Chinese History 历史 lì shǐ
The two 'Opium Wars
' between Britain and China 1839-1860 mark China's forced change in direction after thousands of year of dynastic rule. Defeat by a far away foreign power created turmoil in China and triggered the 'century of humiliation' from which China only emerged in 1949.
The end of the dynastic system in China came after a very promising and prosperous start under the wise rule of the first four Manchu Emperors. Years of decline followed, with the Opium Wars
and Taiping Rebellion culminating in the sad tale of the Last Emperor Puyi
The Song dynasty is a period of Chinese refinement and peace rather than military prowess. Great strides were taken in the creative arts and literature. Prosperity from the growing trade by sea rather than overland fueled the building of huge cities. The eventual conquest by the Mongol hordes brought the dynasty to a tragic close.
Most countries can look back to a few hundred years of continuous recorded history; China looks back to thousands of years. From earliest times an accurate account of events has been treasured by the Chinese, this is embodied in the character 史 shǐ ‘history’ which also has the meaning ‘impartial’. Chinese people know their heritage well and have a long tradition of revering their ancestors. A good knowledge of Chinese history is essential to understanding and relating to its people.
We include pages on all the main dynasties as well as significant events in Chinese history, up to the foundation of the Republic in 1912, including the Taiping Rebellion; coming of railways; the Imperial system; and the Opium Wars. We will continue to add further topics.
With the dragon dance and the dragon boat festival the Chinese dragon is still a common sight in China. Considered well-intentioned and not evil the dragons that control the rains have been the most important animal in Chinese symbolism for thousands of years. Read More
Click on the time chart on the left to go to a particular time period. Hover the mouse over a dynasty to pop-up a list of key dates during each dynasty and then click on it to go to a more detailed page.
You can also navigate between dynasties by clicking on the time bar at the top of each dynasty page.
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Citation information: Chinasage, 'China's long Imperial history', last updated 23 Nov 2016, Web, http://www.chinasage.info/history.htm.
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