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The Rise and Fall of Major Empires: China (Classical Period to Modern Era). By: Natalie Shideh Period 3. The Shang Dynasty ( 21 st to 17 th century B.C.E. ).

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the rise and fall of major empires china classical period to modern era

The Rise and Fall of Major Empires: China (Classical Period to Modern Era)


Natalie Shideh

Period 3

the shang dynasty 21 st to 17 th century b c e
The Shang Dynasty (21st to 17th century B.C.E.)
  • The rise of this dynasty occurred when Emperor Tang (in 1675 BC) overthew the autocratic rule of Jie, (the last emperor of the Xia Dynasty).
  • During the Shang era, there were many impressive accomplishments. The civilians created their own unique system of writing (seen on bronze sculptures & artifacts) and the court expanded their influence as far as modern-day Beijing.
    • Throughout the final years of the dynasty, the country was in turmoil. Emperor Zhou brought about more conflict by leading a very luxurious and care-free life. Finally, the Shang era was ended by an overthrow led by Wu, a chief of the Zhou tribe.
the zhou dynasty 1029 to 258 b c e
The Zhou Dynasty (1029 to 258 B.C.E.)
  • The Zhou was at first a nomadic tribe, but later rose to power after conquering the former Shang era in warfare.
  • While the Zhou kept some Shang practices in their culture, they built upon it with their own individual traditions. For example, they ruled with a feudal system and still practiced the religion, the cult of heaven.
    • During its decline, regional rulers created their own armies, reducing the emperor’s power completely. The Era of the Warring States (402 to 201 B.C.E.) also contributed to the Zhou downfall.
the qin dynasty 221 to 202 b c e
The Qin Dynasty (221 to 202 B.C.E.)
  • The Qin era started when Qin Shi Huangdi (or First Emperor) overthrew the last Zhou ruler made himself the only leader of China.
  • During the dynasty, Shi Huangdi was brutal, but efficient. He led powerful armies to crush regional opposition, and he built the Great Wall to be used in warfare and trade.
  • The Qin period declined because of its emperor’s huge unpopularity. After Huangdi’s death in 210 B.C.E., many revolts broke out and one peasant leader defeated the rest, marking the beginning of the Han era.
the han dynasty 202 b c e to 220 c e
The Han Dynasty (202 B.C.E. to 220 C.E.)
  • After the autocratic ruler Qin Shi Huangdi died, a peasant led a revolt in 202 B.C.E. and established the Han dynasty.
  • During this era, the state bureaucracy improved vastly and the government created formal training (based on Confucianism) that would train future political representatives.
  • After two centuries of long-lasting rule, control at the center was broken and many invasions from the Huns led to the downfall of this great dynasty which lasted over 400 years.
the sui dynasty 589 to 618 c e
The Sui Dynasty (589 to 618 C.E.)
  • Wendi, a member of a noble family, decided to arrange a marriage between his daughter and a ruler of the northern Zhou empire. After this, he seized the throne and secured support with nomadic military officials, linking the traditional areas of the Chinese civilization for the first time in three centuries.
  • Throughout his rule, Wendi won a lot of support because of his policies such as lowering taxes and building granaries in the lands.
  • The decline of the Sui dynasty was started by Wendi’s son, Yangdi. Once he took the throne, he led extravagant and expensive building projects and led his subjects to many endless wars. In 618, he was assassinated, ending this era.
the tang dynasty 618 to 907 c e
The Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 C.E.)
  • Li Yuan, a former political official of the late emperor Yangdi, fought the struggle to gain power and succeeded, creating the Tang empire in 618 C.E.
  • During the Tang era, many emperors funded academies to train and teach future officials, all based on Confucian ideology. Because of this, the number of the educated scholar gentry class increased greatly.
  • After becoming infatuated with a beautiful woman, Yang Guifei, Emperor Xuanzong became very distracted and neglected state affairs and imperial duties. This led to military crisis, many casualties, and a false alliance with nomadic peoples, who ended up taking control over large areas of Chinese territory. Subsequently, many peasant rebellions occurred, finally ending the dynasty in 907.
the song dynasty 960 to 1279 c e
The Song Dynasty (960 to 1279 C.E.)
  • Zhao Kuangyin, or Emperor Taizu, conquered all his rivals who sought power after the fall of the Tang, and created the Song empire.
  • However, Emperor Taizu was unable to overthrow one rival, the northern Liao dynasty. Because of this, the Song peoples were forced to sign a treaty, promising to pay heavy tributes to their rival, in order to keep the peace and avoid raiding.
  • In 1115, the Jurchens, a nomadic people, took over the Liao empire in the north and created the Jin kingdom. Their continuing conquering forced the Song peoples southward, and the dynasty only continued for another century and a half.
the mongol yuan dynasty 1279 to 1368 c e
The Mongol (Yuan) Dynasty (1279 to 1368 C.E.)
  • From 1235 to 1279, Kubilai Khan and his Mongol army entered China and conquered many territories, finally gaining full control in 1279.
  • Throughout their rule, Mongols retained much of their culture, refusing to practice Chinese customs such as footbinding and civil service exams. However, they did adopt the Chinese calendar and offered sacrifices to their ancestors.
  • By the 1350s, the empire was showing many signs of decline. Banditry, piracy, famine, and secret societies (ex: White Lotus) that were dedicated to overthrowing the Mongols contributed to its overall downfall in 1368.
the ming dynasty 1368 to 1644
The Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644)
  • In 1368, Zhu Yuanzhang, a military official of peasant origins, overthrew the Mongol overlords and declared himself the Hongwu emperor of China.
  • After he seized the throne, Zhu sought to completely rid China of Mongol practices. Mongol dress, names, palaces, and administrative buildings were all discarded.
  • In the late 1500s, the empire was entering a period of decline. The centralized and absolutist government was poorly run by weak rulers. After the fall, famine, floods, and drought struck the land, causing great harm to the Ming peoples.
the qing dynasty 1644 to 1912
The Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1912)
  • Nurhaci brought his Manchu army into Ming China in 1644. They conquered quickly because of the weakness of the government and social unrest within the empire.
  • The Manchu emperors of the Qing dynasty adopted many Chinese traditions, such as the civil service examinations and the arts. They also claimed themselves to be the Sons of Heaven, based on Confucian values.
  • In 1911, strong opposition grew to the government’s alliance with the West. As a result, secret societies grew, demonstrations occurred, and frequent mutinies happened. The Manchus were forced to abdicate, and its last emperor, Puyi, reigned in 1912.