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Chinese history has alternated between periods of political unity and peace, and periods of war and failed statehood. China was occasionally dominated by steppe peoples, most of whom were eventually assimilated into the Han Chinese culture and population. Between eras of multiple kingdoms and warlordism, Chinese dynasties have ruled parts or all of China; in some eras control stretched as far as Xinjiang and Tibet, as at present. Traditional culture, and influences from other parts of Asia and the Western world (carried by waves of immigration, cultural assimilation, expansion, and foreign contact), form the basis of the modern culture of China.
The Mandate of Heaven is a Chinese political and religious teaching that was used in ancient and imperial China to justify the rule of the King or Emperor of China. According to this belief, Heaven (天, Tian) embodies the natural order and the will of the just ruler of China, the "Son of Heaven" of the "Celestial Empire". If a ruler was overthrown, this was interpreted as an indication that the ruler was unworthy, and had lost the mandate.
It was also a common belief that natural disasters such as famine and flood were divine retributions bearing signs of Heaven's displeasure with the ruler, so there would often be revolts following major disasters as the people saw these calamities as signs that the Mandate of Heaven had been withdrawn.
The Mandate of Heaven does not require a legitimate ruler to be of noble birth but how well that person can rule, depending on the just and able performance of the rulers and their heirs. Chinese dynasties such as the Han and Ming were founded by men of common origins, but they were seen as having succeeded because they had gained the Mandate of Heaven.
The concept of the Mandate of Heaven was first used to support the rule of the kings of the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC), and legitimize their overthrow of the earlier Shang dynasty (1600–1069 BC).

Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 2.24 million and 250.000 years ago. The hominid fossils of Peking Man, a Homo erectus who used fire, were discovered in a cave at Zhoukoudian near Beijing; they have been dated to between 680.000 and 780.000 years ago.
The earliest evidence of cultivated rice, found by the Yangtze River, is carbon-dated to 8.000 years ago. With agriculture came increased population, the ability to store and redistribute crops, and the potential to support specialist craftsmen and administrators.
In late Neolithic times, the Yellow River valley began to establish itself as a center of Yangshao culture (5000 BC to 3000 BC), and the first villages were founded; the most archaeologically significant of these was found at Banpo, Xi'an.
Later, Yangshao culture was superseded by the Longshan culture, which was also centered on the Yellow River from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC.

Xia dynasty (2070 – 1600 BC)
The Xia dynasty of China is the first dynasty to be described in ancient historical records such as Sima Qian's "Records of the Grand Historian" and "Bamboo Annals". The dynasty was considered mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959.
According to ancient records, the dynasty ended around 1600 BC as a consequence of the Battle of Mingtiao.

Shang dynasty (1600 – 1046 BC)
A series of thirty-one kings reigned over the Shang dynasty. During their reign, according to the "Records of the Grand Historian", the capital city was moved six times.
The final (and most important) move was to Yin, in modern-day Henan, in around 1300 BC which led to the dynasty's golden age.
The findings at Yin include the earliest written record of the Chinese so far discovered: inscriptions of divination records in ancient Chinese writing on the bones or shells of animals—the "oracle bones", dating from around 1250 BC.

Zhou dynasty (1046 – 256 BC)
The Zhou dynasty is the longest-lasting dynasty in Chinese history. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the Zhou dynasty began to emerge in the Yellow River valley, overrunning the territory of the Shang.
The Zhou lived west of the Shang, and the Zhou leader was appointed Western Protector by the Shang. The ruler of the Zhou, King Wu, with the assistance of his brother, the Duke of Zhou, as regent, managed to defeat the Shang at the Battle of Muye.
The Zhou initially moved their capital west to an area near modern Xi'an, on the Wei River, a tributary of the Yellow River, but they would preside over a series of expansions into the Yangtze River valley. This would be the first of many population migrations from north to south in Chinese history.

Spring and Autumn period (722 – 476 BC)
The Spring and Autumn period is marked by a falling apart of the central Zhou power.
In each of the hundreds of states that eventually arose, local strongmen held most of the political power and continued their subservience to the Zhou kings in name only. Some local leaders even started using royal titles for themselves. China now consisted of hundreds of states, some of them only as large as a village with a fort.

Warring States period (476 – 221 BC)
After further political consolidation, seven prominent states remained by the end of the 5th century BC, and the years in which these few states battled each other are known as the Warring States period.
Though there remained a nominal Zhou king until 256 BC, he was largely a figurehead and held little real power.
Qin Shi Huang was the founder of the Qin dynasty after he had conquered all of the other Warring States and unified all of China in
221 BC.

Qin dynasty (221 – 206 BC)
Though the unified reign of the First Qin Emperor lasted only 12 years, he managed to subdue great parts of what constitutes the core of the Han Chinese homeland and to unite them under a tightly centralized Legalist government seated at Xianyang.
Major contributions of the Qin include the concept of a centralized government, and the unification and development of the legal code, the written language, measurement, and currency of China.
Also as part of its centralization, the Qin connected the northern border walls of the states it defeated, making the first Great Wall of China.

Chu–Han Contention (206 – 202 BC)
Following the collapse of the Qin dynasty in 206 BC, Xiang Yu split the former Qin Empire into the Eighteen Kingdoms.
Civil wars soon broke out in a struggle for supremacy, with two major contending powers emerging, namely the Kingdom of Western Chu led by Xiang Yu, and the Kingdom of Han led by Liu Bang.
Several minor kings also warred, but these were largely insignificant compared to the main conflict between Western Chu and Han. The war ended in 202 BC with total victory for Han at the Battle of Gaixia, with Liu Bang soon crowning himself as the first emperor of the Han dynasty.

Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD)
The Han dynasty was briefly interrupted by the Xin dynasty (9–23 AD) established by the usurping regent Wang Mang, and was separated into two periods — the Western Han (202 BC–9 AD) and the Eastern Han (25–220 AD)
Spanning over four centuries, the Han dynasty is considered a "golden age" in Chinese history, and influenced the identity of the Chinese civilization ever since.
Confucianism was officially elevated to orthodox status and was to shape the subsequent Chinese civilization.
Science and technology during the Han period saw significant advances, including the process of papermaking, the nautical steering ship rudder, the use of negative numbers in mathematics, the raised-relief map, the hydraulic-powered armillary sphere for astronomy, and a seismometer employing an inverted pendulum that could be used to discern the cardinal direction of distant earthquakes.

Three Kingdoms (220 – 280 AD)
By the 2nd century, the empire declined amidst land acquisitions, invasions, and feuding between consort clans and eunuchs. The Yellow Turban Rebellion broke out in AD 184, ushering in an era of warlords.
After Cao Cao reunified the north in 208, his son proclaimed the Wei dynasty in 220. Soon, Wei's rivals Shu and Wu proclaimed their independence, leading China into the Three Kingdoms period.
This period was characterized by a gradual decentralization of the state that had existed during the Qin and Han dynasties, and an increase in the power of great families.

Jin dynasty (266 – 420 AD)
There are two main divisions in the history of the dynasty.
The Western Jin (266–316) was established as a successor state to Cao Wei (Former Wei) after Sima Yan usurped the throne and had its capital at Luoyang and later Chang'an (modern Xi'an).
Western Jin reunited China in 280 but fairly shortly thereafter fell into a succession crisis, the War of the Eight Princes, and suffered from the invasions instigated by the Five Barbarians, who began to establish various new self-proclaimed states along the Yellow River valley in 304 and successfully occupied northern China after the Disaster of Yongjia in 311. These states then immediately began fighting each other, inaugurating the chaotic and bloody Sixteen Kingdoms era.
After the fall of Chang'an in 316, the Western Jin dynasty collapsed, forcing survivors of the Jin monarch under Sima Rui to flee south of the Yangtze River to Jiankang (modern Nanjing) and establish the Eastern Jin (317–420).
The Eastern Jin dynasty, though under constant threats from the north, remained relatively stable for the next century

Northern and Southern dynasties (420 – 589 AD)
The Northern Wei, was a dynasty founded by the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei, which ruled northern China from 386 to 534 AD. Described as "part of an era of political turbulence and intense social and cultural change", the Northern Wei Dynasty is particularly noted for unifying northern China in 439: this was also a period of introduced foreign ideas, such as Buddhism, which became firmly established.
Followed the disintegration of the Northern Wei in 534 AD, the empire was spli into Eastern Wei ruled from 534 to 550 and the Western Wei from 535 to 557 AD. Eventually, Gao Yang forced the Eastern Wei emperor to abdicate in favor of his claim to the throne, establishing the Northern Qi dynasty (551–577). Afterwards, Yuwen Jue seized the throne of power from Western Wei, establishing the Northern Zhou dynasty (557–580). The Northern Zhou dynasty was able to defeat and conquer Northern Qi in 577, reunifying the north.
The East Jin were succeeded by a series of short-lived dynasties: Liu Song (420–479), Southern Qi (479–502), Liang (502–557) and Chen (557–589). The rulers of these short-lived dynasties were generals who seized and then held power for several decades but were unable to securely pass power of rule onto their heirs to continue their dynasty successfully.

Sui dynasty (581 – 618 AD)
The short-lived Sui dynasty was a pivotal period in Chinese history.
Founded by Emperor Wen in 581 in succession of the Northern Zhou, the Sui went on to conquer the Southern Chen in 589 to reunify China, ending three centuries of political division. The Sui pioneered many new institutions, including the government system of Three Departments and Six Ministries, imperial examinations for selecting officials from commoners, while improved on the systems of fubing system of the army conscription and the Equal-field system of land distributions.
These policies, which were adopted by later dynasties, brought enormous population growth, and amassed excessive wealth to the state.
The Great Wall was also expanded, while series of military conquests and diplomatic maneuvers further pacified its borders. However, the massive invasions of the Korean Peninsula during the Goguryeo–Sui War failed disastrously, triggering widespread revolts that led to the fall of the dynasty.

Tang dynasty (618 – 907 AD)
The Tang dynasty was founded by Emperor Gaozu on 18 June 618.
It was a golden age of Chinese civilization and considered to be the most prosperous period of China with significant developments in culture, art, literature, particularly poetry, and technology. Buddhism became the predominant religion for the common people.
Chang'an (modern Xi'an), the national capital, was the largest city in the world during its time.

Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907 – 960 AD)
During this half-century, China was in all respects a multi-state system.
Five regimes, namely, Later Liang, Later Tang, Later Jin, Later Han and Later Zhou, rapidly succeeded one another in control of the traditional Imperial heartland in northern China.
More stable and smaller regimes of mostly ethnic Han rulers coexisted in south and western China over the period, cumulatively constituted the "Ten Kingdoms".
The era ended with the coup of Later Zhou general Zhao Kuangyin, and the establishment of the Song dynasty in 960, which eventually annihilated the remains of the "Ten Kingdoms" and reunified China.

Song, Liao, Jin, and Western Xia dynasties (960 – 1279 AD)
The Song dynasty is divided into two distinct periods: Northern Song and Southern Song.
During the Northern Song (960–1127), the Song capital was in the northern city of Bianjing (now Kaifeng) and the dynasty controlled most of what is now Eastern China. The Southern Song (1127–1279) refers to the period after the Song lost control of its northern half to the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty in the Jin–Song Wars. During this time, the Song court retreated south of the Yangtze and established its capital at Lin'an (now Hangzhou).
The Liao dynasty was an empire that ruled from 916 to 1125 over present-day Northern and Northeast China, Mongolia and portions of the Russian Far East and North Korea.
The Jin dynasty, officially known as the Great Jin, lasted from 1115 to 1234. The Jin emerged from Taizu's rebellion against the Liao dynasty, which held sway over northern China until the nascent Jin drove the Liao to the Western Regions, where they became known as the Western Liao.
After vanquishing the Liao, the Jurchen Jin launched a century-long campaign against the Chinese Song dynasty, which was based in southern China.
Meanwhile, in what are now the north-western Chinese provinces of Gansu, Shaanxi, and Ningxia, the Tangut tribes founded the Western Xia dynasty from 1032 to 1227.

Yuan dynasty (1271 – 1368)
The Yuan dynasty was formally proclaimed in 1271, when the Great Khan of Mongol, Kublai Khan, one of the grandsons of Genghis Khan, assumed the additional title of Emperor of China, and considered his inherited part of the Mongol Empire as a Chinese dynasty.
The capital of Yuan dynasty was established at Khanbaliq (modern-day Beijing). The Grand Canal was reconstructed to connect the remote capital city to economic hubs in southern part of China, setting the precedence and foundation where Beijing would largely remain as the capital of the successive regimes that unified China mainland.
Throughout the Yuan dynasty, there was some general sentiment among the populace against the Mongol dominance. Yet rather than the nationalist cause, it was mainly strings of natural disasters and incompetent governance that triggered widespread peasant uprisings since the 1340s.

Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644)
The Ming dynasty was founded by Zhu Yuanzhang in 1368, who proclaimed himself as the Hongwu Emperor.
The dynasty had a strong and complex central government that unified and controlled the empire. The emperor's role became more autocratic, although Hongwu Emperor necessarily continued to use what he called the "Grand Secretariat" to assist with the immense paperwork of the bureaucracy, including memorials (petitions and recommendations to the throne), imperial edicts in reply, reports of various kinds, and tax records.
It was this same bureaucracy that later prevented the Ming government from being able to adapt to changes in society, and eventually led to its decline.

Qing dynasty (AD 1644 – 1912)
The Manchus were formerly known as Jurchens, residing in the northeastern part of the Ming territory outside the Great Wall. They emerged as the major threat to the late Ming dynasty after Nurhaci united all Jurchen tribes and declared the founding of the Qing dynasty in 1636. The Manchus allied with the Ming general Wu Sangui conquered the capital Beijing in 1644.
The dynasty reached its high point in the late 18th century, then gradually declined in the face of challenges from abroad, internal revolts, population growth, disruption of the economy, corruption, and the reluctance of ruling elites to change their mindsets.
The 1911 Revolution consisted of many revolts and uprisings. The turning point was the Wuchang uprising on 10 October 1911, which was the result of the mishandling of the Railway Protection Movement. The revolution ended with the abdication of the six-year-old Last Emperor, Puyi, on 12 February 1912.

Republic of China (since 1912)
The provisional government of the Republic of China was formed in Nanking on 12 March 1912. Sun Yat-sen became President of the Republic of China, but he turned power over to Yuan Shikai, who commanded the New Army. Over the next few years, Yuan proceeded to abolish the national and provincial assemblies and declared himself as the emperor of Empire of China in late 1915.
Yuan's imperial ambitions were fiercely opposed by his subordinates; faced with the prospect of rebellion, he abdicated in March 1916 and died of natural causes in June.
Yuan's death in 1916 left a power vacuum; the republican government was all but shattered. This opened the way for the Warlord Era, during which much of China was ruled by shifting coalitions of competing provincial military leaders.
In 1928, the Republic was nominally unified under the Kuomintang (KMT; also called "Chinese Nationalist Party") after the Northern Expedition, and was in the early stages of industrialization and modernization when it was caught in the conflicts involving the Kuomintang government, the Communist Party of China (founded in 1921), local warlords, and the Empire of Japan.
Most nation-building efforts were stopped during the full-scale Second Sino-Japanese War against Japan from 1937 to 1945, and later the widening gap between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party made a coalition government impossible, causing the resumption of the Chinese Civil War, in 1946, shortly after the Japanese surrender to the Allied Powers in September 1945.
A series of political, economic and military missteps led to the KMT's defeat and its retreat to Taiwan (formerly "Formosa") in 1949, where it established an authoritarian one-party state continuing under Generalissimo/President Chiang Kai-shek.

People's Republic of China (since 1949)
Following the Chinese Civil War and victory of Mao Zedong's Communist forces over the Kuomintang forces, Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on 1 October 1949.
The PRC was shaped by a series of campaigns and five-year plans. The economic and social plan known as the Great Leap Forward caused an estimated 45 million deaths.
In 1966 Mao and his allies launched the Cultural Revolution, which continued until Mao's death a decade later. The Cultural Revolution, motivated by power struggles within the Party and a fear of the Soviet Union, led to a major upheaval in Chinese society.
A power struggle followed Mao's death in 1976. The Gang of Four were arrested and blamed for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, marking the end of a turbulent political era in China.
Deng Xiaoping was the Paramount Leader of China from 1978 to 1992, although he never became the head of the party or state, and his influence within the Party led the country to significant economic reforms.

I did visit China in september 1993

These are the places I have seen on that trip

Khunjerab Pass

Please let me know when you're having questions.
i would be pleased to help you.

Things to do and other tips

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This illustrate's my memories of China:

Trying to get something to eat in a chinese restaurant

See my Things to do See my "Things to do" pages for more pictures.

When i'am visiting a country i like to be prepared;
So i know something about the Country and i can plan the things to visit.
That's why i 'm reading books;looking at travel maps etc.
See my "Things to read" pages for Books/Maps about