East Asia Timeline


Shang dynasty

1700 BC - 1027 BC

During this period of the Shang dynasty, a lot of ideas evolved that affected Chinese history, for example, the idea of dynastic rule which lasted many years. The Shang also fought nomadic invaders with a well-organized army of peasants, nobles, and slaves. Nobles introduced a new invention, wheeled chariots, to China (Prentice/Pearson Hall pg: 328). Many religious ideas also came from this period, like the belief that heaven was the home of many gods and that Shang Di was the chief god (Prentice/Pearson Hall pg: 328). Also the belief that if you pleased the gods they would bring you good harvest, and if you didn't they would cause natural disasters.

Zhou dynasty

1027 BC - 221 BC

The Zhou dynasty ruled China for a long period of time, almost 800 years! During this dynasty a lot of new ideas came along that included some of China's basic traditions. One important idea that emerged was the Mandate of Heaven (Pearson/Prentice Hall pg: 329). It was the belief that heaven gave a ruler the right to rule. In return, the people owed the ruler complete loyalty. The Zhou used this to justify their right to power. Three very powerful philosophies also developed during this period, Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism. These three philosophies contributed to many advances in science, education, and technology, that are still used today (Pearson/Prentice Hall pg: 329).

Qin dynasty

221 BC - 207 BC

During the Qin dynasty many administrative institutions were developed that still remain key features of China. The emperor, Shi Huangdi, ordered the Great Wall of China to be built to ward off barbarian intrusion (Chinavoc.Com pg. 1). This great architectural design you can still see today. To unite China, Shi Huangdi, imposed several rules such as: a single law code, uniform standards for weight and measures, and currency regulations (Pearson/Prentice Hall pg. 337). He also built roads to improve transportation . These were all contributions to the China you see today.

Han dynasty

206 BC - 220 AD

During the Han dynasty China expanded across Asia. Caravans went back and forth through the Silk Road carrying Chinese jade, bronzes, and silk west for trade (Chinavoc.Com pg. 1). They exchanged those resources for goods of India and the Mediterranean. Trade resulted in China's expansion. The Chinese set up the civil service system in which officials gained jobs based on their knowledge of Confucian teachings, Chinese laws, history, and traditions (Pearson/Prentice Hall pg. 339). Under the Han, astronomers improved the calendar and other scientists invented seismographs. Also, medical colleges flourished, and flood control systems in farming were used.

Sui dynasty

581 AD - 618 AD

During the Sui dynasty the amazing Grand Canal was built (China/Window pg. 1) Today, this attracts many tourists in the area. Also, in this period the civil service was strengthened for aristocrat privilege. Yang Jian, a Chinese emperor, began the administrative reform (Chinavoc.Com pg. 1).This, plus the strengthening of the civil service, and revisions of the law code, led to the downfall of Sui and the beginning of the Tang dynasty.

Tang dynasty

618 - 907

During the Tang dynasty China's trade majorly increased. Goods and ideas traveled through India and the Persian Empire. Communities from Central Asia brought new religions, food, ideas, music, and artistic traditions. Foreign contact was also extended during this time through Persia, India, Malaysia, and Japan (Chinavoc.Com pg. 1). Also, a poet arose during Tang, his name was Li Bo. He is one of China's best-known writers (Pearson/Prentice Hall pg. 340).

Song dynasty

960 AD - 1279 AD

During this time, the Song dynasty built a strong navy to protect it's trade. This made China a great sea power (Pearson/Prentice Hall pg. 340). The ships used two new inventions that later reached Europe, sternpost rudder and the magnetic compass. In this period, the Chinese conquered Vietnam and carried Chinese ideas and beliefs about government. These ideas spread to other countries such as Korea and Japan. This dynasty is notable for the development of cities, centers of trade, and industries (Chinavoc.Com, Song).

Yuan dynasty

1271 AD - 1368 AD

In this dynasty, the Mongols bursted into northern China and spread across kingdoms of Central Asia (Chinavoc.Com, Yuan). Mongols tried to preserve their own culture and decrease the role of Confucian scholars. Roads were built to every province from Beijing. Goods and technical information were traded through new roads. A system of relay riders was formed that allowed messengers to carry news across China (Pearson/Prentice Hall pg. 341)

Ming dynasty

1368 AD - 1644 AD

The Ming dynasty brought back Confucian learning and expanded the civil service. They built a new imperial palace called the Forbidden City located in Beijing (Pearson/Prentice Hall pg. 342). Many tourists go visit this city today. The trading ties were renewed and Chinese authority was restored. The Ming dynasty kept China from seeing the development of new technology and exploration of other lands.


1644 AD - 1911 AD

During the Qing dynasty laws passed forbidding Manchus to marry Chinese people or wear Chinese clothing. The Qing preserved Confucian ideas and beliefs, unlike the Mongols (Pearson/Prentice Hall pg. 343). The Qing regime was determined to protect itself from foreign invasion and internal rebellion. The Qing became the first dynasty to eliminate completely all danger to China Proper from across its land borders. Under Manchu rule the empire grew and included Taiwan which was added into China (Chinavoc.Com, Qing).

Republic of China

1911 AD - 1949 AD

During the Republic, Sun Yatsen set out his goals for China in the "Three Principles of the People." The three goals were nationalism, democracy, and "livelihood." To achieve his goals of unity he organized a powerful army (Pearson/Prentice Hall pg. 346). China had never had a representative government before, so the nation went into an economic depression. In 1921, the Chinese Communist Party was formed by a group of young Chinese. They joined the Nationalists to fight and get rid of foreigners (Pearson/ Prentice Hall pg. 347)

Mao Zedong

1972 - 1976

Under Mao Zedong, China restored order and abolished foreign influence. Mao believed in self sufficiency and promoted programs to increase food production and protection from famine. Also, schools were built and basic healthcare services were extended to the massive population (Pearson/Prentice Hall pg. 352).

Deng Ziaopeng

1978 - 1997

Under Deng's rule, governments strict economic controls were loosened. He also sent students to study in different countries and accepted the idea of foreign investment in China. During this period, people wanted democratic reforms. They organized rallies and protests to encourage political freedom and democracy (Prentice Hall pg. 353).