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Chinese Dynasties
Chinese Dynasties and Description
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Additional History Flashcards




Ancient China


2200-500 BCE


Xia, Shang, Zhou dynasties.

Rice agricluture.

Ploytheism and veneration of ancestors


Life of Confucious


551-479 BCE


Order comes from proper behavior based on relationships of superiority and inferiority.


Superiority comes from age, rank, gender (men over women).


Period of the Warring States


403 BCE


*nearly 200 yrs of chaos after Xia, Shang, and Zhou

*Prior- Confucianism and Daoism were dominant philosophies

*China reverted to fuedalism (rich local families dominating countryside)


Qin Dynasty

221 BCE

*Qin Shuangdi united China by force (he expanded his feudal kingdom and conquered his neigbors)

*Central gov. based on legalism

*He ruled strictly, emphasizing military and farming over education (burned books!)

Early Han Dynasty

206 BCE

*Lasted over 400 yrs

*Liu Bang established Han quickly after Qin

*Combined both Confucianism and Legalism

*During the early Han Dynasty, there were good silk, paper, and iron technology



Han Wudi


(early Han Dynasty)

*Centralized state, placing central officials in provinces

*taxed agrrculture and built roads, canals, and expanded military to control nomads near silk road

*Confucian education



Late Han Dynasty

(were it all went wrong!)


23 CE

*Patriarchal society- male dominant :(

*Books were written to define gender roles and keep women subordinate to men!

*Most farmed, pop. grew

*Han Wudi raised taxes on peasants because wars in Central Asia became expensive

*Rich got richer/poor got poorer

* Poor families sold kids into slavery
*Peasants revolted! (yellow turban rebellion)
*smallpox, measles, plague killed many and hurt economy and government
After Han Dynasty

220 CE 

regional states attempted to control China but none succeed...

*China reverts to feudalism

*One kingdom after another attempts to unify but is toppled

*Feudal armies ravage the country side in their wars to take-over

*Chaos and fear make new religions appealing, leading to the popularity of BUDDHISM during this time

Sui Dynasty

604 CE

*Unified China for a short time

*Built grand canal and expanded Great Wall


During this time the built the grand canal and expanded the the Great Wall! How Suite! :P

Tang Dynasty

618 CE

*Flourished under second emperor Tang Taizong

*Supported Confucianism, education, and the bureaucracy of merit (government jobs awarded to smartest confucian scholars

*Buddhism became popular and was supported by the gov for a while

*This all led to Neo-Confucianism which blended Confucian behavior to Buddhist ideas of afterlife/salvation/metaphysical

*Built roads, expanded to silk road, Korea, and Vietnam (tributary realtions)

*Foot binding began

*Inventions: Porcelain, gunpowder, printing, compass

*Equal feild system tried to keep land equal but ultimalety failed

*Careless rulers after Taizong failed


Song Dynasty

960 CE

*survived over 300 yrs.

*Militarily weak so empire shrunk to become quite small

*Distrusted military generals and replaced them with Confucian scholars

*Expanded the # of gov. officials (bureaucrats), costing tonsof moneyand forcing higher taxes

*Rich in culture but lost land in the north to invaders

*Conquered by Mongols

Yuan Dynasty

1279 CE                MONGOLS!!!!!!

*Kubilia began as a conqueror with a strong distaste for his farming neigbors

*Took over gov. jobs/appointed ousiders to help rule (ex: Marco Polo)

*Confucians lost jobs and status until end when some were invited back to help rule

*Confucian exam system removed


Ming Dynasty

1368 CE

*Restored traditional Chinese values and tightly centralized state

*re-established Confucian education systems

*launched naval expeditions to assert power and reputation (Zheng He)

*Moved Capital to North (Beijing) and expanded Great Wall to control Mongols

*Built Forbidden City where Emperors lived an increasingly detached and luxurious life

*Public works fell into dispair and famine led to vast starvation

Qing Dynasty

1644 CE
*Manchurian invasion from the North leads to another foreign dynasty ruling China

*While the Manchus passed rules to maintain their ethnic and cultural purity, they also supported traditional Chinese Confucian values 

*Many Confucian scholars preferred the Manchus over the declining Ming *Manchus supported public works projects to support the agricultural masses (flood control & irrigation) and also generously supported Confucian schools *Qing expanded militarily toward Central Asia and also imposed a protectorate on Tibet

* Europeans increasingly dominated Qing China

     -Brits sold opium to addicted Chinese public & won war forcing Chinese to accept it 

     -Europeans controlled parts of China and didn’t have to follow Chinese law  *Qing government was inept and emperor lived in isolation in the Forbidden City

*Brits kept the weak Qing government around so they could become rich off of China but avoid the cost of ruling

*The Qing had clearly lost the Mandate of Heaven.


Chinese Republic


 1911 CE

*Nationalists overthrow humiliated Qing & establish weak republic

*Chaos remained and China lost land to Japan after WWI (1918)

*Japan invades during Great Depression & rule most of China until end of WWII (1945)

*Communist forces organize in 1921 (CCP) & fight valiantly against Japanese, scoring points w/peasants

*Communist popularity rising in China as weak Chinese Republic struggles on in civil war.

Communist China

1949 CE

*Mao leads Communist Revolution in China

*Nationalists flee to Taiwan and claim to be legitimate government of China 

*Mao embarks on Communist plan for China, collectivizes agriculture and seeks to industrialize on 5-year plans

*Famine due to government policies and killing under Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution lead to over 20 million deaths under Mao’s rule


Great Leap Forward


1958 CE


An attempt to catch-up with the west in the area of modernizing and technology


Great Porletarian Cultural Revolution


1966 CE


10 year campaign to re-kindle revolutionary fervor and eliminate bourgeois values and the people who held them, including students and intellectuals

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