the history of Japan covers the years from AD 710 to 794. Empress Gemmei established the capital of Heijō-kyō . Except for 5 years , when the capital was briefly moved again, it remained the capital of Japanese civilization until Emperor Kammu established a new capital, Nagaoka-kyō, in 784...

. Internally, the Grand Canal linked the political heartland in Chang'an to the economic and agricultural centers in the eastern and southern parts of the empire.

Underlying the prosperity of the early Tang Dynasty was a strong centralized government with efficient policies. The government was organized as "Three Departments and Six Ministries
Three Departments and Six Ministries
The Three Departments and Six Ministries system was the main central administrative system adopted in ancient China. The system first took shape after the Western Han Dynasty , was officially instituted in Sui Dynasty , and matured during Tang Dynasty...

" to separately draft, review and implement policies. These departments were run by royal family members as well as scholar officials
Scholar-bureaucrats
Scholar-officials or Scholar-bureaucrats were civil servants appointed by the emperor of China to perform day-to-day governance from the Sui Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, China's last imperial dynasty. These officials mostly came from the well-educated men known as the...

 who were selected from imperial examinations. These practices, which matured in the Tang Dynasty, were to be inherited by the later imperial dynasties with modifications.

The land policy, the "Equal-field system
Equal-field system
The Equal-field system land system was a historical system of land ownership and distribution in China used from the Six Dynasties to Mid-Tang dynasty....

" claimed all lands as imperially owned, and was granted equally according to the size of the households. The associated military policy, the "Fubing System
Fubing system
The Fubing system , also romanized as Fu-ping, was a local militia system existing in China between 6th century and 8th century. It originated in the Western Wei dynasty, and was subsequently used in the Sui and Tang dynasties.-Characteristics:...

", conscripted all men in the nation for a fixed period of duties each year in exchange for their land rights. These policies stimulated rapid growth of productivity, while boosting the army without much burden on the state treasury. However, lands gradually fell into the hands of private land owners and standing armies were to replace conscription towards the middle period of the dynasty.

At the zenith of Tang's power, the An Lushan Rebellion was a watershed event that caused massive loss of lives and drastically weakened the central imperial government. Regional military governors, known as Jiedushi
Jiedushi
The Jiedushi were regional military governors in China during the Tang Dynasty and the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. Originally set up to counter external threats, the jiedushi were given enormous power, including the ability to maintain their own armies, collect taxes, and pass their...

, would gain increasingly autonomous status, which would eventually lead to a brief disintegration of China in the 10th century
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms was between 907–960/979 AD and an era of political upheaval in China, between the fall of the Tang Dynasty and the founding of the Song Dynasty. During this period, five dynasties quickly succeeded one another in the north, and more than 12 independent states were...

. while formerly submissive states would raid the Tang territory. Nevertheless, after the rebellion, the Tang civil society would recover and thrive amidst a weakened imperial authority.

From about 860, the Tang Dynasty began to decline due to a series of rebellions within China itself and in the former subject Kingdom of Nanzhao to the south. One warlord, Huang Chao
Huang Chao
Huang Chao was the leader of the Huang Chao Rebellion , known in mainland China as the Huang Chao Revolution in China that seriously weakened the once mighty Tang Dynasty of China...

, captured Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 in 879, killing most of the 200,000 inhabitants, including most of the large colony of foreign merchant families there. In late 880, Luoyang
Luoyang
Luoyang is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province of Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast.Situated on the central plain of...

 surrendered to him, and on 5 January 881 he conquered Chang'an
Chang'an
Chang'an is an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an literally means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese. During the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored...

. The emperor Xizong
Emperor Xizong of Tang
Emperor Xizong of Tang , né Li Yan , later name changed to Li Xuan , was an emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. He reigned from 873 to 888. He was the fifth son of his predecessor Emperor Yizong and was the elder brother of his successor Emperor Zhaozong...

 fled to Chengdu
Chengdu
Chengdu , formerly transliterated Chengtu, is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status...

, and Huang established a new temporary regime which was eventually destroyed by Tang forces. Another time of political chaos followed.

Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (AD 907–960)



Several capitals

The period of political disunity between the Tang and the Song, known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms was between 907–960/979 AD and an era of political upheaval in China, between the fall of the Tang Dynasty and the founding of the Song Dynasty. During this period, five dynasties quickly succeeded one another in the north, and more than 12 independent states were...

, lasted little more than half a century, from 907 to 960. During this brief era, when China was in all respects a multi-state system, five regimes succeeded one another rapidly in control of the old Imperial heartland in northern China. During this same time, 10 more stable regimes occupied sections of southern and western China, so the period is also referred to as that of the Ten Kingdoms.

Song, Liao, Jin, and Western Xia Dynasties (AD 960–1234)



Capitals: of the Song Dynasty, Kaifeng
Kaifeng
Kaifeng , known previously by several names , is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, Central China. Nearly 5 million people live in the metropolitan area...

 and Lin'an
Hangzhou
Hangzhou , formerly transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. Governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2010, its entire administrative division or prefecture had a registered population of 8.7 million people...

; of the Liao Dynasty
Liao Dynasty
The Liao Dynasty , also known as the Khitan Empire was an empire in East Asia that ruled over the regions of Manchuria, Mongolia, and parts of northern China proper between 9071125...

, Shangjing, Nanjing, and Tokmok
Tokmok
Tokmok ; , Tokmak) is a city of about 53,087 in northern Kyrgyzstan, east of the country's capital of Bishkek. Its geographical location is ; its altitude is 816 m above sea level. From 2004 until 19 April 2006 it served as the administrative seat of Chui Province...

; of the Jin Dynasty, Shangjing, Zhongdu, and Kaifeng
Kaifeng
Kaifeng , known previously by several names , is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, Central China. Nearly 5 million people live in the metropolitan area...

; of the Western Xia Dynasty, Yinchuan


In 960, the Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

 gained power over most of China and established its capital in Kaifeng
Kaifeng
Kaifeng , known previously by several names , is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, Central China. Nearly 5 million people live in the metropolitan area...

 (later known as Bianjing), starting a period of economic prosperity, while the Khitan
Khitan people
thumb|250px|Khitans [[Eagle hunting|using eagles to hunt]], painted during the Chinese [[Song Dynasty]].The Khitan people , or Khitai, Kitan, or Kidan, were a nomadic Mongolic people, originally located at Mongolia and Manchuria from the 4th century...

 Liao Dynasty
Liao Dynasty
The Liao Dynasty , also known as the Khitan Empire was an empire in East Asia that ruled over the regions of Manchuria, Mongolia, and parts of northern China proper between 9071125...

 ruled over Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

, present-day Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, and parts of Northern China
North China
thumb|250px|Northern [[People's Republic of China]] region.Northern China or North China is a geographical region of China. The heartland of North China is the North China Plain....

. In 1115, the Jurchen Jin Dynasty emerged to prominence, annihilating the Liao Dynasty in 10 years. Meanwhile, in what are now the northwestern Chinese provinces of Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

, Shaanxi
Shaanxi
' is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province...

, and Ningxia
Ningxia
Ningxia, formerly transliterated as Ningsia, is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. Located in Northwest China, on the Loess Plateau, the Yellow River flows through this vast area of land. The Great Wall of China runs along its northeastern boundary...

, there emerged a Western Xia Dynasty
Western Xia
The Western Xia Dynasty or the Tangut Empire, was known to the Tanguts and the Tibetans as Minyak.The state existed from 1038 to 1227 AD in what are now the northwestern Chinese provinces of Ningxia, Gansu, eastern Qinghai, northern Shaanxi, northeastern Xinjiang, southwest Inner Mongolia, and...

 from 1032 to 1227, established by Tangut tribes.

The Jin Dynasty took power over northern China and Kaifeng from the Song Dynasty, which moved its capital to Hangzhou
Hangzhou
Hangzhou , formerly transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. Governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2010, its entire administrative division or prefecture had a registered population of 8.7 million people...

 (杭州). The Southern Song Dynasty also suffered the humiliation of having to acknowledge the Jin Dynasty as formal overlords. In the ensuing years, China was divided between the Song Dynasty, the Jin Dynasty and the Tangut Western Xia
Western Xia
The Western Xia Dynasty or the Tangut Empire, was known to the Tanguts and the Tibetans as Minyak.The state existed from 1038 to 1227 AD in what are now the northwestern Chinese provinces of Ningxia, Gansu, eastern Qinghai, northern Shaanxi, northeastern Xinjiang, southwest Inner Mongolia, and...

. Southern Song experienced a period of great technological development which can be explained in part by the military pressure that it felt from the north. This included the use of gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

 weapons, which played a large role in the Song Dynasty naval victories against the Jin in the Battle of Tangdao
Battle of Tangdao
The naval Battle of Tangdao took place in 1161 between the Jurchen Jin and the Southern Song Dynasty of China on the East China Sea. It was an attempt by the Jin to invade and conquer the Southern Song Dynasty, yet resulted in failure and defeat for the Jurchens. The Jin Dynasty navy was set on...

 and Battle of Caishi
Battle of Caishi
The naval Battle of Caishi took place in 1161 and was the result of an attempt by forces of the Jurchen Jin to cross the Yangtze River, thus beginning an invasion of Southern Song China...

 on the Yangtze River in 1161. Furthermore, China's first permanent standing navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 was assembled and provided an admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

's office at Dinghai in 1132, under the reign of Emperor Renzong of Song
Emperor Renzong of Song
Emperor Renzong was the fourth emperor of the Song Dynasty of China. His personal name was Zhao Zhen . He reigned from 1022 to 1063. Renzong was the son of Emperor Zhenzong of Song. Despite his long reign of over 40 years, Renzong is not widely known...

.

The Song Dynasty is considered by many to be classical China's high point in science and technology, with innovative scholar-officials
Scholar-bureaucrats
Scholar-officials or Scholar-bureaucrats were civil servants appointed by the emperor of China to perform day-to-day governance from the Sui Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, China's last imperial dynasty. These officials mostly came from the well-educated men known as the...

 such as Su Song
Su Song
Su Song was a renowned Chinese polymath who specialized himself as a statesman, astronomer, cartographer, horologist, pharmacologist, mineralogist, zoologist, botanist, mechanical and architectural engineer, poet, antiquarian, and ambassador of the Song Dynasty .Su Song was the engineer of a...

 (1020–1101) and Shen Kuo
Shen Kuo
Shen Kuo or Shen Gua , style name Cunzhong and pseudonym Mengqi Weng , was a polymathic Chinese scientist and statesman of the Song Dynasty...

 (1031–1095). There was court intrigue between the political rivals of the Reformers and Conservatives, led by the chancellors Wang Anshi
Wang Anshi
Wang Anshi was a Chinese economist, statesman, chancellor and poet of the Song Dynasty who attempted controversial, major socioeconomic reforms...

 and Sima Guang
Sima Guang
Sīmǎ Guāng was a Chinese historian, scholar, and high chancellor of the Song Dynasty, jinshi 1038.-Life, profession, and works:...

, respectively. By the mid-to-late 13th century the Chinese had adopted the dogma of Neo-Confucian philosophy formulated by Zhu Xi
Zhu Xi
Zhū​ Xī​ or Chu Hsi was a Song Dynasty Confucian scholar who became the leading figure of the School of Principle and the most influential rationalist Neo-Confucian in China...

. There were enormous literary works compiled during the Song Dynasty, such as the historical work of the Zizhi Tongjian
Zizhi Tongjian
The Zizhi Tongjian was a pioneering reference work in Chinese historiography, published in 1084, under the form of a chronicles. In 1065 CE, Emperor Yingzong of Song ordered the great historian Sima Guang to lead with other scholars such as his chief assistants Liu Shu, Liu Ban and Fan Zuyu, the...

. Culture and the arts flourished, with grandiose artworks such as Along the River During the Qingming Festival and Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute
Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute
Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute are a series of Chinese songs and poems about the life of Han Dynasty poet Cai Wenji, the songs were composed by Liu Shang, a poet of the middle Tang Dynasty...

, while there were great Buddhist painters such as Lin Tinggui
Lin Tinggui
Lin Tinggui was a Chinese painter of the Southern Song Dynasty...

.

Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271–1368)




Capitals: Xanadu
Xanadu
-Description of Xanadu by Toghon Temur :The lament of Toghon Temur Khan , concerning the loss of Daidu and Heibun Shanduu in 1368, is recorded in many Mongolian historical chronicles...

 and Khanbaliq
Khanbaliq
Khanbaliq or Dadu refers to a city which is now Beijing, the current capital of the People's Republic of China...



The Jurchen-founded Jin Dynasty
Jin Dynasty, 1115–1234
The Jīn Dynasty ; Khitan language: Nik, Niku; ; 1115–1234), also known as the Jurchen Dynasty, was founded by the Wanyan clan of the Jurchens, the ancestors of the Manchus who established the Qing Dynasty some 500 years later...

 was defeated by the Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

, who then proceeded to defeat the Southern Song in a long and bloody war, the first war in which firearms played an important role. During the era after the war, later called the Pax Mongolica
Pax Mongolica
The Pax Mongolica is a Latin phrase meaning "Mongol Peace" coined by Western scholars to describe the stabilizing effects of the conquests of the Mongol Empire on the social, cultural, and economic life of the inhabitants of the vast Eurasian territory that the Mongols conquered in the 13th and...

, adventurous Westerners such as Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

 travelled all the way to China and brought the first reports of its wonders to Europe. In the Yuan Dynasty, the Mongols were divided between those who wanted to remain based in the steppes and those who wished to adopt the customs of the Chinese.

Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan , born Kublai and also known by the temple name Shizu , was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294 and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China...

, grandson of Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

, wanting to adopt the customs of China, established the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

. This was the first dynasty to rule the whole of China from Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 as the capital. Beijing had been ceded to Liao in AD 938 with the Sixteen Prefectures of Yan Yun
Sixteen Prefectures
The Sixteen Prefectures are a region in northern China stretching from present-day Beijing westward to Datong. In most areas, it is approximately seventy to one hundred miles in width...

. Before that, it had been the capital of the Jin
Jin Dynasty, 1115–1234
The Jīn Dynasty ; Khitan language: Nik, Niku; ; 1115–1234), also known as the Jurchen Dynasty, was founded by the Wanyan clan of the Jurchens, the ancestors of the Manchus who established the Qing Dynasty some 500 years later...

, who did not rule all of China.

Before the Mongol invasion, Chinese dynasties reportedly had approximately 120 million inhabitants; after the conquest was completed in 1279, the 1300 census reported roughly 60 million people. While it is tempting to attribute this major decline solely to Mongol ferocity, scholars today have mixed sentiments regarding this subject. Scholars such as Frederick W. Mote argue that the wide drop in numbers reflects an administrative failure to record rather than a de facto decrease whilst others such as Timothy Brook argue that the Mongols created a system of enserfment among a huge portion of the Chinese populace causing many to disappear from the census altogether. Other historians like William McNeill and David Morgan argue that the Bubonic Plague was the main factor behind the demographic decline during this period. The 14th century epidemics of plague (Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

) is estimated to have killed 30% of the population of China.

Ming Dynasty (AD 1368–1644)


Capitals: Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

, Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, Fuzhou
Fuzhou
Fuzhou is the capital and one of the largest cities in Fujian Province, People's Republic of China. Along with the many counties of Ningde, those of Fuzhou are considered to constitute the Mindong linguistic and cultural area....

, and Zhaoqing
Zhaoqing
Zhaoqing is a prefecture-level city of Guangdong province in southern China.-Geography:Zhaoqing is located 110 km northwest of Guangzhou, in the west Pearl River Delta. It lies on the north shores of the Xijiang River, which is flows from west to east, and opposite of Gaoyao...





Throughout the Yuan Dynasty, which lasted less than a century, there was relatively strong sentiment among the populace against the Mongol rule. The frequent natural disasters since the 1340s finally led to peasant revolts. The Yuan Dynasty was eventually overthrown by the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 in 1368.

Urbanization increased as the population grew and as the division of labor grew more complex. Large urban centers, such as Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

 and Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, also contributed to the growth of private industry. In particular, small-scale industries grew up, often specializing in paper, silk, cotton, and porcelain goods. For the most part, however, relatively small urban centers with markets proliferated around the country. Town markets mainly traded food, with some necessary manufactures such as pins or oil.

Despite the xenophobia
Xenophobia
Xenophobia is defined as "an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange". It comes from the Greek words ξένος , meaning "stranger," "foreigner" and φόβος , meaning "fear."...

 and intellectual introspection characteristic of the increasingly popular new school of neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism is an ethical and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, that was primarily developed during the Song Dynasty and Ming Dynasty, but which can be traced back to Han Yu and Li Ao in the Tang Dynasty....

, China under the early Ming Dynasty was not isolated. Foreign trade and other contacts with the outside world, particularly Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, increased considerably. Chinese merchants explored all of the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, reaching East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

 with the voyages of Zheng He
Zheng He
Zheng He , also known as Ma Sanbao and Hajji Mahmud Shamsuddin was a Hui-Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat and fleet admiral, who commanded voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa, collectively referred to as the Voyages of Zheng He or Voyages of Cheng Ho from...

.

Zhu Yuanzhang or Hong-wu, the founder of the dynasty, laid the foundations for a state interested less in commerce and more in extracting revenues from the agricultural sector. Perhaps because of the Emperor's background as a peasant, the Ming economic system emphasized agriculture, unlike that of the Song and the Mongolian Dynasties, which relied on traders and merchants for revenue. Neo-feudal landholdings of the Song and Mongol periods were expropriated by the Ming rulers. Land estates were confiscated by the government, fragmented, and rented out. Private slavery was forbidden. Consequently, after the death of Emperor Yong-le, independent peasant landholders predominated in Chinese agriculture. These laws might have paved the way to removing the worst of the poverty during the previous regimes.


The dynasty had a strong and complex central government that unified and controlled the empire. The emperor's role became more autocratic, although Zhu Yuanzhang necessarily continued to use what he called the "Grand Secretaries
Grand Secretariat
The Grand Secretariat was nominally a coordinating agency but de facto the highest institution in the Ming imperial government. It first took shape after Emperor Hongwu abolished the office of Chancellor in 1380 and gradually evolved into an effective coordinating organ superimposed on the Six...

" (内阁) to assist with the immense paperwork of the bureaucracy, including memorials (petitions and recommendations to the throne), imperial edicts in reply, reports of various kinds, and tax records. It was this same bureaucracy that later prevented the Ming government from being able to adapt to changes in society, and eventually led to its decline.

Emperor Yong-le strenuously tried to extend China's influence beyond its borders by demanding other rulers send ambassadors to China to present tribute. A large navy was built, including four-masted ships displacing 1,500 tons. A standing army of 1 million troops (some estimate as many as 1.9 million ) was created. The Chinese armies conquered Vietnam for around 20 years, while the Chinese fleet sailed the China seas and the Indian Ocean, cruising as far as the east coast of Africa. The Chinese gained influence in eastern Moghulistan
Moghulistan
Moghulistan or Mughalistan is a historical geographic unit in Central Asia that included parts of modern-day Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Chinese Autonomous Region of Xinjiang...

. Several maritime Asian nations sent envoys with tribute for the Chinese emperor. Domestically, the Grand Canal
Grand Canal of China
The Grand Canal in China, also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is the longest canal or artificial river in the world. Starting at Beijing, it passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the city of Hangzhou...

 was expanded and proved to be a stimulus to domestic trade. Over 100,000 tons of iron per year were produced. Many books were printed using movable type. The imperial palace in Beijing's Forbidden City
Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum...

 reached its current splendor. It was also during these centuries that the potential of south China came to be fully exploited. New crops were widely cultivated and industries such as those producing porcelain and textiles flourished.

In 1449 Esen Tayisi
Esen Tayisi
Esen taishi was a powerful Oirat Khagan of the Northern Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia in the 15th century. He is best known for capturing the Zhengtong Emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1450 after the Battle of Tumu Fortress and briefly reuniting the Mongols...

 led an Oirat
Oirats
Oirats are the westernmost group of the Mongols who unified several tribes origin whose ancestral home is in the Altai region of western Mongolia. Although the Oirats originated in the eastern parts of Central Asia, the most prominent group today is located in the Republic of Kalmykia, a federal...

 Mongol invasion of northern China which culminated in the capture of the Zhengtong Emperor
Zhengtong Emperor
Zhu Qizhen was an emperor of the Ming Dynasty. He ruled as the Zhengtong Emperor from 1435 to 1449, and as the Tianshun Emperor from 1457 to 1464....

 at Tumu. In 1542 the Mongol leader Altan Khan
Altan Khan
Altan Khan , whose given name was Anda , was the ruler of the Tümet Mongols and de facto ruler of the Right Wing, or western tribes, of the Mongols...

 began to harass China along the northern border. In 1550 he even reached the suburbs of Beijing. The empire also had to deal with Japanese pirates
Wokou
Wokou , which literally translates as "Japanese pirates" in English, were pirates of varying origins who raided the coastlines of China and Korea from the 13th century onwards...

 attacking the southeastern coastline; General Qi Jiguang
Qi Jiguang
Qi Jiguang was a Chinese military general and national hero during the Ming Dynasty. He was best remembered for his courage and leadership in the fight against Japanese pirates along the east coast of China, as well as his reinforcement work on the Great Wall of China.-Early life:Qi Jiguang was...

 was instrumental in defeating these pirates. The deadliest earthquake of all times, the Shaanxi earthquake of 1556 that killed approximately 830,000 people, occurred during the Jiajing Emperor
Jiajing Emperor
The Jiajing Emperor was the 11th Ming Dynasty Emperor of China who ruled from 1521 to 1567. Born Zhu Houcong, he was the former Zhengde Emperor's cousin...

's reign.

During the Ming dynasty the last construction on the Great Wall
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups...

 was undertaken to protect China from foreign invasions. While the Great Wall had been built in earlier times, most of what is seen today was either built or repaired by the Ming. The brick and granite work was enlarged, the watch towers were redesigned, and cannons were placed along its length.

Qing Dynasty (AD 1644–1911)


Capitals: Shenyang
Shenyang
Shenyang , or Mukden , is the capital and largest city of Liaoning Province in Northeast China. Currently holding sub-provincial administrative status, the city was once known as Shengjing or Fengtianfu...

 and Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...



The Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 (1644–1911) was the last imperial dynasty in China. Founded by the Manchus, it was the second non-Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 dynasty. The Manchus were formerly known as Jurchen residing in the northeastern part of the Ming territory outside the Great Wall. They emerged as the major threat to the late Ming Dynasty after Nurhaci
Nurhaci
Nurhaci was an important Jurchen chieftain who rose to prominence in the late sixteenth century in what is today Northeastern China...

 united all Jurchen tribes and established an independent state. However, the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 would be overthrown by Li Zicheng's peasants rebel, with Beijing captured in 1644 and the last Ming Emperor Chongzhen committed suicide. The Manchu then allied with the Ming Dynasty general Wu Sangui
Wu Sangui
Wu Sangui was a Ming Chinese general who was instrumental in the succession of rule to the Qing Dynasty in 1644...

 and seized Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, which was made the capital of the Qing dynasty, and proceeded to subdue the remaining Ming's resistance in the south
Southern Ming Dynasty
The Southern Ming Dynasty was the Ming loyalist regime that continued in Southern China from 1644 to 1662 following the capture of Beijing by rebel armies and the death of the last Ming emperor in 1644....

. The decades of Manchu conquest caused enormous loss of lives and the economic scale of China shrank drastically. Nevertheless, the Manchus adopted the Confucian norms of traditional Chinese government in their rule and was considered a Chinese dynasty.

The Manchus enforced a 'queue order' forcing the Han Chinese to adopt the Manchu queue hairstyle
Queue (hairstyle)
The queue or cue is a hairstyle in which the hair is worn long and gathered up into a ponytail. It was worn traditionally by certain Native American groups and the Manchu of Manchuria.-Manchu Queue:...

 and Manchu-style clothing. The traditional Han clothing, or Hanfu, was also replaced by Manchu-style clothing Qipao
Qipao
The cheongsam is a body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women; the male version is the changshan. It is known in Mandarin Chinese as the qípáo Wade-Giles ch'i-p'ao, and is also known in English as a mandarin gown...

(bannermen
Eight Banners
The Eight Banners were administrative divisions into which all Manchu families were placed. They provided the basic framework for the Manchu military organization...

 dress and Tangzhuang
Tangzhuang
Tangzhuang refers to the Chinese jacket that originated at the end of the Qing Dynasty . Tangzhuang evolved from Magua , a Manchu clothing, which was in turn adopted by the Han Chinese during Qing Dynasty. At that time, only noblemen, aristocracy and government officials were wearing it, however,...

). Emperor Kangxi ordered the creation of the most complete dictionary
Kangxi dictionary
The Kangxi Dictionary was the standard Chinese dictionary during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Kangxi Emperor of the Manchu Qing Dynasty ordered its compilation in 1710. The creator innovated greatly by reusing and confirming the new Zihui system of 596 radicals, since then known as 596 Kangxi...

 of Chinese character
Chinese character
Chinese characters are logograms used in the writing of Chinese and Japanese , less frequently Korean , formerly Vietnamese , or other languages...

s ever put together at the time. The Qing dynasty set up the "Eight Banners
Eight Banners
The Eight Banners were administrative divisions into which all Manchu families were placed. They provided the basic framework for the Manchu military organization...

" system that provided the basic framework for the Qing military organization. The bannermen were prohibited from participating in trade and manual labour unless they petitioned to be removed from banner status. They were considered a form of nobility and were given preferential treatment in terms of annual pensions, land and allotments of cloth.

Over the next half-century, the entire areas originally under the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

, including Yunnan
Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

 were consolidated. Also Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

, Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 and Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 were formally incorporated into Chinese territory. By the end of Qianlong Emperor's
Qianlong Emperor
The Qianlong Emperor was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty, and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. The fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor, he reigned officially from 11 October 1735 to 8 February 1796...

 long reign, the Qing Empire was at its zenith, ruled more than one-third of the world's population, and was the largest economy in the world. By area of extent, it was one of the largest empires ever existed in history.

In the 19th century, the empire was internally stagnated and externally threatened by imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

.
The defeat in the First Opium War
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

 (1840) by the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 led to the Treaty of Nanjing (1842), under which Hong Kong was ceded and opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 import was legitimized. Subsequent military defeats and unequal treaties
Unequal Treaties
“Unequal treaty” is a term used in specific reference to a number of treaties imposed by Western powers, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, on Qing Dynasty China and late Tokugawa Japan...

 with other imperial powers would continue even after the fall of the Qing Dynasty.

Internally, the Taiping Rebellion
Taiping Rebellion
The Taiping Rebellion was a widespread civil war in southern China from 1850 to 1864, led by heterodox Christian convert Hong Xiuquan, who, having received visions, maintained that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ, against the ruling Manchu-led Qing Dynasty...

 (1851–1864), a quasi-Christian religious movement led by the "Heavenly King" Hong Xiuquan
Hong Xiuquan
Hong Xiuquan , born Hong Renkun, style name Huoxiu , was a Hakka Chinese who led the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing Dynasty, establishing the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom over varying portions of southern China, with himself as the "Heavenly King" and self-proclaimed brother of Jesus Christ.-Early...

, would raid roughly a third of Chinese territory for over a decade until they were finally crushed in the Third Battle of Nanking
Third Battle of Nanking
The Third Battle of Nanking was the last major engagement of the Taiping Rebellion, occurring in 1864 after the death of the king of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Hong Xiuquan. There were probably more than a million troops in the battle and the Taiping army sustained 100,000 dead in the three day...

 in 1864. Arguably one of the largest warfares in the 19th century in terms of troops involvement, there were massive lost of lives, with a death toll of about 20 millions. A string of rebellions would follow, which included Punti-Hakka Clan Wars
Punti-Hakka Clan Wars
Punti–Hakka Clan Wars or Hakka–Punti Clan Wars refer to the conflict between the Hakka and Punti in Guangdong, China between 1855 and 1867. The wars were particularly fierce in around the Pearl River Delta, especially in Taishan of the Sze Yup counties...

, Nien Rebellion
Nien Rebellion
The Nien Rebellion was an armed uprising that took place in northern China from 1851 to 1868, contemporaneously with Taiping Rebellion in South China...

, Muslim Rebellion, Panthay Rebellion and the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

. All rebellions were eventually put down at enormous cost and casualties, the weakened central imperial authority would gradually give rise to regional warlordism. Eventually, China would descend into civil war immediately after the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Qing's imperial rule.

In response to the calamities within the empire and threats from imperialism, the Self-Strengthening Movement
Self-Strengthening Movement
The Self-Strengthening Movement , c 1861–1895, was a period of institutional reforms initiated during the late Qing Dynasty following a series of military defeats and concessions to foreign powers....

 was an institutional reform to modernize the empire with prime emphasis to strengthen the military. However, the reform was undermined by the corruption of officials, cynicism, and quarrels of the imperial family. As a result, the "Beiyang Navy" were soundly defeated in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895). Guangxu Emperor
Guangxu Emperor
The Guangxu Emperor , born Zaitian of the Aisin-Gioro clan, was the eleventh emperor of the Manchurian Qing Dynasty, and the ninth Qing emperor to rule over China. His reign lasted from 1875 to 1908, but in practice he ruled, under Empress Dowager Cixi's influence, only from 1889 to 1898...

 and the reformists then launched a more comprehensive reform effort, the Hundred Day's Reform (1898), but it was shortly overturned by the conservatives under Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi1 , of the Manchu Yehenara clan, was a powerful and charismatic figure who became the de facto ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China for 47 years from 1861 to her death in 1908....

 in a military coup.

At the turn of the 20th century, a conservative anti-imperialist movement, the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

 violently revolted against foreign suppression over vast areas in Northern China. The Empress Dowager, probably seeking to ensure her continual grip on power, sided with the Boxers as they advanced on Beijing. In response, a relief expedition
China Relief Expedition
The China Relief Expedition was the name of an expedition in China undertaken by the United States Armed Forces to the rescue of United States citizens, European nationals, and other foreign nationals during the latter years of the Boxer Rebellion, which lasted from between 1898 and 1901...

 of the Eight-Nation Alliance
Eight-Nation Alliance
The Eight-Nation Alliance was an alliance of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States whose military forces intervened in China to suppress the anti-foreign Boxers and relieve the siege of the diplomatic legations in Beijing .- Events :The...

 invaded China to rescue the besieged foreign missions. Consisting of British, Japanese, Russian, Italian, German, French, US and Austrian troops, the alliance defeated the Boxers and demanded further concessions from the Qing government.

Republic of China



Capitals: Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

, Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, Chongqing
Chongqing
Chongqing is a major city in Southwest China and one of the five national central cities of China. Administratively, it is one of the PRC's four direct-controlled municipalities , and the only such municipality in inland China.The municipality was created on 14 March 1997, succeeding the...

, and several short-lived wartime capitals; Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

 after 1949


Frustrated by the Qing court's resistance to reform and by China's weakness, young officials, military officers, and students began to advocate the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty and the creation of a republic. They were inspired by the revolutionary ideas of Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

. When Sun Yat-sen was asked by one of the leading revolutionary generals to what he ascribed the success, he said, "To Christianity more than to any other single cause. Along with its ideals of religious freedom, and along with these it inculcates everywhere a doctrine of universal love and peace. These ideals appeal to the Chinese; they largely caused the Revolution, and they largely determined its peaceful character."


Slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 in China was abolished in 1910.

A revolutionary military uprising, the Wuchang Uprising
Wuchang Uprising
The Wuchang Uprising began with the dissatisfaction of the handling of a railway crisis. The crisis then escalated to an uprising where the revolutionaries went up against Qing government officials. The uprising was then assisted by the New Army in a coup against their own authorities in the city...

, began on October 10, 1911 in Wuhan
Wuhan
Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, and is the most populous city in Central China. It lies at the east of the Jianghan Plain, and the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers...

. The provisional government
Provisional Government of the Republic of China (1912)
The Provisional Government of the Republic of China was a provisional government established during the Xinhai Revolution by the revolutionaries in 1912...

 of the Republic of China
Republic of China (1912–1949)
In 1911, after over two thousand years of imperial rule, a republic was established in China and the monarchy overthrown by a group of revolutionaries. The Qing Dynasty, having just experienced a century of instability, suffered from both internal rebellion and foreign imperialism...

 was formed in Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

 on March 12, 1912 with Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

 as President
President of the Republic of China
The President of the Republic of China is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China . The Republic of China was founded on January 1, 1912, to govern all of China...

, but Sun was forced to turn power over to Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai was an important Chinese general and politician famous for his influence during the late Qing Dynasty, his role in the events leading up to the abdication of the last Qing Emperor of China, his autocratic rule as the second President of the Republic of China , and his short-lived...

, who commanded the New Army
New Army
The New Armies were the modernized Qing armies, trained and equipped according to Western standards...

 and was Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 under the Qing government, as part of the agreement to let the last Qing monarch abdicate (a decision Sun would later regret). Over the next few years, Yuan proceeded to abolish the national and provincial assemblies, and declared himself emperor in late 1915. Yuan's imperial ambitions were fiercely opposed by his subordinates; faced with the prospect of rebellion, he abdicated in March 1916, and died in June of that year. His death left a power vacuum in China; the republican government was all but shattered. This ushered in the warlord era
Warlord era
The Chinese Warlord Era was the period in the history of the Republic of China, from 1916 to 1928, when the country was divided among military cliques, a division that continued until the fall of the Nationalist government in the mainland China regions of Sichuan, Shanxi, Qinghai, Ningxia,...

, during which much of the country was ruled by shifting coalitions of competing provincial military leaders.

In 1919, the May Fourth Movement
May Fourth Movement
The May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the Chinese government's weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, especially the Shandong Problem...

 began as a response to the terms imposed on China by the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 ending World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, but quickly became a protest movement about the domestic situation in China. The discrediting of liberal Western philosophy amongst Chinese intellectuals was followed by the adoption of more radical lines of thought. This in turn planted the seeds for the irreconcilable conflict between the left and right in China that would dominate Chinese history for the rest of the century.

In the 1920s, Sun Yat-Sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

 established a revolutionary base in south China, and set out to unite the fragmented nation. With Soviet assistance, he entered into an alliance with the fledgling Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

. After Sun's death from cancer in 1925, one of his protégés, Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

, seized control of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party or KMT)
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 and succeeded in bringing most of south and central China under its rule in a military campaign known as the Northern Expedition. Having defeated the warlords in south and central China by military force, Chiang was able to secure the nominal allegiance of the warlords in the North. In 1927, Chiang turned on the CPC and relentlessly chased the CPC armies and its leaders from their bases in southern and eastern China. In 1934, driven from their mountain bases such as the Chinese Soviet Republic, the CPC forces embarked on the Long March
Long March
The Long March was a massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south...

 across China's most desolate terrain to the northwest, where they established a guerrilla base at Yan'an
Yan'an
Yan'an , is a prefecture-level city in the Shanbei region of Shaanxi province in China, administering several counties, including Zhidan County , which served as the Chinese communist capital before the city of Yan'an proper took that role....

 in Shaanxi
Shaanxi
' is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province...

 Province.

During the Long March
Long March
The Long March was a massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south...

, the communists reorganized under a new leader, Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 (Mao Tse-tung). The bitter struggle between the KMT and the CPC continued, openly or clandestinely, through the 14-year long Japanese occupation (1931–1945) of various parts of the country. The two Chinese parties nominally formed a united front to oppose the Japanese in 1937, during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), which became a part of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Following the defeat of Japan in 1945, the war between the KMT and the CPC resumed, after failed attempts at reconciliation and a negotiated settlement. By 1949, the CPC had established control over most of the country. (see Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

)


At the end of WWII in 1945 as part of the overall Japanese surrender, Japanese troops in Taiwan surrendered to Republic of China troops giving Chiang Kai-shek effective control of Taiwan. When Chiang was defeated by CPC forces in mainland China in 1949, he retreated to Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 with his government and his most disciplined troops, along with most of the KMT leadership and a large number of their supporters.

1949 to present



Capital of People's Republic of China: Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...



Major combat in the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

 ended in 1949 with the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 in control of mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

, and the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (KMT) retreating to Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (ROC), reducing the ROC territory to only Taiwan and surrounding islands. On 1 October 1949, Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 proclaimed the People's Republic of China. "Communist China" and "Red China" were two common names for the PRC.


The economic and social plan known as the Great Leap Forward
Great Leap Forward
The Great Leap Forward of the People's Republic of China was an economic and social campaign of the Communist Party of China , reflected in planning decisions from 1958 to 1961, which aimed to use China's vast population to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a modern...

 resulted in an estimated 45 million deaths. In 1966, Mao and his allies launched the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

, which would last until Mao's death a decade later. The Cultural Revolution, motivated by power struggles within the Party and a fear of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, led to a major upheaval in Chinese society. In 1972, at the peak of the Sino-Soviet split
Sino-Soviet split
In political science, the term Sino–Soviet split denotes the worsening of political and ideologic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the Cold War...

, Mao and Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 met Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 in Beijing to establish relations with the United States. In the same year, the PRC was admitted to the United Nations in place of the Republic of China for China's membership of the United Nations, and permanent membership of the Security Council.

After Mao's death in 1976 and the arrest of the Gang of Four
Gang of Four
The Gang of Four was the name given to a political faction composed of four Chinese Communist Party officials. They came to prominence during the Cultural Revolution and were subsequently charged with a series of treasonous crimes...

, blamed for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 quickly wrested power from Mao's anointed successor Hua Guofeng
Hua Guofeng
Su Zhu, better known by the nom de guerre Hua Guofeng , was Mao Zedong's designated successor as the Paramount Leader of the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China. Upon Zhou Enlai's death in 1976, he succeeded Zhou as the second Premier of the People's Republic of China...

. Although he never became the head of the party or state himself, Deng was in fact the Paramount Leader
Paramount leader
Paramount leader literally "the highest leader of the party and the state ", in modern Chinese political science, unofficially refers to the political leader of the People's Republic of China....

 of China at that time, his influence within the Party led the country to significant economic reforms
Chinese economic reform
The Chinese economic reform refers to the program of economic reforms called "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" in the People's Republic of China that were started in December 1978 by reformists within the Communist Party of China led by Deng Xiaoping.China had one of the world's largest...

. The Communist Party subsequently loosened governmental control over citizens' personal lives and the communes
People's commune
The people's commune was the highest of three administrative levels in rural areas of the People's Republic of China during the period of 1958 to 1982-85 until they were replaced by townships. Communes, the largest collective units, were divided in turn into production brigades and production teams...

 were disbanded with many peasants receiving multiple land leases, which greatly increased incentives and agricultural production. This turn of events marked China's transition from a planned economy to a mixed economy with an increasingly open market environment, a system termed by some "market socialism
Market socialism
Market socialism refers to various economic systems where the means of production are either publicly owned or cooperatively owned and operated for a profit in a market economy. The profit generated by the firms system would be used to directly remunerate employees or would be the source of public...

", and officially by the Communist Party of China "Socialism with Chinese characteristics". The PRC adopted its current constitution
Constitution of the People's Republic of China
The Constitution of the People's Republic of China is the highest law within the People's Republic of China. The current version was adopted by the 5th National People's Congress on December 4, 1982 with further revisions in 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2004. Three previous state constitutions—those of...

 on 4 December 1982.

In 1989, the death of pro-reform official Hu Yaobang
Hu Yaobang
Hu Yaobang was a leader of the People's Republic of China who served as both Chairman and Party General Secretary. Hu joined the Chinese Communist Party in the 1930s, and rose to prominence as a comrade of Deng Xiaoping...

 helped to spark the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

, during which students and others campaigned for several months, speaking out against corruption and in favour of greater political reform, including democratic rights and freedom of speech. However, they were eventually put down on 4 June when PLA
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 troops and vehicles entered and forcibly cleared the square, resulting in numerous casualties. This event was widely reported and brought worldwide condemnation and sanctions against the government. The "Tank Man
Tank Man
Tank Man, or the Unknown Rebel, is the nickname of an anonymous man who stood in front of a column of Chinese Type 59 tanks the morning after the Chinese military forcibly removed protestors from in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. The man achieved widespread international...

" incident in particular became famous.

CPC General Secretary, President Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin is a former Chinese politician, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2005...

 and Premier Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Zhū Róngjī is a prominent Chinese politician who served as the Mayor and Party chief in Shanghai between 1987 and 1991, before serving as Vice-Premier and then the fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China from March 1998 to March 2003.A tough administrator, his time in office saw the...

, both former mayors of Shanghai, led post-Tiananmen PRC in the 1990s. Under Jiang and Zhu's ten years of administration, the PRC's economic performance pulled an estimated 150 million peasants out of poverty and sustained an average annual gross domestic product growth rate of 11.2%. The country formally joined the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 in 2001.

Although the PRC needs economic growth to spur its development, the government has begun to worry that rapid economic growth has negatively impacted the country's resources and environment. Another concern is that certain sectors of society are not sufficiently benefiting from the PRC's economic development; one example of this is the wide gap between urban and rural areas. As a result, under current CPC General Secretary, President Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

 and Premier Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao is the sixth and current Premier and Party secretary of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, serving as China's head of government and leading its cabinet. In his capacity as Premier, Wen is regarded as the leading figure behind China's economic policy...

, the PRC has initiated policies to address these issues of equitable distribution of resources, but the outcome remains to be seen. More than 40 million farmers have been displaced from their land, usually for economic development, contributing to the 87,000 demonstrations and riots across China in 2005. For much of the PRC's population, living standards have seen extremely large improvements, and freedom continues to expand, but political controls remain tight and rural areas poor.

See also



  • Chinese armour
    Chinese armour
    China has a long history of armour and weapons development. China has many varieties of armour, but the most were of the lamellar, coat of plates, brigandine and scaled varieties.-Ancient Armor: Shang to Han:Initially, armour was exclusively for nobles...

  • Chinese exploration
    Chinese exploration
    Chinese exploration includes exploratory Chinese travels abroad, on land and by sea, from the 2nd century BC until the 15th century.-Pamir Mountains and beyond:...

  • Chinese historiography
    Chinese historiography
    Chinese historiography refers to the study of methods and assumptions made in studying Chinese history.-History of Chinese Historians:Record of Chinese history dated back to the Shang Dynasty. The Classic of History, one of the Five Classics of Chinese classic texts is one of the earliest...

  • Chinese sovereign
    Chinese sovereign
    Chinese sovereign is the ruler of a particular period in ancient China. Several titles and naming schemes have been used throughout history.-Emperor Title:...

  • Economic history of China
    Economic history of China
    China's economic system before the late-1990s, with state ownership of certain industries and central control over planning and the financial system, has enabled the government to mobilize whatever surplus was available and greatly increase the proportion of the national economic output devoted to...

  • Ethnic groups in Chinese history
    Ethnic groups in Chinese history
    Ethnic groups in Chinese history refer to various or presumed ethnicities of significance to the history of China, gathered through the study of Classical Chinese literature, Chinese and non-Chinese literary sources and inscriptions, historical linguistics, and archaeological research.Among the...

  • Foreign relations of Imperial China
    Foreign relations of Imperial China
    Imperial China had a long tradition of foreign relations. From the Qin Dynasty until the Qing Dynasty, the Culture of China had an impact upon neighboring and distant countries, while gradually being transformed by outside influences as well....

  • Four occupations
    Four occupations
    The four occupations or "four categories of the people" was a hierarchic social class structure developed in ancient China by either Confucian or Legalist scholars as far back as the late Zhou Dynasty and is considered a central part of the Fengjian social structure...

  • History of Hong Kong
    History of Hong Kong
    Hong Kong began as a coastal island geographically located off the southern coast of China. While pockets of settlements had taken place in the region with archaeological findings dating back thousands of years, regular written records were not made...

  • History of Islam in China
    History of Islam in China
    The History of Islam in China began when four Sahabas- Sa'ad ibn abi Waqqas , Wahb Abu Kabcha, Jafar ibn Abu Talib and Jahsh preached in 616/17 and onwards in China after coming from Chittagong-Kamrup-Manipur route after sailing from Abyssinia in 615/16...

  • History of Macau
    History of Macau
    Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. It was administered by Portugal for 442 years, first as a trading post, however self administration was not achieved until the 1840's, it was subsequently turned as a Portuguese territory, until its handover to China in...

  • History of science and technology in China
    History of science and technology in China
    The history of science and technology in China is both long and rich with many contributions to science and technology. In antiquity, independently of other civilizations, ancient Chinese philosophers made significant advances in science, technology, mathematics, and astronomy...

  • List of Chinese monarchs
  • List of Neolithic cultures of China
  • List of rebellions in China
  • List of recipients of tribute from China
  • List of tributaries of Imperial China
  • Military history of China (pre-1911)
  • Naval history of China
    Naval history of China
    The naval history of China dates back thousands of years, with archives existing since the late Spring and Autumn Period about the ancient navy of China and the various ship types used in war. China was leading maritime power in the years 1405-1433, when Chinese shipbuilders began to build massive...

  • Religion in China
    Religion in China
    Religion in China has been characterized by pluralism since the beginning of Chinese history. The Chinese religions are family-oriented and do not demand the exclusive adherence of members. Some scholars doubt the use of the term "religion" in reference to Buddhism and Taoism, and suggest "cultural...

  • Timeline of Chinese history
    Timeline of Chinese history
    The following is a timeline of the history of China. Between the changing of the dynasties, most dates overlap as ruling periods do not transfer immediately...



Surveys

  • Eberharad, Wolfram. A History of China (2005), 380 pages' full text online free
  • Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, and Kwang-ching Liu. The Cambridge Illustrated History of China (1999) 352 pages
  • Fairbank, John King and Goldman, Merle. China: A New History. 2nd ed. Harvard U. Press, (2006). 640 pp.
  • Gernet, Jacques, J. R. Foster, and Charles Hartman. A History of Chinese Civilization (1996), called the best one-volume survey;
  • Hsü, Immanuel Chung-yueh. The Rise of Modern China, 6th ed. (Oxford University Press, 1999), highly detailed coverage of 1644-1999, in 1136pp.
  • Huang, Ray. China, a Macro History (1997) 335pp, an idiosyncratic approach, not for beginners; online edition from Questia
  • Keay, John. China: A History (2009), 642pp
  • Latourette, Kenneth Scott. The Development of China (1917) 273 pages; full text online
  • Michael, Franz. China through the Ages: History of a Civilization. (1986). 278pp; online edition from Questia
  • Mote, Frederick W. Imperial China, 900–1800 Harvard University Press, 1999, 1,136 pages, the authoritative treatment of the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties;
  • Perkins, Dorothy. Encyclopedia of China: The Essential Reference to China, Its History and Culture. Facts on File, 1999. 662 pp.
  • Roberts, J. A. G. A Concise History of China. Harvard U. Press, 1999. 341 pp.
  • Schoppa, R. Keith. The Columbia Guide to Modern Chinese History. Columbia U. Press, 2000. 356 pp. online edition from Questia
  • Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China (1999), 876pp; well written survey from 1644 to 1990s excerpt and text search; complete edition online at Questia
  • Ven, Hans van de, ed. Warfare in Chinese History. E. J. Brill, 2000. 456 pp. online edition
  • Wang, Ke-wen, ed. Modern China: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Nationalism. Garland, 1998. 442 pp.
  • Wright, David Curtis. History of China (2001) 257pp; online edition
  • full text of older histories (pre 1923)

Prehistory

  • Chang, Kwang-chih. The Archaeology of Ancient China, Yale University Press, 1986.
  • Discovery of residue from fermented beverage consumed up to 9,000 years ago in Jiahu, Henan Province, China. By Dr. Patrick E McGovern, University of Pennsylvania archaeochemist and colleagues from China, Great Britain and Germany.
  • The Discovery of Early Pottery in China by Zhang Chi, Department of Archaeology, Peking University, China.

Shang Dynasty

  • Durant, Stephen W. The Cloudy Mirror: Tension and Conflict in the Writings of Sima Qian (1995),

Han Dynasty

  • de Crespigny, Rafe
    Rafe de Crespigny
    Dr Rafe de Crespigny is a retired Adjunct Professor with the China and Korea Centre, Australian National University in Canberra, Australia...

    . 1972. The Ch’iang Barbarians and the Empire of Han: A Study in Frontier Policy. Papers on Far Eastern History 16, Australian National University. Canberra.
  • de Crespigny, Rafe. 1984. Northern Frontier. The Policies and Strategies of the Later Han Empire. Rafe de Crespigny. 1984. Faculty of Asian Studies, Australian National University. Canberra.
  • Dubs, Homer H. 1938-55. The History of the Former Han Dynasty by Pan Ku. (3 vol)
  • Hill, John E. Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. (2009) ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
  • Hulsewé, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N., eds. China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BCE – CE 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. (1979)
  • Twitchett, Denis and Loewe, Michael, eds. 1986. The Cambridge History of China. Volume I. The Ch’in and Han Empires, 221 BCE – CE 220. Cambridge University Press.
  • Yap, Joseph P. ``Wars With the Xiongnu - A Translation From Zizhi tongjian`` (Zhan-guo, Qin, Han and Xin 403 BCE - 23 CE.) AuthorHouse (2009) ISBN 1-4900-0604-4

Jin, the Sixteen Kingdoms, and the Northern and Southern Dynasties

  • Miller, Andrew. Accounts of Western Nations in the History of the Northern Chou Dynasty. (1959)

Sui Dynasty

  • Wright, Arthur F.
    Arthur F. Wright
    Arthur Frederick Wright was an American academic, sinologist, editor and professor of history at Yale University. He specialized in Chinese social and intellectual history of the pre-modern period.- Early life:...

     1978. The Sui Dynasty: The Unification of China. CE 581-617. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. ISBN 0-394-49187-4 ; 0-394-32332-7 (pbk).

Tang Dynasty

  • Benn, Charles. 2002. China's Golden Age: Everyday Life in the Tang Dynasty. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517665-0.
  • Schafer, Edward H. 1963. The Golden Peaches of Samarkand: A study of T’ang Exotics. University of California Press. Berkeley and Los Angeles. 1st paperback edition. 1985. ISBN 0-520-05462-8.
  • Schafer, Edward H. 1967. The Vermilion Bird: T’ang Images of the South. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. Reprint 1985. ISBN 0-520-05462-8.
  • Shaffer, Lynda Norene. 1996. Maritime Southeast Asia to 1500. Armonk, New York, M.E. Sharpe, Inc. ISBN 1-56324-144-7.
  • Wang, Zhenping. 1991. "T’ang Maritime Trade Administration." Wang Zhenping. Asia Major, Third Series, Vol. IV, 1991, pp. 7–38.

Song Dynasty

  • Ebrey, Patricia. The Inner Quarters: Marriage and the Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period (1990)
  • Hymes, Robert, and Conrad Schirokauer, eds. Ordering the World: Approaches to State and Society in Sung Dynasty China, U of California Press, 1993; complete text online free
  • Shiba, Yoshinobu. 1970. Commerce and Society in Sung China. Originally published in Japanese as So-dai sho-gyo—shi kenkyu-. Tokyo, Kazama shobo-, 1968. Yoshinobu Shiba. Translation by Mark Elvin, Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan.

Ming Dynasty

  • Brook, Timothy. The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China. (1998).
  • Brook, Timothy. The Troubled Empire: China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties (2010) 329 pages. Focus on the impact of a Little Ice Age on the empire, as the empire, beginning with a sharp drop in temperatures in the 13th century during which time the Mongol leader Kubla Khan moved south into China.
  • Dardess, John W. A Ming Society: T'ai-ho County, Kiangsi, Fourteenth to Seventeenth Centuries. (1983); uses advanced "new social history" complete text online free
  • Farmer, Edward. Zhu Yuanzhang and Early Ming Legislation: The Reordering of Chinese Society Following the Era of Mongol Rule. E.J. Brill, 1995.
  • Goodrich, L. Carrington, and Chaoying Fang. Dictionary of Ming Biography. (1976).
  • Huang, Ray. 1587, A Year of No Significance: The Ming Dynasty in Decline. (1981).
  • Mann, Susan. Precious Records: Women in China's Long Eighteenth Century (1997)
  • Mote, Frederick W. and Twitchett, Denis, eds. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 7: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 1. (1988). 976 pp.
  • Schneewind, Sarah. A Tale of Two Melons: Emperor and Subject in Ming China. (2006).
  • Tsai, Shih-shan Henry. Perpetual Happiness: The Ming Emperor Yongle. (2001).
  • Mote, Frederick W., and Denis Twitchett, eds. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 7, part 1: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644 (1988). 1008 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Twitchett, Denis and Frederick W. Mote, eds. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 8: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 1.
    • Twitchett, Denis and Frederick W. Mote, eds. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 8: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 2. (1998). 1203 pp.

Qing Dynasty

  • Fairbank, John K. and Liu, Kwang-Ching, ed. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 2: Late Ch'ing, 1800–1911, Part 2. Cambridge U. Press, 1980. 754 pp.
  • Peterson, Willard J., ed. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 9, Part 1: The Ch'ing Dynasty to 1800. Cambridge U. Press, 2002. 753 pp.
  • Rawski, Evelyn S. The Last Emperors: A Social History of Qing Imperial Institutions (2001) complete text online free
  • Struve, Lynn A., ed. The Qing Formation in World-Historical Time. (2004). 412 pp.
  • Struve, Lynn A., ed. Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm: China in Tigers' Jaws (1998)
  • Yizhuang, Ding. "Reflections on the 'New Qing History' School in the United States," Chinese Studies in History, Winter 2009/2010, Vol. 43 Issue 2, pp 92–96, It drops the theme of "sinification" in evaluating the dynasty and the non-Han Chinese regimes in general. It seeks to analyze the success and failure of Manchu rule in China from the Manchu perspective and focus on how Manchu rulers sought to maintain the Manchu ethnic identity throughout Qing history.

Republican era

  • Bergere, Marie-Claire. Sun Yat-Sen (1998), 480pp, the standard biography
  • Boorman, Howard L., ed. Biographical Dictionary of Republican China. (Vol. I-IV and Index. 1967-1979). 600 short scholarly biographies excerpt and text search
    • Boorman, Howard L. "Sun Yat-sen" in Boorman, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Republican China (1970) 3: 170-89, complete text online
  • Dreyer, Edward L. China at War, 1901-1949. (1995). 422 pp.
  • Eastman Lloyd. Seeds of Destruction: Nationalist China in War and Revolution, 1937- 1945. (1984)
  • Eastman Lloyd et al. The Nationalist Era in China, 1927-1949 (1991)
  • Fairbank, John K., ed. The Cambridge History of China, Vol. 12, Republican China 1912-1949. Part 1. (1983). 1001 pp.
  • Fairbank, John K. and Feuerwerker, Albert, eds. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 13: Republican China, 1912–1949, Part 2. (1986). 1092 pp.
  • Gordon, David M. The China-Japan War, 1931–1945. The Journal of Military History v70#1 (2006) 137-182; major historiographical overview of all important books and interpretations; in Project Muse
    Project MUSE
    Project MUSE is an online database of current and back issues of peer-reviewed humanities and social sciences journals. It was founded in 1993 by Todd Kelley and Susan Lewis and is a project of the Johns Hopkins University Press and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. It had support from the Mellon...

  • Hsiung, James C. and Steven I. Levine, eds. China's Bitter Victory: The War with Japan, 1937-1945 (1992), essays by scholars; online from Questia;
  • Hsi-sheng, Ch'i. Nationalist China at War: Military Defeats and Political Collapse, 1937–1945 (1982)
  • Hung, Chang-tai. War and Popular Culture: Resistance in Modern China, 1937-1945 (1994) complete text online free
  • Rubinstein, Murray A., ed. Taiwan: A New History (2006), 560pp
  • Shiroyama, Tomoko. China during the Great Depression: Market, State, and the World Economy, 1929-1937 (2008)
  • Shuyun, Sun. The Long March: The True History of Communist China's Founding Myth (2007)
  • Taylor, Jay. The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China. (2009) ISBN 978-0674033382
  • Westad, Odd Arne. Decisive Encounters: The Chinese Civil War, 1946-1950. (2003). 413 pp. the standard history

Communist era, 1949- present

  • Barnouin, Barbara, and Yu Changgen. Zhou Enlai: A Political Life (2005)
  • Baum, Richard D. "'Red and Expert': The Politico-Ideological Foundations of China's Great Leap Forward," Asian Survey, Vol. 4, No. 9 (Sep., 1964), pp. 1048–1057 in JSTOR
  • Becker, Jasper. Hungry Ghosts: China's Secret Famine (1996), on the "Great Leap Forward" of 1950s
  • Chang, Jung and Jon Halliday. Mao: The Unknown Story, (2005), 814 pages, ISBN 0-679-42271-4
  • Dittmer, Lowell. China's Continuous Revolution: The Post-Liberation Epoch, 1949-1981 (1989) online free
  • Dietrich, Craig. People's China: A Brief History, 3d ed. (1997), 398pp
  • Kirby, William C., ed. Realms of Freedom in Modern China. (2004). 416 pp.
  • Kirby, William C.; Ross, Robert S.; and Gong, Li, eds. Normalization of U.S.-China Relations: An International History. (2005). 376 pp.
  • Li, Xiaobing. A History of the Modern Chinese Army (2007)
  • MacFarquhar, Roderick and Fairbank, John K., eds. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 15: The People's Republic, Part 2: Revolutions within the Chinese Revolution, 1966-1982. Cambridge U. Press, 1992. 1108 pp.
  • Meisner, Maurice. Mao's China and After: A History of the People’s Republic, 3rd ed. (Free Press, 1999), dense book with theoretical and political science approach.
  • Spence, Jonatham. Mao Zedong (1999)
  • Shuyun, Sun. The Long March: The True History of Communist China's Founding Myth (2007)
  • Wang, Jing. High Culture Fever: Politics, Aesthetics, and Ideology in Deng's China (1996) complete text online free
  • Wenqian, Gao. Zhou Enlai: The Last Perfect Revolutionary (2007)

Cultural Revolution, 1966-76

  • Clark, Paul. The Chinese Cultural Revolution: A History (2008), a favorable look at artistic production excerpt and text search
  • Esherick, Joseph W.; Pickowicz, Paul G.; and Walder, Andrew G., eds. The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History. (2006). 382 pp.
  • Jian, Guo; Song, Yongyi; and Zhou, Yuan. Historical Dictionary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. (2006). 433 pp.
  • MacFarquhar, Roderick and Fairbank, John K., eds. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 15: The People's Republic, Part 2: Revolutions within the Chinese Revolution, 1966-1982. Cambridge U. Press, 1992. 1108 pp.
  • MacFarquhar, Roderick and Michael Schoenhals. Mao's Last Revolution. (2006).
  • MacFarquhar, Roderick. The Origins of the Cultural Revolution. Vol. 3: The Coming of the Cataclysm, 1961-1966. (1998). 733 pp.
  • Yan, Jiaqi and Gao, Gao. Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution. (1996). 736 pp.

Economy and environment

  • Chow, Gregory C. China's Economic Transformation (2nd ed. 2007)
  • Elvin, Mark. Retreat of the Elephants: An Environmental History of China. (2004). 564 pp.
  • Elvin, Mark and Liu, Ts'ui-jung, eds. Sediments of Time: Environment and Society in Chinese History. (1998). 820 pp.
  • Ji, Zhaojin. A History of Modern Shanghai Banking: The Rise and Decline of China's Finance Capitalism. (2003. 325) pp.
  • Naughton, Barry. The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth (2007)
  • Rawski, Thomas G. and Lillian M. Li, eds. Chinese History in Economic Perspective, University of California Press, 1992 complete text online free
  • Sheehan, Jackie. Chinese Workers: A New History. Routledge, 1998. 269 pp.
  • Stuart-Fox, Martin. A Short History of China and Southeast Asia: Tribute, Trade and Influence. (2003). 278 pp.

Women and gender

  • Ebrey, Patricia. The Inner Quarters: Marriage and the Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period (1990)
  • Hershatter, Gail, and Wang Zheng. "Chinese History: A Useful Category of Gender Analysis," American Historical Review, Dec 2008, Vol. 113 Issue 5, pp 1404–1421
  • Hershatter, Gail. Women in China's Long Twentieth Century (2007), full text online
  • Hershatter, Gail, Emily Honig, Susan Mann, and Lisa Rofel, eds. Guide to Women's Studies in China (1998)
  • Ko, Dorothy. Teachers of Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in China, 1573-1722 (1994)
  • Mann, Susan. Precious Records: Women in China's Long Eighteenth Century (1997)
  • Wang, Shuo. "The 'New Social History' in China: The Development of Women's History," History Teacher, May 2006, Vol. 39 Issue 3, pp 315–323


Further reading

  • CLASSICAL HISTORIOGRAPHY FOR CHINESE HISTORY
  • Abramson, Marc S. (2008). Ethnic Identity in Tang China. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia. ISBN 978-0-8122-4052-8.
  • Ankerl, G. C. Coexisting Contemporary Civilizations: Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. INU PRESS Geneva, 2000. ISBN 2-88155-004-5.
  • Creel, Herrlee Glessner. The Birth of China. 1936.
  • Fairbank, John King
    John K. Fairbank
    John King Fairbank , was a prominent American academic and historian of China.-Education and early career:...

    , China : a new history, Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992. ISBN 0674116704
  • Feis, Herbert
    Herbert Feis
    Herbert Feis was an American Author and former Economic Advisor for International Affairs to the Department of State in the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations....

    , The China Tangle: The American Effort in China from Pearl Harbor to the Marshall Mission, Princeton University Press, 1953.
  • Hammond, Kenneth J.
    Ken Hammond
    Kenneth J. Hammond is Professor of History at New Mexico State University.Hammond was a student and Students for a Democratic Society leader at Kent State University from 1967 to 1970. He later completed his degree in Political Science, then studied Modern Chinese language at the Beijing Foreign...

     From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History. The Teaching Company, 2004. (A lecture on DVD.)
  • Giles, Herbert Allen
    Herbert Giles
    Herbert Allen Giles was a British diplomat and sinologist, educated at Charterhouse. He modified a Mandarin Chinese Romanization system earlier established by Thomas Wade, resulting in the widely known Wade-Giles Chinese transliteration system...

    . The Civilization of China. Project Gutenburg e-text. A general history, originally published around 1911.
  • Giles, Herbert Allen
    Herbert Giles
    Herbert Allen Giles was a British diplomat and sinologist, educated at Charterhouse. He modified a Mandarin Chinese Romanization system earlier established by Thomas Wade, resulting in the widely known Wade-Giles Chinese transliteration system...

    . China and the Manchus. Project Gutenberg e-text. Covers the Qing (Manchu) dynasty, published shortly after the fall of the dynasty, around 1912.
  • Laufer, Berthold. 1912. JADE: A Study in Chinese Archaeology & Religion. Reprint: Dover Publications, New York. 1974.
  • Murray, Hugh ; Crawfurd, John; Gordon, Peter, An historical and descriptive account of China, Edinburgh & London : Oliver & Boyd, 1836. 3 volumes.
  • Terrill, Ross, 800,000,000: the real China, Boston, Little, Brown, 1972
  • Wilkinson, Endymion Porter, Chinese history : a manual, revised and enlarged. - Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University, Asia Center (for the Harvard-Yenching Institute), 2000, 1181 p., ISBN 0-674-00247-4; ISBN 0-674-00249-0

External links