An Introduction to the Dynasties of Ancient China


Kelly Macquire
published on 11 July 2022

Ancient China produced what has become the oldest extant culture in the world, and this video is just an introduction to the different dynasties and rulers of Ancient China all the way up until the Song Dynasty. The Greeks and Romans knew the country of China as ‘Seres,’ meaning the land where silk comes from, but the name China comes from the Sanskrit Cina, which was derived from the Qin Dynasty. It’s important to note that the dynasties and periods of Ancient China’s history didn’t start and end neatly, but ran into one another with similarities including language and religion running through each period, but for clarity’s sake, the history has been broken up into different periods.

From the small villages and farming communities developed a centralised government, and the first was the prehistoric Xia Dynasty which dates between circa 2070 and 1600 BCE and was once considered more of a myth than fact. This all changed though with excavations in the 1960s and 70s uncovering bronze works and tombs that prove there was societal development between the Stone Age villages and the later, cohesive Chinese civilisation.

Under the reign of Shi Huangdi, not only was the Qin Dynasty established, but it was the beginning of the period known as the Imperial Era of China which ran from 221 BCE to 1912 CE. Shi Huangdi ordered all of the fortifying walls that separated the states to be destroyed and began the construction of one huge wall along the northern border of his kingdom, and although very little of the original wall remains, this was the first Great Wall of China (though it looked nothing like the famous wall built later).



0:00​ Introduction
1:05 The Early History of Ancient China
2:38 The First Chinese Dynasties
5:48 The Zhou Dynasty
6:46 The Spring & Autumn Period and the Warring States
8:58 The Qin Dynasty
11:11 The Han Dynasty
13:01 The Xin & Eastern Han Dynasties
15:56 The Tang Dynasty
18:26 China After the Ancient Period
19:28 Outro

Ancient China
Qin Dynasty
Banpo Village
Xia Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
Mandate of Heaven
Warring States Period
Han Dynasty

The Lives of Women in Ancient China
History of the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival
Wu Zetian: the First and Only Empress of Imperial China
The Qingming Festival: Chinese Tomb Sweeping Day
The History of Tea and the Spread of "Cha" and "Tea" Around the Globe

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here -

The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

Shizhao - own work
CC BY SA 3.0 -
J. Arpon - own work
CC BY SA 3.0 -

World History Encyclopedia

#ancientchina #chinesehistory #dynastiesofchina

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2022, July 11). An Introduction to the Dynasties of Ancient China. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "An Introduction to the Dynasties of Ancient China." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified July 11, 2022.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "An Introduction to the Dynasties of Ancient China." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 11 Jul 2022. Web. 04 Mar 2024.