-Gobi and Takla Makan Deserts to the North and west. -Himalayas to the southwest -Pacific Ocean to the East
Results of the Geography? China is in a good position to develop isolated from other civilizations. Not easily invaded. Culturally distinct.
Major Chinese Rivers Chang (Yanhtzee) River Huang (Yellow) River Main river in China; source of original civilization.
“Whoever controls the Huang River controls China.” According to Chinese tradition a powerful ruler spoke these words almost 4,000 years ago.
The Huang River The River starts its 3,000 mile long trip in Northern China The Huang starts as a clear stream but grows and picks up silt along its winding journey. During summer floods the Huang spreads silt on the North China Plain to create one of the largest deltas. The river also creates miles of fertile marshland
Farming along the Huang About 4000B.C. farming communities developed along the lower part of the Huang River. China’s oldest civilization grew from these farming communities This civilization later spread to include many regions and groups of people.
The Huang River Valley The Huang makes a giant curve around the edge of the Ordos Desert As is turns, the Huang cuts through a hilly region The hills are made almost entirely of loess (a dusty, yellow soil that is deposited by in this region by wind)
Working with the Huang River During Summer rains, huge amounts of loess are washed into the Huang River causing it to be the World’s muddiest river. The Loess soil is both a blessing and a curse to farmers because while it provides fertile soil, its lightness makes it easy for storms to carry that kind of soil away. The river floods are both helpful and harmful to Chinese farmers because they bring loess but can also wash it away and destroy everything in their path.
Controlling the River About 3,000 years ago, farmers began building levees to hold back the Huang (a wall that keeps a river within its bank) Like the Sumerians, ancient Chinese farmers also built canals to bring water to their fields. Loess clogged the canals and had to be cleared away.
China’s Sorrow The Huang River is called China’s Sorrow because it has cost millions of lives throughout China’s history. Famine as much as drowning has also been a cause of these deaths. When it washes away crops, it leaves people with nothing to eat Chinese generals also used the power of the river as a deadly weapon. One general blew up a levee during flood season to stop the Japanese army. His plan worked- but it also took the lives of one million farmers and more died during the famine.
III. Shang Dynasty: First dynasty in China from 1700-1000 B.C.E.
Yin; the capital of Shang Dynasty. Founded ca. 1384 B.C.E.
Achievements: Oracle Bones Shamanism Writing System Bronze ware
Oracle bone; Divination was practiced by heating tortoise shells till they cracked, then studying the cracks. The prediction was written on the shell.
Shamanism; Shang Religion was based on ideas of ancestor worship, as well as a belief in nature gods, demons and magic.
Ancestor worship; the belief that your dead relatives control and guide your destiny. Thus respect and honor for them is necessary.
Writing; The Shang Dynasty developed a writing system around 1766 B.C.E.
Writing System Writing consisted of Pictographs; pictures which represented a word. Basis of Chinese writing today.
Bronze; The Shang dynasty had one of the most sophisticated methods for smelting bronze. Their bronze was extremely artistic.
Political Power: The king’s power was based on: Land Ownership. Land and peasants were given to the nobility as payment for military service.
The Zhou Dynasty and New Ideas Shang Dynasty had many achievements Zhou, the next dynasty established other Chinese traditions Importance of family Social order
From the Shang Dynasty to the Zhou Dynasty 1100s BC, some leaders (soon to be known as the Zhou) ruled over a kingdom in China These leaders joined other tribes nearby to attack and overthrow the Shang Dynasty Zhou Dynasty = longest lasting dynasty in Chinese history!
Zhou Political System The mandate of heaven – Zhou kings claimed to have this. It gave power to the king (or leader), and no one would ever rule without heaven’s permission. How did the Zhou explain the attack on the Shang Empire? TThey claimed it was a mandate of heaven Zhou expanded their territory (land) WWhat would the Zhou have to do to get more land?
Zhou = a new political order How did people get land? Loyalty, military support, other services: Zhou King : Led government Lords : People of high rank Land was given to them by the king Lords paid taxes and gave soldiers to the king, when needed Peasants : farmers with small farms Each family received two plots of land. One small plot for their own family. One plot of land was for the peasant to grow food for a noble.
KING NOBLES PEASANTS Gives land to lords/nobles Protects the peasants Gives profits to King Farm the land and serve the nobles Each of China’s three social classes had responsibilities to the other classes. Everybody helps each other!
Zhou Political System Zhou system brought order Kings ensure loyalty and control Rule through lords so king has control over vast land Over time, political order broke down Lords passed power to their sons Sons weren’t as loyal as their fathers were to the king Each local ruler gained power and rejected authority of the Zhou kings
The Decline of Zhou Power Since local leaders weren’t as loyal to the king, they didn’t help him fight invaders anymore 771 BC: Invaders reached the Zhou capital, no one to help the king Lords began to fight each other 481 BC: a new era: the Warring States period A time of many civil wars Results? Armies grew, brutal fighting, soldiers fought for land (territory) and not honor