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China Timeline

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  • c. 6500 BCE
    Rice cultivation begins in the Yangtze River valley in China.
  • 5000 BCE
    Villages arise in China around the Yellow River. Terraced farming begins and rice is cultivated.
  • 5000 BCE
    Evidence of the surgical procedure of trephination found in China.
  • c. 5000 BCE
    Dead buried with grave goods at Banpo Village, China.
  • c. 4800 BCE
    Neolithic village of Banpo in China built.
  • c. 4500 BCE - c. 3750 BCE
    The Neolithic village of Banpo is inhabited.
  • 4500 BCE - 3000 BCE
    The Hongshan culture in China produces a jade figurine which is the oldest known depiction of a dragon.
  • c. 3600 BCE
    First appearance of silk in China.
  • c. 3000 BCE - c. 1700 BCE
    The Longshan culture flourishes in north-east China.
  • c. 2700 BCE
    The earliest known examples of woven silk from Qianshanyang, China.
  • c. 2070 BCE - c. 1600 BCE
    The Xia Dynasty rules in China.
  • c. 1789 BCE - 1758 BCE
    Kong Jia of the Xia Dynasty rules in China.
  • 1728 BCE - 1675 BCE
    Jie is the last ruler of the Xia Dynasty in China.
  • 1600 BCE - 1046 BCE
  • 1600 BCE - 1046 BCE
    Writing develops in China during the Shang Dynasty.
  • c. 1300 BCE
    The chariot is introduced to China from the northwest.
  • c. 1300 BCE
    The Chinese Shang dynasty moves its capital to Yin (modern Anyang).
  • c. 1250 BCE - c. 1150 BCE
    The I-Ching, the Book of Changes, is written.
  • 1250 BCE - 1192 BCE
    Reign of the great Emperor Wu Ding of the Shang Dynasty in China.
  • c. 1050 BCE
    King Wen of Zhou is the first Chinese ruler to claim a Mandate of Heaven.
  • 1046 BCE - 771 BCE
    Western Zhou dynasty replaces the Shang Dynasty in China.
  • 772 BCE - 476 BCE
    The Spring and Autumn Period in China.
  • 771 BCE
    Following nomadic attacks in the west, the Chinese Zhou dynasty moves its capital east to Luoyang. Beginning of Eastern Zhou Period.
  • 771 BCE - 256 BCE
    Eastern Zhou Dynasty in China.
  • 551 BCE - 479 BCE
    Life of Confucius.
  • 512 BCE - 506 BCE
    The Wu Chu wars in China between the States of Wu and Chu.
  • 506 BCE
    The Battle of Boju at which the Wu forces under Sun-Tzu defeated the Chu.
  • c. 500 BCE
    Life of the Chinese Relativist Philosopher Teng Shih (probable date of death 522 or 502 BCE).
  • c. 500 BCE
    Probable life of the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu, founder of Taoism and author of the Tao-Te-Ching.
  • c. 500 BCE
    Probable life of Sun-Tzu, Military Strategist, author of The Art of War.
  • c. 481 BCE - 221 BCE
  • 470 BCE - 391 BCE
    Life of the Chinese pacifist philosopher Mo Ti, founder of Mohism.
  • 440 BCE - 360 BCE
    Life of Chinese Hedonist Philosopher Yang Zhu.
  • 372 BCE - 289 BCE
    Life of the Confucian philosopher Mencius (Mang-Tze).
  • 364 BCE
    Duke Xin, ruler of Qin, is awarded the title of Hegemon by the Zhou state.
  • 343 BCE
    Xiao, ruler of Qin, is awarded the title of Hegemon by the Zhou state.
  • 328 BCE - 308 BCE
    Rise of the Chinese state of Qin.
  • 326 BCE
    Huiwen, ruler of Qin, is awarded royal status by the Zhou state.
  • c. 280 BCE - c. 233 BCE
    Life of Han Feizi who developed Legalism in China.
  • 278 BCE
    The Qin state captures Ying, the capital of the Chu state.
  • 262 BCE - 260 BCE
    The Battle of Changping, one of the most important battles in the Warring States Period in China between Zhao and Qin.
  • 259 BCE - 210 BCE
    Life of Ying Zheng of Qin, Shi Huangdi, First Emperor of China.
  • 256 BCE
    The army of the state of Qin captures the city of Chengzhou and the last Zhou ruler, King Nan, is killed. End of the Zhou Dynasty.
  • 256 BCE
    The Qin absorbs the remains of the Zhou state.
  • 230 BCE
    The Qin state defeats the Han state during the Warring States Period.
  • 225 BCE
    The Qin state defeats the Wei state during the Warring States Period.
  • 223 BCE
    The Qin state absorbs the Chu state during the Warring States Period.
  • 221 BCE - 210 BCE
    First emperor of a united China, Shi Huangti, rules.
  • 221 BCE - 206 BCE
  • 221 BCE
    The Qin state defeats the Yan and Qi states during the Warring States Period.
  • 220 BCE - 210 BCE
    Emperor Shi Huangti initiates building the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canal.
  • c. 218 BCE
    Construction of the Great Wall of China is initiated.
  • 213 BCE
    The Burning of the Books and the Burying of Philosophers Period in China.
  • 213 BCE - 206 BCE
    Qin Dynasty elevates Legalism as state philosophy and bans all others.
  • 210 BCE - 206 BCE
    China rises in rebellion against crumbling Qin Dynasty.
  • 206 BCE
    Chinese Qin empire collapses following the death of emperor Shi Huangti. Civil War begins.
  • 206 BCE - 9 CE
    The Western Han dynasty rules China from their capital in Chang'an.
  • 206 BCE
    The Emperor Shi Huangti is buried with a terracotta army of more than 8,000 soldiers in a palace tomb.
  • 202 BCE
    Liu-Bang of Han establishes the Han Dynasty in China.
  • 202 BCE
    The Battle of Gaixia in which the Han forces defeat the Chu.
  • 202 BCE
    Liu Bang is proclaimed emperor of China after defeating the rival general Xiang Yu.
  • Mar 202 BCE
    Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang) becomes the first Han ruler.
  • 195 BCE
    Liu Bang dies. His empress Lü Zhi (also known as Lü Hou) rules through puppet kings for her own benefit for the next fifteen years.
  • 141 BCE - 87 BCE
    Reign of Emperor Wu (Wu the Great), the most effective and influential of the Han monarchs.
  • 141 BCE - 87 BCE
    Han Emperor Wu abandons Legalism in favor of Confucianism.
  • 140 BCE - 87 BCE
    Han emperor Wu rules and expands Han territory in China.
  • 138 BCE - 126 BCE
    Zhang Qian, as envoy of Emperor Wu, opens up the 'Silk Road' trading route between China and central Asia.
  • 117 BCE - 100 BCE
    Han emperors extend the western part of the Great Wall of China.
  • 111 BCE
    Kingdom of Nan-Yueh (northern Vietnam) comes under Chinese administration.
  • 109 BCE
    Chinese Han Empire conquers the kingdom of Tien.
  • 104 BCE - 101 BCE
    The War of the Heavenly Horses, general Li Guangli forces the city of Da Yuan (Alexandria Eschate) into tributary status.
  • 2 CE
    Chang'an, the imperial capital of China, had a population of nearly 250 thousand people.
  • 9 CE - 23 CE
    Emperor Wang Mang, known as a reformist, reigns in China, founds Xin Dynasty.
  • 9 CE
    Wang Mang takes control of the empire by usurping the throne and proclaiming his innovative dynasty called Xin ("new").
  • 23 CE
    The sack of Chang'an, imperial capital of China.
  • c. 23 CE
    After the sack of Chang'an, Liu Xiu led his loyal officials to the city of Luoyang, where the Chinese imperial capital was relocated.
  • 25 CE - 220 CE
    The Eastern Han dynasty rules China.
  • 91 CE
    The Han dynasty of China invades Mongolia.
  • c. 155 CE - 220 CE
    Life of Cao Cao, Chinese military dictator and founder of the Wei state.
  • 160 CE
    Chinese Han empire in decline.
  • 168 CE - 189 CE
    Ling is emperor in China.
  • 184 CE - 192 CE
    The 'Yellow Turban' rebellion is quashed by the Han in China.
  • 184 CE
    A large peasant uprising known as the Yellow Turban Rebellion (sometimes referred to as the Yellow Scarves Rebellion) threatened the city of Luoyang.
  • 184 CE
    The Yellow Turban rebellion breaks out when local government offices are attacked across China.
  • 189 CE
    Luoyang, the Han capital, is sacked by the Chinese warlord Dong Zhuo.
  • 190 CE
    Luoyang, the Han capital in China, is burned.
  • 190 CE
    Dong Zhou seized control of the Chinese imperial capital and placed a child, Liu Xie, as the new ruler.
  • 205 CE
    Cao Cao takes over the former Han government and appoints himself chancellor, in effect, a military dictator.
  • 208 CE
    China is divided into three regional kingdoms.
  • 215 CE
    Cao Cao represses for good the Yellow Turban rebellion in China.
  • 220 CE
    Liu Xie abdicated the throne. Wars between warlords and states continued and China would have to wait about 350 years to be unified again.
  • 220 CE
    Death of the North China military dictator Cao Cao.
  • 304 CE
    The nomadic Xiongu break through the Great Wall of China.
  • 342 CE
    Murong Huang invades Korea from China and sacks the Goguryeo capital of Gungnae, taking 50,000 inhabitants prisoner.
  • 413 CE - 478 CE
    Japanese kings send ambassadors and tribute to China.
  • c. 494 CE
    The first Buddhist caves are carved at Longmen Grottoes, China.
  • 494 CE
    The Northern Wei select Luoyang as their capital in China.
  • 528 CE
    Steppe hordes attack the Chinese capital Luoyang.
  • 581 CE - 618 CE
  • 581 CE - 601 CE
    Reign of Wen (aka Wendi), first Sui emperor in China.
  • 604 CE - 618 CE
    Reign of Yang (aka Yangdi), second and last Sui emperor in China.
  • 618 CE - 907 CE
  • 618 CE - 626 CE
    Reign of Gaozu, 1st Emperor of Tang Dynasty in China.
  • 626 CE - 649 CE
    Reign of Emperor Taizong in China.
  • 634 CE
    Taizong signs peace treaty between Tibet and China.
  • 649 CE - 683 CE
    Reign of Emperor Gaozong in China.
  • 668 CE
    The Goguryeo kingdom of northern Korea collapses following an attack by the Tang Dynasty of China.
  • 683 CE - 704 CE
    Reign of Empress Wu Zetian, only female monarch of China.
  • 690 CE - 704 CE
    Reign of Empress Wu Zetian in China.
  • 712 CE - 756 CE
    Taoism becomes official religion of China under the Emperor Xuanzong.
  • 768 CE - 824 CE
    Life of Han Yu, "the Shakespeare of China".
  • 842 CE - 845 CE
    The Chinese state persecutes Buddhist monks and their monasteries.
  • 843 CE
    The Tang empire attacks and kills 10,000 Uyghur tribespeople in Inner Mongolia.
  • 907 CE - 960 CE
    The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period in China.
  • 907 CE
    Zhu Wen establish Later Liang Dynasty in China. The start of the Five Dynasties.
  • 907 CE - 1125 CE
    The Khitan tribes form the Liao dynasty and rule parts of Mongolia, Manchuria and northern China.
  • 937 CE - 975 CE
    First mention of foot-binding in Chinese texts.
  • 938 CE
    The Khitan Liao dynasty invades northern China.
  • 960 CE - 1279 CE
  • 960 CE - 1125 CE
    The Northern Song Dynasty in China.
  • 960 CE - 976 CE
    Reign of Emperor Taizu, founder of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 976 CE - 997 CE
    Reign of Emperor Taizong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • c. 990 CE - 1030 CE
    Life of Chinese painter Fan Kuan.
  • 997 CE - 1022 CE
    Reign of Emperor Zhenzong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 1004 CE
    Treaty of Shanyuan which brings peace between the Liao dynasty and Song dynasty of China with the latter compelled to pay annual tribute.
  • 1022 CE - 1063 CE
    Reign of Emperor Renzong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 1044 CE
    Defeat to the Xia state results in China's Song dynasty paying tribute.
  • 1063 CE - 1067 CE
    Reign of Emperor Yingzong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 1067 CE - 1085 CE
    Reign of Emperor Shenzong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 1085 CE - 1100 CE
    Reign of Emperor Zhizong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 1100 CE - 1126 CE
    Reign of Emperor Huizong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 1115 CE
    The Jurchen (Jin state) attack the Liao state in northern China.
  • 1115 CE - 1234 CE
    The Jurchen Jin state rules in Mongolia and northern China.
  • 1115 CE - 1123 CE
    Reign of Emperor Taizu, founder of the Jurchen Jin state.
  • 1125 CE - 1279 CE
    The Southern Song Dynasty in China.
  • 1125 CE
    The Jin state attacks Song China.
  • 1125 CE
    The Jurchen Jin state invades Song China necessitating the latter to move south and form the Southern Song dynasty.
  • 1127 CE - 1162 CE
    Reign of Emperor Gaozong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 1138 CE
    Hangzhou (aka Linan) is made the capital of the Song Dynasty, now known as the Southern Song.
  • 1141 CE
    A peace treaty is signed betwwen the (southern) Song Dynasty and Jin state.
  • 1142 CE
    The Jurchen Jin dynasty and Southern Song dynasty sign a formal peace treaty.
  • 1153 CE
    The Jurchen Jin state capital is moved from Shangjing (Harbin) to Yanjing (Beijing).
  • 1162 CE - 1189 CE
    Reign of Emperor Xiaozong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 1189 CE - 1194 CE
    Reign of Emperor Guangzong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 1194 CE - 1224 CE
    Reign of Emperor Ningzong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 1205 CE
    The Mongols attack the Jurchen Jin state in northern China.
  • 1209 CE
    The Mongols attack the Jurchen Jin state in northern China.
  • 1211 CE
    The Mongols attack the Jurchen Jin state in northern China.
  • 1215 CE
    The Mongols attack the Jurchen Jin state in northern China.
  • 1224 CE - 1264 CE
    Reign of Emperor Lizong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • Feb 1234 CE
    The Mongols attack and conquer the Jurchen Jin State in northern China.
  • 1264 CE - 1274 CE
    Reign of Emperor Duzong of the Song dynasty in China.
  • 1271 CE - 1368 CE
    The Mongol Yuan Dynasty, founded by Kublai Khan, rules China.
  • 1273 CE
    Xiangyang falls into Mongol hands.
  • 1274 CE - 1275 CE
    Reign of Emperor Gongzong of the Song dynasty in southern China.
  • 1275 CE - 1279 CE
    The Mongols led by Kublai Khan attack and conquer the last remnants of Song China.
  • 1275 CE - 1277 CE
    Reign of Emperor Duanzong of the Song dynasty in southern China.
  • 1278 CE - 1279 CE
    Reign of Emperor Dibing of the Song dynasty in southern China.
  • 1368 CE - 1644 CE
    Reign of the Ming Dynasty in China.
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