The Chinese Dynatsies

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The Shang Dynasty

1600 BCE - 1050 BCE

The Shang dynasty is the first dynasty to be recorded with documentary and archaeological evidence. The actual starting date for the dynasty has been disputed for quite some time with recent archaeological finds placing it at about 1600 BCE. It is said that each emperor occupied several different capitals one after another. There is no found surviving literature from the Shang Dynasty, but there are records of ceremonial inscriptions and family or clan names. There are also 3 different kinds of characters found during the time which are pictographs, phonographs, and ideographs. these were used to record the earliest know writings in China

The Zhou Dynasty

1046 BCE - 256 BCE

Coexisting with the Shang Dynasty for quite some time, the Zhou Dynasty grew and secured their reign over China. The Zhou Dynasty was split into four different time periods: The Xi Zhou Dynasty (Before 771 BCE), the Dong Dynasty (770 BCE onward). The lineage of the Zhou is told through a traditional myth when a woman named Jiang Yuan conceived a child named Qi after stepping into the footprint of Shangdi, or the Highest Deity.


Introduced the ideas of Confucius
Introduced a feudal government to China

The Qin Dynasty

221 BCE - 207 BCE

Starting as a small feudal state from 771 BCE to 221 BCE, the Qin Dynasty would pave the way for all Chinese dynasties to follow. The Qin established a rigid system of laws that could be used throughout China.


Ying Zheng


Built the Great Wall of China (213 BCE)
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
- Consisted of the mausoleum and an army of Terracotta Soldiers

The Han Dynasty

206 BCE - 220 CE

The Han Dynasty was founded by Liu Bang after leading a revolt against the Qin Dynasty. Using a mix of authoritarian policies and a Confucian ideology of moderation and virtue, the Han ruled China for over 400 years, which lead it to become the second greatest imperial dynasties in the history of China.


Liu Bang (202 BCE - 195 BCE)
Wudi (141 BCE - 87 BCE)
Liu Xiu (25 CE - 57 CE)
Xian (189 CE - 220 CE)


Wang Mang taking the throne and establishing the Xin Dynasty (9 CE - 25 CE)
Cao Pi taking the throne (220 CE - 226 CE)


Perfection of lacquer work
first major stone tomb sculpture

The Sui Dynasty

581 CE - 618 CE

Founded by Yang Jian, the short lived Sui Dynasty unified China and served as a intermediate that lead to the Tang dynasty. The Sui embraced both Buddhism and Confucianism and used a more lenient penal code.


Yang Jian


Murder of Yangdi (618)

The Tang Dynasty

618 CE - 907 CE

The Tang dynasty was founded by emperor Li Yuan who was contender for the throne of the Sui Dynasty. As the state was in bankruptcy, the administration of the Tang Dynasty was kept small and simple. They also adopted many of the systems that were already in place by the Sui such was the Sui's system for land-distribution and taxation. In the mid 9th century, the government of the Tang dynasty started to decline and with it and increase of rebellions causing it to collapse into different independent kingdoms in 907.


Li Yuan
Li Shimin
Wu Zhao

The Sung Dynasty

960 CE - 1279 CE

Founded by inspector general Zhao Kuangyin of the Zhou dynasty, the Sung dynasty was an important part of cultural development in Chinese history.


Zhao Kuangyin
Zhao Bing


Establishment of the Nan Song Dynasty (1127)

The Yuan Dynasty

1271 CE - 1368 CE

Also called the Mongol Dynasty, the Yuan Dynasty was established by Mongol nomads who ruled parts of China. Starting with the emergence of Ganghis Khan in 1206, the Mongol dynasty spread like wildfire. in 1279, the final victory came with Kublia Khan as the ruler.


Kublai Khan (1260 - 1294)
Kulug Khan (1307 - 1311)


Marco Polo in China (1275 - 1292)
Failed invasion of Japan (1274 and 1280)
Bubonic Plague (1311)
Red Turban Rebellion (1351)


use paper currency
set up of class structure

The Ming Dynasty

1368 CE - 1644 CE

Founded by emperor Zhu Yuangzang (later known as Hongwu), the Ming Dynasty served as a cultural and political influence on East Asia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and the Turks.


Zhu Yuanzhang
Zhu Di


Commission of the Forbidden City (1406)
Capture of Bejing (1644)

The Qing Dynasty

1644 CE - 1912 CE

Also called the Manchu Dynasty, the Quin Dynasty grew three times larger that the former Ming Dynasty with a population of 150-450 million. In 1644, rebel leader Li Zcheng took the capital of Bejing, causing the desperate Ming to call the Manchu for aid. The Manchu seized the opportunity and created their own dynasty in China. During the period, the Qing would come to employ Roman Catholic missionaries as artists and astronomers and expand to the outer borders of Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, Dzngaria, and Turkistan.

Important Rulers

Kangxi (1661 - 1722)
Yongzheng (1722 - 1735)
Xiaoqin Xianhuanghou
Xuangtong (1908 - 1912)


Taiping Rebellion (1850 - 1864)
Nian Rebellion (1853 - 1868)
1st Opium War (1839 - 1842)
Sino-Japanese War (1894 - 95)
Boxer Rebellion (1900)
Abdication of Xuantong (October 10, 1911)