3 Geography and Early China The Big IdeaChinese civilization began with the Shang dynasty along the Huang He.Main IdeasChina’s physical geography made farming possible but travel and communication difficult.Civilization began in China along the Huang He and Chang Jiang rivers.China’s first dynasties helped Chinese society develop and made many other achievements.
9 Physical Geography Varied Landscape China covers an area of almost 4 million square miles.The Gobi desert lies in the north.Low-lying plains in the east make up one of the world’s largest farming areas.Mountain ranges lie in the west, including the Plateau of Tibet and the Qinling Shandi. There was limited contact between people in the east and west.The weather and temperature vary from cold and dry to wet and humid, and monsoons can bring up to 250 inches of rain each year.
10 The Gobi Desert spreads over much of northern China.
11 The Gobi Desert separates China from its neighbors.
12 The Tibetan Plateau is “The Roof of the World The Tibetan Plateau is “The Roof of the World.” It is here that the Huang He River begins its 3000 mile trip across Northern China.
13 Two Rivers of China Huang He Also called the Yellow River Nearly 3,000 miles long across northern ChinaOften floods, and has been referred to as “China’s sorrow” because of the destructionChang JiangThe longest river in Asia; also called the Yangzi RiverFlows across central China from Tibet to the Pacific Ocean
14 HUANG HE RIVERThe Huang He is 3,000 miles long and spreads enough silt to create one of the world’s largest deltas, and miles of fertile farmland.
15 The Huang has been a major force in China’s history. Around 4000 B. C The Huang has been a major force in China’s history. Around 4000 B.C. farming communities developed and grew to include many regions.
16 The Yangzi or Chang Jiang River cuts through central China, flowing from Tibet to the Pacific Ocean.
24 If too much soil washes away, famine can occur. When trees were cleared from land for farming, erosion occurred. Erosion is the wearing away of soil by wind or water.If too much soil washes away, famine can occur.
25 Not all of China was suitable for farming Not all of China was suitable for farming. Growing crops was difficult on the steppes. A steppe is a dry, treeless plain.
26 Civilization Begins Farming Early Settlements Frequent flooding made the land fertile around the Chang Jiang and Huang He rivers.Along with farming, the Chinese people hunted, fished, and domesticated animals.Early SettlementsSome small villages along the rivers grew into larger cities.Separate cultures developed in the north and the south. Over time people learned to dig wells and use potter’s wheels.Findings at burial sites suggest that the ancient Chinese believed in an afterlife and had a complex social order.
27 3000 B.C. Painted pottery and other artifacts have been found at Yangshao, Longshan and other places.
28 Xia dynastyThe Xia dynasty might have been founded around 2200 BC, by Yu the Great.Tales say that Yu dug channels to drain floodwaters and created the major waterways of North China.Archaeologists have no firm evidence that tales about the Xia dynasty are true.
29 A dynasty is a line of rulers who belong to the same family A dynasty is a line of rulers who belong to the same family. Control is passed from one generation to the next.
30 Shang dynastyEstablished by 1500 BC, the Shang was the first dynasty that there is clear evidence to support.The Shang reorganized the social order in China: the top ranking was the royals, then nobles, warriors, artisans, farmers, and slaves.Most citizens lived within the city walls.Many cultural advances were made, including China’s first writing system, complex tools, metal pots, and ornaments.
32 By 1700 B.C., one kingdom, the Shang, won control along the Huang He delta. For 600 years, the Shang Dynasty shaped the lives of the people along the Huang He.
33 Towns were important centers of production Towns were important centers of production. They supplied food, clothing, and other products for the king. Towns kept enemies away from Shang lands. People served as soldiers and went to war when needed.
34 After 600 years the capital was moved to Anyang After 600 years the capital was moved to Anyang. Writing on bones discovered by archaeologists, led to the discovery of this city. Ruins show that Shang society included a king, his family, nobles, craftworkers, farmers, and prisoners of war.
35 Archaeologists uncovered bronze cups, stone carvings and magnificent chariots found in royal tombs.
36 A writing system developed along parts of the Huang He A writing system developed along parts of the Huang He. Early signs looked like pictures. By the time of the Shang dynasty, characters were simpler, and could stand for objects or ideas. Many records were written on bamboo and silk and did not survive.
38 More writing has been discovered on “dragon bones” found at Anyang More writing has been discovered on “dragon bones” found at Anyang. Most of these were cattle bones or turtle shells.Special priests would heat the oracle bones until they cracked. The pattern of the cracks was used to answer questions about the future.
39 The Shang believed their ancestors lived in another world and controlled human life. The Shang worshiped many gods and believed these gods controlled nature. They believed that when they died, they would join their ancestors and the gods.