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Geography and Early China

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Presentation on theme: "Geography and Early China"— Presentation transcript:

1 Geography and Early China
Ancient China Geography and Early China

2 Vast and Varied Land China covers an area of about 4 million square miles, about the same size as the USA. The north of China is separated from the rest of Asia by the Gobi Desert.

3 Vast and Varied Land To the northeast, a coastal plain lies which is one of the largest farming areas in the world. On the east, China is bounded by the Pacific Ocean. The Himalayas make up the western border.

4 Vast and Varied Land The southwest is bordered by the Plateau of Tibet, a range that have peaks reaching 26,000 feet. The Qinling Shandi separate northern from southern China.

5 Varied Climate Weather and temperature patterns vary widely across China. In the norhteast, it is cold and dry. In the winter temps dropping below 0 and rivers freeze. In the northwest, the deserts are very dry. In the northeast, heavy rains soak the farmland. The tropical southeast is the wettest where monsoons can bring up to 250 inches each year.

6 The Rivers of China Two great rivers flow from west to east. The Yellow or Huang He stretches over 3,000 miles across northern China. It often floods leaving silt. These floods can also be destructive, killing - creating the nickname of China’s Sorrow for the river.

7 The Rivers of China In the south, the Chiang Jiang or Yangtzi River cuts through central China, flowing from Tibet to the Pacific Ocean. It is the longest river in China. These two rivers would link people from east to west. The mountains would limit the contact.

8 The Development of Farming
Farming will start out around the river valleys where flooding would drop silt, making it ideal for crops. As early as 7000 BC, farmers grew rice in the Chiang Jiang Valley.

9 Farming Cereal grains such as millet and wheat worked better in the north along the Huang He. Early Chinese supplemented their diets by fishing and hunting. Later, they would domesticate sheep and pigs. Surplus of food would grow population.

10 Early Settlements Archeologists have found small villages along the Huang He. They were partly underground with straw covered roofs and had pens for animals as well as storage pits and graveyards.

11 Early Settlements Some of these villages grew into large towns. Walls surrounded the cities protecting them from floods and invaders. These towns left many artifacts behind such as bowls, tools and arrowheads. Some even provided samples of cloth.

12 Early Settlements Separate cultures developed in the north and the south. They included Sanxingdui and the Hongshan. Little is known of these people, but their culture would be absorbed by those in the Huang He and Chiang Jiang river valleys.

13 Early Settlements By 3000 BC, people were using potters wheels, digging wells and created better tools. As the population grew, villages would spread throughout northern and southeastern China

14 Early Settlements Burial sites provides a lot of information as the tombs are filled with items. Some contained food, suggesting the idea of an afterlife. The amount of items, particularly jewelry showed the division in social order.

15 The Xia Dynasty Around 2200 BC, Yu the Great would found the Xia Dynasty. The story of Yu has him digging the rivers to drain the flood waters into the ocean. In reality, he dug channels which would become part of China’s great waterways. The task would take 10 years.

16 The Xia Dynasty Archeologists haven’t found artifacts that prove the story of Yu is true. However, the stories were important as they showed the rulers helped the people solve problems by working together.

17 The Shang Dynasty The first dynasty we have a lot of information about was the Shang, firmly established by 1500 BC. They ruled a broad area of northern China. They moved their capital several times to avoid floods and attack of invaders.

18 The Shang Dynasty The king was at the center of Shang political and religious life. Nobles served as advisors and performed specific religious and government duties.

19 Social Order The king and nobles were at the highest level of the social ladder. Nobles owned much of the land and passed this wealth to their heirs, Warriors, leaders from the far regions also were on the high end. Most of the higher classes lived in the cities. Artisans lived just outside the city walls and were in the middle level of society. Farmers were just under the artisans. They worked long hours, but made little money. Taxes would take most of their earnings.

20 The Shang Dynasty Slaves formed the lowest rungs of the social ladder and performed most of the labor during the period. The Shang made many advances including the first writing system – 2,000 symbols expressing words or ideas.

21 Oracle Bones Shang writing has been found on thousands of cattle bones or turtle shells. Priests would write questions on the “bones” and then heat rods and crack them. The priests would then read the cracks to gain answers or predict the future.

22 Shang Achievements The Shang made beautiful bronze containers for cooking and ceremonies. They also made axes, knives and ornaments from jade. They also developed chariots, bows and body armor. In astronomy, they made a calendar based on cycles of moon,

23 To sum up …. Exit: What is a historical difference between the Xia and Shang Dynasties? Stay tuned nest time for The Zhou Dynasty

24 The End

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