Xia Dynasty Marks Start of Historical China (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: The Xia Dynasty moved toward solidifying an empire, establishing dynastic rule, and instituting a range of social and cultural advances.
Summary of Event
Knowledge of the first Chinese dynasty, the Xia (Hsia), comes from both archaeological digs and ancient texts such as Sima Qian’s Shiji (first century b.c.e.; Records of the Grand Historian of China, 1960, rev. ed. 1993). Although it has long been thought to be a mythical dynasty, its existence has been supported by the findings of modern archaeologists. Remains of the Xia civilization, which corresponds to the late Longshan or Erlitou cultures in archaeological terms, have been found near the Yinghe and Ruhe Rivers, bolstering the foundation myths that place the origin of the dynasty within the context of the Xia people’s vulnerability to flooding from the rivers near which they built.
The Xia and its successor Shang and Zhou (Chou) Dynasties were the first to move toward creating combined empires that would encompass various warring states, clans, and outsiders. Before the Xia Dynasty, much of the Chinese population lived in small villages and had little contact with their government or the outside world. Their worldview was formed by myths that presented their leaders as godlike beings, descended from heaven to rule.
By about 2100 b.c.e., Chinese civilization was centered on the Yellow River in the...
(The entire section is 1181 words.)
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