A Short History of China: part 1 of 6

January 3, 2017

We start the New Year with a series of six-short posts quickly covering 9,000 years of Chinese history. This is short, not long, so a lot of detail has been left out.

In 1999, Chinese archeologists unearthed what is believed to be the oldest know playable instrument, a seven-holed flute fashioned 9,000 years ago from the hollow wing bone of a large bird.

Fast forward about 4,000 years to the discovery of Silk. In 1984, silk fabric dating back more than 5,000 years was found in Henan Province.

In 1959 AD, scientists excavated the city Yanshi, and discovered large palaces. Some archaeologists think Yanshi was the capital of the Xia Dynasty, once a myth. The discovery, the first of its kind “causes great concern because it was founded at the key moment when the Xia Dynasty was replaced by the Shang Dynasty (1783 BC – 1123 BC),” said Dr. Xu Hong, head of the Erlitou Archaeological Team under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The Shang Dynasty (BC 1766  – 1122) followed the Xia. The Shang Dynasty was also a myth until about a hundred years ago with the discovery of the dynasty’s last capital, Xin Xu. Xin Xu was the capital for about three hundred years.

China’s Spring and Autumn period started about the time of the Zhou Dynasty between BC 1126 – 226. During this period, Confucius lived in Qufu, in Southwestern Shandong Province, and Sun Tzu wrote “The Art of War,” a book still studied today by the West Point cadets and the CEOs of many global corporations. History records that Buddhism first arrived in China near the end of this period more than two hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

China’s first Emperor Qin She Huangdi, known as the Tiger of Qin, unified China for the first time by conquering six of the seven countries that made up what’s known as today’s China. His capital was Xian. The city’s original name was Chang’ an, and it was more than one and a half times the size of Rome.

Continued in Part 2 on January 4, 2017

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.


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