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Ancient China - Index

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Timeline of Dynasties Early Dynasties Philosophy The True Story of Mulan

Dynasties of Ancient China

Xia *
*Not generally considered a real dynasty



ca. 2200-1800 BC

1700-1050 BC

1050-221 BC

  • No archaeological evidence of them was found until 1959
  • Agrarian people (farmers)
  • Bronze weapons
  • Rulers were shamans (communicated with spirits)
  • According to legend, the dynasty ended when the cruel ruler was overthrown
  • Considered by most to be China’s first true dynasty
  • Developed on the plains along the Yellow River
  • Landowners, peasants, slaves
  • No strong central gov’t
  • Worshipped ancestors and the god Shang Ti
  • Developed and spread Shang culture. Started where Shang left off
  • Strong military, conquering a large area
  • “Mandate of Heaven” – permission from the ancestors to rule
  • Iron tools (plows, etc.) and weapons
  • Philosophers Lao-Tzu and Confucius were born during this dynasty

Warring States Period



475-221 BC

221-206 BC

206 BC - AD 220

  • Zhou warrior states rebelled, sparking a fight for control of the large area of China
  • Time of the great philosophers Lao-Tzu and Confucius
  • The philosophy of Legalism is introduced (becomes major part of Qin gov’t)
  • Western states vs. eastern states
  • Qin dynasty conquered other warring states to unify China for the first time
  • 36 provinces of China unified under one emperor (Shihuangdi)
  • Started building the Great Wall; build an elaborate tomb with terra cotta warriors
  • 5000 miles of roads to connect empire
  • Standardization of coins, weights, and measures
  • Made Qin the official writing system ( China is named after the Qin)
  • Civil war erupts after the death of Shihuangdi, and the Han seize the empire
  • Gov’t by Confucian ideas; built Confucian schools to teach sayings and proverbs
  • Scholar bureaucrats chosen by exam (similar to Civil Service Exam)
  • The “ Silk Road” was a major part of the Han economy
  • Expanded China’s boundaries almost to where they are today; in Chinese, the country is called “Han” •• Freewalt Family •• Search •• Terms of Use

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