World Cultures Notes: Ancient China

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Eva Tahernia
P 1
Power Notes: Ancient China pgs. 475-480

Who- 14 year old empress Si Ling-chi
What- Empress discovered caterpillars that produce thread that she can weave to make “silk” When- 2700 B.C
Where- The Imperial Palace, China
Why- This happened because the Empress discovered it and decided to experiment How- Empress noticed caterpillars while walking in the palace gardens

Summary- In the Imperial Palace, China, 2700 B.C., the 14 year old empress Si Ling-chi discovered caterpillars that produce thread that she can weave to make “silk”

1) Foundations of Chinese Civilization
• Silk is just one of the many inventions for which the ancient Chinese are known • Over the course of thousands of years, the Chinese have built the longest- lasting culture in the world • As early as 5000 B.C., Chinese people lived in the fertile river valley of the Huang He • Sometime in the 1700s, B.C., their lives changed drastically when invaders, called the Shang, entered their valley • These invaders established China’s first permanent, organized, organized civilization • For most of China’s history since the Shang takeover, the country was ruled by dynasties, or families of rulers • Dynasties rose and fell in succession- some lasting only 15 years, others continuing for hundreds of years

1) Mongol Rule
• In the A.D. 1200s, China’s greatest fear came to pass- foreign invaders conquered China • In 1211, the Mongols invaded China
• They were led by Genghis Khan and later by his grandson Kublai Khan • In 1279, Kublai Khan conquered China’s Song Dynasty • In its place, he founded the Yuan Dynasty
• He also established a capital at Ta-tu

1) The Ming Dynasty
• Warfare eventually broke out among the Mongol leaders, weakening the Yuan Dynasty significantly • The dynasty that took over was called the Ming
• Because of his great military success, Ming founder Zhu Yuanzhang was called the Hongwu emperor-meaning “vast military power” • In his battles, he won from the Mongols the Yunnan province • With this piece of land in his charge, he unified the region that is China today • When the Hongwu emperor died, one of his grandsons took power, naming himself the Yongle emperor-meaning “eternal contentment” • He is famous for rebuilding the Yuan capital, which he renamed Beijing • He ordered a huge palace complex to be constricted in the capital • This was called the Forbidden City because only the emperor, his family, and some of his officials could enter it • The Ming Dynasty came to an end in 1644 at the hands of invaders form northeastern China, called the Manchu • These attackers established China’s last dynasty, the Qing, which ruled China until 1911

1) Religion and Philosophy
• China’s dynasties are known for particular achievements-some military, some artistic, some technological, and some spiritual • Several of the world’s most influential philosophies and religions arose during the thousands of years of Chinese history

1) Confucianism
• Toward the end of the Zhou Dynasty, a man named Kongfuzi-later called Confucius by Europeans-developed a new philosophy • Confucius taught the importance of moral character and of individuals taking responsibility for the state of the society • He also taught that a ruler, like a good father, should take care of his people and be kind to them • The teachings of Confucius were not widely known during his lifetime • Only after his death did his students succeed in spreading his philpsophy

1) The Impact of Confucianism
• In 121 B.C., the Han emperor Wudi established Confucianism as the official philosophy guiding the Chinese bureaucracy • Bureaucracy is the...
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