Early China Unit Review Sheet



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Early China Unit Review Sheet
Around 3,000 B.C., the people settled by the HuangHe and Yangtze Rivers in modern day China. The HuangHe river flooded and brought silt (the silt was yellow, so people called this “The Yellow River”) which helped people farm, but also brought devastating floods (people also therefore called it, “The River of Sorrow”). Chinese geography (Himalayan Mountains, Gobi Desert) also isolated them. This led the Chinese to become ethnocentrist, believing they were superior and the people around them “barbarians.” In order to manage the rivers and the barbarians to the North, the Chinese developed a government. The Chinese government was known as Dynasties. An Emperor ruled the land, and when he died, his son took over. The first dynasty was the mythical Xia (there is very limited evidence they existed). The Shang Dynasty ruled China for hundreds of years, but was defeated by the Zhou. The Zhou created the concept of the Mandate of Heaven and Dynastic Cycle to explain why dynasties rise and fall. They also used the culture and religion of the Chinese, especially ancestor veneration to stress that ancestors also supported the changing dynasties. The Zhou ruled for over 800 years, but became weak and then fell apart. China then fell into constant civil war, known as The Warring States Period. Eventually, Chin ShiHuandi rose to power and conquered China, creating the Qin Dynasty. The Qin Dynasty ruled China using the theory of Legalism – great rewards but strict punishments. Their strict rule led them to be overthrown, and the new Han Dynasty came to power. Many consider the Han Dynasty a golden age golden age – a time of great peace, prosperity, stability and cultural achievements. Perhaps the Han’s greatest achievement was creating an extensive trade network that stretched from China, across Asia to Europe and Africa. This was known as The Silk Road. This brought trade and cultural diffusion from all over. Due to all of the trade in the Silk Road, many people and religions came to China and today Buddhism (religion from India), Catholicism (religion from the Middle East and Europe), and Islam (religion from the Middle East) are practiced in China.

China, unlike many places, had two main religions and people could practice both at the same time! The Chinese practiced Daoism and Confucianism. Daoism, written by Lao Tzu in the Dao de Jing, believed in respect for nature and its laws, meditation, and little government interference. Confucianism, written by the philosopher and political theorist, Confucius stressed education, ancestor veneration, rule of reciprocity, filial piety and harmony by following the five relationships. It believed in order and a strong government. Even though there are some differences, people say “at work, I am a Confucius, but at home, I am a Daoist!” This is because Taoism focused on the spirit and spiritual questions while Confucianism focused on philosophy and government. The Han heavily incorporated (used) Confucianism into their government to help bring stability and civic virtue (people care about the government).


Unit 3 Vocabulary Words

copy the words and definitions into your Homework Book

  1. HuangHe River ValleyThe HuangHe brought yellow silt which helped farming (Yellow River) but also brought dangerous floods (River of Sorrows)

  2. EthnocentrismBelief a nation and its people and culture are superior to others

  3. Middle KingdomWhat the Chinese called themselves. They believed they were the center of the world.

  4. Dynastyform of government where a leader passes rule down to his family

  5. Mandate of HeavenBelief that the gods choose a leader and give him permission to rule

  6. Dynastic CycleSystem of how dynasties fall, then a new one gains the Mandate of Heaven and takes power.

  7. Shang DynastyFirst Dynasty of China

  8. Zhou DynastyTakes power from the Shang. Create the ideas of the Mandate of Heaven and the Dynastic Cycle to control the Chinese.

  9. Qin Dynasty- First Imperial Dynasty. Unites China. Starts the Great Wall of China. Very harsh laws

  10. Han DynastyOne of China’s Golden Ages. Create the Silk Road, add to the Great Wall and lots of stability and wealth.

  11. Chin Shi HuandiVery strict ruler. Leader of the Qin Dynasty.

  12. LegalismPolitical system that uses great rewards but harsh punishments to keep order.

  13. Golden AgeWhen a country has social, political and economic stability. Great wealth and many cultural accomplishments.

  14. Silk RoadTrade Network created by the Han Dynasty that stretched through Asia, Europe and Africa. Creates lots of cultural diffusion.

  15. DaoismReligion that believes in nature, spirits of nature, laws of nature.

  16. ConfucianismPhilosophy/religion that stresses education, ancestor veneration, filial piety and the five relationships to keep order and harmony in society

  17. Ancestor Venerationworshipping ancestors

  18. Filial Pietyrespecting your father

  19. Five Relationships- series of relationships that people must follow to keep order in society.

  20. Application – based off of the word apply – to take a concept and use it in another situation or for something else.

  21. Development – growth of

  22. Prosperity – wealth

  23. Stability – time of peace and calmness



Unit 3 Study Questions

Write the question and answer for each question in your notebook. Your answers should be a full paragraph (4-7 sentences, with a Statement, Proof – details – and Analysis. Make sure to use at least 3 specific details from the HW or classwork)


  1. How did China’s geography affect its development?




  1. How did Dynasties use the Mandate of Heaven and Dynastic Cycle to gain and hold power?




  1. How did the religions of China help bring stability to China?



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