It’s believed that human beings entered the Eastern Asian area around 30,000-50,000 years ago.
Archeologists have found evidence of hunter gatherer groups in various cave areas that are as old as 18,000 years ago.
They think that the first communities involving farming began about 7,000 BCE, with the first crop of millet grain.
Once farming offered more food, the population began to grow and it was then that the people required leaders to help in organizing and controlling the land.
The Yellow River and the Yantze River are thought to be the main locations for some of the earliest Chinese communities. Due to its massive land size, there were many types of civilizations that grew.
China is considered to be the oldest continuous civilization anywhere in the world, and because of this, they developed powerful families that went from being warlords to controlling the governments as dynasties.
Early Chinese Life
Farming was a major requirement for a lot of people. They needed a lot of farmers to keep the food production going, but life was very hard for the farmers and their families.
The land belonged to the warlords and they ruled very harshly. Farmer worked on land that didn’t belong to them, night and day.
Most of the diet of the common peasants and farmers was rice and wheat. As emperors took over the rule of the land, females were required to obey orders and not allowed to attend school.
Boys went to school where they were educated on a number of topics including calligraphy for writing and the philosophies of Confucius.
Chinese culture and religion were almost blended into one idea. They had three major religions: Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, and they were called “the three perfections” of painting, poetry, and calligraphy.
Due to the constant warring with the nomadic tribes, each of the ancient Chinese dynasties had to have a huge military.
Leaders demanded a focus on developing various military defenses including better armor and weaponry.
It was during these eras that the ancient Chinese developed the crossbow as well as made use of their trade with other countries to learn of their military methods.
Soldiers had to have absolute loyalty to the emperor and obey their military leaders without question.
Ancient Chinese Emperors
The emperors of ancient China were called the “Son of Heaven,” and had both unlimited power and responsibility.
They were given a divine right to rule over all of the Chinese people and could order people to be killed or rewarded.
In most of the cases, the emperors became less and less available and even visible to people, being hidden behind a screen as he/she sat on a golden dragon throne.
Only a few advisors had the confidence of the emperor and as time went by, the common people didn’t see any member of the royal family as they were hidden in the Forbidden City.
Although most of the leaders of China were men, there were a few females that took over when the male emperor died.
- Throughout the history of ancient China there were over 500 emperors.
- Anything that the emperor said was thought to be “sacred” and required immediate obedience.
- If an emperor didn’t do a good job, they could have their “Mandate of Heaven” removed.
- An emperor might have many wives, however, only the main wife was given the title of Empress.
- The Great Wall of China was started during the Qin Dynasty to help protect against Mongolian invaders.
- Ancient Chinese dynasties lasted until the last one, the Qing Dynasty, that ended in 1911 when they had the Chinese Revolution. It was then that the Republic of China was formed.
What 2 rivers are thought to be the first locations for ancient Chinese civilization?
Yellow River and the Yantze River
During which dynasty was the construction of the Great Wall of China started?
What sacred name were the emperors called?
Son of Heaven
What were painting, poetry, and calligraphy referred to in Chinese life?
the three perfections
How many emperors did China have throughout history?
What was the original diet of the ancient Chinese farmers?
wheat and rice
What year did the last Chinese dynasty end?
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