The University of Nottingham Ningbo China

History of China


History of China is a long and complex history includes all dynasties with their own memorable cultures. China is an important country because it has 1.4 billion people and it is one of the world’s oldest and most influential civilizations. There are four inventions commonly referred to as “the Four Great Inventions” in China including paper, gunpowder, compass and printing that have had a huge impact on the entire world.

Chinese civilization has been the most technological, economically and culturally advanced throughout much of recorded history. The word - China in Chinese language means “Middle Kingdom”, not only because it was geographically in the middle of the Middle East and South Asia with which they traded, but also because they were culturally universalistic. It produced many highly valued products that were exported to the West, first through the Silk Route and later across the oceans. More books were printed throughout history of China than the rest of the world combined.

Number of Dynasties and Emperors in China

There were 83 dynasties and 559 emperors in ancient history of China. The Zhou Dynasty was the longest ruling Chinese dynasty. It lasted from 1122-255 BC. The Qin Dynasty was the shortest ruling Chinese dynasty. It lasted only 15 years. Emperor Kangxi, the second emperor of Qing Dynasty, was the longest-reigning emperor in the history of China. He ruled China for 61 years during the years from 1661 to 1722. Emperor Modi of Jin (1234), the last emperor of Jin Dynasty, was the shortest-reigning emperor in the history of China. He ruled China for less than one day.

Yuan Dynasty had the largest territory in history of China. It covered a total area of over 12 million square kilometers at its peak. Many believe that Southern Song Dynasty had smallest territory in history of China. Wu Zetian was the first and only female emperor in Chinese history. During her rule in Tang Dynasty, the practice of Chinese Buddhism is known to have reached its height and influence. Puyi was the last emperor in Chinese history. He ruled as the last emperor of Qing Dynasty from 1908 to 1912.

Both Han and Tang Dynasty are considered as the most powerful dynasty in Chinese history. Tang Dynasty’s culture, politics and economy had great influence on the neighbor countries. In many countries, the numerous Chinese communities, or "China Town" are known as "Tang People Street," meaning the neighborhood, or street, inhabited by the Chinese (Tang) people. Han Dynasty left a lasting influence on China, founding many of the basic elements still used in Chinese society today: the largest ethnic group in China is named “Han”, the Chinese language is “Hanyu” and the Chinese character is “Hanzi”.

History of Shang Dynasty
History of Zhou Dynasty
History of Qin Dynasty
History of Han Dynasty
History of Three Kingdoms Period to Sui Dynasty
History of Tang Dynasty
History of Song Dynasty
History of Yuan Dynasty
History of Ming Dynasty
History of Qing Dynasty; The Republic of China
History of the People's Republic of China

Learn more about Chinese history, people and languages, please visit Why Study Abroad in China

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