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Ancient China

Overview
Timeline of Ancient China
Geography of Ancient China
Silk Road
The Great Wall
Forbidden City
Terracotta Army
The Grand Canal
Battle of Red Cliffs
Opium Wars
Inventions of Ancient China
Glossary and Terms

Dynasties
Major Dynasties
Xia Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
Qin Dynasty
Han Dynasty
Period of Disunion
Sui Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
Song Dyanasty
Yuan Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
Qing Dynasty

Culture
Daily Life in Ancient China
Religion
Mythology
Numbers and Colors
Legend of Silk
Chinese Calendar
Festivals
Civil Service
Chinese Art
Clothing
Entertainment and Games
Literature

People
Confucius
Kangxi Emperor
Genghis Khan
Kublai Khan
Marco Polo
Puyi (The Last Emperor)
Emperor Qin
Emperor Taizong
Sun Tzu
Empress Wu
Zheng He
Emperors of China

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Ancient China was one of the oldest and longest lasting civilizations in the history of the world. The history of Ancient China can be traced back over 4,000 years. Located on the eastern part of the continent of Asia, today China is the largest country in the world.

Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China


Dynasties

Throughout most of China's history it was ruled by powerful families called dynasties. The first dynasty was the Shang and the last was the Qing.

Empire

Ancient China also boasts the longest lasting empire in history. It began with the Qin dynasty and the first emperor Qin who united all of China under one rule in 221 BC. Emperors would continue to rule over China for more than 2000 years.

Government

In early times the lands were ruled by the feudal system where lords owned the lands and peasant farmers worked the lands for them. In later years, the empire was run by civil service officials who ran the cities, collected taxes, and enforced the laws. Men had to pass exams to become officials.

Art, Culture, and Religion

Art, culture, and religion were often tied together. There were three main religions or philosophies including Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. These ideas, called "the three ways" had a large impact on the way people lived as well as their art. Art focused on "the three perfections"; painting, poetry, and calligraphy.

Mongols

The great enemy of the Chinese was the Mongols who lived to the north. They even built a wall thousands of miles long to try and keep the Mongols from invading. The Mongols did conquer China for a time, however, and established their own dynasty called the Yuan Dynasty.

Fun Facts about Ancient China Take a ten question quiz on the Ancient China questions page.

Recommended books and references:

  • Ancient Civilizations: The Illustrated Guide to Belief, Mythology, and Art. Edited by Professor Greg Wolf. 2005.
  • Ancient China by C.P. Fitzgerald. 2006.
  • The Emperor's Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China by Jane O'Connor. 2002.
  • China: Land of Dragons and Emperors by Adeline Yen Mah. 2009.
  • The Dynasties of China: A History by Bamber Gascoigne. 2003
  • Ancient China by Dale Anderson. 2005.
  • Treasures of China: The Glories of the Kingdom of the Dragon by John D. Chinnery. 2008.


  • For more information:
    Overview
    Timeline of Ancient China
    Geography of Ancient China
    Silk Road
    The Great Wall
    Forbidden City
    Terracotta Army
    The Grand Canal
    Battle of Red Cliffs
    Opium Wars
    Inventions of Ancient China
    Glossary and Terms

    Dynasties
    Major Dynasties
    Xia Dynasty
    Shang Dynasty
    Zhou Dynasty
    Qin Dynasty
    Han Dynasty
    Period of Disunion
    Sui Dynasty
    Tang Dynasty
    Song Dyanasty
    Yuan Dynasty
    Ming Dynasty
    Qing Dynasty

    Culture
    Daily Life in Ancient China
    Religion
    Mythology
    Numbers and Colors
    Legend of Silk
    Chinese Calendar
    Festivals
    Civil Service
    Chinese Art
    Clothing
    Entertainment and Games
    Literature

    People
    Confucius
    Kangxi Emperor
    Genghis Khan
    Kublai Khan
    Marco Polo
    Puyi (The Last Emperor)
    Emperor Qin
    Emperor Taizong
    Sun Tzu
    Empress Wu
    Zheng He
    Emperors of China
    Go here to test your knowledge with a Ancient China crossword puzzle or word search.

    For more reading and reference see these books:

    You are in Ancient China by Ivan Minnis. 2005.
    Exploring Ancient China by Elaine Landau. 2005.
    Eyewitness Books: Ancient China by Arthur Cotterell. 2005.

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