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China General Chronology

China is an ancient country with more than 5,000 years of civilization. Legend has it that the three nobles and five emperors were the first rulers of China. They are also considered as the ancestors of the Chinese. After a long time of primitive existence, the Xia Dynasty was established in 21st century BC. From then on, one dynasty replaced another. China's "four major inventions" - papermaking, printing, gunpowder, and compass made great attributions to the world.

XIA (22nd to 17th Century BC)
As the first dynasty recorded in China's history, Xia was established by Qi and reigned for 471 years. The Erlitou Ruins in Henan Province shows the advanced technology of Xia culture.

SHANG (17th to 11th Century BC)
Shang Dynasty power base was in Henan, Hebei and Shandong provinces. Jiaguwen, the precursor to modern Chinese characters was unearthed from the Yin Ruins of Henan Province. A large amount of bronze wares was also discovered here.

ZHOU (11th Century to 256 BC)
Lasting for 770 years, Zhou Dynasty is the longest ruling dynasty in Chinese history. Historians divided the Zhou Dynasty into Western Zhou and Eastern Zhou, and Eastern Zhou divided into the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period. China's most influential teacher, Confucius was lived during the the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period.

QIN (221 to 206 BC)
Qin Dynasty is the first unified empire in Chinese history. The renowned Great Wall, was built on the foundations of older walls to stabilized the empire's frontier. The Terracotta Warriors is another grandiose project of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of Chinese history.

HAN (206 BC to AD 220)
Historians divided the Han Dynasty into Western Han and Eastern Han. During the Western Han Dynasty, Confucianism became the official ideology. An examination system of ministers selecting started and succeeded by the following dynasties up until the end of last dynasty. Silk Road established and paper was invented during the reign.

DISUNION (220 to 589)
Wei, Shu, Wu were the three regimes in the central China during the period. The Turgut tribe unified northern China and established Northern Wei Dynasty. Buddhism sprouted throughout the North China and Buddhist cave carvings, Yungang and Longmen caves started at that time.

SUI (581 to 618)
The Sui Dynasty was only lasted for 38 years. The Grand Canal linked Beijing and Hangzhou was built during this short reign.

TANG (618 to 907)
The Tang Dynasty was one of the most prosperous and rich periods of China and was the largest power in Asia. Chinese characters and the Tang legal code exported to Korea and Japan. Wood block printing and gunpowder were invented during the Tang Dynasty.

SONG (960 to 1279)
The Song Dynasty was divided into Northern Song and Southern Song. The first Chinese paper currency was developed. The movable printing and the modern compass were used during the reign.

YUAN (1206 to 1368)
The largest empire of the world was established by Genghis Khan in the beginning of 13th century and his grandson Kubai Khan officially established Yuan Dynasty in 1271. Marco Polo supposedly visited China during the Yuan Dynasty.

MING (1368 to 1644)
The standardized bureaucracy with a strong central authority established by a poor peasant, Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of Ming Dynasty in 1368. The Yongle Canon, a massive encyclopaedia was complied and also Zheng He's voyages to Southeast Asia, India and Africa were made during his reign.

QING (1616 to 1911)
During the reign of Qing Dynasty, the emperors expanded the frontiers of their empire and consolidated the borders of what would become modern China. The first Opium War took place in 1840, which was fought between China and Britain, and made the Qing to face the modernity.

MODERN CHINA (1840 to 1949)
During the period, China lost control of Macau and Hong Kong. In 1911, the Qing Dynasty was overthrown and established the Republic of China in 1912. In 1949, People' Republic of China founded.

Founded in 1949 by Chairman Mao Zedong. Hong Kong and Macau back to China.

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