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Chinese Dynasties
Chinese civilizations began along rivers
Huange He (Yellow
River): Cereals
Chang Jiang (Yangzi
River): Rice
Shang Dynasty: 1500’s
until 1100BCE
• Huang He Valley
• First writing system
• During Bronze Age
• Oracle Bones
• Calendar based on the
• Ancestor worship
• Polytheistic
Shang Dynasty Video
Zhou Dynasty (1100 – 771BCE)
• Rebels from W China
overthrow the Shang ruler
in the 1100’s
• Mandate of Heaven
• Emperor takes control over
Chinese society
• Many lords refused to fight
when invaders attacked in
771BC and the emperor
was overthrown
Qin Dynasty (221 – 206BCE)
221BC China is unified under Shi Huangdi
Expansion of China
Xi’an new capital
Did not share power with lords
System of law promoted equality
Common currency and writing system
Roads and canals built
Great Wall
Terra-cotta warriors
Dynasty begins to fall apart after his death
Terra Cotta Army Video
Great Wall Video
205BCE – 220AD
Liu Bang
• Peasant that rose to power after the
fall of the Qin dynasty
• Earned the Mandate of Heaven
through gaining people’s loyalty and
• Lowered taxes for farmers and made
punishments less severe
• Relied on educated officials to help
him rule
Emperor Wudi (140BCE)
• Created a stronger government by
taking land from lords, raising taxes,
and putting the supply of grain
under state control. He basically
undid everything Liu Bang did.
• Emperor Wudi made Confucianism
the official government philosophy
Han Social Classes (ugh, this again)
Peasants were the largest
class (making up 90%) and
were given second class
status because they made
Artisans were third class
because they manipulated
goods made by others.
Merchants did not actually
make anything, so they
were the lowest class.
Peasants of the Han Dynasty
• 90% of the 60 million people
living in China were of the
peasant class
• Peasants were very poor and
worked long hours. Merchants (a
lower class) were often much
more wealthy.
• During the farming months they
grew millet or rice, and they
were forced to work on
government building projects in
the winter.
• Eventually, heavy taxes forced
most farmers to lose their
independent farms.
Family Life Under Confucianism
• Respect for elders
• Roles for father,
mother and children
• Honoring of dead
• Value placed on boys,
not girls
Family Shrine
Period of Disunion 220 - 589
• Several rival kingdoms exists
and they were ruled by military
• Chinese culture continued to
spread though despite
constant wars
Sui Dynasty 589 - 618
• Yang Jian from
northern China
southern China
• Short-lived but
significant due to
the building of
the Grand Canal
Grand Canal
Tang Dynasty 618 - 907
• Considered a Golden Age
and an age of expansion
• Advancements in art and law
• Only female ruler, Empress
Song Dynasty 960 - 1279
• China reunified after a brief
period of disorder (Five
Dynasties and Ten
• Period of great
Achievements through the
Tang and Song Dynasties
Cities grow
• TANG: Chang’an (now called
Xi’an) had over a million
people from many different
parts of Asia and Europe and
was known as a religious/
philosophical center
• SONG: Kaifeng (also a