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Zhou Dynasty
1122 – 600 B.C.
Expert Group
The Zhou dynasty, which lasted longer than any other in Chinese history, followed the Shang (Yin)
Dynasty. The people were known as nomadic people who were from the western mountains near Huang
He. In time these nomadic people settled on the edge of the Shang kingdom.
These people became known as skilled farmers and expert fighters. Iron was a new found metal that was
made into tools and plows and eventually into weapons. These weapons were made to help them defeat
their enemies.
King Wu told the people that the other kings had no virtues and that the Zhous would be better rulers if
they claimed the Mandate of Heaven (the order of the gods to rule China). The Zhous ruled China for 900
years.
It was under the Zhou ruling that a new social structure was created. The King was at the top of the
society, with the noble families following and the peasant farmers at the bottom. Everyone owed loyalty to
the King. The king gave land to the nobles for their military service. Peasants lived on land owned by the
nobles and farmed it for them.
During this dynasty new dikes, dams, and canals were improved to help the food supply. Also new roads
were created to help transportation and communication.
By the 700’s B.C. more people lived in China than anywhere else in the world.