History of China

Ancient Times to the First Emperor.

It is significant that China has had over 5,000 years of history. China has one of the oldest civilizations in the world despite the large amount of information that is still relatively unknown. This guide is a brief historical overview of China over thousands of years.

Before the first dynasty of the Xia, in 2200 BC, primitive colonies lived on the coast of the Yangtze and Yellow River. It is a time in civilization during the Yangshao (5000 – 3000 BC) and the Longshan (3000–1700 BC) which were traced by archeologists using remains in the area.
China’s history traces back to Xia, which is where the first dynasty was. The following discusses important events in Chinese history.

Dynasty Events In Western History
Xia   0-1700 before Christ

• First traces of the man in the loessial region of Shanxi

• mythical dynasty which would be at the origin of Chinese civilization 2,500 before Christ: Age of copper

The first Greek speaking tribes, The Mycenaean. Pyramids of Giza built.
Shang 1700 before Christ: Iron age

• at the beginning of bronze age in China

• Kingdom aimed by a semi-divine sovereign 1600 before Christ

Tutankhamun

became pharaoh 1100-1200

(exact date unknown)

Zhou 1100-220 before Christ

• feudal system founded on the upper class

• Period of the Springs and Autumns and from Combat Kingdoms

• Epoch of Laozi (father of the Taoism) then of Confucius

The date of the first Olympic games in Greece 776BC
Qin 221-207 before Christ

Chinese territory: 3,55 million km², 25 million inhabitants

  • Unification of China (writing, currency, units of measure, privatization of lands) under the First Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi
End of the classical ancient Greek period. Death of Alexander the Great.

Imperial China

The first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi was crucial in influencing the unification of China. He introduced a system of collective responsibility and implemented the foundations of the present-day legal system. Additionally, he introduced monetary, weights and measurements systems.

China was large at the time so it was difficult to represent the many small kingdoms in each territory. Below are the most important dynasties, as well as the Liao (907 – 1125) and Jin (1115 – 1234).  Other dynasties can be divided into several periods, such as the Zhou of the west and the Zhou of the east, the Han of the west and then to the east, and the Song of the north and south.

Dynasty Events In the west
Han 206–220 B.C.

Chinese territory: 6,660,000 sq. km, 55 million
• Start the ” golden age”
• Opening of the Silk Road to reach Rome
• Invention of paper, seismograph and porcelain ; introduction of official examinations

Julius Caesar and
Roman Empire
Five

Kingdoms

220–280 B.C.

• Fall of the centralized state and the beginning of the Chinese Middle Ages
• Fight between the Wei, Shu and Wu who inspire later Chinese opera
• United governed by a semi- divine ruler Roman Gaul
Jin 265-420

Roman Gaul
Jin 265–420 B.C.

Chinese territory: 6.15 million km², 50 million people
• Period of the Sixteen Kingdoms Roman Gaul
Southern Dynasties and Northern 420-581
• Division of the country between two dynasties, the northern adopted Buddhism
• Start of construction of the Grand Canal from Beijing to Hangzhou (about 2000 km)
• Realization of the Yungang Grottoes in Datong and those Longmen in Luoyang End of the Roman Empire
Attila

Eastern Roman Empire
North

Dynasties

420-581 B.C.

  • • Division of the country between two dynasties, the northern adopted Buddhism
    • Start of construction of the Grand Canal from Beijing to Hangzhou (about 2000 km)
    • Realization of the Yungang Grottoes in Datong
End of the Roman Empire
Attila
Sui 581–618 B.C.

  • Chinese territory: 4.8 million km², 46 million people
    • Reunification of the country after four centuries of chaos
    • Extension of the Great Wall and intensification of relations in Asia
Clovis King of the Franks
Medieval Merovingian

 

Tang 618–907 B.C.

Chinese territory: 4.8 million km², 46 million people
• Golden Age of Chinese culture (music, poetry and classical literature, pottery, silk,…)
• First printing process (woodcuts), the first book and banknote printed first use of gunpowder
• Reign of the radiating Emperor Xuanzong
• Reign of the only female emperor of China, Wu Zetian
• The empire extends to Iran, North India (Kashmir) and Korea

Medieval Merovingian
King Dagobert
Middle Ages Carolingian
Charlemagne
5 dynasties 907-960 B.C.

• The north is separated into five dynasties and 10 kingdoms
• Vietnam separates from the Chinese rule Carolingian Middle Ages
Song 960 – 1279
Chinese territory: 2.8 million km ², 100 million people
• economic and cultural vitality (porcelain industry and raw materials, means of communication, archeology, mathematics, science, philosophy, arts,…)
• Appearance of a merchant class wanting to take advantage of his free time officials and scholars (development of imperial

Middle Ages Carolingian
Song 960 – 1279 B.C.

  • Chinese territory: 2.8 million km ², 100 million people
    • economic and cultural vitality (porcelain industry and raw materials, means of communication, archeology, mathematics, science, philosophy, arts,…)
    • Appearance of a merchant class wanting to take advantage of his free time officials and scholars (development of imperial examinations)
Middle age Capetian
First Hundred Years War
crusades
Han 1279–1368 B.C.

Chinese territory: 24 million km², 75 million people
• The Mongols led by Kublai Khan control all the former territory desSong and go to Taiwan and Tibet, they establish rules for Mongolian, Han and foreign

The Second Crusades
Ming 1368–1644 B.C.

• Marco Polo stayed in China with its capital, Dadu, the current Beijing
• Completed construction of the Grand Canal and reopening of the Silk Road during the Middle Ages

Joan of Arc
Renaissance (Valois)

 

Qing 1644–1911 B.C.

Chinese territory: 13 million km ², population 340 million
• The Manchus took power in villages and massacring their territory extends to Taiwan, Yunnan and Xinjiang
• Censorship and imposition of Manchu Culture
• Control and protection of Tibet
• First and Second Opium War which destroyed the Chinese population, response and British Treaty of Nanking, Hong Kong assignment, and the Treaties of Tianjin forced open Chinese ports, establishment of foreign concessions
• Taiping Rebellion inspired by Christianity, Boxer Rebellion and the Treaty of Shimonoseki to cede Taiwan to Japan, Qingdao transfer to Germany
• Looting Beijing and bag the old Summer Palace

Renaissance
Versailles
Napoleon

 

China from 1911 to 1949

The end of the Middle Kingdom was marked by the capture of Peking by allied powers and the control of Forbidden City. The Emperor Puyi exercised illusory power in his palace and kept his title as emperor while Republicans already begun establishing their power. Puyi remained in the Forbidden City until 1924, for his abdication. Throughout this period, the country was divided between nationalism and communism.

Republic

Of China

• The Republic of China was proclaimed on 1 January 1912 in Nanjing Sun Yat-Sen
• Back ephemeral dynasties with General Yuan Shikai between 1912 and 1916
• May 4th Movement of 1919 student uprising and boycott of Japanese goods
• Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang directs (Nationalist Party) in 1920
• The Chinese Communist Party was founded in 1921
• War with Japan invaded Mandchouriepuis the rest of China from 1931 to 1945, the Nationalists and Communists stand together
• Massacre Nanjing 1937 by Japanese soldiers
• Long March of Mao Zedong between 1934 and 1935, the Communists through 12,000 km refuge in Shaanxi
• Civil War between Kuomintang and the Communist Party in 1946 which results in the release of the Kuomintang in Taiwan
Treaty of Versailles
Hitler
World War 2

Communist China
Chiang Kai Shek and his party were forced to flee to Taiwan after their defeat against Communists under the command of general Mao. The present-day PRC was then declared on October 1st, 1949 on the mainland while Chiang Kai-shek continued to lead the Republic of China in Taiwan. What followed was a lot of reform that changed the face of China.

Modern Republic  • 1950: “Peaceful Liberation of Tibet”
• 1957: Period of the Hundred Flowers, intellectuals are rehabilitated
• 1958-1962: Great Leap Forward, collectivization of land and creation of communes, famine (20 million people)
• 1966-1976: Cultural Revolution, Mao gets rid of his opponents capitalist ideas
• 1971: Entry to the UN (in place of the Republic of China)
• 1976: Death of Mao and fall of the Gang of Four, coming to power of Deng Xiaoping in 1978 (Four Modernizations)
• 1989: events of Tiananmen Square
• 1993: Jiang Zemin becomes president, socialist market economy
• Surrender of Hong Kong in 1997 and Macao in 1999
• 2001: China joins the WTO
• Beijing hosts the Olympics in 2008 and the Shanghai World Expo in 2010
• 2013: Xi Jinping was elected president
Vietnam
Nixion Visits China

 

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