Ancient Chinese Contributions
In observing the development of Chinese ancient culture, it becomes apparent civilization can exist without timely opportunities, the right conditions, and a beneficial geographical situation. It is well known that China has an ancient and glorious history, from the feudal periods ending in 222 BC through the three Imperial and Intermediate Eras, up to the Modern era – over 4000 years of dynastic reigns (Institute of the History of Natural Sciences Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2009). It may also be well known that China is the source of many wonderful and useful inventions. The splendor and innovation enjoyed by the ancient Chinese have become legendary. The ten most useful contributions that the ancient Chinese made in our contemporary society were: paper money, kites, iron and bronze, gunpowder, printing press, umbrellas, clocks, compasses, porcelain, and alcohol (Yinke, 2009). However, out of those ten, the four most significant innovations are paper money, gunpowder, printing press, and clocks. The Chinese invented paper money in the 9th century AD. For much of its history, China used gold, silver and silk for large sums, and bronze for everyday transactions. The notion of using paper as money is almost as old as paper itself. The first paper banknotes appeared in China about 806 AD. An early use of paper was for letters of credit transferred over large distances, a practice which the government quickly took over from private concerns. The Chinese, with their great gift for pragmatism, labeled this practice “flying money” (Temple, 2007). The first real use of a paper money system was in Szechwan province, an isolated area subject to frequent copper shortages (which is a component of bronze). It had reverted to an iron currency of coins, and paper was a welcome option. Iron banks sprang up to facilitate the trade, and the government was quick to take over the profitable enterprise. Amazingly, the Chinese only used paper money...
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