Ancient China (1)

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Ancient China
• Geographic barriers isolate China
– Deserts and high mountain ranges
– Rainforests divide China from southeast
Asia
– Pacific Ocean to the east
• Civilization emerges in Huang River
valley
– “River of Sorrows”
Shang Dynasty
• First recorded Chinese dynasty, about
1766 BC
• Social classes develop
– Kings and princes rule
– Royal family and noble warriors at the top
– Most were peasants
Peasants revolt
and remove
the dynasty
from power
A new
dynasty takes
over
Peace is
restored,
land is
redistributed
Defensive
walls are
built
Invasions
Uses taxes to
pay for royal
luxuries
Corrupt
officials are
unpunished
Government
begins to
neglect their
duties
Dynastic cycle
• The rise and the fall of dynasties in
China
– Zhou overthrew Shang about 1766 BC
• Dynasties needed the Mandate of
Heaven
• Disaster meant that a dynasty lost the
favor of heaven
– Zhou ends in 256 BC
Confucius
• A brilliant scholar
and teacher
• Taught that
relationships
shape behavior
• Confucianism
influences onethird of the
world’s
population
5 key relationships
• Ruler to subject, parent to child,
husband to wife, older brother to
younger brother, friend to friend
• Filial piety (respect for parents)
Achievements
• Invented silk-making
– Most valuable export
• Created the first books
• Developed a complex writing system
– Writing as an art form (calligraphy)
• Improved bronze technology
Feudalism
• Under the Zhou dynasty China became
a feudal state
• System of gov’t in which local lords
governed their own lands but owed
military service and support to the ruler
Creating the Empire
• Shi Huangdi became
first emperor
– Was very brutal
• Conquered many
warring states
• Built an authoritarian
Qin government
– Tortured and killed
anyone who opposed
him
Unity
• The feudal state was replaced with 36
military districts
• Created a money economy
• United Chinese writing
• Repaired roads and canals for travel
The Great Wall
• Shi Huangdi’s greatest
achievement
• 25 feet high, thousands
of miles long
• Feudal states built their
own walls, now they
were united together
• Used to protect the
civilization from nomadic
bands north of the wall
Han Dynasty
• Emperor Wudi
strengthened Chinese
gov’t and economy
• Held a monopoly on
iron and salt
• Used expansionism
– Increased land under
Chinese control
The Silk Road
• Trade route created by
Wudi
• Connected China to
western countries
• Chinese would trade silk
for grapes, figs,
cucumbers, fur, and
glass
• 4,000 miles long
End of the Han dynasty
• Han dynasty collapsed after the
peasants revolted
• The emperors could no longer control
powerful warlords
• After 400 years of unity, China broke
into several kingdoms
• Invaders poured over the Great Wall
and settled in China
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