Extremely Brief History of China

Essay by NeonFxHigh School, 12th grade February 2004

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We know very little of ancient Chinese dynasties. The very first of these are considered to be Xia (c. 2200 - c. 1750 BC), Shang (c. 1750 - c. 1040 BC), Western Zhou (c. 1100 - 771 BC), and the Eastern Zhou (771 - 256 BC). These dynasties developed extremely slowly, but their works ranged from bronze working to developing armies.

Later arose the first empires. The earliest of these was Quin (221 - 206 BC). The Quin dynasty is considered to be the first empire, for it was the first to have an Emperor. When that emperor died came the Han era (206BC - 220AD). The Han dynasty plays a very important role in Chinese history. They invented Chinese history as we know it today. They were the first to write it all down. They were unable to deal with two factors: a population shift from the Yellow River in the north to the Yangzi in the south; and they simply could not control barbarian tribal raiders from the north, which were one reason why people were moving to the south.

Eventually, in AD 220, the center had lost so much control to the provinces that it collapsed (a small rebellion in the north helped), plunging China into 350 years of chaos and disunity. That time (220-259) does not have an official name, for 5 different groups were in control. During this time, China developed its religious beliefs, basing them on Daoism and Buddhism. Later came the Sui (589 - 618) and the Tang (619 - 907). The first was one of the shortest lasing dynasties. The later, is considered one of the greatest in Chinese history. They extended the boundaries of China through Siberia in the North, Korea in the east, and were in what is...