This is the first post in a 5-part series on the Complete History of China (abridged). I am covering the basics of China’s history to help me (and you) understand what makes China the way it is. This post will cover Ancient China. There’s a lot of history to cover, so let’s dive in!
600,000 years ago – There is some evidence of primitive man living in the area we call China today.
400,000 years ago – Peking Man (homo erectus) was hanging out. 4oo thousand years after his death, Peking Man’s skull is discovered during WWII. In order to protect the skull from battle, it was shipped to the US, but disappeared enroute and never seen again. Let’s jump forward in history to…
8000 BC - No writing yet, so we don’t know a lot about the people living at this time, but we do know they farmed millet ( a type of grain) and started forming settlements.
6000 BC – Each settlement has its own unique style of pottery.
2800 BC – The story of the three sovereigns and five emperors supposedly takes place now. It is written down by Sima Qian in the first century BC. They are God-Kings prior to the Dynastic period. Most think these rulers were mythical.
2070 BC – The Xia Dynasty is in control. They create the concept of a dynasty and lasted through 17 kings.
1600 BC – The Shang Dynasty is now on top. They’re best known for mass-producing bronze. But nothing lasts forever…
1066 BC – The Zhou take power, move the capital to Xi’an, and start writing on silk and strips of Bamboo.
771 BC – Known as the Spring and Autun Period (because that’s what it’s called in a very old history book, no seriously), China is ruled by feudal Kings. Confucius will be alive soon (551-479BC) and war is about to come.
475 BC – War is here! This period is called the Warring States Period and I’ll let you guess why. No one is happy with anyone else. It’s during this chaotic time that Confucianism, Daoism and Legalism become popular.
221 BC – The warring finally stops. But who won?!? You’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out.