RIVER VALLEY CIVILIZATIONS ANCIENT CHINA
Essential Question: What were the important characteristics of the civilization of China?
China began along the Yellow (Huang He) and Yangtze Rivers in the North China Plain; only 10% of China is suitable for farming The Yellow River flooding was unpredictable and was called “China’s Sorrow” because its floods often destroyed entire villages
China was protected and isolated from outsiders by deserts and the Himalayan Mountains
The Chinese referred to themselves as the “Middle Kingdom” and rarely traded with outsiders
LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS • Advanced Cities: • Like other river valley • civilizations, cities in China had • high walls for protection
LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS • Advanced Cities: • Chinese buildings were made • of wood rather than brick or • stone
LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS Unlike other river valley civilizations, the Chinese held peasants higher than artisans or merchants because they produced food (which they felt was more vital) Specialized Workers: • ?
LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS Government: Like Egypt, China was ruled by families called dynasties Rulers justified their power by claimingMandate ofHeaven (approval of the gods)
LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS Government: Kings could lose the Mandate of Heaven and be overthrown by a new king; this was called the “Dynastic Cycle”.
LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS Government: China was also ruled by the ethical system, Confucianism,based on the philosophy of the teacher, Confucius (born 551 BCE) Confucianism focused on filial piety (respect for elders)
LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS Government: Confucius taught social order through 5 key relationships:1) ruler-subject 2) father-son 3) husband-wife 4) brother-brother 5) friend-friend These ideas were written in The Analects
LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS Religion: Chinese believed in ancestor worship, that the spirits of family ancestors should be honored and consulted
LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS Writing: Like hieroglyphics, Chinese characters stood for sounds but the 10,000 characters madeit hard to learn to write
LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS Technology: • Cast iron tools and weapons • Standardized coins • The Grand Canal (man-made waterway) connected north and south China
The Great Wall of China was built to protect China from invasions by northern tribes
China and the Dynastic Cycle Government in China was based upon the dynastic cycle: One ruling family (a “dynasty”) gains the “mandate of heaven”, then rules until the dynasty grows weak and is over-thrown
As a result, eras in Chinese history are named after the ruling dynasties (such as Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han) During the Han Dynasty, China became a “classical civilization” marked by its advanced government, trade, and technology
Han kings built a powerful army and expanded into Asia to form China’s first empire Chinese emperors added thousands of government workers (called bureaucrats) to collect taxes, enforce laws, and oversee building projects
In order to gain one of the 130,000 government jobs, citizens had to pass a civil service exam Exams were based on Confucian teachings
Han China: The First Chinese Empire Chinese technology became advanced, especially silk and paper making. Paper made books cheaper and increased literacy in China
Han China: The First Chinese Empire The desire for Chinese luxury goods led to the Silk Road: trade routes that connected China with Indians, Persians, and Mediterraneans
Closure Activity: Identify 3 similarities and 3 differences among the Persian, Indian, and Chinese empires