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River Dynasties in China. Chapter 2 Section 4 pg. 46. Geography of China. Natural barriers isolate China from other civilizations East- Pacific Ocean West- Taklimakan desert Southwest- Himalaya Mountains North- Gobi Desert. Pacific Ocean, Taklimakan Desert, Himalayas, and Gobi Desert.

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river dynasties in china

River Dynasties in China

Chapter 2 Section 4 pg. 46

geography of china
Geography of China
  • Natural barriers isolate China from other civilizations
  • East- Pacific Ocean
  • West- Taklimakan desert
  • Southwest- Himalaya Mountains
  • North- Gobi Desert
  • 2 major rivers flow from the mountains west to the Pacific Ocean
  • Huang He (hwahng-HUH) in the north
  • Yangtze (yang-SEE) in Central China
Mountain ranges dominate 2/3 of China’s landmass
  • 90% remaining land that is suitable for farming is in the small plain between the 2 rivers
Chinese viewed those outside of Chinese civilization were barbarians
  • Own name for China was the Middle Kingdom
China’s 1st civilization developed in a river valley- the Huang He means “yellow river”
  • Deposited huge amounts of yellow silt when it overflowed its banks
  • Silt is actually fertile soil called loess that is blown by wind from the desert
Huang He’s floods could be generous or ruinous
  • One great flood killed nearly 1 million people in 1887
Due to geographic isolation, early settlers had to supply own goods rather than trading with people
  • Natural boundaries didn’t always protect from invasions
  • Invasions from the west and north occurred again and again in Chinese history
civilization emerges in shang times
Civilization Emerges in Shang Times
  • Even before Sumerians settled in Mesopotamia, Chinese cultures building along the Huang He
  • Around 2000 B.C. turned into China’s first cities
  • China’s first Dynasty emerged at this time, the Xia (shyah) Dynasty
first dynasties
First Dynasties
  • Leader of Xia named Yu
  • Controlled flood and irrigation projects and helped tame Huang He and its tributaries so settlements could grow
shang dynasty
Shang Dynasty
  • Lasted from 1532 to 1027 B.C.
  • First family to leave written records
  • Built elaborate tombs and palaces
Oldest and most important Shang city was Anyang
  • Built mostly of wood
  • Higher classes lived in timber-framed houses with walls of clay and straw
  • Surrounded cities with massive earthen walls for protection
social classes
Social Classes
  • Divided between nobles and peasants
  • Governed by ruling class of warrior-nobles headed by a king
  • Professional warriors underwent lengthy training to learn the techniques of driving and shooting from horse-drawn chariots
  • Chariot was a major tool of war
origins of chinese culture
Origins of Chinese Culture
  • People very loyal to 2 important authorities- their family and their king or emperor
  • Family was central to Chinese society
  • Important aspect was respecting parents
  • Elder men in family controlled property and made all decisions
  • Women treated as inferiors, expected to obey husband, father, and eventually own sons.
Girl would marry between 13-16 to arranged partner and move into house with husband
  • If she gave her husband a son, her status may improve
religious beliefs
Religious beliefs
  • Believed that spirits of family ancestors could bring good fortune or disaster
  • Didn’t treat them as gods, but gave them respect
  • Worshiped a supreme god, Shang Di as well as many lesser gods
Shang kings consulted gods through oracle bones- animal bones and tortoise shells on which a priest would scratch questions for the gods, then a priest applied a hot poker to it causing it to crack
  • The priests interpreted the cracks to see how the god answered
development of writing
Development of Writing
  • Chinese method of writing each character stands for an idea, not a sound
  • Advantage: people in China could learn the same system of writing even if languages were very different
  • Disadvantage: enormous amount of written characters
  • Person needed to know over 1,000 characters to barely be literate, a true scholar needed to know 10,000 characters
shang technology and artistry
Shang technology and Artistry
  • People who were skilled in crafts made up a separate class in society
  • Like other commoners, they lived outside the walls of cities
  • Made weapons, jewelry, religious items
  • Could also make silk cloth 1000 years before Europe and the rest of world could
zhou bring new ideas
Zhou Bring New Ideas
  • 1027 B.C. people called Zhou (joh) overthrew Shang and established own dynasty, and adopted much of Shang culture
  • Justified takeover by declaring Shang King was such a bad leader that the gods had taken away the power and given it to the Zhou
Justification over time became developed into view that royal authority came from heaven
  • Ruler who had divine approval known as the Mandate of Heaven
Floods, riots and other disasters might be signs that the ancestral spirits were unhappy with a king’s rule
control through feudalism
Control through feudalism
  • Zhou dynasty controlled large amounts of land, governing the area became a challenge
  • Gave different regions of land to different royal family members and trusted nobles
  • Established system of feudalism
  • Political system where nobles, or lords, are granted the use of lands that legally belong to the king
  • The nobles owe loyalty and military service to the king and protection to the people who love on the estates
Gradually the lords grew stronger as small towns grew into cities and expanded into neighboring territory
  • Local lords became less dependent on the king and fought among themselves with neighboring lords for wealth and land
improvements in trade and technology by the zhou
Improvements in Trade and Technology by the Zhou
  • The Zhou built roads and canals to supply growing cities
  • This stimulated trade and agriculture
  • Introduced coined money
  • Developed blast furnaces that allowed them to produce cast iron 1,000 years before Europeans
  • Used iron to create weapons and tools
warring states
Warring States
  • The Zhou ruled from 1027 to 256 B.C.
  • Nomads from the north invaded and murdered the Zhou monarch
  • Surviving members moved capital to Luoyang (lwoh-YAHNG) and pretended to rule for another 500 years
  • Lords claimed to be kings in own territory, and traditional values collapsed
  • On your note sheet, create your own writing system using only characters for this sentence:
  • After school, students do homework, practice sports, or play video games.