China's History

Made from the Traditions and Encounters: A Global Peerspective on the Past textbook, by Jerry H. Bentley and Herbert F. Ziegler.


Yangshao Dynasty

5000 bc - 3000 bc

Beginning around 5000 B.C.E, villages much like the Banpo Village- discovered in 1952- flourished along the Yellow and Yangzi Rivers.

Xia Dynasty

2200 bc - 1766 bc

In the same region as Yangshao, it was the first organization of China's public affairs.

Shang Dynasty

1766 bc - 1122 bc

Bronze Metallurgy is the primary explanation of Shang's rise and success, and during their rule they monoploized its production.

Zhou Dynasty

1122 bc - 256 bc

Zhou seized the capital after tring to disicpline the Shang king. It ruled most of China until it gave up its throne to an ambitious Qin ruler.

Qin Dynasty

221 bc - 207 bc

In 221 B.C.E. the King of Qin proclaims himself the First Emperor after bringing the Period of the Warring States to a close.

Han Dynasty

206 bc - 220

Centralized rule returns almost immediately after the First Emperor's death under the rule of Liu Bang in 206 B.C.E. This Dynasty is separated into two different time frames of Former Han (206 B.C.E.- 9 C.E.) and Later Han (25 C.E.- 220).

Sui Dynasty

589 - 618

The Grand Canal was built during this dynasty; it began with the first emperor and was finished under the rule of the second emperor. During the 610's rebellions began to spring up, and the emperor was assasinated in 618.

Tang Dynasty

618 - 907

The second emperor supposedly put an end to banditry and cut tax rates,and this dynasty stayed in power because of its maintenance of transportation and communication networks, the equal field system, and bureaucracy based on merit. A rebellion in 755 greatly weakened the Tang Government, and when it regained control in 763 it was not up to its former glory.

Song Dynasty

960 - 1279

During this dynasty China was the most urbanized nation. After the Tang Dynasty warlords ruled until Song imposed their rule. Song did not trust military leaders, so it never quite reached its full potential; the first of its problems that led to its downfall was financial and military issues.

Golden Horde

1237 - 1242

Kubilai Khan's brothers overran Russia and explored as far as eastern Germany, but only asked for tribute from cities and villages and did not occupy the territories.

Yuan Dynasty

1279 - 1368

In 1279 Chinggis Khan's grandson, Kubilai Khan, proclaims himself the Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty.

Mongol Collapse in Persia


Mongol rule ended in Persia when the last of the Mongol rulers died without an heir.

Ming Dynasty

1368 - 1644

After the Yuan Dynasty falls, Hongwu rises to power as the Emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1368. He reestablishes Confucian and Neo-Confucuan schools and centralizes China through the use of mandarins and eunuchs.

Qing Dynasty

1644 - 1911

When Ming fell the Manchus created the Qing Dynasty.

European Commercial Restriction in China


Qianlong emperor restricted Eurpoean commercial presence to Guangzhou, and merchants could only deal with cohongs, specially liscensed Chinese firms.

Post Great War


Nationalism strengthened in China, but the conflict between Nationalists in China and Communists in China began.

United Nations


In 1945 the United Nations are created.

People's Republic of China

1949 - 2012

Mao Zedong, leader of the Communist Party, proclaims the People's Republic of China.

Recognition of Moscow


In the 1950's China recognized Moscow's power in exchange for Russian military equipment and economic aid.

Hong Kong


Hong Kong reverts back to Chinese control from Britain.


Carts and Chariots

2000 bc

After the domestication of the horse, carts and horse-drawn chariots arrived in China.

Iron Metallurgy

1000 bc

Iron metallurgy spread to China around 1000 B.C.E., and contributed to resistance of the Zhou Dynasty.


100 bc

Paper was fashioned from bark, textiles and hemp before 100 B.C.E., but it was not heavily used until then.

Paper Currencies


Paper Currency appeared under during this time and became too convenient to discard.



Under the Tang and Song Dynasties gunpowder was invented while trying to find a medicine that gave eternal life. This resulted in primitive bombs and even a form of flamethrowers.

Naval Technology


Under Tang rule naval technology evolved to use iron-nails, compasses and sails, thus increasing the range of trade.

Population Increase


By 1260 China's population had reached 15 million, which can be contributed to by fast-ripening rice and other advances in technology and agriculture.

Population Increase


By 1500 China's population had increased to 100 million.

Population Increase


By 1600 China's population had increased to 160 million.

Hundred Days Reforms


Launched to industrialize China, it was ended when Cixi executed reformers and confined the Emperor to the Forbidden City.

Five-Year Plan

1955 - 1960

The Five-Year Plan was introduced to get China up to speed in its social and economic development. During this period of reform China elmiinated family traditions and created equal rights for women.

Great Leap Forward and Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

1958 - 1976

The Great Leap Forward (1958-2961) and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) were policies that ended up hampering development in China rather than speeding it up. The Great Leap Forward was the start of controlling all land and businesses. This exhausted lands and pushed China backwards. The Great Proletarian Cultural Movement seeked to eradicate foreign influence, but it eradicated many valuable sources like teachers, intellectuals, professionals and managers.

Deng's Revolution


Deng came into power after Mao's death in 1976. He began to try recover China from the chaos of the Great Proletarian Cultural Movement, and he opened up China to foreign, capitalist influences. When pro-democracy demonstrations began to spring up, he approved of bloody solutions and this resulted in the well-known event at Tiananmen Square.

Socialist Market


In 1992 China's government announced the plans for the creation of a socialist market.

Financial Crisis


In the 1990's several Asian tigers fell in status and in 1997 there was a financial crisis. But China recovered from this and became one of the four rapidly growing economies known as the BRICs.



In 2001 China joined the World Trade Organization and moved to a global economic superpower status.



In 2003 China became the third nation to successfully launch spacecraft into orbit and have it land, too. They would continue to advance their space program.

Joint Military Movement


In 2005 China and Russia hold their first joint military movement together to strengthen their friendship.

Three Gorges Dam


The Three Gorges Dam construction is finished, and will power much in China.



In a display of power to warn off spy satellites, China shoots down an old weather satellite.

2008 Summer Olympics


China hosts the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Expanding Economy


China becomes the world's second-biggest economy, overtaking Japan. But the rural people of China do not share in this economic boom; it belongs mainly to the urban people.

Change in Leadership


In 2012 Bo Xilai is booted from the Communist Party on accusations of being corrupt and abusing his power. Later, the party holds a congress expected to decide on a change in leadership once every ten years. Xi Jinping is expected to take over in 2013.

Important Figures/Events

Life of Confucius

551 bc - 479 bc

Three different school of thought emerged during the Period of the Warring States, and among these was Confucianism.

Life of Laozi

500 bc - 400 bc

It is not known when Laozi lived or if he was the true founder of Daoism, one of the three schools of thought to emerge during the Period of the Warring States. Daoism is less active than Confucianism, focusing more on reflection and self-knowledge rather than interfering with things outside of one's control or understanding.

Shang Yang

390 bc - 338 bc

The doctrine of Legalism, the third school of thought to emerge during the Period of the Warring States, was derived from many men, but among the most notable was Shang Yang. The adoption of this doctrine put an end to the Warring States.

The First Emperor

221 bc - 210 bc

Qin Shihuangdi proclaimed himself the First Emperor in 221 B.C.E. Under his rule currencies, weights and measures are standardized. Many criticized his rule. So, too preserve his throne, he ordered the burial of 400 living scholars. In 210 he dies and is buried in a lavish tomb with terra-cotta soldiers, and one year after his death revolts begin, bringing the Qin Dynasty to an end.

Han Wudi

141 bc - 87 bc

Known as the "Martial Emperor," he was the greatest and most energetic of emperor of the Han Dynasty. In 124 B.C.E. he established a university to prepare men for government service. He also expanded China, and the expansion spread the influence of Confucianism to Vietnam and Korea.

Wu Zhao

626 - 706

The only woman emperor siezed the throne after her husband died of a heart attack in 660. This was ironic because China was strongly patriarchal, which can be seen through the practiced foot binding of women in wealthier families.

Zhu Xi

1130 - 1200

This man was an important representative of Neo-Confucian, and it is important because it shows the influence of Buddhismduring this time and it affected Asian thinking.

Reign of Chinggis Khan

1206 - 1227

Chinggis Khan united the Mongols and led them to dominate Northern China.

Bubonic Plague


The Bubonic Plague breaks out in China during this time through usage of the Silk Roads, severly hurting its economy and polotics. The Mongols are chased out of China, and this brings the collapse of the Yuan Dynasty.

Zheng He's Expeditions in the Indian Ocean

1405 - 1433

Zheng He was sent by the Ming government into the Indian Ocean to establish a Chinese presence. Accompanied by many ships containing soldiers and treasures, Zheng He traded with different ports, payed respects to local deities and customs, and was not afraid to use military force if he deemed it necessary to be noticed.


1616 - 1626

Nurhaci untied the Manchu tribes into a centralized state. After the Ming Dynasty fell he helped to create the Qing Dynasty and reigned from 1616 to 1626.

Empress Cixi

1835 - 1908

With the aid of European advisors and weapons, Cixi overcomes the Taiping Rebellion. Recognizing the need for change after the rebellion, Cixi launched reform programs.

Influenza Pandemic


This pandemic killed 20 million.

Hu Jintao


Hu Jintao succeeded Jiang in 2003 as the President of China.



A pandemic already, in 2004 the United Nations estimated China to have 1 million people infected with HIV.


Period of the Warring States

403 bc - 221 bc

Around 700 B.C.E. Zhou began to face resistance from subordiantes on top of nomadic invaders in 771 B.C.E. In 400 B.C.E. territorial princes ingnored the government and expanded their states

Opium War

1839 - 1842

Liu Zexu's actions to abolish the opium trade ignites a war between Europe and China. China is defeated in 1842. In 1858, 1884, and 1895, China suffers similair defeats with France, Japan and Britain.

Treaty of Nanjing


This treaty guides China's foreign relations until 1943 and also ceded Hong Kong to Britain and made it so British citizens were not subject to Chinese law. It also forced China to open up ports for commerce and residence. This was the start pf China being divided up into spheres of influence.

Taiping Rebellion

1850 - 1864

The Taiping Rebellion, led by Hong Xinquan, raged throughout China and brought the Qing Dynasty to near collapse.

Nian Rebellion

1851 - 1868

The Nian Rebellion springs up in north eastern China.

Crimean War

1853 - 1856

Russia fights against Qing forces, Britain, France, and Sardinia, but against these forces it reveals Russia's disadvantage in technology.

Muslim Rebellion

1855 - 1873

The Muslim Rebellion springs up in south western China.

Lost Territories

1885 - 1895

China lost Vietnam to France in 1885, Burma to Britain in 1886, and Korea, Taiwan and part of Manchuria to Japan in 1895.

Sino-Japanese War

1894 - 1895

This war was fought over the independence of Korea because China wanted to reassert its authority but Japan wanted it separate from China. The Japanese win.

Boxer's Rebellion

1899 - 1900

In 1899 the Boxers organized to eradicate foreigners and their influences from China; they went on a rampage in northern China. In 1900 the Boxers siezed several embassies, forcing the hands of Britain, Germany, U.S., Russia and Japan to crush the rebellion.

The Great War

1914 - 1918

After the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, global war erupted. Along with others, the Frenchemployed Chinese laborers. In 1914 Japan demanded northeast China from Germany, and in 1915 Japan made the Twenty One demands on China that would make it a prtoectorate state of Japan. After accepting some of the demands, these were leaked to Britain who spoke up for China.

May Fourth Movement


This movement protested foreign interfence, especially from Japan.

Civil War


Jiang Jesh launched a successful expedition to unite China, but in 1927 he turned against their communist allies, and the Nationalists beat out the Communists.

Japan's War in China

1930 - 1938

In the 1930's Japan began to attack China, and global conflict opened up. First, Japan started with the conquest of Manchuria in 1931, and then, in 1937, it launched a full0scale invasion that resulted in the Rape of Nanjing.

Rape of Nanjing


Japan took the city of Nanjing and treated the city brutally through raping and killing its citizens.

World War II

1941 - 1945

By the end of the conflict the communists in China are poised to lead China. The Civil War resumes.

Chinese Interference in Korean War


When the U.S. moved too far up the Yalu River China becamse involved with the Korean War.

Violence in Tibet


Five months before the Olympics are to be hosted in China, Tibet erupts into Anti-China violence.

Agreement on Borders


Russia and China sign an agreement that settles their disputed borders.

Tensions With Japan


Japan arrests a Chinese crew sailing in disputed waters and both sides open up in argument. Japan releases the crew but denies China the apology it demands.



Google redirects its Chinese users to the Hong Kong site after stopping its censorship earlier in the year.

Oil Reserves


Both China and the Phillipines oppose one another as they try and take the reef they have both claimed; it is believed that there are oil reserves in the reef.