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Dynasties in Chinese history: Map

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The following is a chronology of the dynasties in Chinese history. In reality, Chinese history is not as neat as is often described and it was rare indeed for one dynasty to end calmly and give way quickly and smoothly to a new one. Dynasties were often established before the overthrow of an existing regime, or continued for a time after they had been defeated.


In addition, China was divided for long periods of its history, with different regions being ruled by different groups. At times like these, there was not any single dynasty ruling a unified China. As a case in point, there is much dispute about times in and after the Western Zhou period. One example of the potential for confusion will suffice:

The conventional date 1644 marks the year in which the Manchu Qing dynastymarker armies occupied Beijing and brought Qing rule to China proper, succeeding the Ming dynastymarker. However, the Qing dynasty itself was established in 1636 (or even 1616, albeit under a different name), while the last Ming dynasty pretender was not deposed until 1662. This change of ruling houses was a messy and prolonged affair, and the Qing took almost twenty years to extend their control over the whole of China. It is therefore inaccurate to assume China changed suddenly and all at once in the year 1644.

For more details on the dynasties listed here and their emperors, follow the relevant links in the table. Click on H for the history of the dynasty, and E for a table of its emperors (or other rulers).

Chronology of dynasties

Dynasty Links Years
Three Sovereign and the Five Emperors 三皇五帝 sān huáng wǔ dì (H - E) before 2070 BC 628+
Xià Dynasty xià (H - E) 2070 BC1600 BC 470
Shang Dynasty shāng (H - E) 1600 BC1046 BC 554
Western Zhou Dynasty 西周 xī zhōu (H - E) 1046 BC771 BC 275
Eastern Zhou Dynasty

Traditionally divided into

Spring and Autumn Period

Warring States Period
東周


春秋

戰國
dōng zhōu
chūn qiū

zhàn guó
(H - E)


(H - E)

(H - E)
770 BC256 BC


722 BC476 BC

475 BC221 BC
514


246

254
Qin Dynasty qín (H - E) 221 BC206 BC 15
Western Han Dynasty 西漢 xī hàn (H - E) 206 BC — AD 9 215
Xin Dynasty xīn (H - E) 923 14
Eastern Han Dynasty 東漢 dōng hàn (H - E) 25220 195
Three Kingdoms 三國 sān guó (H - E) 220265 45
Western Jin Dynasty 西晉 xī jìn (H - E) 265317 52
Eastern Jin Dynasty 東晉 dōng jìn (H - E) 317420 103
Southern and Northern Dynasties 南北朝 nán běi cháo (H - E) 420589 169
Sui Dynasty suí (H - E) 581 - 618 37
Tang Dynasty táng (H - E) 618907 289
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms 五代十國 wǔ dài shí guó (H - E) 907960 53
Northern Song Dynasty 北宋 běi sòng (H - E) 9601127 167
Southern Song Dynasty 南宋 nán sòng (H - E) 11271279 152
Liao Dynasty liáo (H - E) 9161125 209
Jin Dynasty jīn (H - E) 11151234 119
Yuan Dynastymarker yuán (Hmarker - E) 12711368 97
Ming Dynastymarker míng (Hmarker - E) 13681644 276
Shun Dynasty shùn (H - E)
1644
<1
Qing Dynastymarker qīng (Hmarker - E) 16441911 268
Empire of Chinamarker (Yuan Shikai)
[1912-1916]
<1


See also



References

  • China Handbook Editorial Committee, China Handbook Series: History (trans., Dun J. Li), Beijing, 1982, 188-89; and Shao Chang Lee, "China's Cultural Development" (wall chart), East Lansing, 1984.



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