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Chronology of Chinese History

Xia and Shang Dynasty 2100-1066 BC

Zhou Dynasty 1066-221 BC

Capital city is constructed in Xian (Chang An), later moved to city of Luoyang. "Middle Kingdom" idea is introduced. Confucius (551-479 BC) creates a code of ethics.

Qin Dynasty 221-207 BC

Emperor Qin Shi Huang unites China and divides the empires into provinces and prefectures. Standards are set for weights, measures and written languages. The first section of the Great Wall is completed. Army of Terra Cotta Warriors is created to guard the emperor's tomb.

Han Dynasty 207 BC-220 AD

Important inventions introduced included gun powder and paper. Buddhism is introduced into China; Confucianism is instituted as the basis of education and admission to civil service.

Three Kingdoms Period (Jin, Southern & Northern Dynasties) 220-581 AD

China is split into three kingdoms- North, Central, and Southern Kingdoms. The Great Wall is expanded and many of China's famous large Buddhas are carved.

Sui & Tang Dynasty 581-907 AD

China is reunited and begins "golden age" of arts that flourishes throughout the Tang Dynasty. The Grand Canal is constructed, linking the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. The Great Wall is repaired and expanded.

Five Dynasties, Song & Liao Dynasty 907-1279

China once again splits into independent states, with five dynasties controlling the north of China while ten kingdoms control the south. Mongols invade northern China and Beijing (then known as Dadu) is established as the capital city under rule of Genghis Khan.

Yuan Dynasty 1279-1368

Marco Polo visits China. Ghengis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, constructs Palace of All Tranquilities, later to be known as the Forbidden Palace. The Grand Canal is repaired and extended.

Ming Dynasty 1368-1644

The Great Wall is repaired and extended to keep the Mongols out of China. Buddhism and Taoism are made state religions. Original Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven are constructed in Beijing.

Qing Dynasty 1644-1911

Manchurians invade China and set up government modeled after Ming rulers. Tibet is incorporated into the Chinese empire. Increased trade with the west leads to the introduction of opium. Sun Yat-sen leads the revolution that ends the Manchu empire. The last Qin Emperor, Puyi, leaves the Forbidden City in 1924, ending Imperial rule in China.

The Republic 1911-1949

Provisional government is established on October 10, 1911 by Sun Yat-sen. The Communist party is established in 1921.

The People's Republic 1949-present

Mao Tse Tung announces the formation of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. President Nixon visits China in 1972. Mao Tse Tung dies, September 8, 1976. After the death of Deng Xiao Ping, Jiang Zemin assumes role as China's President. Jiang Zemin goes into semi-retirement in 2003. Hu Jintao assumes leadership role.

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