A Brief History Of China
Geography of China
Located in southeastern Asia, China is the third largest country in the world with a total area of 9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi), boardering 14 nations – Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea. 67% of the lands are mountains, plateau and hills. Basin and plain occupy the rest. The terrace is featured in higher west and lower east.
The westernmost China is the roof of the world – Qinghai Tibet Plateau (average altitude: above 4,000m). Stretching eastward and northward is the lower area (average altitude: 1,000~2,000m) which has diverse landforms – Xinjiang (mountains and desert), Inner Mongolia, the Loess Plateau, Sichuan Basin, Yungui Plateau. The rest southern, eastern and northeastern areas are mainly plains and hills (average altitude: 500~1,000m).
- Capital Of China Beijing
- Currency of China Chinese Yuan
- Language of China Mandarin
- China Population 1,448,471,400
The Yuanmou Man, the first human traces in Yunnan
The history of China begins with the first traces of the genus “Homo” (of the species “Erectus”) from geological discoveries made in the province of Yunnan. These are fossil remains, discovered in 1965 in caves near Danawu Village, Yuanmou County, Yunnan Province. The latter date back 1.7 million years, which corresponds to the Paleolithic, the Stone Age. No wonder these fossils were unearthed in Yunnan: the climate is warm, due to its topography and subtropical location, in the Tropic of Capricorn.
First Human Trace in China
Ancient history of China: Yunnan Province, China, is believed to be one of the regions that would have been home to the first forms of the human race (Homo genus). According to anthropologists, there have been successive waves of migrations of the first hominids, from Africa. These movements brought the “Homo” into the Indian subcontinent, then into Tibet, and finally into China. Specifically, it was Yunnan Province that first welcomed the migrants.
In the Neolithic (Stone Age), the human race had already spread throughout this region. Several discoveries in the area of Lake Dian, near the current city of Kumming, and which date from the period of “spring and autumn” (from 770 to 470 BC) and more broadly from the period of the “Eastern Zhou” (from 770 to 221 BC) attest to this.
It is believed that the language spoken in the Dian Kingdom belongs to the group of Tibeto-Burmese languages. It should be noted in this regard that most of the fifteen ethnic minorities in Yunnan Province have Burmese roots. This region is rich in mountains, lakes and rivers, allowing the development of a whole flora and fauna, on which these first humans depended.
Origin and Prehistory of China
Prehistory of China: Many species of Homo began to populate the territory of present-day China tens of thousands of years ago, including the famous Homo Erectus Pekinensis. But we, Homo Sapiens, would arrive only 40,000 years ago.
It is very important the appearance of the first ceramics, 17,000 years ago, even before settling down or learning to cultivate. This is a milestone in the history of humanity, as no other human civilization managed to create ceramics so quickly.
10,000 years ago they learned to grow rice on the banks of the Yangtze River and millet on the Huang He River. They also began to domesticate the first animals and use jade.
History of China Timeline
The history of China is one of the longest and best dated in the world. This is because the Chinese passed in writing practically all the events that occurred in their country for millennia. Today we come to make a brief summary of its history throughout its 5,000 years.
In the history of China, the Ancient Age is the basis of its culture. At this time appeared the first dynasties of China, the birth of great philosophers such as Confucius, Mencius and Lao Tzu, and the entry of Buddhism into China.
We know well the history of the Ancient Chinese Age thanks to the historian Sima Qian. This man lived in the first century B.C. and wrote the entire history of China from its beginnings to its own days. He is undoubtedly the most important Chinese historian in history.
Early Dynasties: Xia and Shang
China’s first dynasty, the Xia, is considered “semi-mythological.” This is because there are some historians who consider it real and others who do not. Although more and more archaeological evidence appears that it was real.
This first dynasty lasted from 2,100 BC.C. to 1,800 BC.C. This dynasty with its capital in Erlitou, a walled city with a religious ruling class. At this time appeared the techniques of the use of bronze and other new tools.
According to Sima Qian, the last Xia king, Jié, was defeated by a new dynasty, the Shang. The Shang dynasty (1766-1046 BC.C) was believed mythological until about 100 years ago, but archaeological sites such as Erliang have proven its existence.
The Shang used slaves and made ritual sacrifices in which they buried living people with their kings and nobles. Shang tombs with multiple ceramics, bronze and jade objects, and skeletons of horses (with chariots), dogs, and human slaves have been found.
It is known that with this dynasty began the ancestral Chinese writing on bones and shells of turtles, due to scapulimacia, a shamanic practice.
The History of China: It is believed that the Zhou were a people west of the Yellow River who defeated the Shang and created their own dynasty. The Zhou Dynasty (1050-256.C BC) expanded rapidly, and to control the new territories they relied on the nobility or aristocracy.
The Qin Dynasty was the last dynasty of the Ancient Age, although some historians put it as the first of the Imperial Era. Be that as it may, it is a transitional dynasty between one era and another. It lasts very little, only from 221 BC.C. to 206 BC.C., but its importance was enormous.
This dynasty saw China’s first historical emperor, Qi Shi Huang Di, who used legalism and state centralization to control all of China. The problem was that Huang Di was very authoritarian. He ordered the great wall of China to be unified with forced labor, the burning of ancient history books, the persecution of Confucianism, and the assassination of any opponents.
Mongol Empire and Yuan Dynasty
Curiously, the next Chinese reunification would come from the hand of the Mongol Empire. Genghis Khan already had an Empire that ran from Mongolia to the Middle East. His son Ogodei conquered the Jin Empire of China, and his grandson, Kublai Khan founded the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368).
This dynasty controlled Mongolia and northern and western China, but the Song resisted in the south. Kublai Khan managed to conquer them and unify all of China at the Battle of Yamen (1279).
The Mongols allowed imperial examinations, opened the Silk Road (with the arrival of Marco Polo), and opened the country to Christianity and Islam. But they classified the population into several ethnicities, with the Mongols at the top and the Chinese at the bottom. This caused great social instability, along with several famines and plagues of the time.
Ming and Qing dynasties
Two of the most important dynasties in Chinese history are the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1636 – 1912).
Zhu Yuan Zhang, a Chinese peasant, managed to organize a rebellion of “red turbans” against the Mongols, defeat them, expel them from China and found the Ming Dynasty. This dynasty would be the organizer of one of the greatest feats in the history of China, the travels of Zheng He.
War Between China and Japan (1894-1895)
In the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), Japan defeated imperial troops, and obtained the island of Taiwan and the Penghu Islands through the Treaty of Shimonoseki. In 1898, the United Kingdom obtained a 99-year concession over the New Territories (including New Kowloon and Lantau). The United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, France, Germany and Belgium took advantage of the country’s state of increasing decay to expand its sphere of influence.
The revolution broke out in 1911. Under pressure from progressive intellectuals and politicians, the choice of a republican regime was decided and the Republic of China was proclaimed in February 1912 by Sun Ya-sen, leader of the nationalist Kuomintang party; Emperor Puyi, aged 6, abdicated, the power having been mainly in the hands of Empress Cixi. Yuan Shikai, who became president, proclaimed the restoration of the monarchy in 1915. His death in 1916 contributed to the country’s economic and political chaos. The Paris Conference in 1919 attributed Shandong, claimed by the recently defeated Germany, to Japan. The movement of May 4, 1919 broke out in protest.
Proclamation of the Chinese Soviet Republic (1931)
At the end of 1931, Mao Zedong proclaimed the Chinese Soviet Republic. At the end of 1934, driven out by Chiang Kai-shek’s army, he began the long march (12,500 kilometers), fleeing to the north with 100,000 men, including 86,000 Red Army soldiers. At the end of 1935, he settled with the few tens of thousands of survivors in Yan’an. In 1932, the puppet kingdom of Manchukuo of which Pu Yi was the nominal ruler had been established by the Japanese in Manchuria, greatly reducing the kuomintang’s industrial support. In the summer of 1937, Japan’s massive invasion of eastern China triggered the Second Sino-Japanese War.
History of China Communism
When did china become communist? Threatened by the Japanese occupation and the mutinies of its troops, the nationalist party allied itself with the Communists against the invader. Exacerbated by the Nanking Massacre in December 1937 and the multiple abuses against civilians, the anti-Japanese struggle strengthened this alliance until 1940, when conflicts between communists and nationalists resumed episodically.
World War II (1939)
History of China Timeline: During World War II, the United States provided massive financial assistance to the Kuomintang as part of the anti-Japanese war effort; unequal treaties were abolished by the Americans and the British in 1943. In February 1945, the Yalta Conference authorized the Soviet Union, with the tacit agreement of the Chinese Communist Party, to drive the Japanese army out of Manchuria.
In 1947, American aid, proving ineffective, came to an end. By 1948, Kuomintang troops were demoralized, exhausted by the anti-Japanese war and the corruption of the nationalist party. The Chinese Soviet Republic and especially after his installation in Yan’an, Mao Zedong had broken with traditional Marxist-Leninist principles, based on workers’-based urban revolutions. In the territories he occupied, he pushed for agrarian reform, leading a peasant guerrilla war and rallying the rural masses.
By January 1949, his movement had rallied the majority of the country and Beijing was taken without a fight by the People’s Liberation Army; it again became the capital of China under the international name of Beijing. Between April and November, most of the other cities fell without much resistance to the Communists.
Foundation of the People’s Republic of China (1950)
In 1949, the Communists completed their takeover of mainland China (completing their conquest of Hainan Island in 1950), ending a long period of civil war against the Kuomintang government and political fragmentation. On October 1, Mao Zedong proclaimed in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, which succeeds the Republic of China. The kuomintang supporters retreated to the island of Taiwan, and some islands of Fujian.
The new power wants to establish a new economic and social order that is both inspired by the Soviet example and adapted to Chinese realities. At first, seeking first to rebuild a ravaged country, he was content with relatively moderate reforms, inspired by those already implemented in his former strongholds at the time of the civil war.
Republic of China
China’s history turned upside down in 1911 with the Wuxang Uprising, which overthrew the Qing Dynasty and created the Republic of China. Its most famous leaders were Sun Yat-Sen, Yuan Shikai and Chiang Kai-Shek.
China thus enters the twentieth century in a turbulent way, a century that will be marked by two world wars and the inability of the Republic to maintain all control of China. So it will again disintegrate into several independent military states (again).
China had to endure the invasion of Japan during World War II and a subsequent Civil War between communists and nationalists in 1947.
Modern China (1949–present)
History of Modern China: After the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the country will enter an era of stability. In addition, the policy of reform and opening-up launched in 1978 is leading the country into spectacular economic growth that continues to this day.
History of China Religion
|2||Taoist or Confucian Philosophies||26%|
Chronological Order and Brief History of China
A Concise History of China Timeline: As we know that this article is very long, we have prepared a brief history of China for those who do not have time to read the entire article. It is a small summary and chronology divided into several points:
- 40,000 BC.C. – Appearance of Homo Sapiens in China
- 17,000 BC.C – First Ceramics in China
- 10,000 a.C. – Cultivation of rice and millet
- 2,500 BC.C. – Culture of Longshan
- 2,100 BC.C. – Kingdom of Erlitou or Xia Dynasty
- 1,700 BC.C. – Shang Dynasty
- 1,050 BC.C. – Zhou Dynasty
- 700 BC.C. – The construction of the Great Wall begins
- 551 BC.C. – Birth of Confucius
- 221 BC.C. – Unification of China under the Qin Dynasty
- 206 BC.C. – Han Dynasty
- 100 a.C. – Opening of the Silk Road
- 265 – Jin Dynasty
- 581 – Sui Dynasty and the construction of the Grand Canal begins
- 618 – Tang Dynasty and expansion of Buddhism in China
- 960 – Song Dynasty and booming trade
- 1271 – Yuan Dynasty. Marco Polo arrives in China
- 1368 – Ming Dynasty History of China.
- 1644 – Qing Dynasty History of China.
- 1856 – Opium Wars
- 1911 – Republic of China History of China.
- 1949 – People’s Republic of China
- 1966 – Cultural Revolution History of China.
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