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China’s First Civilizations

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1 China’s First Civilizations

2 Chapter 7, Section 1 Objectives
After this lesson, students will be able to: describe how rivers, mountains, and deserts helped shape Chinese civilization. explain how rulers known as the Shang became powerful because they controlled land and had strong armies. describe how Chinese rulers claimed the right to rule by a Mandate of Heaven. AL COS: AL2, AL2a, AL2b, AL3, AL3a, AL8, AL8b

3 Why is China Important? world’s largest population
one of the fastest growing economies in the world experiencing major infrastructure growth leader in sciences (computers & mathematics) historically and culturally significant communist government a new superpower?

4 China’s Geography – page 224
Huang He (Yellow River) – flows from Mongolia to the Pacific Ocean particularly fertile due to loess Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) – flows east across China and empties into the Yellow Sea Photo: The Three Gorges Dam Project. Available from: Encarta Encyclopedia.

5 China’s Geography – page 226
Less than 1/10 of China’s land is arable (fit for farming) Himalayas – southwest Kunlun Shan & Tian Shan – western border Gobi & Taklimakan Deserts Gobi – a cold, rocky desert east of the Kunlun Shan and Tian Shan Mountains

6 The Shang Dynasty – page 226
The Huang He valley was the site of the first Chinese civilizations. Xia dynasty (?) Shang dynasty – founded c B.C. most historians use the rise of this dynasty as the beginning of Chinese civilization made the city of Anyang China’s first capital city

7 The Shang Dynasty – page 226
strong monarchy aristocracy (nobles whose wealth comes from the land they own) made of warlords and officials large army agricultural society (farmers could be pulled for other projects)

8 Spirits and Ancestors – page 227
spirits in mountains, rivers, etc. ancestor worship family was central to society believed departed ancestors could bring good fortune and good luck offerings made even today

9 Telling the Future – page 228
government and religion closely linked oracle bones – first example of Chinese writing Photo: A Shang oracle bone. Available from:

10 The Chinese Language – page 228
pictographs – characters that stand for objects ideographs – a character that joins two or more pictographs to represent an idea advantage: people from all over could read = unity disadvantage: too many characters too remember (needed to know 1,500 to be barely literate)

11 Shang Artists – page 229 bronze casting – the best-known Shang art form Photo: The Shang dynasty (1570?-1045? BC) arose during the Bronze Age in China. In addition to producing stone tools, such as the mattock and axe (bottom left), the Shang made notable advances in the manufacture of bronze weapons and ritual vessels. The bronze objects shown here include the halberd (top left), the chief weapon in ancient Chinese society, and the yue (top center), used for beheading human sacrifices. Available from: Photo: Shang casting methods. Available from:

12 The Zhou Dynasty – page 229 Wu Wang led a rebellion against the Shang, and created the Zhou dynasty (1045 B.C. – 256 B.C.). dynasty lased for more than 800 years developed the idea of the Mandate of Heaven

13 What Was the Mandate of Heaven? – page 230
mandate – a formal order Mandate of Heaven – idea that the king had been chosen by heavenly order to rule; Zhou claimed that principle gave them the right to rule catches: Dao – the proper way kings were expected to rule people had the right to overthrow an unjust king or one that has apparently lost the Mandate of Heaven dynastic cycle

14 The Dynastic Cycle in China
New dynasty gains power, restores peace and order, and claims to have the Mandate of Heaven. Strong dynasty establishes peace and prosperity; it is considered to have the Mandate of Heaven. In time, dynasty declines and becomes corrupt; taxes are raised; power grows weaker.. Disasters such as floods, famines, peasant revolts, and invasions occur. Old dynasty is seen as having loss the Mandate of Heaven; rebellion is justified. Dynasty is overthrown through rebellion and bloodshed; new dynasty emerges. The Dynastic Cycle in China

15 New Tools and Trade – page 230
iron population boom roads and canals coined money introduced silk

16 The Zhou Empire Falls – page 231
“Period of the Warring States” invention of the saddle and stirrup allowed for mounted combat

17 Chapter 7, Section 1 Questions
Between which two rivers is the heartland of China found? Why is China’s arable land limited? What is a dynasty? What were oracle bones and how were they used? What is the Mandate of Heaven and which dynasty used it as a justification for their rise to power? How is the dynastic cycle connected to the Mandate of Heaven?

18 Life in Ancient China Chapter 7, Section 2, page 233

19 Chapter 7, Section 2 Objectives
After this lesson, students will be able to: describe the three main social classes Chinese society, landowning aristocrats, farmers, and merchants. explain how Chinese philosophies grew out of a need for order in China. AL COS: AL2, AL2a, AL3, AL3a, AL8

20 Life in Ancient China – page 233
Chinese social classes tenant farmers – people pay rent by giving the landlord a portion of their crops landowning aristocrats peasant farmers merchants

21 What was Life Like in a Chinese Family? – page 234
Family was the basic building block of Chinese society. filial piety – practice that requires children to respect their parents and older relatives The leader of the family was usually the oldest male.

22 Who Was Confucius? – page 236
Confucius – China’s first great teacher and thinker goal: to bring peace to society basic premise: people needed to have a sense of duty Confucianism – taught that if each person does his or her duty, society as a whole will do well Photo: Confucius. Available from:

23 What Is Daoism? – page 238 Laozi – the “Old Master”(?) founded Daoism
people should give up their worldly desires turn to nature and the Dao turn away from worldly concerns and live in peace with nature Dao De Jing Photo: Laozi. Available from:

24 Confucius and Laozi – page 238

25 What Is Legalism? – page 239 Hanfeizi – thought people were naturally evil developed Legalism – taught that people needed harsh laws and punishment to make them live rightly strong ruler necessary aristocrats liked Legalism

26 Chinese Ethical Systems – page 239
Confucianism Social order, harmony, and good government should be based on family relationships. Respect for parents and elders is important to a well ordered society. Education is important to both the welfare of the individual and to society. Daoism The natural order is more important than social order. A universal force guides all things. Human beings should live simply and in harmony with nature. Legalism A highly efficient and powerful government is the key to social order. Punishments are useful to maintain order. Thinkers and their ideas should be strictly controlled by the government.

27 Chapter 7, Section 2 Questions
What is unique about the ancient Chinese social structure? Define filial piety. Name the founders of Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism. Which philosophy was centered around a strong system of laws and punishments in order to keep society in order? Compare Confucianism and Daoism.

28 The Qin and Han Dynasties
Chapter 7, Section 3, page 240

29 Emperor Qin Shihuangdi – page 241
Period of the Warring States – period of violence that made people look for a way to restore order Qin Shihuangdi (sp) – “First Qin Emperor” (221 B.C.) from the state of Qin (China) establishes the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C. – 206 B.C.) Photo: Qin Shihuangdi. Available from:

30 A Powerful Ruler – page 241 Qin Shihuangdi
based his rule on the ideas of Legalism eliminated opposition burned books instituted a practice called “strengthening the trunk and weakening the branches” created an autocracy – a government that has unlimited power and uses it in an arbitrary manner Photo: Map of the Qin Dynasty. Available from: “strengthening the trunk…” – from Ancient World History; practice calling for noble families to come to the capital city

31 A Powerful Ruler – page 242 accomplishments
set standards for writing, law, currency, weights, and measures over 4,000 miles of roads constructed irrigation projects improved farm production early Great Wall (one we know today built in the Ming Dynasty) Photo: Parts of the Great Wall. Available from:

32 Why Did the People Rebel? – page 242
Four years after Qin Shihuangdi’s death, the Qin dynasty was overthrown. farmers, scholars, and aristocrats were all displeased with how he had ruled

33 The Han Dynasty – page 244 Liu Bang – founded the Han Dynasty (202 B.C. – A.D. 220) Han Wudi – wanted talented people to work in government; developed the civil service exam population reaches 60 million under Han Wudi expansion policy –”Martial Emperor” Photo: Map of the Han Dynasty. Available from:

34 An Era of New Inventions – page 245
waterwheels iron drill bits steel paper rudder advances in medicine acupuncture – treatment that is supposed to ease pain by sticking needles into the skin

35 The Silk Road – page 246 Silk Road – network of trade routes that stretched from China to southwest Asia China exported silk, spices, tea, & porcelain Zhang Qian – explored areas west of China; brought back stories of the Roman Empire

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