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Chapter 2 Section 4
River Dynasties in China
The Geography of China

China somewhat
isolated








Yellow Sea
East China Sea
Pacific Ocean
Taklimakan (Talk
makan) Desert
Plateau of Tibet
Himalayas
Gobi Desert
Mongolian Plateau
River Systems



Huang (hwan) He
(Yellow River)
Chang (chon) Jiang (gang) (Yangtze)
Yellowish silt, or fertile
soil, called loess (loss)
Environmental Challenges

Geographic isolation



China’s Sorrow
Trading limited
Invasions from the west
and north
China’s Heartland

Farming land = 10%
Civilization Emerges in Shang Times


Fossils show ancestors
1.7 mya
Near Beijing, Homo
erectus, Peking man,
found
The First Dynasties
•
•
•
Before Sumerians,
settlements along
Huang He being built.
1st dynasty = Xia
Dynasty, led by Yu
When, Meso., Egypt
and Indus were falling
to invaders, the Shang
(short a sound) came to
power in China
–
First to leave written
records
Early Cities



Anyang, (on yawn) one
capital of the Shang
Dynasty
Built of mainly wood
Walls built for
protection
The Development of Chinese Culture




People outside of
China were barbarians
Group more
important than the
individual
Chief loyalty lies with
the family
Obedience and respect
owed to the ruler
Family




Respect towards
parents, the most
important value
Eldest man in control,
women inferiors
Marriages were
arranged
Improve status by
giving birth to sons
Social Classes

Nobles and peasants
Religious Beliefs



Family linked to
religion
Spirits brought good
or bad fortune
Shang worshiped
Shang Di and
consulted him through
oracle bones – how did
they do it?
Development of Writing


One character stands
for one syllable or unit
of language
Almost no links
between spoken and
written language

(2 + 2 = 4)
Development of Writing Continued


Advantage: could learn
same system of
language no matter
where they were from
Disadvantage: large
amount of characters
to remember



1,500 = literate
10,000 = scholar
50,000 Today
Zhou and the Dynastic Cycle


Zhou (jow) overthrew
the Shang
They brought new
ideas to the Chinese
civilization
Zhou Wen Wang 1131- 1115 BC
Mandate of Heaven


Zhou's justified their
conquest – what did
they say?
This developed into
the view that royal
authority came from
heaven
Mandate of Heaven Continued
 Just ruler had divine approval
 Non-just ruler lost the Mandate of
Heaven and right to rule
Mandate of Heaven Continued



This transferred to the
view of government
Natural disasters were
seen as what?
Pattern of rise, decline,
and replacement of
dynasties were called
the dynastic cycle
Control Through Feudalism



Zhou’s dynasty was
large.
To govern, control was
given to royal families
and nobles
Feudalism developed
Control Through Feudalism



Local lords at first
submitted to Zhou
rulers.
Lords grew stronger
and their dependency
on the king became
less
Rebellions developed
Improvements in Technology and Trade




Road and canals
Coined money
Blast furnaces to
produce cast iron
Used for weapons and
farming tools
A Period of Warring States



Empire generally
peaceful
Zhou monarch
murdered by nomads
Some family members
escaped

New capital set at
Luoyang (lou-o-yan)
A Period of Warring States


Zhou kings were not
strong and couldn’t
control lords who
continued to fight each
other
Fighting brought an
end to traditional
values