Early China World Civilizations
Introduction • China called itself the “Middle Kingdom” – center of the world, the one supreme civilization • China has traditionally had a lack of outside contacts.
Questions??? • What could be the positive affects of this isolation? • What could be the negative affects of this isolation? • Are there any countries like this today?
The Shang Dynasty(1700 BC – 1027 BC) • First recorded dynasty in China • Kings had political and religious responsibilities. • Kings would pray and sacrifice for a good harvest or victory in battle. • Oracle bones were used to predict the future.
The Shang Dynasty, cont. • Shang achievements include written script and bronze-casting. • The Shang dynasty expanded in northern China to most of the Huang He valley.
More Questions? • Who do the Shang political leaders remind you of & why? • What can you tell about their religion?
The Zhou Dynasty(1027-250 BC) • The Shang dynasty was overthrown by Wu, who began the Zhou dynasty. • Beginning of the notion of the Mandate of Heaven: a ruler received authority from heaven as long as just and effective.
The Zhou Dynasty, cont. • The Zhou set up a feudal system where nobles owned the land and peasants worked it. • Lords had total authority and built their own armies to challenge the Zhou rulers. • Roads were built, foreign trade expanded, horses were introduced, the crossbow was invented, writing became more elaborate, and farming techniques became more advanced (iron plow, irrigation).
What do you think? • What is the significance of the Mandate of Heaven? • Where else in history do we see the feudal system? • What steps are taken during this dynasty to help their empire grow culturally? • Why did they invent so many weapons if they were isolationists?
The Qin Dynasty(221-207 BC) • Much of China became united for the first time. • Qin Shihuangdi became the first emperor. • Control was centralized through organization into military districts run by government officials. • The lords could less easily challenge the government.
The Qin Dynasty, cont. • The Great Wall was begun to defend China’s northern border. • It took 300,000 workers, and was 2500 miles long. • Qin angered the nobles by taking land and taxing them.
The Han Dynasty(207 BC – 220 AD) • The Han continued centralized power, but less harsh than the Qin. • Wudi (141-87 BC) conquered Korea, Manchuria, and parts of Southeast Asia and northern India.
The Han Dynasty, cont. • The explorer Zhang Qian established contact between China and Rome. • The Silk Road was established as a trade route between China and the Middle East.
The Han Dynasty, cont. • Economic controls sustained a growing population – the government stored extra food in case of shortages. • The civil service system was begun – government workers had to pass a test.