PWD Register

Xia 2205-1766 B.C.
Agriculture and first writing. In Henan, palace-like buildings and tombs have been excavated, the earliest known bronze vessels have also been found.
Shang (or Yin)

1766-1122 B.C.
Much of the information available on Shang society comes from inscriptions made on the shoulder-blades of oxen and shells of turtles, known as the "oracle bones". Over 150,000 fragments of oracle bones have now been identified.

Zhou 1122-221 B.C.
Developed iron tools, society, money and written laws. Confucius lived approximately 551-479 BC. About 300 years after his death, Confucius' teachings were made the dominant creed of the Han dynasty, and have since influenced the thought and behavior of the people in China, Japan and other parts of Asia. Among his teachings: "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire."

Buddha, originally Siddhartha Gautama, founder of Buddhism, lived in India at about the time of Confucius.

Qin 221-206 B.C.
By 221 B.C., King Zheng annexed the six other independent kingdoms of the Warring States Period and found the first unified feudal empire in Chinese history, proclaiming himself Shi Huang Di, or the First Emperor of Qin Dynasty. Building of Great Wall began.

Han 206 B.C.-220 A.D.
Art, literature, philosophy, music and statecraft flourished in the golden age of Han. Paper first mentioned in 105 A.D. Confucius' teachings were made the dominant creed and cornerstone of Chinese thought. Buddhism from India was introduced to China.

Period of disunity 220-589

For 400 years following Han's collapse, various kingdoms and dynasties fought each other for domination. The regimes emerged during this period include: the Three Kingdoms of Wei, Shu and Wu, the Jin Dynasty, and the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Prolonged fighting caused much suffering among the people. Against this background, popularity of Buddhism and Taoism grew substantially.

Sui 581-618
Reunification, major civil service reforms, victory in taming the Turks of Central Asia, fortified the Great Wall, rebuilt the capital city of Luoyang, completed Grand Canal, the longest man-made river in the world.

Tang 618-907
The second emperor, Li Shimin, an exceptionally talented statesman and military strategist, started his reins in 627 and made Tang probably the most glorious dynasty in Chinese history. Empire greatly expanded; period of excellence in sculpture, painting and poetry; oldest extant printed book published in 868; influence by Central Asia in dance and music. Japan copied much of Tang culture and institutions, and adopted Chinese characters as her form of written language. The capital city of Chang'an was a cosmopolitan city of wealth and splendor unparallel in the world.

Five Dynasties 907-960
Following Tang's collapse, numerous regimes fought for domination over a period of fifty-some years, known as the Age of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms. First use of paper money reported.

Song 960-1279
Enjoyed calm, growth and creativity between 960 and 997; printing (movable type) invented; Zhu Xi synthesized Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism into a new ideology; in the next 200 years Song fought against invasions by three formidable ethnic minority kingdoms: Liao of the Khitan, Xia of the Tibtan/Tangut, and Jin of the JurchenTartarss tribes. Genghis Khan (1162-1227), the Mongol conqueror, united the Mongol tribes, annexed northern China, central Asia, Iran, southern Russia, eastern Europe and created the largest empire in history. In 1279 Kublai Khan, a grandson of Genghis Khan, exterminated Song and established the Yuan dynasty with its capital in Beijing.

Yuan 1271-1368
The first alien regime to rule China. Kublai Khan kept Chinese government institutions intact, continued the Confucian ideology and restored the civil service examination. Facilitated commercial and cultural exchanges between China and the outside world. Marco Polo, a Venetian merchant, spent 20 years in China (1275-95). His travelogue was the only account of the Far East available to Europeans until the 17th century.

Ming 1368-1644
Mongols were driven out by native Chinese; Beijing flourished as new capital; "With hindsight we can see that the Ming dynasty, whose emperors had ruled China since 1368, was past its political peak by the early seventeenth century; yet in the years around 1600, China’s cultural life was in an ebullient condition that few, if any, other countries could match."

Qing 1644-1911
Ming conquered by nomads from Manchuria, China once again under non-Chinese rule; culture flourished, but conservatism eventually led to the dynasty's demise; western powers, Russia and Japan defeated China to impose their requests for trade and other advantages; nationalistic revolutionaries led by Sun Yatsen overthrew Qing in 1911 and ended the last dynasty of China.

Republic of China 1911-
Intense efforts by diverse elite groups to refashion China into a modern state; chaos and wars among local warlords and political factions; bitter strife between the Nationalists and Communists. Japan attacked and invaded China with unprecedented brutality. After Japan was defeated by the U.S. in 1945, struggle between the Nationalists and Communists restarted.

People's Republic of China 1949-
The Communists defeated the Nationalists and founded the People's Republic in 1949. Evacuated to the island of Taiwan, the Nationalists developed Taiwan into one of the most prosperous economies in Asia.

The Great Leap Forward 1958-1963
In 1958, Chairman Mao Zedong implemented a plan to modernize China’s economy in hopes of rivaling the economy of America by 1988. Mao believed he could revolutionize China’s economy by intensely developing agriculture and industry. The people of China were organized into communes and forced to relinquish all possessions to the ownership of the communes. The intense pressure and restraints put on the Chinese people led to the contempt and ultimately the downfall of The Great Leap Forward.

The Cultural Revolution 1966-1976
Following the repression of The Great Leap Forward, students and workers in China led a revolutionary upsurge against the Chinese Communist Party in 1966. The Cultural Revolution was launched by Chairman Mao Zedong to ensure that Maoism remained as China’s central creed and rid any political opposition. Millions died and were imprisoned as a result.

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