Chinese History

  • imperial I
  • December 3, 2010


Xia & Shang 2200 – 1100 BC Mythological period
* Eulogized agricultural society with attendant mythology
* Evidence of early divination techniques
Zhou 1100 – 221 BC Birth of Chinese philosophy
* Seven socially and politically developed states compete for supremacy.
* Birth of Confucianism, Daoism and competing ideologies of the "hundred schools".
Qin 221 – 207 BC War
* Infamous & tyrannical Emperor Qinshihuang unites China for first time.
* Weights, measures, roads & writing standardised. 
* Revolutionary books burned. 
* The first Great Wall built.
Han 206 BC – 220 AD Consolidation of China as a unified state
* Centralised rule & expanded state borders. 
* Diplomatic and commercial contact with Central Asian and neighbouring Far Eastern countries.
Three Kingdoms, Jin, Southern & Northern Dynasties 220 – 581 Disintegration: Chaos & War
* Fragmentation of successive regimes competing for power.
* Buddhism introduced to China.
* Famous war heroes become part of Chinese legend
Sui 589 – 618 Re-establishment of a unified state
* Re-adopt many of the Han institutions.
* Restore many sections of Great Wall.
* Establish Grand canal
Tang 618 – 907 China becomes a superpower 
* Introduction of sophisticated judicial and administrative structures to govern the state.
* Military strength assures Chinese control of the lucrative silk route.
* Neighbouring Asian cultures, ideas and goods enter China. 
* Buddhism and the arts flourish.
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms 907 – 1125 China, once more, disintegrates
* Anarchy, bandits and wars continue in some parts of China past the establishment of the Song dynasty.
Song 960 – 1279 Fast-paced economic development
* Warring factions unified.
* Re-introduction of established government doctrine e.g. Confucianism, civil service.
* Improvements in agricultural productivity and transport infrastructure.
* Rise of merchant class in urban centres; introduction of paper money.
* Growth in the arts.
Yuan 1271 – 1368 Chinese are subjugated by the Mongols
* The Mongol Horde sweeps through China annexing it to the world's largest, land-based empire.
* The Chinese become third class citizens in their own harshly administered country.
* The Mongol rulers gradually sinicised.
* Despite heavy taxes, commerce grows unabated.
Ming 1368 – 1644 Resumption of Chinese rule
* Great Wall further fortified against barbarian invaders. 
* Eunuchs used extensively for government.
* Flourishing of arts and culture.
Qing 1644 – 1911 Chinese are subjugated for the second time
* Chinese second-class citizens in their own country.
* Manchu invaders initially expand the empire, reduce taxation and improve infrastructure.
* As later Manchu rulers are sinicised, they become isolationist and conservative.
* The European powers use gun-boat diplomacy to carve up China between them.
* The Chinese become third-class citizens.
Republic of China 1911 – 1949 Warlordism, civil war and chaos
* Warlords only challenged by Chinese Communist Party and National People's Party.
* Japan's 1931 invasion of China curtailed by the end of the second world war.
* Chinese Communist Party wins civil war. National People's Party flees with all China's gold reserves and cultural relics to Taiwan.
People's Republic of China 1949 – today China catching up
* Communist Party, inheriting a devastated, bankrupt country, establishes the modern state. By applying the revolutionary ethic to economics, partial successes in industrialisation and agricultural productivity come at an enormous social cost.
* Deng Xiao Ping, China's second leader starts to liberalise the economy in l978. This gradual process continues to this day.