An Introduction to the History of China

As one of the four world-famous civilizations, the Chinese civilization (or Huaxia civilization) has a long history of more than 5,000 years (beginning with the legendary emperor Huangdi period), which is known to the people from all over the world for its vast territory with rich resources and large populations.

Generally speaking, the glorious Chinese civilization has two direct sources, one is the Yellow River civilization and the other is the Yangtze River civilization, both of which contribute to the communication, integration and sublimation of the whole Chinese civilization. Some historians assume that the definition of “history period” starts with the emergence of Chinese characters, before which it should be called pre-historic period. The legends went as that Fu Xi (the legendary figure) created the Eight Diagrams and Cang Jie created the ancient Chinese characters during the reign of emperor Huangdi, and the inscriptions on oracle bones from 3,000 years ago, the inscription on potteries from between 4,000 years ago and the blurring symbols from 5,000 years ago on the walls of caves unearthed in recent years.

From the perspective of politic and social patterns, the archeological documents show that the Central China had transited from the matriarchal clan society to the patriarchal society since the later period of later Peiligang Culture (7,000 years ago) and early period of Yangshao Culture (6,000 years ago), which directly resulted in the imbalance of the social equality.

It’s recorded that monarch hereditary system had been formed since the Xia dynasty (2070 B.C.-1600 B.C.), and the feudalism well-established in the Western Zhou dynasty (1046 B.C.-771 B.C.) got apart in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 B.C.-476 B.C) and the Warring States Period (475 B.C.-221 B.C.). As the wheel of history rolls on to the Qin dynasty (221-206), Emperor Qinshihuang unified the whole country and established the first single unitary state in Chinese history by defeating his opponents one after another, introducing a uniformity of Weights and Measures, currencies and Chinese characters over the country. The tradition that the scholar-bureaucrats governed the country was taken into shape since the Western Han dynasty (206-25), which lasted to the Qing dynasty (1616-1911) and still has a substantial influence on China’s politics today. The Revolution led by Sun Yet-sen in 1911 resulted in the collapse of the Qing dynasty, ending the 2,000-year feudal autocratic monarchy and establishing the Republic of China, which was amongst the most important events in the modern history of China. The Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek launched the Chinese civil war in 1945, defeated and overthrown by the Chinese Communist Party led by Mao Zedong within three years. The People’s Republic of China was established on 1st of October in 1949 with Mao Zedong as the first Chairman, and it has become more and more prosperous in all aspects since the reforming and opening-up policies of 1989, which forwards in leaps and bounds now.