Lesson One Notes: pp. 252-257 Geography Shapes Life in Ancient China Geographic Features of China China’s geography with two rivers helped it develop as a civilization. Same longitude as the United States

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Ancient China

Chapter 8: Ancient China

Lesson One Notes: pp. 252-257

  1. Geography Shapes Life in Ancient China

    1. Geographic Features of China

      1. China’s geography with two rivers helped it develop as a civilization.

      2. Same longitude as the United States (same weather).

      3. China’s geography made it isolated from all other civilizations.

      4. Chang Jiang or Yangtze River is found in Central China.

      5. Huang He or Yellow River is found in Northern China.

      6. The Yellow River is called that because of the yellow silt that flows in it that make for great farm land.

      7. North China Plain lays between these two rivers (great farm land) and has always been the center of Chinese civilization.

      8. Crops grown in China – Rice (south), wheat and millet (north).

    1. The Shang Dynasty

      1. “China is the oldest continuous civilization in the world.”

      2. 1766 BC, Shang family kings started to control cities.

      3. Dynasty – rule by generations of one family.

      4. Kings ruled with the gods’ permission only.

      5. Controlled North China Plain and defended it against other other groups such as he Zhou (joh).

      6. Shang culture – respect for parents and ancestors (family tied to religion).

      7. They believed the spirits of your ancestors could bring the family good fortune.

      8. Men ruled the family.

      9. Kings felt that they could influence the gods.

      10. Oracle Bones – animal bones you would write questions on and then burned it, and Oracles (predictors of the future) would read the cracks. These oracle bones show some of the earliest form of Chinese writing.

      11. Early writing started with Pictographs –simple drawings or characters stand for words and ideas.

      12. Large number of characters (basic – 1500 characters, advanced – at least 10,000 characters). OUCH!

      13. You did not have to speak Chinese to read the language.

    1. The Zhou Dynasty

      1. Zhou were from the North and fought with the Shang often.

      2. 1027 BC, under their ruler Wu Wang, they defeated the Shang.

      3. Dynastic cycle – the pattern of rising and falling dynasties.

  1. Mandate of Heaven: gods approve of new king.

  2. Dynasty’s power grows weaker

  3. Disasters (flood, earthquake, famine, invaders) happen.

  4. People believe dynasty has lost the gods’ approval.

  5. Dynasty is overthrown.

  6. New dynasty restores peace and order.

      1. Mandate of Heaven – if the gods approved of the king or dynasty, then things would go well. If the gods disapproved of the king or dynasty, then things would go bad.

      2. People felt that if bad things happen, peasant uprising, invasions, floods or earthquakes, then the Mandate of Heaven would be taken away. That meant it was time for a new leader.

      3. Shang and Zhou dynasties did not have strong central governments.

      4. Kings put trusted friends or relatives in charge of things.

      5. Local rulers, lords, gave loyalty and military support to the king, and the king promised to help them protect their lands.

      6. The lords became more powerful, fought with each other and took over other lands (making China larger).

      7. Because of the warring lords and having a weak king, that time period was known at the Time of the Warring States (started about 403 BC).

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