|Xia & Shang||2200 – 1100 BC||
* 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||
* 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.