Timeline of Ancient China

Ancient China gave birth to some of the world’s most powerful dynasties such as the Qin Dynasty, the Han Dynasty, and the Tang Dynasty.

It is, however, important to note that like most ancient civilizations, China can trace its culture back to a group of small original tribes which have extended until they became the great nation that everyone knows today.

Oracle Bone Script

8000 B.C.E. to 2696 B.C.E.

– Prior to the rise of dynasties, early Chinese people constructed farms and small villages throughout major rivers which include but are not only limited to the Yangtze River and the Yellow River.

Other than villages and farm, the Chinese also started the process of making silk cloth.

2070 B.C.E. to 1575 B.C.E.

– It was during this period that the Chinese learn how to make and use bronze. As a matter of fact, the earliest ritual vessels were made of bronze before it was later superseded by iron technology after 500 C.E.

In addition, it was also at this time that the Xia dynasty became the first dynasty in China. Among the first rulers of the Xia dynasty was Kong Jia who ruled China from 1789 to 1758 B.C.E.

King Wu

1570 B.C.E. to 1045 B.C.E.

– The Shang dynasty began during late 1500 B.C.E in China. During this period, Chinese people learned to write ghost stories and were able to develop the Jiaguwen Script.

It also gave rise to the earliest use of Oracle Bones in Chinese rituals. By the same token, the Shang dynasty also saw the reign of King Wu Ding who ruled China for the most part of the dynasty.

1046 B.C.E. to 256 B.C.

– King Wu conquered the Shang dynasty and subsequently established the Zhou dynasty during 1046 B.C.E.

The death of King Wu in 1043 B.C.E led to a civil war and the foundation of the Eastern Capital at Cheng-Zhu.

Du Fu

221 B.C.E. to 206 B.C.E.

– Qin Shi Huangdi became the first Emperor of China. Qin went on to establish the Qin dynasty during this time.

Emperor Qin was primarily known in history for connecting and extending the Great Walls of China to protect his people from Mongols.

206 B.C.E to 220 A.D.

– The Han dynasty was among the most popular dynasties in China. Apart from establishing the Chinese Civil Service, this period also witnessed the release of the Taichu calendar.

8 A.D. to 22 A.D.

– The Xin dynasty conquered the Han dynasty during this period. In 2 A.D., the first recorded government census in China was taken to measure the size of the Chinese Empire. The result showed that the Empire was made up of at least 60 million people.

222 to 581

– The Six dynasties were established during this time. It was also the time in which Buddhism was introduced and spread across China.

589 to 617

– Sui dynasty took over China.

618 to 907

– Tang dynasty overtook Sui dynasty and went on to rule the nation for nearly three centuries. Popular poet Du Fu was one of the popular figures of this era. It also saw the first used of woodblock to print the book known as the Diamond Sutra.

907 to 960

– This period saw the beginning of the Five Dynasties. The Five Dynasties era saw renewed political fragmentation and different rulings to divide China.

960 to 1279

– The Song dynasty ruled China in this period.

1279 to 1368

– Kublai Khan and the rest of the Mongols defeated the Song dynasty in 1279. Khan subsequently established the Yuan dynasty.

1368 to 1644

– Zhu Yuanzhang and his troops overtook the Mongols and reestablished the rule of the Chinese by developing the Ming dynasty. It also became the start of the construction of the Forbidden City.

1644 to 1912

– The Qing dynasty became the last known Empire of Ancient China. It came to an end during the Xinhai Revolution in 1912.

Interesting Facts about the Timeline of Ancient China

  • Renowned explorer Marco Polo began his travels to China during the Song dynasty.
  • Imperial Court official Cai Lun invented paper in 105 A.D.
  • The Chinese people of the Qin dynasty invented the umbrella.
  • The crossbow was first used during the Zhou dynasty.
  • The Han dynasty of China invaded Mongolia in 91 C.E.
  • Emperor Qin standardized the writing system of China in 220 B.C.E.
  • China was divided into three regional kingdoms specifically the Wei, Wu, and Shu at the end of the Qin dynasty.
  • Popular Chinese figures such as Sun Tzu and Confucius were born in the Zhou dynasty.

Who invented the silk cloth?

According to several scholars, Queen Leizu invented the method of tailoring silk cloth. The earliest known samples of woven silk originated in Qianshanyang, China.

Who was the last ruler of the Xia dynasty?

King Jie was the last ruler of the Xia dynasty. He ruled China from 1728 to 1575 B.C.E.

When was the Grand Canal completed?

The Grand Canal was completed on the year of 609.

When did the Chinese come up a formula for gunpowder?

Several accounts say that the Chinese came up with gunpowder in 1044.