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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Society Traditions >> China History

History of China

The history of China is generally divided into the periods of dynasties. Each dynasty had remarkable features which differentiated it from others and definite timelines which were limited by the ruling of the representatives of one or another dynasty. First dynasty was founded by the emperor Yu and lasted from approximately the 21st century BC to a little earlier of the 16th century BC.

But till recently its existence was doubtful. Only the latest archeological researches taken in 1928 and later in 1960-1970s have proved the existence of the Xia Dynasty. Until then only the facts mentioned in old Chinese scripts gave the information about it. Bronze implements, bronze sites and tombs prove the existence of Xia Dynasty. Xia dynasty included seventeen emperors all of whom were blood descendants of Yu the Great and his son Qi.

The legend says Yu became the emperor in an unusual way. Thousand years ago the Yellow Valley was flooded and a lot of people lost their homes. Yu had been working for 13 years to make the channel through the mountain, which could stop this flood. At last he managed to do it and became the head of those people. It was the beginning of the Xia Dynasty.

Then Yu’s son, Qi, inherited his place. Xia dynasty was an evolutionary pass from the late Neolithic culture to the typical urban civilization. The settlements grew into the cities during this era. All the society was based on the unlimited power of the emperor and the economy was based on slave labor. Internal conflicts combined with wars with rival groups weakened Xia society. Emperor Jie, the last of the Xia emperors, ignored these problems, preferring to build grand palaces and entertain friends and concubines. Hereditary leaders who didn’t always had the experience or skill to keep peace in kingdom finally caused the decline of the Xia dynasty.

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