Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Pre-Qin Period in History of China

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With a time span of over 1,800 years, the Pre-Qin Period (2,100 B.C.-221 B.C.) refers to the period preceding the Qin dynasty (221-206) in Chinese history, and it goes through 3 different historical stages, namely, the Xia dynasty (2070 B.C.-1600 B.C.), the Shang dynasty (1600 B.C.-1046 B.C.), the Zhou dynasty (1046 B.C.- 221 B.C.), during which the great ancient Chinese people created glorious civilization with their intelligence and hard working, including the inscription on oracle bones from the Xia-Shang dynasties and the bronze wares from the Shang-Zhou dynasties, and these cultural relics become the historical symbols of the ancient Chinese civilization.

The earliest hereditary dynasty in Chinese history, the Xia dynasty, was established by Qi (son of Yu the Great) in 2070 B.C, and the Site of Erlitou in Luoyang is proven to be its original capital according to the latest archeological findings, when the earliest calendar (Xia Xiao Zheng) in Chinese history appeared.

The legend goes that the last emperor of the Xia dynasty, Jie, was overthrown by Tang (the founder of the Shang dynasty) owing to his cruel rule, and Tang was elected as the ruler of a new dynasty- the Shang dynasty, when the civilization was more prosperous than that in the Xia dynasty with the bronze wares, the primitive porcelains and the inscriptions on oracle bones emerging. Although the agriculture functioned as the main industry, great progress had been made in the handicraft industry in the Shang dynasty, especially in the filed of the bronze casting and smelting technology. The last ruler of the Shang dynasty, Zhou, levied exorbitant taxes on the working people and took no notice of state affairs, meanwhile, another tribe led by Vassal Ji Chang rose gradually in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, and Ji Fa (Vassal Ji Chang’s son) rose in rebellion first and won the decisive victory over Shang ruler in the battle of Muye, resulting in the fall of the Shang dynasty and the rise of the Zhou dynasty. Ji Fa (or Emperor Wu) set up the Zhou dynasty with Haojing (present Xi’an of Shaanxi Province) as capital, whose territory was greatly expanded later, stretching from the Yangtze River in the south to the Liaoning Province in the north and from Shandong Province in the east to Gansu Province in the west, and the patriarch system and the governmental organizations were formed in the Zhou dynasty.

As a matter of fact, the Zhou dynasty is composed of the Western Zhou dynasty and the Eastern Zhou dynasty, of which the later is divided into the Spring & Autumn Period (770 B.C.-476 B.C) and the Warring State Period (475 B.C.-221 B.C.). Emperor Zhoupingwang relocated the capital from Haojing to Luoyi (present Luoyang) owing to the invasion from the northern nomadic tribe in 770. B.C., since then the Zhou dynasty started to decline, and the wheel of history rolled on to the Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 B.C.-256 B.C.).

The fall of the Zhou dynasty directly led to the rising of 100 small States, among which the wars broke out frequently, and seven States stood out of the crowed, during the war, namely, Qi State, Chu State, Yan State, Han State, Zhao State, Wei State and Qin State. Shang Yang was appointed as the Chancellor to carry out reforms in the Qin State in 356 B.C., making Qin State the most powerful state then, and Ying Zheng (ruler of Qin state) defeated the other six states one after another and established the first centralized feudal country in China- the Qin dynasty, who was known to the world as Emperor Qinshihuang.

Source by Young M Qingwei

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