Chinese: Ancient Civilizations.

By Josie Catterson

Rise and Fall of the Chinese Empires

  • 400 b.c to 200 b.c a bloody civil war took place.
  • Powerful places fought one another and ignored the Zhou kings.
  • Qin defeated the chief rivals and in 221 b.c the Qin ruler made a new dynasty.
  • Xiongnu nomads challenged the Chinese communities in the northern frontier which the Chinese people began building walls to keep them out.
  • Qin Shihuangdi was the only ruler of the Qin dynasty. He died in 210 b.c and four years later was overthrown and civil war broke out.
  • By 170 a.d the Han dynasty was brought down by peasant uprising.
  • In 220 a general seized control but didn't stay in power which brought of the worse civil war which was made worse by the nomadic people in Central Asia.
  • The next dynasty wouldn't come until 400 years later.


  • Builds walls, canals and irrigation systems
  • Written language which is mostly pictographs. There was a sound associated with the pictograph.
  • At the end of the Zhou dynasty three major schools opened up about the universe called Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism.
  • Chinese philosophers were more concerned about the world and making a stable society.
  • In the Han dynasty new textile manufacturing, water mills for grinding grain, and iron casting was added to the economy.
  • Invention of rudder and fore-and-aft ships finally could take sail.
  • Confucian classes was required for children for reading and behavior for adult life.

Social Structure

  • Zhou dynasty was when social structures began to take place.
  • Peasants worked farmland for their lord. Artisans and merchants worked in walled towns but under direct control of the lord. The merchants were considered property of the lord. There was also a slave classification.
  • The family served as the basic economic and social unit in Ancient China
  • The concept of family was filial piety which refers to the duty of the family.

Religion & Culture

  • Chinese believed in supernatural forces. Only the rulers could obtain help in worldly affairs.
  • Priests used oracle bones, they were bones on which they scratched questions by rulers on to it.
  • They put heated metal rods into the bones which made them crack and then the priests read the cracks which were the answers from the gods.
  • Early Chinese believed in life after death.
  • The early Chinese believed to be nice to spirits of their ancestors. The spirits would bring the family good or bad fortune.

Chinese Dynasties

  • First dynasty was the Xia but little is known about this one.
  • The Shang Dynasty was from about 1750 b.c to 1045 b.c.
  • Ruled by an aristocracy. The king ruled from Anyang divided by territories governed by militaries.
  • The royal family was the top of the society followed by the aristocracy then the servants that farmed all the land.
  • Like rulers in Mesopotamia and Egypt the kings were buried in tombs with their faithful servants.
  • Zhou dynasty overthrew the Shang dynasty which it lasted from 1045 b.c to 256 b.c
  • Zhou believed that the king was the Mandate of Heaven which was the link between Heaven and Earth.
  • If a ruler failed to protect their people they would be overthrown and a new ruler would take place.
  • "Right of Revolution" is a political side effect that says overthrow a corrupt ruler.
  • Qin dynasty took over the Zhou in 221 b.c
  • Qin Shihuangdi at the age of 13 he created monetary system and built roads throughout the empire
  • He extended the boarder of China to the Yuan River (Red River)

Climate, Geography & Human Environment Interactions.

  • China has two rivers where the main civilizations developed.
  • Huang He River (Yellow River) and the Chang Jiang River (Yangtze River)
  • They have deserts and mountain ranges which only gives them 10 percent of the land of farming.
  • The geographical barriers the Chinese people were isolated from other people in Asia.
  • The climate in China differ from region to region.
  • Monsoons from the mountainous regions bring cold and dry air in the winter while monsoons from the south bring rain during the summer.
  • In the north winters are long and cold but short summers that are hot and sunny.
  • Center of the country there are four seasons.
  • South has hot summers and mild winters.