“River of Sorrows” The Huang He (Yellow River) got its name from the loess, fine windblown soil that was carried along by the river. The Chinese tried to keep the flooding down by building and repairing dykes If and when the dykes broke, floods burst over the land destroying crops and bringing mass starvation http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/g eography/huangheriver.htm
Records indicate that, from 602 BC to present, the river’s course made at least 5 major large-scale changes in direction and its levees were breached more than 1,500 times. Large-scale floods induced by levee breaks in the Yellow River were also translated into enormous human costs during the past. For example, the flood in 1642 alone killed three hundred thousand people. In 1938, the levees were intentionally broken in an attempt to stop Japanese invaders – the river at that time flooded a huge area and the floodwaters took some 900,000 lives.
Shang Dynasty Under this period, Chinese civilization took shape City-states Social classes mirrored other civilizations Most people were peasants who worked on their farms and on flood control Complex religious beliefs
Zhou Dynasty Warriors who took over the Shang in 1027 B.C. Believed in the Mandate of Heaven, or divine right to rule Developed the feudal state Experienced economic growth with the knowledge of iron working
Dynastic Cycle Aging Dynasty Neglects government duties Corruption & heavy taxes Allows defenses to fall Aging dynasty loses the Mandate of Heaven The New Dynasty Restores peace & prosperity Builds canals & irrigation Redistributes land to peasants
Shang silk Ceramics Bronze casting Oracle bones Calligraphy Zhou Mandate of Heaven Warring dynasty Qin Wall of China Han Civil Service Leveling Silk Road
Philosophies of Ancient China Confucianism ◦ Importance of family ◦ Reverence for the past ◦ Respect for one’s ancestors ◦ Morality, honor, virtue “Before you embark on your journey of revenge, dig two graves.”
“To see what is right and not do it is want of courage.” “Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.” “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”
Daoism Founded by Laozi Dao (the Way) is an indescribable force that governs the universe Withdraw from the world and contemplate nature Don’t seek power but seek to be humble, quiet, thoughtful
Yin and Yang The universe reflects a delicate balance between these two opposing forces
Legalism & Buddhism Legalism ◦ Power, not virtue ◦ Harsh laws, severe punishment ◦ Qin emperor, strong but didn’t last Buddhism ◦ Introduced during the Han dynasty ◦ Provided a sense of comfort to peasants during turbulent times
Scenario A weak, inefficient, and corrupt ruler is governing your country. Crime and disorder are rampant and a revolt is likely. What solution would you offer? Confucian Daoist Legalist Buddhist
Chinese Life and Culture The family, not the individual, was the most important Each upper class family kept a careful genealogy, or record of the family tree The father ruled the family The mother had little/no power but lots of respect
Science and Technology Early astronomers discovered the year was slightly longer than 365 days. 28 BC, first observed sunspots Tracked movement of planets Invented paper Sundial, waterclock, printing process acupuncture
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