Ch'in (Qin) (221BCE-206BCE)
During the Qin dynasty, all of China was united and the Great Wall of
China was begun.
Qin Shihuangti was the first emperor of China.
In 1974, Emperor
Qin Shihuang's tomb was discovered, it included 6,000
terra cotta army figures. Qin Shi Huang, the emperor who founded the Qin Dynasty.
The building of the Great
Wall of China begins. It is designed to keep out a destitute and
starving people, the nomadic Hsiung Nu.
Han (206 BCE-220 C.E.)
The Han dynasty was known for conquering new lands and expanding trade.
The Han dynasty fell in C.E. 220. But even today, people in China
call themselves "Han people" in honor of this time of accomplishment.
Han accomplishments included:
Chinese scientists created the world's first compass and the first
Invention of the seismograph, or earthquake detector invented by Zhang Heng, the urn-like Houfeng Seismograph. There were many
earthquakes during the Han Dynasty so they invented a seismograph.
The seismograph was an ornamental vessel of cast bronze, consisting
of eight dragons facing outward in a circle. Each dragon gingerly held
a ball in its jaws. The instrument was designed so that any seismic
tremor would cause the ball to fall from the jaws of the dragon
facing the direction of the tremor. The ball fell in the direction
that the earthquake was coming from so it also told the people which
way the earthquake was.
Many kinds of medicine, including acupuncture and the use of herbs. Advances in engineering and mathematics. The invention of paper, exceptional works of art and writing.
Lun is created with the inventor of paper.
Porcelain and the world's first wheelbarrow.
Buddhism arrives in China around this time.
The Second Empire (589CE - 1644CE)
Empress Wu Zetian (only female empress)
Yuan (Mongol) (1279CE-1368CE)
The Yuan was the shortest lived of the major dynasties.
Mongolian Empire was perhaps the largest empire in human history
in terms of geographical expanse. It extended west to east from
Poland to Siberia, and north to south from Moscow to the Arabian
peninsula and Siberia to Vietnam.
The achievements of Genghis Khan were grandiose. He united all the
Mongolian nomadic tribes and united the nomadic tribes in a
disciplined military state. Genghis Khan led his united Mongol hordes
out of Mongolia to create an empire unequaled in land area even by
Alexander the Great.
The destruction brought about by Genghis Khan survives in popular
memory. No one knows exactly how many people were slaughtered by his
destructive raids, by even the most conservative estimates suggest
several million people died.
These conquests of Genghis Khan were but the first stage of the
Mongol Empire, the greatest continental empire of medieval and modern times.
His successors would extend their power over the whole of China,
Persia, and most of Russia.
Sites to See
Geographic's Genghis Khan
In 1279, Genghis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, founded the
Chinese-style Yuan dynasty. Mongol rule brought relative peace to
Asia, leaving China accessible to foreign visitors, such as Marco Polo.
The Birth of Modern China (1644CE - present)
Qing (Manchu) (1644-1911)
The Chinese Republic (1911-1949)
In 1912, Sun Yat-sen is made first provisional President of the
Republic. Guo Min Dang (KMT), The National People's Party is founded.
Emperor Hsian-T'ung (Aixinjhueruo Puyi) resigns, he was the last Emperor of China. Within two days of the
abdication of the Manchu Dynasty, Yuan Shih Kai becomes provisional
President. Yuan Shih Kai effectively became a military dictator and
in 1914 he was declared president for life with the post hereditary
and passing on to his son. After the death of Yuan Shih Kai, Sun Yat
Sen assumed the post of Emergency President of the Republic.
In 1921, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was formed.
Sun Yat-sen died of cancer in 1925. The leadership of the KMT was
then taken over by Chiang Kaishek. Civil war between the Nationalists
and the Communists started. Civil war in China was joined by renewed
Japanese aggression. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in
1941, the main thrust of the Japanese war effort turned away from
fighting the Chinese and towards fighting the Americans. At the end
of World War II, the war between the Nationalists and the Communists
started up again.
In 1949, Chiang Kai-shek and KMT fled to Taiwan.
Peoples Republic of China (1949-present)
In 1949, Mao
Zedong proclaimed the creation of the People's Republic of China.
Mao Zedong and others, launched the 'Great Leap Forward' in 1958. The
purpose of the Great Leap Forward was to overcome the backwardness of
China's economy, industry, and technology. Steel production was to be
increased by setting up small-scale "backyard furnaces,"
and agricultural output was to be raised by combining the collective
farms into communes. What ended up happening was the greatest
man-made famine in human history. From 1958 to 1961, poor planning
and bad management managed to starve 20 million people to death.
In 1966, begins the Great Cultural Revolution. The Great Cultural
Revolution was a radical movement that closed schools, slowed
production, and virtually severed China's relations with the outside
world. It lasted for two years in its intense form, lingered on for
another year and a half, and was not officially declared over until 1977.
Mao Zedong died of a heart attack in 1976. Then Premier Zhou Enlai
dies and a power struggle ensues. Deng
Xiaoping in 1978, becomes China's paramount leader. Deng would
lead one billion people through political chaos and economic ruin to
economic reform and today on the road to prosperity. In 1997, Deng
dies at the age of 93 of respiratory failure.