A brief history of ancient China

Form the known records we can see that the development of the Chinese civilization was started 4000 years ago. This was at least thousand years after the start of Nile valley civilization and Indus valley civilization. Unlike the other civilizations Chinese civilization continues to thrive today.

The geography of China

From ancient times naturel barriers protected china from invasions and other disasters. To the China’s east there are Yellow sea, the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Two thirds of China is dominated by deserts and mountain ranges. In wets China lay the Taklimakan Desert and the icy 15000-foot plateau of Tibet. Himalayan Mountain range provides protection to china from south west. And to the north there are Gobi desert and Mongolian Plateau. Huang He, also known as the Yellow river and Chang Jiang River are the two major rivers in China. The ancient Chinese civilization was started around the River Huang He.

Start of Chinese civilization

When the Yellow river overflows its banks it deposits huge amount of yellowish silt. This silt is actually very fertile. The ancient China people thought that they could start a new civilization on that fertile land. So they settled there. But they had to face many difficulties because the Huang He’s floods could be disastrous. Sometimes floods devoured whole villages, earning the river the nick name “China’s Sorrow”.

According to the legend, the first Chinese dynasty was the Xia Dynasty. Its leader was a engineer and a mathematician named Yu. He invented a flood control systems and irrigation systems to tame the Huang He and its tributaries so that settlements could grow. Meanwhile, a people called Shang rose to power in northern China. In few years they took the power of whole China. The Shang dynasty lasted from around 1700 B.C. to 1027 BC.

City planning

The capital of the Shang dynasty was Anyang. Not like other civilizations Chinese people used wood to build their cities and fortresses. Anyang also build mainly of wood. The city stood in a forest clearing. The higher classes lived inside ta fortress and workers and normal people lived outside the city in small houses. Those cities had massive earthen walls about 118 feet wide at its base that encircled an area of 1.2 square miles. Shang people built walls because they were constantly waging for war. Also they had a large chariot army.

Chinese culture

The Chinese people considered their civilization as Middle kingdom because the people who lived outside the civilization were barbarians. The main block of the Chinese culture was the family. The family was central to Chinese society. Respecting one’s parents was the most important virtue. Controlling family property was done by the elder members of the family. Women had to obey and respect to men. When a girl came to proper age, her marriage was arranged, and she moved in to the house of her husband.

In the society there were nobles and peasants. Only the he noble families owned the lands. Local people had to work on the lands and earn food and other wants. Nobles sent a portion from their harvest to the rulers for local control.

Religion, Language and Technology

In china family was closely linked to the family. The Chinese people believed that the spirits of family ancestors had the power to bring good fortune or disaster to the living members of the family. So they worshiped the spirits of their family ancestors. But Shang rulers worshiped a god called Shang Di. Shang king consulted the gods through the use of oracle bones, animal bones and tortoise shells on which priests had scratched questions for the gods.

In Chinese language each character generally stands for one syllable of unite of language. There were no links between China’s spoken language and its written language. One could read Chinese Without knowing even a letter of its writing language. This was a very good advantage because people in all parts of china could learn the same system of writing, even if their spoken languages were very difficult. This was a very good advantage in ruling.s

Chinese were good traders. They built roads and canals to stimulate trade and agriculture. Chinese people used coined money in trading which further improved trade. They invented the blast furnaces and developed cast iron. They used iron to make weapons like swords and dagger-axes. They also used iron for agricultural tools such as knives and spades.


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