The Ancient Dynasties Term paper

The first Chinese dynasty is considered to be Xia, the rule of which lasted from XXII to XVII B.C. However until now there are no convincing proofs of its existence.

The first dynasty of ancient China, the existence of which was confirmed by archaeological finds, is the Shang dynasty. The Shang dynasty was founded in the 16th century B.C. and ended in the 11th century B.C. The results of archaeological researches prove that during the rule of the Shang family Chinese civilization was at a high level. Inscriptions on tortoise shells, cattle bones and bronze ceremonial vessels bore evidence of this. These inscriptions are the oldest known form of Chinese written language. Technology of bronze casting was quite well developed. Different tools and weapons were made of bronze. The epoch of the Shang dynasty is characterized by the development of aristocratic society.

On the border of ІІ – І centuries B.C. the state of Shang was conquered by Zhou. The rule of the Zhou dynasty lasted from XI century B.C. to 221 B.C. The rulers of Zhou overturned the Shang dynasty on the pretext that Shang had lost the “mandate of heaven”. This notion was used to legitimate the rule of the ruler of Zhou dynasty. The epoch of Zhou lasted about 800 years and was divided into two periods. The first period was called Western Zhou (until 771 B.C.) and the second period – Eastern Zhou (from 771 to 256 B.C.).

To rule effectively the immense territory Zhou created a social structure which is often determined as Zhou feudalism. Emperor allocated the lands to the members of his family, to the leaders of tribes and to the representatives of Chinese aristocracy. For these privileges they paid taxes to the emperor and supported him.

In 771 B.C. north tribes and rebel lords ravaged the capital and killed the emperor. It was the end of Western Zhou dynasty. The son of the emperor founded the new dynasty, which was called Eastern Zhou. Eastern Zhou was divided into two periods: Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period. Spring and Autumn Period is characterized by incessant internecine wars. During Warring States Period trade and economic relations between separate states continued to expand. The problem of integration into the empire became the pivot problem.

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