Xia Dynasty

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The Xia Dynasty (Chinese: 夏朝; Pinyin: xià cháo; Wade-Giles: hsia-ch'ao), ca. 2070 BC1600 BC,[1] of China is the first dynasty to be described in the Records of the Grand Historian and unofficial Bamboo Annals, which record the names of seventeen kings over fourteen generations lasted 431 or 471 years. The dynasty was preceded by the legendary Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, and followed by the Shang Dynasty.

History

According to the official history, the Xia Dynasty was founded when Shun abdicated the throne in favor of his minister Yu, whom Shun viewed as the perfect civil servant. Instead of passing power to the person deemed most capable of rulership, Yu passed power to his son, Qi, setting the precedence for dynastic rule. The Xia Dynasty thus began a period of family or clan control.

The Skeptical school of early Chinese history (yigupai) in the twenties, started by Gu Jiegang, was the first to seriously question within China the traditional story of its early history: “the later the time, the longer the legendary period of earlier history... early Chinese history is a tale told and retold for generations, during which new elements were added to the front end”[2] Yun Kuen Lee's criticism of nationalist sentiment in developing an explanation of Three Dynasties chronology focuses on the dichotomy of evidence provided by archaeological versus historical research, in particular the claim that the archaeological Erlitou Culture is also the historical Xia Dynasty. “How to fuse the archaeological dates with historical dates is a challenge to all chronological studies of early civilization.”[3]

According to traditional Chinese proponents of the Dynastic cycle, it was during this period that Chinese civilization developed a benign civilian government and harsh punishment for legal transgressions. From this the earliest forms of Chinese legal codes came into being.

Jie, the last ruler, was said to be a corrupt king. He was overthrown by Tang, the leader of Shang people from the east.

Archaeological records

Enlarge picture
Bronze cup found at Erlitou site in 1963.
Archaeologists have uncovered urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs that point to the possible existence of the Xia dynasty at locations cited in ancient Chinese historical texts. There exists a debate as to whether or not Erlitou culture was the site of the Xia dynasty. Radiocarbon dating places the site at ca. 2100 to 1800 BC, providing physical evidence of the existence of a state contemporaneous with and possibly equivalent to the Xia Dynasty as described in Chinese historical works.[4] In 1959, a site located in the city of Yanshi was excavated containing large palaces that some archaeologists have attributed as capital of the Xia Dynasty. Though later historical works mention the Xia dynasty, no written records dated to the Xia period have been found to confirm the name of the dynasty and its sovereigns. At a minimum, the archaeological discoveries marked an evolutionary stage between the late neolithic cultures and the typical Chinese urban civilisation of the Shang Dynasty.

Mythical Opposite of Shang

In her work, The Shape of the Turtle: Myth, Art and Cosmos in Early China, Sarah Allen noted that many aspects of the Xia are simply the opposite of traits held to be emblematic of the Shang. Classical Chinese historians such as Sima Qian had access to records going only as far back as the Western Zhou Dynasty. The implied dualism between the Shang and Xia, Allen argues, is that while the Shang represent fire or the sun, birds and the east, the Xia represent the west and water. The development of this mythical Xia, Allen argues, is a necessary act on the part of the Zhou Dynasty, who justify their conquest of the Shang by noting that the Shang had supplanted the Xia.

Sovereigns of the Xia Dynasty

Posthumous Names (Shi Hao 諡號)1
Order Reign2 Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Notes
0145?also Yu the Great (大禹; dà yǔ)
0210? 
0329太?Tai Kang 
0413仲?Zhòng Kāng 
0528?Xiāng 
0621少?Shào Kāng 
0717?Zhù 
0826?Huái 
0918?Máng 
1016?Xiè 
1159不?Bù Jiàng 
1221?Jiōng 
1321?JǐnGuoyu: jìn, putonghua: jǐn
1431孔?Kǒng Jiǎ 
1511?Gāo 
1611? 
1752?Jiéalso Lu Gui (履癸 lǚ guǐ)
1 The reign name is sometimes preceded by the name of the dynasty, Xia (夏), for example Xia Yu (夏禹).
2 Possible length of reign, in years.

See also

Notes:

1. ^ [1]
2. ^ Building the Chronology of Early Chinese History. Journal article by Yun Kuen Lee; Asian Perspectives: the Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific, Vol. 41, 2002
3. ^ Building the Chronology of Early Chinese History. Journal article by Yun Kuen Lee; Asian Perspectives: the Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific, Vol. 41, 2002
4. ^ Fairbank, John K. China: A New History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992, page 35.

References

  • Deady, Kathleen W. and Dubois, Muriel L., Ancient China. Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2004.
  • Lee Yuan-Yuan and Shen, Sinyan. Chinese Musical Instruments (Chinese Music Monograph Series). 1999. Chinese Music Society of North America Press. ISBN 1-880464039
  • Sarah Allen (1991), The Shape of the Turtle: Myth, Art and Cosmos in Early China
16 Kingdoms
Cheng Han
Han Zhao
Later Zhao
Former Liang
Later Liang
Western Liang
Northern Liang
Southern Liang
Former Qin
Later Qin
Western Qin
Former Yan
Later Yan
Northern Yan
Southern Yan
Xia
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The history of China is told in traditional historical records that refer as far back as the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors about 5,000 years ago, supplemented by archaeological records dating to the 16th century BC. China is one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations.
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The Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors (Chinese: 三皇五帝; Pinyin: Sānhuáng wǔdì; Wade-Giles: San-huang wu-ti) were mythological rulers of China during the period from c.
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Shang Dynasty (Chinese: ) or Yin Dynasty () (ca. 1750 BC - ca. 1045 BC) is the second historic Chinese dynasty and ruled in the northeastern region of the area known as "China proper", in the Yellow River valley.
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Zhou Dynasty (Chinese: ; Pinyin: Zhōu Cháo; Wade-Giles: Chou Ch`ao; 1123 BC to 256 BC[1]) preceded by the Shang Dynasty and followed by the Qin Dynasty in China.
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Zhou Dynasty (Chinese: ; Pinyin: Zhōu Cháo; Wade-Giles: Chou Ch`ao; 1123 BC to 256 BC[1]) preceded by the Shang Dynasty and followed by the Qin Dynasty in China.
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Zhou Dynasty (Chinese: ; Pinyin: Zhōu Cháo; Wade-Giles: Chou Ch`ao; 1123 BC to 256 BC[1]) preceded by the Shang Dynasty and followed by the Qin Dynasty in China.
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Spring and Autumn Period (Chinese: 春秋時代; Pinyin: Chūnqiū Shídài
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History of China
ANCIENT
3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors
Xia Dynasty 2070–1600 BCE
Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE
Zhou Dynasty
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Han Dynasty (Traditional Chinese: 漢朝; Simplified Chinese: 汉朝
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Han Dynasty (Traditional Chinese: 漢朝; Simplified Chinese: 汉朝
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Xin Dynasty (Chinese: 新朝; Pinyin: Xīn Cháo; literally "New Dynasty"; 9-23) was a "dynasty" (contrary to the usual meaning of a dynasty, it had only one emperor).
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Han Dynasty (Traditional Chinese: 漢朝; Simplified Chinese: 汉朝
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The Three Kingdoms era (Traditional Chinese: 三國; Simplified Chinese: 三国; Pinyin: Sānguo
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Cao Wei (Chinese: 曹魏; Pinyin: Cáo Wèi; Wade-Giles: Ts'ao Wei) was one of the regimes that competed for control of China during the Three Kingdoms period.
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Shu Han (Traditional Chinese: 蜀漢, pinyin: Shǔ Hàn), sometimes known as the Kingdom of Shu (蜀 shǔ) was one of the Three Kingdoms competing for control of China after the fall of the Han Dynasty, based on areas around Sichuan which was then known
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Eastern Wu (Chinese: 東吳; pinyin: Dōng Wú), also known as Sun Wu
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16 Kingdoms
Cheng Han
Han Zhao
Later Zhao
Former Liang
Later Liang
Western Liang
Northern Liang
Southern Liang
Former Qin
Later Qin
Western Qin
Former Yan
Later Yan
Northern Yan
Southern Yan
Xia
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Southern and Northern Dynasties (Chinese: 南北朝; Pinyin: nánběicháo; 420-589 AD) followed the Sixteen Kingdoms and preceded Sui Dynasty in China.
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Sui Dynasty (Chinese: ; Pinyin: Suí cháo; 581-618 AD[]) followed the Southern and Northern Dynasties and preceded the Tang Dynasty in China.
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History of China
ANCIENT
3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors
Xia Dynasty 2070–1600 BCE
Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE
Zhou Dynasty
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The Song Dynasty (Chinese: 宋朝; Pinyin: Sòng Cháo; Wade-Giles: Sung Ch'ao) was a ruling dynasty in China between 960–1279 AD; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms era, and
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History of China
ANCIENT
3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors
Xia Dynasty 2070–1600 BCE
Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE
Zhou Dynasty
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The Song Dynasty (Chinese: 宋朝; Pinyin: Sòng Cháo; Wade-Giles: Sung Ch'ao) was a ruling dynasty in China between 960–1279 AD; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms era, and
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History of China
ANCIENT
3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors
Xia Dynasty 2070–1600 BCE
Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE
Zhou Dynasty
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History of China
ANCIENT
3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors
Xia Dynasty 2070–1600 BCE
Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE
Zhou Dynasty
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