Ancient China Bartos

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Ancient China: 

Ancient China What you need to know

I. Physical Geography: 

I. Physical Geography What physical features make up most of China? Mountains Rivers Plains Plateaus Deserts

A. China’s Mountains: 

A. China’s Mountains The highest mountains are in the west. Himalayas run along China’s southwestern border, dividing China from Nepal. The highest peak of the Himalayas (and in the world) is Mount Everest—29, 035 feet.


This is a view of Mount Everest as taken from the point of view of a climber.

A. Mountains, Cont.: 

A. Mountains, Cont. Plateau of Tibet Spreads across ¼ of China’s land Highest plateau on Earth Nicknamed “Roof of the World.”

B. China’s Great Rivers: 

B. China’s Great Rivers Three Great Rivers are located in China Huang He (hwahng huh) Chang Jian (chahng jyahng) Xi Jian (shee jyahng) They all start in the highlands and flow east.

B. China’s Great Rivers, cont.: 

B. China’s Great Rivers, cont. Xi Jiang is the southernmost. The Chang Jiang is north of Xi Jiang and winds across China. It is China’s longest river at over 3,400 miles.

3. Huang He River: 

3. Huang He River The Huang He is the most northern river in China. Nicknamed “Yellow River” because of the fine silt that covers the plains along parts of the river. The muddiest river in the world!

3. Huang He River, cont.: 

3. Huang He River, cont. It begins in the Plateau of Tibet. Runs east through the North China Plain, and often overflows. Also nicknamed “China’s Sorrow” because of the thousands of lives lost in its floods.

C. China’s Deserts: 

C. China’s Deserts There are two large deserts spread across China. 1.Taklimakan (Tah-kluh-muh-KAHN) Covers northwestern China It has an east-west length of about 600 miles One of the world’s largest sandy deserts In the spring it experiences dust storms with the strength of hurricanes, lifting the dust as high as 13,000 feet in the air!

C. China’s Deserts, cont.: 

C. China’s Deserts, cont. 2. The Gobi (GOH-bee) desert is in northern China. In Mongolian “Gobi” means waterless place. This desert’s dryness and temperatures are very harsh. Summer—113 F Winter -40 F It is approximately 1,423 miles from end to end.

II. Ancient China--Overview: 

II. Ancient China--Overview A. Foundations of Chinese Civilization The Chinese are known for many great inventions. Over the course of thousands of years, the Chinese have built the longest-lasting culture in the world. As early as 5,000 b.c., Chinese people lived in the fertile river valley of the Huang He. In the 1700’s b.c., their lives changed drastically when different groups of people invaded their land.

II. Ancient China—Overview, cont.: 

II. Ancient China—Overview, cont. 1. Shang First invaders to Huang He river valley @1700 b.c. Established China’s first permanent, organized civilization Took over rule for most of China’s history, and ruled by dynasties Definition—family of rulers Some reigns last 15, some 100 years Examples of dynasty names?

II. Ancient China—Overview, cont.: 

II. Ancient China—Overview, cont. 2. Mongol Rule A.D. 1200’s China’s greatest fear came true! Foreign invaders conquered China Mongols invaded China in 1211 Led by Genghis Khan and later his grandson, Kublai Khan 1279, Kublai Khan conquered China’s Song (sung) dynasty Founded the Yuan dynasty in its place Established China’s capital city at Ta-tu

II. Ancient China—Overview, cont.: 

II. Ancient China—Overview, cont. 3. The Ming Dynasty War broke out among the leaders of the Yuan dynasty Why do you think this happened? This weakened the dynasty to the point that another dynasty (Ming) was able to take over

3. The Ming Dynasty, cont.: 

3. The Ming Dynasty, cont. Ming founder, Zhu Yuanzhang (joo yoo-ahn-jang) was called the Hongwu emperor (which means “vast military power”), because of his strong military success. During battles, he won the Yunnan province from the Mongols This unified the region that is China today.

3. The Ming Dynasty, cont.: 

3. The Ming Dynasty, cont. Upon Hongwu’s death, one of his grandson’s took over rule. He is best known for rebuilding the Yuan capital and naming it Beijing. He had a huge palace constructed in the city which was known as the Forbidden City This was because only the emperor, his family, and select officials could enter it. Ming Dynasty ended in 1644 when the Manchu’s attacked and established China’s last dynasty, the Qing who ruled until A.D. 1911!

B. Religion and Philosophy: 

B. Religion and Philosophy Confucianism Founded during the Zhou Dynasty by a man named Kongfuzi Renamed “Confucius” by Europeans Teachings include: Importance of Moral Character Individuals taking responsibility for the state of their society Rulers should be like a “good father” and take care of and be kind to his people.

B. Religion and Philosophy, cont.: 

B. Religion and Philosophy, cont. The Impact of Confucianism 1211 B.C., Confucianism was established as China’s official philosophy. This guided the Chinese bureaucracy Define—administering government through departments, called bureaus. Staffed officials of these departments are called “bureaucrats.” Bureaucracy was called Civil Service, and gave the government capable officials, helping stabilize their culture.

B. Religion and Philosophy, cont.: 

B. Religion and Philosophy, cont. 3. Taoism (DOW-ism) Philosophy developed in 500 B.C. by Lao Tzu Wrote the main Taoist book called Taote Ching. Main ideas are: There is a force that guides the universe, though it is not seen or named. Force is called “Tao” (means way of nature) Believes that the greatest achievement a person can make is to find harmony with the “Tao,” or nature.

B. Religion and Philosophy, cont.: 

B. Religion and Philosophy, cont. 4. Buddhism in China Buddhism came to China around A.D. 200. It was brought to China by traders from India and other areas of Asia. Many of its teachings focus on how to escape suffering. It did not replace Confucianism or Taoism, rather the Chinese belief system incorporated pieces of all three philosophies.

C. Achievements of the Dynasties: 

C. Achievements of the Dynasties There were many inventions created by the Chinese, which helped them in every day life, and eventually spread to Europe through trade. Examples: silk cloth, writing system, compass, paper, and porcelain. A few of these held more importance than others for how it affected China’s people, culture, and economy.

C. Achievements, cont.: 

C. Achievements, cont. Silk Kept manufacturing process a secret for centuries. Why? Because if no one else knew, China earned all the profits from selling the precious cloth. Silk was carried for thousands of miles to be traded in Southwest Asia and as far as Europe. The trade route for silk became known as The Silk Road.

C. Achievements, cont.: 

C. Achievements, cont. The Silk Road First records of travel and trade on the Silk Road date to around 114 B.C. The route was as long as 4,000 miles! Goods other than silk were also traded: porcelain, tea, incense, spices, etc. Many natural hazards along the way Extreme heat, no water, sandstorms, blizzards, altitude sickness, etc. Crime was also an issue. Why was the Silk Road eventually not used anymore?

C. Achievements, cont.: 

C. Achievements, cont. 3. Porcelain Is what is now often referred to as “the Good China.” It is a delicate, fine type of ceramic made from clay called kaolin. When fired it changes into a hard, glassy substance. The method for making porcelain was also kept a secret for many centuries.

C. Achievements, cont.: 

C. Achievements, cont. 4. Writing Chinese culture developed a written language during the Shang dynasty. At first, it used pictures for words (like cuneiform). Later it was reformed to shapes, called characters, which don’t look exactly like what they represent. There are over 50,000 characters!

C. Achievements, cont.: 

C. Achievements, cont. The Great Builders Built large construction projects—the most famous would be the Great Wall. Many emperors ordered that canals be built. Most important canal was the Grand Canal because it allowed grain from fertile areas to be carried more easily to the cities. The canals extend for over 1,000 miles, connecting the city of Beijing in the north to Hangzhou in the south.

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