Early China & Xia Dynasty-10,000 BCE to 1500 BCE: Around 10,000 BCE the Chinese civilization began. There was a group called the Yangshao (yahng show) settled near the Huang He River. About 3,000 BCE, another farming group emerged, the Lungshan farming group. The Lungshan were very advanced for their time. They harvested silk and used it to weave fine fabrics. They used the potter’s wheel. They baked strong bricks in ovens and used them to build their homes, much sturdier than before. They worked together on flood control and irrigation projects. They had great engineering skills. Legend has it that their “Great Engineer”, Yu, founded the Xia (sometimes called the Hsia) Dynasty in about 2,000 BCE.
Shang & Chou Dynasties-The Bronze Age: These two rulers’ families were the rulers of China for about 1500 years. The daily life was nearly the same if not exactly the same as the previous Xia Dynasty. Farming/harvesting and innovative ways of living was still life during this dynasty.
Ancient China for Kids-Qin (pronounced Chin) Dynasty: Qin was the first man to control all of China by himself. He did not want to be called a king. Qin called himself First Emperor Qin. He died of natural causes. But in the short time that he ruled China, he readied China to be pulled together as one country. Qin ran his dynasty with absolute control and swift harsh punishment. It was illegal to whine about Qin’s government. If you simply suggested that things might be improved, you could be put to death without a trial.
Han Dynasty-200 BCE to 200 CE: Due to the demand for Chinese Silk, life was very good for civilians. The creation of the “silk road” – the trade routes across the fierce deserts – made a way for Chinese civilian’s trade to flourish more easily with the Roman Empire. People came together into one civilization during Han times. They had a common culture. Even in remote sections, district officials copied the manner of the imperial court. Peasants built homes and plowed their fields in the same way all over China.
The Age of Division: The period between the Han Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty, emperors ran many different parts of China, and most did not play well with others. Wars were almost expected. Important inventions like the invention of gunpowder and of tea came about during this era. There was no middle class during the Age of Division. If you were poor, you were extremely poor. If you were a rich, you were extremely rich.
Tang Dynasty-600 CE-900 CE: Under T’ang leadership, ancient China entered her Golden Age. It was a time of prosperity and gaiety and experimentation. People tried new things, like bananas and more. People of China came together as one, once again.
The Song Dynasty: The time of creative invention and art. Chinese opera began during this period, and so did the art of paper cutting. So many things were invented during the Song Dynasty that this period in history is sometimes referred to as China’s Age of Invention. The Rainbow Bridge (in the shape of a rainbow) was created during this time.
The Ming Dynasty: This was a time of adventure and travel. The great Chinese mariners mapped the entire world. They brought back treasures from around the globe; some of them are on display today in the Forbidden Palace. One of the most popular items obtained was the folding fan, brought back to China from Japan and Korea.