China's Dynasties


Shang Dynasty

1650 BCE - 1027 BCE

One could make the case that the Shang Dynasty was the first dynasty in China. The Shang are the first group of people in which written records are found. The Shang Dynasties worshipped many gods and their main god was "Shang Ti" who was the ruler of all the lesser gods. People sacrificed themselves to the gods and when a King died, hundreds of people were buried with him. Bronze was very important in the Shang Dynasty and people used bronze in their daily life. (Shang Dynasty)

Zhou Dynasty

1027 BCE - 256 BCE

The Zhou Dynasty was based on agriculture. The land of the lords was divided among the peasants to grow crops. The Kings of this dynasty believed that they were given a mandate from heaven to rule. Like the Shang Dynasty, this dynasty was polytheistic and believed in many gods. Their main god was Shang Ti. The Zhou Dynasty had two periods, the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC to 771 BC) and the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770 BC - 221 BC). (Zhou Dynasty)

Qin Dynasty

221 BCE - 206 BCE

The Qin Dynasty was the first unified, multi-national and power-centralized state in the Chinese history. Even though it lasted 15 years it held an important role in Chinese history. To strengthen the unity of the Qin Dynasty, Emperor Qin took extreme measures in politics, economy, military affairs, and culture. When Emperor Qin declared himself as the emperor he took all major problems into his hands. He changed the currency of the dynasty, and he focused on infrastructure building irrigation ditches and roads. It was in this dynasty that the Great Wall Of China was started. Emperor Qin built luxurious palaces and monuments, such as the Terra Cotta Warriors. He did all this for himself by imposing heavy taxes on the people. (Qin Dynasty)

Han Dynasty

206 BCE - 220 CE

The Hang Dynasty began in 206 BCE when the prince of Han, Liu Bang defeated the Qin army. The Han continued to rule in the same way as the Qin and gradually incorporated Confucian ideals into their Legalist form of government. The main goal of the Han Dynasty was the unification of China. During this dynasty, the Silk Road was created for trading in other countries. Agriculture grew because of the development of new tools. Education was very important in this dynasty. (Han Dynasty)

Sui Dynasty

589 CE - 618 CE

The Sui Dynasty had only two emperors, Yang Chien who was called Emperor Wen Ti and his son Emperor Yang. Even though it was a short dynasty, the Sui Dynasty accomplished many things.The Grand Canal was extended north from Hangzhou across the Yangzi to Yangzhou and then northwest to the region of Louyang. Confucianism began to regain popularity as the nobles gained importance. The Sui rulers were interested in expanding their borders and, along with their public works projects, they began costly military campaigns. The Sui Dynasty was succesful for some people but others disagree because they believe that the government was cruel with the people. (Sui Dynasty)

Tang Dynasty

618 CE - 907 CE

During this dynasty there were four important administrations: a Department of State Affairs, an Imperial Chancellory, an Imperial Grand Secretariat, and a Council of State. During this dynasty, the rice production increased and people began to center their life around this crop. Three important tools were developed to aid in rice cultivation: the chain with paddles which allows water to be transferred among levels, the harrow, and the rice field plough. The Tang Dynasty spread their empire into central Asia all the way into Iran, Manchuria and almost the whole Korean peninsula, and into the Ili valley. The T’ang became the greatest power in Asia. (Tang Dynasty)

Sung Dynasty

969 CE - 1120 CE

The Sung re-organized the imperial government, centralizing the control of the dynasty at the capital. In this dynasty, education and the economy continued to expand. However, the Sung Dynasty had a weak military. Because of this, they had to sign treaties most of the times they were in war. (Sung Dynasty)

Yuan Dynasty

1279 CE - 1368 CE

This dynasty was the first of two dynasties who was ruled by foreigners. During this dynasty, China was part of the Mongol Empire. The Mongols had a difficult time ruling the Chinese. They had many differences and this turned out to be very difficult because they had different customs from the Chinese. Canals and palaces were built, which required the peasants to both supply more tax money and to leave their homes to build them. Because of this, the economy suffered very much. (Yuan Dynasty)

Ming Dynasty

1368 CE - 1644 CE

The founder of the Ming Dynasty was a peasant. Emperor Hongwu led a revolt against the Mongols. One accomplishment of the Ming Dynasty was the building of the Great Wall. Money was a problem during the beginning of the Ming dynasty and it suffered from inflation. (Ming Dynasty)

Qing Dynasty

1644 - 1911

The Qing Dynasty was ruled by the Manchu, it was the second time that China was ruled by foreigners. The Qing Dynasty was very succesful in ruling China. They made Chinese men shave their head and dress in Manchu clothing. The Qing did not believe in trade. Porcelain production was very important in this dynasty. Also, for the first time European influences were seen. (Qing Dynasty)

People's Republic of China

1911 - 1949

An army revolt led the founding of the Republic of China. The People's Republic of China had control over 23 provinces in China. In 1921, the Chinese Communist Party was formed. In 1938, the Japanese invaded China. In 1945, the Japanese surrendered. (China) (Wikipedia)

Mao Zedong

1949 - 1976

Mao Zedong was the son of a peasant who joined the revolutionary army that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. Mao promised the poor people a better life and he restored the economy trying to put China as one of the mayor powers of the world. Mao believed of having the support of peasants. He also had to protect China from Japan. (Mao Zedong)

Deng Xiaoping

1978 - 1997

Deng Xiaoping was a Communist leader who led China into a Market Economy. He was the leader of the Political Republic of China from 1978 to the early 1990's. He modernized agriculture, industry, science and technology, and the military. Also Deng Xiaoping brought trade again to China. (Deng Xiaoping)