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The name ‘China’ comes from the Sanskrit Cina (derived from the name of the Chinese Qin Dynasty, pronounced ‘Chin’). It was translated as `Cin’ by the Persians and popularized through trade along the Silk Road from China to the rest of the world.
See the fact file below for more information on the Ancient Chinese Empires or alternatively, you can download our 28-page Ancient Chinese Empires worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Paleolithic Age
- 1.7 million years ago, the Yuanmou Man lived in China and was the earliest man known to the people in China.
- Lantian Man and Peking Man also lived during the Paleolithic Age.
- As people who lived during this period developed, the use of stone tools increased and the discovery of fire happened.
- Neolithic Age
- People built houses and began to farm by using grinding stones.
- During this period spinning and carving skills, vehicle making techniques, and music were developed.
- The famous Yangshao Culture and Longshan Culture also belonged to this age.
- Banpo is a Neolithic village which was inhabited between 4500 and 3750 BCE and comprises 45 houses with floors sunk into the ground for greater stability.
- In order to unite the community, an Abdication System was formed and ruled over by the most capable leader. This system continued until 2070 B.C.
- When the Abdication System ended, the first dynasty in Chinese history, Xia dynasty, began.
- The Xia Dynasty was the first known prominent community that existed from 2070-1600 BCE.
- The dynasty was founded by Yu the Great who worked for thirteen years to control the flooding of the Yellow River.
- He also established the hereditary system of succession to form a dynasty.
- By the end of 1600 BCE, the last Xia ruler, Jie, was overthrown by Tang, who established the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE).
- Writing developed under the Shang Dynasty as well as bronze metallurgy, architecture, and religion.
- On 1046 BCE, King Wu rebelled against King Zhou and defeated his forces at the Battle of Muye, establishing the Zhou Dynasty (c. 1046 – 256 BCE).
- The best known Chinese philosophers and poets, Confucius, Mencius, Mo Ti, Lao-Tzu, Tao Chien, and Sun-Tzu all come from the Zhou period in China.
- The Zhou government was decentralized resulting in the different states breaking away from central rule and proclaiming themselves sovereign.
- This led to the Warring States Period (476 – 221 BCE), in which seven states fought with each other for control.
THE IMPERIAL RULE OF CHINA
- Shi Huangdi established the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BCE) and first ordered the destruction of the walled fortifications that separated the states.
- He commissioned the building of a wall along the northern border of his kingdom, which we now know as the Great Wall of China.
- His rule suppressed freedom of speech and the schools of philosophy, which made him unpopular.
- Deeply disturbed by his life beyond, Shi Huangdi built a palace for his tomb and an army of over 8,000 terracotta warriors were created to serve him in eternity. His death led to Qin’s collapse.
- To determine the next emperor, two generals emerged: Prince Liu-Bang of Hanzhong and King Xiang-Yu of the state of Chu.
- In the Battle of Gaixia in 202 BCE, Liu-Bang’s general defeated the forces of Chu under Xiang-Yu, and Liu-Bang was proclaimed emperor.
- The Han Dynasty would rule China, with a brief interruption, for the next 400 years, from 202 BCE to 220 CE.
- The Han are considered the first dynasty to write their history, including the Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Medicine, China’s earliest written record. Education also flourished.
- Acting regent of Han, Wang Mang, usurped the government and declared Han Dynasty’s end. He founded the Xin Dynasty (9 – 23 CE) on a platform of land reform and redistribution of wealth.
- His failure to realize his promises led to his assassination and the quick rise and fall of Wei and Jin, the Wu Hu, and the Sui Empires.
- Although short-lived, the Sui Dynasty (589 – 618 CE) finally succeeded in reuniting China in 589 CE, implementing bureaucracy in maintaining the empire.
- Sui collapsed after Sui’s emperor was assassinated by Li-Yuan, who later called himself Emperor Gao-Tzu of Tang.
- Despite his efficient rule, Gao-Tzu was deposed by his son, Li-Shimin, and then killed his brothers and others of the noble house and assumed the title Emperor Taizong.
- Trade flourished within the empire and along the Silk Road, with the West and by Emperor Xuanzong’s rule, China was the largest, most populous, and most prosperous country in the world.
- Despite the fame, Tang Dynasty suffered from domestic revolts and, after the Huang Chao Rebellion, it never recovered.
- The country broke apart into the period known as The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms until the rise of the Song Dynasty.
- The literature of this dynasty emphasized a return to old-time simplicity of expression in prose, and short tales called Guwen were written.
- These poems became the literary trademark of the dynasty. For the diversity of its cultural achievements, the Song dynasty is remembered as one of China’s greatest.
- Still, in spite of its advances, the strife between wealthy landowners and the peasants who worked the land continued throughout the centuries.
- By 907, Tang collapsed and the Liao Dynasty was founded by Yelü Abaoji, Khagan of the Khitans.
- Besides development, expansion was its primary focus, which eventually resulted to several losses, forcing the last emperor to flee northwest.
- The Jin dynasty was created by the Jurchen tribal chieftain Aguda in 1115, emerging from Taizu’s rebellion against the Liao dynasty.
- Its 119 year reign focused on strengthening the Great Wall against the Mongols. However, the continuous attacks from them and the Song Empire eventually led to its collapse.
- The Yuan dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China. It was established by Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongolian Borjigin clan.
- A rich cultural diversity developed during the Yuan dynasty. The major cultural achievements were the development of drama, novels, and the increased use of the written vernacular.
- The Ming dynasty ruled for 276 years (1368–1644) following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty.
- It was the last imperial dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese.
- Described as “one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history”, the Ming emperors took over the provincial administration system of the Yuan dynasty.
- Literature, painting, poetry, music, and Chinese opera of various types flourished during the Ming dynasty.
- The Qing Dynasty led China through a period of prosperity and Cultural Revolution in a time of peace.
- Inventions such as the machine gun, the printing production industry, developed battle gears, and legalism happened in China.
- Qing forces continued to push into central Asia, especially during the late 18th century. The Qianlong Emperor’s so-called “Ten Great Campaigns” lasted around 40 years.
- By this time, Qing China had reached the peak of its power and prosperity: the empire’s population was around 400 million at its greatest extent.
Ancient Chinese Empires Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Ancient Chinese Empires across 28 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Ancient Chinese Empires worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Ancient Chinese Empires. The name ‘China’ comes from the Sanskrit Cina (derived from the name of the Chinese Qin Dynasty, pronounced ‘Chin’). It was translated as `Cin’ by the Persians and popularized through trade along the Silk Road from China to the rest of the world.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Dynasties Across Time
- Ancient Chinese Warfare
- The Great Generals
- Chinese Firsts
- Great Rulers
- Chinese Fashion
- The Empress
- The Forbidden City
- The Silk Road
- Archeological Finds
- Developing Scripts
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Link will appear as Ancient Chinese Empires Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, November 20, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.