Geography of China • China is about the size of the U.S. • Most of China is mountains and deserts • About 5,000 years ago people settled in villages along the Huang He or Yellow River. • Despite the difficulties people found the resources they needed for civilization to begin
Geography of China • River Systems • Rivers helped people here just as in Meso., India, & Egypt • They watered their crops and provided for transportation • The Huang & the Chang begin the mountains of western China • The Huang flows across the northern plains and into the Yellow Sea • Loess blows from the Gobi desert and into the Huang River Valley giving it its yellow color and name • Huang means yellow
Geography of China • River Systems • The loess settles like silt in the other river valleys • This fertile and soft soil allowed for better farming • The yellow of the river also gives the Yellow Sea its name
Geography of China • Isolation • Surrounded by • 2 large deserts – the Taklimakan and the Gobi to the north and west • Mountains – the Himalayas to the west and others to the south • The Pacific Ocean to the east • This made trade and the exchange of ideas more difficult than in the Middle East and India • China developed its own unique way of life
Shang Dynasty • Out of these early settlements rose the Shang Dynasty • During the stone age strong rulers began to take control of surrounding villages • These grew into small kingdoms • One of these kingdoms, the Shang, began to expand in the 1700s BC • Their DYNASTY lasted for almost 600 years
Shang Dynasty • Shang Government • The Shang kept all of the power within their family • They organized farmers to clear more land • Could afford a large army to attack nearby villages • Expanded their territory • Soldiers fought with modern technology (for the time) • Used their wealth to build walled cities • Controlled the floods with dikes
Shang Dynasty • Writing • Earliest Chinese writing was found on oracle bones • Scholars learned a lot about early Chinese culture from these bones • They may have written on paper or bamboo also, but it doesn’t last as long • Used pictographs instead of an alphabet • By 1300BC had a complete writing system • Much of the writing is understood today • Spoken Chinese is different for many people, but the written language is the same.
Shang Dynasty • Bronze Metalworking • Early Chinese created works of art in pottery and jade • But are best known for their work with bronze • Bronze was expensive • Only the most important materials were made with bronze • Daily use tools were made from bone and stone