China's Imperial Dynasties


Qin Dynasty

221 B.C.E. - 206 B.C.E.

Unification of China under an emperor.

Han Dynasty

206 B.C.E. - 220 C.E.

A golden age for a united China.

Six Dynasties

220 - 581

A period of choas and disunion.

Sui Dynasty

589 - 618

Reunification of China

Tang Dynasty

618 - 907

Economic development and growth; Many inventions and discoveries.

Five Dynasties

907 - 960

a period of choas and disunion in the North.

Ten Kingdoms

907 - 970

A period of disunion and choas in the South.

Song Dynasty

960 - 1279

Economic development and growth; many inventions and discoveries.

Yuan Dynasty

1279 - 1368

Control of China by foreigners.

Ming Dynasty

1368 - 1644

Opening up of China to foreign influences at start of dynasty and the closing down of China by the end of the dynasty.



Chinese Inventions



Invented during the Han dynasty around 105, paper was one of China's greatest inventions. It was a cheap and easy way of keeping records and made printing possible



This thin, beautiful type of pottery was first made during the Tang dynasty. Porcelain became so popular in the west people started calling it chinaware, or just china.

Woodblock Printing


Invented during the Tang dynasty, these printers could copy drawing or texts much faster than they could be copied by hand. The first printed book was made in China, in 868.



Invented in the Han dynasty, the Tang dynasty greatly improved it. Using the the Earth's magnetic field to show direction, the new compass allowed saliors and merchants to travel vast distances.


907 - 960

It is uncertain wether gunpowder was invented in the late Tang dynasty or the early Song dynasty. Either way, gunpowder was used to make fireworks and signals. The Chinese did not generally use it as a weapon.

The Dragon Backbone Pump


Invented during the Song Dynasty, the Dragon Backbone pump allowed one person to do the work of several.With this light and portable pump a farmer could scoop up water and pour it into an irrigation canal.

Paper Money


The world's first paper money was invented during the Song dynasty. Lighter and easier to handle than coins, paper money helped the Chinese handle their growing wealth. Even today we use paper money.

Movable Type


The movable type made printing even faster. Carved letters could be rearranged and reused to print many different messages.