Essay on River Dynasties in China
River Dynasties in China
POWER AND AUTHORITY The early rulers introduced ideas about government and society that shaped Chinese civilization.
WHY IT MATTERS NOW
The culture that took root during ancient times still affects Chinese ways of life today.
TERMS & NAMES
• loess • oracle bone • Mandate of Heaven • dynastic cycle • feudalism
SETTING THE STAGE The walls of China’s first cities were built 4,000 years
ago. This was at least a thousand years after the walls of Ur, the great pyramids of Egypt, and the planned cities of the Indus Valley were built. Unlike the other three river valley civilizations, the civilization that began along one of China’s river systems continues to thrive today. …show more content…
The First Dynasties Even before the Sumerians settled in southern Mesopotamia, early Chinese cultures were building farming settlements along the Huang He. Around 2000 B.C., some of these settlements grew into China’s first cities. According to legend, the first Chinese dynasty, the Xia (shyah) Dynasty, emerged about this time. Its leader was an engineer and mathematician named Yu. His floodcontrol and irrigation projects helped tame the Huang He and its tributaries so that settlements could grow. The legend of Yu reflects the level of technology of a society making the transition to civilization. About the time the civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley fell to outside invaders, a people called the Shang rose to power in northern China. Early River Valley Civilizations 51
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Lady Hao’s Tomb
Lady Hao was a wife of king Wu Ding, a Shang ruler, during the 1200s B.C. Her relatively small grave contained some 460 bronze artifacts, 750 jade objects, and more than 6,880 cowry shells. Also found in the tomb beside Lady Hao’s coffin were the remains of 16 people and 6 dogs. Writings found in other places reveal a remarkable figure in Lady Hao. On behalf of her husband, she led more than one military campaign, once with a force of 13,000