Ancient China

China is in the eastern part of the Asian continent and since it can be traced back to over 4,000 years, it is one of the world’s oldest civilizations.

For many years in its history, China was made up of smaller regions, each one ruled by its own lord. Many of the lords were cruel, often battling with each other and leaving the people in poverty conditions.

When Qin Shi Huang became ruler, he united all of the kingdoms in 221 B.C. under his domain and established the first of many family run “dynasties”.

The dynasties were rulers for over 2,000 years; each ruler known as an emperor. There were many dynasties that were maintained including: Qin, Ming, Han, Tang, and Shang.

The People of Ancient China

Ancient China was rich in art, culture, and religious beliefs. These played a big part in their way of life and their view of how things should be done.

There were three major religions that affected their philosophies: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The heart of many of their beliefs was the respect of nature as a living thing.

They were encouraged to develop science, art, medicine, and even technologies and are given credit for many of the inventions that we are familiar with today.

These included their ability to create beautiful works of art, highly valued ceramics, mathematics, astronomy, advanced military procedures, archeology, calendars, and even the printing press. Ancient China was well-known for their sailing abilities and often set out to find new cultures and peoples.

Creating the Silk Road

Silk was a highly valued product that the Chinese had perfected. Many other countries were willing to travel long distances and pay a lot of money for the beautiful silk fabrics.

Traders in the Middle East and Europe eventually created a network of routes used for trading that connected China with their countries. This was known as the “Silk Road” and it was one of the main reasons that China became rich.

The exchange of cultures between all of the countries had a lasting impact on both history and commerce of all that were involved.

The Mongols and the Great Wall of China

The Mongols were the largest enemy of the Chinese people. They lived in the northern portion of the continent and were known for their exceptional horsemanship.

These tribes would attack various Chinese villages, stealing everything in their invasion. There was a short period of Chinese history where the Mongols succeeded in taking over China and established their own Yuan Dynasty.

The attacks became so overwhelming that emperors decided to build a wall for protection that covered thousands of miles.

Facts about Ancient China:

  • The Chinese have used chopsticks for eating for over 4,000 years
  • China has two major rivers in the continent: The Yangtze River, which is the world’s largest river, and the Yellow River, which is sixth largest in the world.
  • The symbol of the emperor was the dragon, which is considered to be a symbol of power, good luck and strength.
  • Once the Chinese had invented the printing press, the printed books. However, the most popular among all the books created was the Buddhist book of sayings and prayers.
  • The Chinese were brilliant military strategists, with Sun Tzu being credited as one of the best. He wrote a book called The Art of War that military professionals still quote today, over 2,500 years later.
  • The Chinese were the first to develop drinking tea; although it was used as a medicine. It wasn’t until later that it was brought to Europe when it became a standard drink.
  • The story for the discovery of silk is the legend that it was found in 2,700 B.C. in the garden of the emperor Huang-Ti, by his wife, His-Ling-Shi.
  • There are many different spoken versions of Chinese, however, it was required to have only one written language so that all could communicate within the Empire.
  • The largest celebration was the New Year. During this time all people took time off for the festivals.
  • Puyi was the Last Emperor of China and was only 3 years old when he became the ruler.