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Home >> China Travel Guide >> China's History
 
 

History Of China

China, one of the world's most ancient civilizations, has a recorded history of nearly 4,000 years. Anthropologists working in Yuanmou, in Yunnan Province, have uncovered the remains of China's earliest discovered hominid, ¡°Yuanmou Man,¡± who lived in this area approximately 1.7 million years ago. ¡°Peking Man,¡± who lived in Zhoukoudian, to the southwest of modern Beijing 400,000 to 500,000 years ago, had the basic characteristics of Homo Sapiens. Peking Man walked upright, made and used simple tools, and knew how to make fire.

Man in China passed from primitive society to slave society in the 21st century B.C., with the founding of China's first dynasty, that of the Xia. The subsequent dynasties, the Shang (16th-11th century B.C.) and the Western Zhou (11th century-770 B.C.) saw further development of slave society. This era was followed by the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (770-221 B.C.), marking the transition from the slave society to feudal society.

China was one of the countries where economic activity first developed. As early as 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, people in the Yellow River valley had already started farming and raising livestock. During the Shang Dynasty (more than 3,000 years ago), people learned how to smelt bronze and use iron tools. White pottery and glazed pottery were produced. Silk production was well developed, and the world's first figured inlaid silk weaving technique was being used. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.), steel production technologies appeared.

During the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.), Li Bing and his son directed the construction of the Dujiang Dam near present-day Chengdu in Sichuan Province. This brilliant achievement in water conservancy made possible rationalized irrigation supply, flood diversion and sand discharge, and is still playing a tremendous role in this regard even today.

During the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, philosophy and other branches of scholarship were unprecedentedly thriving, with the representatives of various schools vying with each other in writing books to discuss politics and analyze society. Hence the appearance of a situation in which ¡°a hundred schools of thought contended.¡± Famous philosophers in this period included Lao Zi, Confucius, Mo Zi and Sun Zi.

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