Shang Dynasty

In the Chinese academia, Xia is considered to be the earliest dynasty of ancient times, but most of our knowledge about Xia dynasty, depends upon the documents of the succeeding dynasties and has not been confirmed yet. Shang, of ancient times, is the first dynasty which can be verified by precise archaeological materials. Now let’s introduce it to you.

Shang was founded in 16 century BC, and became extinct in 11 century BC, lasting 600 years. Shang moved its capital to another place many times, and finally settled down at Yin (near Anyang of Henan). Archaeological studies verify that in its early days, Chinese civilization had been highly developed. Its main characteristic is the inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells and bronze culture. Continue reading Shang Dynasty

Han Dynasty

Liu Bang, established the Han Empire and settled down in the capital Chang’an.

During the 7-year dominion of Hangaozu, the central regime was further reinforced and the policy “Recuperate and Multiply” was adopted. After Hui’s succession, the empress of Hangaozu gained power. who was one of the rare women rulers in the history of China. Wen succeeded to the throne in 183 BC. Wen, followed by his son, Jing, stuck to the policy of “Recuperate and Multiply”, decreased taxation and promoted the economy of the empire. (The Enlightenment of Wen/Jing) Continue reading Han Dynasty

Qin Dynasty

Having witnessed more than 2,000 years of slave society, the history of China welcomed the birth of the first consolidated, centralized, feudal empire. This dynasty was the Qin (in 221 B.C), whose significance would be recognized in the later ages.

In the States and Warring period (from 475 BC to 222 B.C), namely the end of the slave society, many small states battled with each other. Seven strong states survived, which were called the “Seven Powers”, namely, Qin, Qi, Chu, Wei, Yan, Han, and Zhao. Qin, situated in the northwestern region, carried out earlier reformations of agriculture and military affairs and flourished quickly. In the year of 247 B.C, Yinzheng was enthroned, who at the time was only 13 years old. Later, at the age of 22, Yinzheng was in control. He began to make efforts to swallow up the other six powers and consolidate China. He recruited talents, such as Zhengguo who was the spy from Zheng, whom Zhengguo Dyke was named after. This helped to turn the 40 thousand hectares of saline-alkali soil into fertile farmland. This would supply enough to influence consolidation. In less than 10 years, Yin annihilated the remaining six powers and succeeded to make out a new vast empire. As a result, the Qin Empire was established and Yin has been called the “The first Emperor”. Continue reading Qin Dynasty

Qing Dynasty

The Qing Dynasty lasted from 1644-1911 A.D. By and large, 12 emperors reigned during a period of 268 years with Nuerhachi being the first and Puyi being the last.

At its most prosperous time, the domain of the dynasty once reached 12 million square kilometers. Later, in 1616 Nuerhachi established Jin and in 1636 Huang Taiji changed the dynasty’s name to Qing. Furthermore, in 1644 Li Zicheng led the rebellious peasant army and overthrew the Ming Dynasty. The Qing army had the advantage of the war and defeated the peasants by coming in through the Shanhai Pass. As a result of his defeat, Emperor Chongzhen committed suicide. Beijing was made the capital and the court eliminated other revolts of the peasants and remained southern Ming forces. Continue reading Qing Dynasty

Sui and Tang Dynasty

In 581 A.D, China was reunified by the short-lived Sui dynasty, which lasted 37 years until 618 A.D., when Yang Guang, the successor of Emperor Sui Wen Di, was hanged. Sui dynasty’s early demise was attributed to the government’s tyrannical demands on the people, who bore the crushing burden of taxes and compulsory labor. These resources were overstrained in the completion of the Grand Canal (a monumental engineering feat) and in the undertaking of other construction projects, including the reconstruction of the Great Wall. Yang Jian, the founder of the dynasty, made some contributions to abolish cruel penalties and establish new ways to select court officials. Continue reading Sui and Tang Dynasty

Song Dynasty

In 960 AD, Zhao Kuangyin launched Chenqiao Mutiny and seized the power. Song Dynasty was established, putting an end to the divisive situation. Song Dynasty lasted 319 years until it was overthrown by Yuan. The Song Dynasty was divided into the Northern period and Southern period. During the Northern period, Qidan tribe established Liao (947-1125 AD) in the further northern part of China. The Dangxiang tribe established Xixia (1038-1227) to the northwest of Song. In 1115 Nvzhen tribe established Jin in the north and defeated Liao. In 1127 Jin made its way in Kaifeng, capital of Song Dynasty and took captive of Emperor Huizong and Qinzong. The reign of Northern Song was over. However, in the southern city of Yintianfu, Zhaogou succeeded to the crown of his predecessors to become Gaozong of Song.  Later, he moved the capital to Lin’an which was the beginning of the Southern Song period. Differing from Northern Song, which confronted and battled with Liao, Xia and Jin, Southern Song is a dynasty that compromised and declined from inception. Continue reading Song Dynasty