Chinese History

2100-1066 BC Xia and Shang Dynasty
1066-221 BC Zhou Dynasty
Capital city is constructed in Xian, later moved to city of Luoyang. "Middle Kingdom" idea is introduced. Confucius (551-479 BC) creates a code of ethics.
221-207 BC Qin Dynasty
Emperor Qin Shi Huang unites China and divides the empires into provinces and prefectures. Standards are set for weights, measures and written languages. The first section of the Great Wall is completed. Army of Terra Cotta Warriors is created to guard the emperor's tomb.
207 BC-220 AD Han Dynasty
Important inventions introduced include: gun powder and paper. Buddhism is introduced into China; Confucianism is instituted as the basis of education and admission to civil service.
220-581 AD Three Kingdoms Period (Jin, Southern & Northern Dynasties)
China is split into three kingdoms- North, Central, and Southern Kingdoms. The Great Wall is expanded and many of China's famous large Buddhas are carved.
581-907 AD Sui & Tang Dynasty
China is reunited and begins "golden age" of arts that flourishes throughout the Tang Dynasty. The Grand Canal is constructed, linking the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. The Great Wall is repaired and expanded.
907-1279 Five Dynasties, Song & Liao Dynasty
China once again splits into independent states, with five dynasties controlling the north of China while ten kingdoms control the south. Mongols invade northern China and Beijing (then known as Dadu) is established as the capital city under rule of Genghis Khan.
1279-1368 Yuan Dynasty
Marco Polo visits China. Ghengis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, constructs Palace of All Tranquilities, later to be known as the Forbidden Palace. The Grand Canal is repaired and extended.
1368-1644 Ming Dynasty
The Great Wall is repaired and extended to keep the Mongols out of China. Buddhism and Taoism are made state religions. Original Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven are constructed in Beijing.
1644-1911 Qing Dynasty
Manchurians invade China and set up government modeled after Ming rulers. Tibet is incorporated into the Chinese empire. Increased trade with the west leads to the introduction of opium. Sun Yat-sen leads the revolution that ends the Manchu empire. The last Qin Emperor, Puyi, leaves the Forbidden City in 1924, ending Imperial rule in China. 
1911-1949 The Republic


Empire overthrown (Pu Yi was 5); Provisional government is established on October 10, 1911 by Sun Yat-sen


Rule of the warlords


The Communist party is established in 1921.


Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek unifies most of China


Japanese invade Manchuria


Manchukuo established under Pu Yi


Long March: Communists to Yan'an


Japanese attack deep into China; Communist-Kuomintang alliance


Japanese surrender


Kuomintang-Communist civil war

1949- The People's Republic


Mao Tse Tung announces the formation of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949; Chiang Kai-shek flees to Taiwan


Land reform


Campaign to "suppress counter-revolutionaries"


Three Antis Campaign: corruption, waste, bureaucracy
Five Antis Campaign: bribery, tax evasion, fraud, theft of state property, obtaining economic information through corruption


Campaign to "uncover hidden counter-revolutionaries"


Hundred Flowers Campaign


Anti-Rightest Campaign


Great Leap Forward; backyard steel furnaces and communes


Famine; campaign to catch "rightest opportunists"


"Learn from Lei Feng"; cult of Mao escalates


Cultural Revolution begins


August: Red Guards spread terror
Campaign against the Four Olds: old ideas, old culture, old customs, old habits


Four Phases of the Cultural Revolution:

  1. Teenage Red Guards
  2. Rebels and attackes on "capitalist-roaders"
  3. Factional fighting among the Rebels
  4. "Clean up the Class Ranks" campaign -- students and officials sent to the countryside by Revolutionary Committees


Lin Biao dies; mass rehabilitations


President Nixon visits China


Deng Xiaoping rehabilitated


Zhou Enlai dies (January);Mao Tse Tung dies, September 8, 1976; Gang of Four arrested; end of the Cultural Revolution


Deng Xiaoping's reforms kick in


Tiananmen Square massacre (June)


After the death of Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin assumes control of the country

More History Resources