Timeline of Chinese history

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History of China
History of China
3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors
Xia Dynasty 2100–1600 BCE
Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE
Zhou Dynasty 1045–256 BCE
  Western Zhou
  Eastern Zhou
    Spring and Autumn Period
    Warring States Period
Qin Dynasty 221 BCE–206 BCE
Han Dynasty 206 BCE–220 CE
  Western Han
  Xin Dynasty
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu & Wu
Jin Dynasty 265–420
  Western Jin 16 Kingdoms 304–439
  Eastern Jin
Southern & Northern Dynasties 420–589
Sui Dynasty 581–618
Tang Dynasty 618–907
  ( Second Zhou 690–705 )
5 Dynasties &
10 Kingdoms

Liao Dynasty
Song Dynasty
  Northern Song W. Xia
  Southern Song Jin
Yuan Dynasty 1271–1368
Ming Dynasty 1368–1644
Qing Dynasty 1644–1911
Republic of China 1912–1949
People's Republic
of China
(Mainland China) 1949–present
Republic of China (Taiwan)

The following is a timeline of the history of China. Between the changing of the dynasties, most dates overlap as ruling periods do not transfer immediately. Dates prior to 841 BC (beginning of the Gonghe regency) are provisional and subject to dispute.


[edit] Pre-Historic China

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
400,000 BC Peking Man of Zhoukoudian (est.)
7600 BC Zhenpiyan Culture Archaeological evidence on domestication of pig for the first time.[1]
7500 BC Pengtoushan Culture Analysis of Chinese rice residues show that rice had been domesticated by this time.
7000 BC Peiligang Culture
6600 BC Jiahu Script: still under debate whether this can be considered as a form of writing
6000 BC Cishan Culture Archaeological evidence on domestication of dog and chicken for the first time.[1]
5000 BC Baijia Culture Archaeological evidence on domestication of ox and sheep for the first time.[1]
4500 BC Approximate end of Hemudu culture.
4000 BC Banpo Script; scholars still debate if it is actual writing or not.
3630 BC Approximate date of the oldest discovered silk in China, found by archaeologists in what is now Henan province in what was the late Yangshao period.
3000 BC Longshan Culture During the Longshan Neolithic period, the buffalo are domesticated for the first time in China, and the plow may have been used.
2570 BC Approximate date for the silk and other items found at the Liangzhu culture site at Qianshanyang in Wuxing District, Zhejiang; silk items found there included a braided silk belt, silk threads, and woven silk.

[edit] Ancient China

[edit] Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors

Date Ruler Events Other people/events
2852 BC Fuxi This period is part of the Chinese mythology
2737 BC Yan Emperor
2697 BC Yellow Emperor The Battle of Banquan, the first battle in Chinese history and the Battle of Zhuolu, the second battle in Chinese history, fought by the Yellow Emperor.
2650 BC Legend of Cangjie, inventor of the Chinese Character
2597 BC Shaohao
2514 BC Zhuanxu
2436 BC Emperor Ku
2366 BC Emperor Zhi
2358 BC Yao Yao ordered Gun, father of Xia Yu, to tame the flooding of the rivers.
2255 BC Shun Gun failed in taming the flooding of the river, therefore Shun executed him and let his son Xia Yu continue his father's work.
2205 BC The End of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors

[edit] Xia Dynasty

Date Ruler Events Other people/events
2194 BC Yu Bronze Age in China
2146 BC Qi
2117 BC Tai Kang
2100 BC Erlitou Culture
1600 BC

[edit] Shang Dynasty

Date Ruler Events Other people/events
1723 BC
1400 BC Erligang Culture
1398 BC Pan Geng Around this time, the capital is moved from Zhengzhou to Yinxu.
1250 BC Wu Ding
1200 BC Oracle Bone Script, providing the first evidence for the Chinese calendar system. Around this time, the militant consort Fu Hao is buried in her tomb at Yinxu.
1122 BC The Zhou Dynasty is founded on the periphery of the Shang realm.
1101 Di Yi
1075 BC King Zhou of Shang
1050 BC King Wen of Zhou dies, making this the alleged latest date for the creation of the mathematical King Wen sequence.
1047 BC King Zhou of Shang takes Daji as his concubine.
1046 Battle of Muye; last Shang ruler allegedly dies while his palace burns to the ground.

[edit] Western Zhou Dynasty

Date Ruler Events Other people/events
1034 BC Wu Bronzeware script in greater use.
1042 BC Cheng
1027 BC
1020 BC Kang
1000 BC Earliest possible date for the compilation of the Shi Jing (Book of Songs)
995 BC Zhao
976 BC Mu During the 12th year of King Mu's reign, Zhou forces attacked and defeated some branches of the Rong people, allowing for territorial expansion of Zhou. King Mu's critics, including the Duke of Zhai (as recorded in a later 4th century BC discourse of the Mu Tian zizhuan), stated that Mu's expeditions to displace the Rong people were unjustified, as they kept to their own lands and hence abided by their station in the cosmological-political order with China at the center.
922 BC Gong
899 BC Yi (Ji Jian)
891 BC Xiao
885 BC Yi (Ji Xie) When the nomadic Rong people of Taiyuan staged an attack on the Zhou capital at Haojing, King Yi called upon the aid of his nobles, a significant event which demarcated the beginning of the Zhou monarchs' dependence on their regional nobles to defend the kingdom. Under the command of Guo Gong, the Zhou were able to defeat the Rong people in a significant battle circa 854 BC, reportedly capturing about a thousand horses.
877 BC Li During Li's reign, the Western Rong people launched an invasion deep into Chinese territory before being pushed out.
841 BC Gonghe Regency First year of concise, consecutive court dating at the beginning of the regency of Gonghe.
827 BC Xuan
781 BC You
771 BC After King You had replaced Queen Shen with a favored concubine Baosi, the queen's father, the Marquis of Shen, allied with the Quanrong nomadic tribe to sack the capital. Queen Shen's son Ji Yijiu was then put on the throne, initiating the Eastern Zhou era.

[edit] Eastern Zhou Dynasty

Date Ruler Events Other people/events
770 BC Ping
722 BC Spring and Autumn Period begins, the State of Lu begins the chronicle of the Spring and Autumn Annals. Capital moved from Xi'an to Luoyang.
720 BC Huan
707 BC King Huan of Zhou led a campaign against Duke Zhuang of Zheng after the latter refused to appear in the capital, angered that Huan had dismissed him from his old post as Left Advisor at court. King Huan was allegedly shamed when he was injured in the shoulder by an arrow in an ensuing battle. Duke Zhuang continued to rule Zheng until his death in 701 BC.
697 BC Zhuang
685 BC The Duke Huan of Qi began rule over the State of Qi in this year, and was the first of the Five Hegemons who assumed great autonomy from the Zhou Dynasty monarch, the latter whom became more or less a figurehead during the Eastern Zhou.
682 BC Xi
677 BC Hui
651 BC Xiang
645 BC Death of Guan Zhong, the chancellor of Qi who was appointed by Duke Huan as recommended by Bao Shuya. Guan initiated centralizing administrative and economic reforms that, for a time, made Qi the most successful and developed state in ancient China.
632 BC Battle of Chengpu
618 BC Qing
612 BC Kuang
606 BC Ding Sunshu Ao, China's first known hydraulic engineer.
595 BC Battle of Bi
585 BC Jian
575 BC Battle of Yanling
571 BC Ling
551 BC Lao Zi, Confucius
548 BC Oldest known reference to the weiqi or go board game.
544 BC Jing (Jia Gui) Four occupation (est.)
543 BC Guided by the aristocratic statesman Zi Chan, the State of Zheng creates a formal code of law.
520 BC Jing (Ji Gai)
515 BC King Liao of Wu is assassinated by Zhuan Zhu, allowing King Helü of Wu to ascend to the throne.
506 BC Battle of Boju
500 BC Approximate date for the invention of cast iron in China and the earliest possible date for the invention of the iron plough, which by the 3rd century BC, with better casting techniques, would become the heavy moldboard iron plough. Approximate date for the first use of bronze knife money.
486 BC King Fuchai of Wu has the 'Han Gou' built, a proto-section of the Grand Canal of China
484 BC Death of Wu Zixu, an official of Wu and advisor to King Helü.
482 BC King Goujian of Yue captures the Wu state capital in a surprise assault while King Fuchai was away at Huangchi.
481 BC End of Spring and Autumn Period
475 BC Yuan
473 BC The State of Wu is annexed by the State of Yue.
470 BC Birth of Mozi
468 BC Zhending
465 BC Death of King Goujian of Yue; his sword was later found in an archaeological site in Hubei in the 1960s.
441 BC Ai & Si
440 BC Kao
432 BC Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng
425 BC Weilie
403 BC The State of Jin is partitioned, marking the beginning of the Warring States. Meanwhile, the Marquis Wen of Wei ascends to power, sponsoring Confucianism in Wei, and employing able advisors such as the Legalist Li Kui, the militant officer Wu Qi, and the hydraulic engineer Ximen Bao.
401 BC An
400 BC Astronomers Gan De and Shi Shen
Star catalogue compilation (est.)
Earliest date for the creation of the earliest known maps made in China, from the State of Qin.
389 Latest possible date for the Zuo Zhuan historical text.
386 The city of Handan is founded, serving as the capital for Zhao.
381 BC Wu Qi assassinated at the funeral of King Diao of Chu; his book, the Wuzi, is considered one of the Seven Military Classics.
375 BC Lie The State of Zheng is annexed by Han.
370 BC Philosopher Zhuangzi is born around this time.
368 BC Xian
354 BC Battle of Guiling
350 BC Earliest proposed date for the Guodian Chu Slips, containing the oldest known version of the Tao Te Ching, parts of the Classic of History, and a chapter from the Classic of Rites
342 BC Battle of Maling Crossbow used in China.
320 BC Shenjing
319 BC Philosopher Mencius becomes an official in the State of Qi
316 BC Death of Sun Bin
314 BC Nan
310 BC Birth of Xunzi
307 BC Imitating the northern nomadic armies, King Wuling of Zhao reforms the Zhao state's military by adopting formal cavalry ranks over charioteers and importing the trouser-pants style of the nomads for soldiers.
305 BC Birth of Zou Yan, whose school of thought would for the first time systematically combine the two premodern theories of Yin and yang and the Five Elements.
300 BC Erya, China's oldest known dictionary
293 BC Battle of Yique
278 BC The poem "Lament for Ying" is written by Qu Yuan after discovering that the capital of Chu had been captured by Qin.
260 BC Battle of Changping
256 BC Last king of Zhou dies, marking the end of the dynasty. Dujiangyan Irrigation System
250 BC Repeating crossbow featured in drawings from the records of Chu.
246 BC The Zhengguo Canal is completed by Zheng Guo of Qin.

[edit] Imperial China

[edit] Qin Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
361 BC Xiao
356 BC Shang Yang initiates a reform movement in the Qin state, which is outlined in the Book of Lord Shang.
338 BC Huiwen Shang Yang is executed.
316 BC Shu and Ba are conquered by Qin
311 BC King Wu
306 BC Zhaoxiang
293 BC Battle of Yique
255 BC Seven Warring States
250 BC Xiaowen
249 BC Zhuangxiang
246 BC Ying Zheng Ying Zheng becomes King of Qin
230 BC Han is conquered by Qin
227 BC Jing Ke fails to assassinate the King of Qin.
223 BC Chu is conquered by Qin
222 BC Yan and Zhao are conquered by Qin.
221 BC Qin Shihuang
(First Emperor)
Qin state emerges victorious, as the warring states of China are unified under a single empire with a powerful central government. Imperial Seal of China
220 BC Great Wall construction begins Li Si standardizes the writing system with Small Seal Script characters.
214 BC The Lingqu Canal is engineered by Shi Lu, and is the oldest contour canal (i.e. follows a contour line) in the world
213 BC Start of the Book Burning policy
210 BC Burial of the Terracotta Army, featuring over 8,000 terracotta statues and the earliest known umbrellas in China.
209 BC Qin Er Shi Chieftain Modu Shanyu establishes the Xiongnu Empire on the northern steppe. Low-ranking officers Chen Sheng and Wu Guang rebel against Qin after fear of execution for delay of arriving at a post with newly-drafted conscripts; their small revolt initiates a gradual but massive and uncoordinated revolt on several fronts against Qin authority.
208 BC Chief eunuch Zhao Gao has the Chancellor Li Si executed, destabilizing Qin as the rebellions of Xiang Yu and others become widespread. Qin General Zhang Han defeats Chen Sheng and Wu Guang.
207 BC Ziying Xiang Yu forces the surrender of Qin general Zhang Han, but Liu Bang captures Hanzhong, the heart of Qin. Qin leader Ziying executes his chief eunuch Zhao Gao and formally submits to Liu Bang Nanyue is established in Vietnam by Qin general Zhao Tuo.
206 BC In the first month of 206 BC, after Liu Bang occupied the Qin capital of Xianyang, his rival Xiang Yu arrives at the city and allegedly plunders and burns it to the ground, killing Ziying and the remnants of the Qin royal family. Although Ziying had already submitted to Liu Bang in the last month of 207 BC, this event is viewed by historians as the final event of the Qin Dynasty.

[edit] Western Han Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
206 BC Chu-Han contention begins, a civil war between the forces of Liu Bang and Xiang Yu after the fall of Qin that lasts until 202 BC Feast at Hong Gate
205 BC Battle of Jingxing
202 BC Gaozu Battle of Gaixia
200 BC Battle of Baideng Sometime in the 2nd century BC, the multi-tube seed drill is invented and increases agricultural yields as seeds are carefully planted in rows instead of being cast out onto the crop field.
193 BC Death of Xiao He, the Prime Minister of Han
195 BC
190 BC Hui Chang'an becomes the eastern terminus of the Silk Road connecting to Europe
189 BC Death of Zhang Liang, a former marquis of the State of Han and key advisor to Liu Bang who helped found the Han Dynasty.
180 BC Wen Rule of Wen and Jing Lü Clan Disturbance
168 BC Mawangdui Silk Texts are interred at the tombs of Mawangdui, containing some of the oldest known textual versions of the Book of Changes.
157 BC Jing
141 BC Wu
140 BC Persuaded by Dong Zhongshu's essay in a literary competition, Emperor Wu, or his Prime Minister Wei Wan, adopts Confucianism at court.
139 BC Under the patronage of Prince Liu An, the scholars known as the Eight Immortals of Huainan publish the Huainanzi, a philosophical text that also covered subjects of military strategy as well as geography and cartography.
133 BC Sino-Xiongnu War Battle of Mayi
130 BC Sino-Roman relations
125 BC Zhang Qian returns to China to report on his travels and the kingdoms of Dayuan (Fergana), Kangju (Sogdiana), Daxia (Greco-Bactrian Kingdom), Shendu (Indo-Greek Kingdom), Anxi (Parthia), and Taozhi (Mesopotamia).
119 BC Battle of Mobei
108 BC Battle of Loulan Wiman Joseon in Korea falls to Han forces.
102 BC Emperor Wu's forces besiege Kokand in the Fergana Valley
100 BC Steel in China.
94 BC Zhao
91 BC Sima Qian completes the Records of the Grand Historian, a groundbreaking work in Chinese historiography.
86 BC Death of Jin Midi, an official of Xiongnu ethnicity who became a regent of the Han Dynasty during the early reign of Zhao.
74 BC Xuan
67 BC Battle of Jushi
60 BC Protectorate of the Western Regions is established.
48 BC Yuan Consort Ban, a famous female poet, is born around this time.
40 BC The Ji Jiu Pian dictionary records China's first known use of the treadle-operated tilt hammer, while the later book Xinlun by Huan Tan (d. 28 AD) described the first hydrualic-powered trip hammer which would have been operated by a waterwheel.
37 BC Death of Jing Fang, who was the first in music theory to note that 53 just fifths approximates 31 octaves. Like the later Zhang Heng, he was also a proponent of the 'radiating influence' theory, which stated that the light of the moon was merely the reflected light of the sun.
36 BC Battle of Zhizhi
30 BC First mention of the wheelbarrow in history.
18 BC Lienü zhuan, a book about exemplary women in Chinese history, is compiled by the scholar Liu Xiang.
32 BC Cheng
6 BC Ai
1 BC Ping
1 AD Sometime from this year until the end of the century, the earliest representation of a stern-mounted rudder for steering ships is made in China, on a tomb model of a sailing junk.
2 Han government census counts 59 million people in the empire.
3 Emperor Ping establishes a nationwide school system on the central, prefectural, and county levels.
6 Ruzi
8 Liu Xin completes his star catalogue of 1080 stars, as well as fixing the year at 365.25016 days long (11 minutes longer than the modern year) by calculating the synodic month to be 29 43/81 days long, with a total of 235 synodic months adding up to 19 years. He is also the first Chinese to attempt a more accurate calculation of pi at 3.154, as the Chinese before him simply approximated it to 3. Zhang Heng and Liu Hui would later improve upon Liu's calculation in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, respectively.

[edit] Xin Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
9 Wang Mang Ruzi Ying is dethroned; Wang Mang initiates the short-lived Xin Dynasty Wang Mang introduces the well-field system of land distribution and agricultural production.
10 Wang Mang introduces an income tax of 10% for professionals and skilled laborers. Wang Mang outlaws the private use of crossbows. Despite this, Liu Xiu (the later Emperor Guangwu of Han) purchases them on the black market to aid the rebellion of his brother Liu Yan and rebel leader Li Tong in early winter of 22.
12 With pressure from aristocrats, Wang is forced to rescind the well-field system.
17 Wang Mang imposes government monopolies on liquor, salt, iron, coinage, forestry, and fishing. Mother Lü initiates rebellion against a county magistrate in Shandong province.
18 Death of Yang Xiong, a poet, Daoist, and author who wrote the first dialect dictionary of China, the Fangyan.
23 Battle of Kunyang Storming of Weiyang Palace, Wang Mang is killed, Gengshi restores the Han Dynasty.

[edit] Eastern Han Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
23 Gengshi
25 Guangwu
27 Chimei rebels surrender to Han authority after defeat
31 Prefect Du Shi invents waterwheel-powered bellows for the blast furnace in making cast iron.
33 Rebellion of Gongsun Shu; Gongsun blockades the width of the Yangzi River with a fortified floating pontoon bridge, but his defenses give in once Han General Cen Peng employs 'castle ships' to ram and attack Gongsun's rebel navy
43 Second Chinese domination of Vietnam
52 The first known gazetteer of China, the Yuejue Shu, is written.
57 Sino-Japanese relations
58 Death of Deng Yu, the Prime Minister of Han and military officer.
65 Liu Ying, son of Emperor Guangwu, sponsors Buddhism.
68 White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China, is founded.
73 Battle of Yiwulu
83 Wang Chong correctly theorizes the nature of the water cycle; he is also the first in Chinese history to mention use of the chain pump.
87 Yuan An, an advocate of marriage alliance policies with the Xiongnu, is promoted to the position of Minister over the Masses.
88 He
89 Battle of Ikh Bayan
97 Ban Chao sends envoy Gan Ying to the outskirts of the Roman Empire.
100 The Shuowen Jiezi dictionary is completed by Xu Shen.
105 Cai Lun invents papermaking Goguryeo-Han Wars
106 Shang
111 Ban Zhao completes the Book of Han, which was begun by her father Ban Biao and continued by her elder brother Ban Gu.
120 Zhang Heng completes his star catalogue, documenting 2,500 stars in over 100 constellations, writes a new formula for pi, corrected mistakes in the Chinese calendar, gave reasoning for a spherical moon that reflects light, and noted that lunar eclipse occurred when the earth obstructed the sunlight reaching the moon, while a solar eclipse was the moon's obstruction of sunlight reaching earth.
125 Zhang Heng invents the first hydraulic-powered armillary sphere, given motive power by a waterwheel and incorporating an inflow water clock, the latter of which he improved by adding a compensating tank between the reservoir and the inflow vessel. The earliest known Chinese depiction of a mechanical distance-marking odometer is drawn on a mural of the Xiao Tang Shan Tomb.
132 Zhang Heng invents a seismometer device that, with a pendulum and complex set of gears and cranks, is able to discern the cardinal direction of earthquakes by the dropping of bronze balls into wrought toad's mouths indicating the direction. Birth of Cai Yong, a mathematician, astronomer, musician, calligrapher, and father of Cai Wenji.
142 Shun The Kinship of the Three
147 Birth of Lokaksema, a Yuezhi monk from Kushan who translated Mahayana Buddhist texts into Chinese.
148 An Shigao, a Persian prince from Parthia, arrives in China in this year to translate Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist texts into Chinese.
166 Roman embassy reaches China. Disasters of Partisan Prohibitions
168 Ling
177 Birth of Cai Wenji, a famous female poet and musical composer.
179 Earliest known reference to the The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art
180 Ding Huan invents the manual-powered rotary fan, which is recorded in the Hou Han Shu as being able to make halls cool enough for people to shiver during the summer. During the Tang Dynasty, hydraulics were applied to power the rotary fan first innovated by Ding.
184 Yellow Turban Rebellion
185 Zhi Yao, a Yuezhi monk from Kushan, translates Buddhist texts into Chinese.
189 Prince of Hongnong Dong Zhuo poisons the Prince of Hongnong Massacre of Eunuchs
190 Xian Campaign against Dong Zhuo Battle of Hulao Pass, Battle of Sishui Pass, Battle of Xingyang
191 Battle of Jieqiao Battle of Yangcheng, Battle of Xiangyang
192 Lü Bu murders his tyrannical stepfather Dong Zhuo, an assassination plot whose main architect was Wang Yun.
193 Battle of Fengqiu
194 Sun Ce's conquest of Wu Territory Battle of Yan Province
197 Battle of Wancheng
198 Battle of Xiapi Battle of Yijing
199 Campaign against Yuan Shu
200 Battle of Guandu
202 Battle of Bowang
204 Gongsun Kang, a Chinese warlord of Liaodong, establishes the Daifang Commandery in northern Korea.
208 Battle of Red Cliffs Battle of Changban, Battle of Xiakou, Battle of Yiling, Battle of Jiangling
211 Battle of Tong Pass
213 Siege of Jicheng Battle of Licheng
214 Liu Bei's takeover of Yi Province Battle of Jiameng Pass
215 Battle of Yangping Battle of Baxi
217 Battle of Hefei Battle of Ruxukou
218 Battle of Mount Dingjun
219 Lü Meng's invasion of Jing Province Battle of Han River, Battle of Fancheng
220 Cao Pi forces the last Han emperor to abdicate.

[edit] Three Kingdoms

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
221 (Cao Pi-Wei)
(Liu Bei-Shu)
(Sun Quan-Wu)
Battle of Xiaoting
222 Battle of Yiling
225 Zhuge Liang's Southern Campaign
227 Battle of Xincheng
228 Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions Battle of Tianshui, Battle of Jieting, Battle of Shiting, Siege of Chencang
232 Death of Cao Zhi, a famous poet and son of Cao Cao.
234 Battle of Wuzhang Plains
244 Battle of Xingshi
247 Jiang Wei's Northern Expeditions
248 The rebellion of Triệu Thị Trinh in Vietnam is defeated by Wu.
249 Incident at Gaoping Tombs
250 Introduction of Buddhism in China
255 Ma Jun invents the South Pointing Chariot, a mechanical directional pathfinder that acts like a compass in that it always points north; this device employed a differential gear system, the same found in modern automobiles. Battle of Didao
263 Conquest of Shu by Wei Liu Hui publishes the revised version of The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art, with Liu's commentary.
265 Nine-rank system
280 Conquest of Wu by Jin

[edit] Western Jin Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
265 Wu Sometime between this year and 271, the Jin Dynasty cartographer and geographer Pei Xiu noted a groundbreaking development in Chinese cartography, as he was the first to describe the grid reference and graduated scale of measurement for Chinese maps; however, it is known that grids and familiarity with scaled distance on maps existing beforehand, while scholars point to evidence that it might have been an original innovation of Zhang Heng.
280 Unification of China, defeat of Wu Records of Three Kingdoms by Chen Shou.
290 Hui
291 War of the Eight Princes
304 Sixteen Kingdoms (Han Zhao, Later Zhao, Cheng Han, Former Liang, Later Liang, Northern Liang, Western Liáng, Southern Liang, Former Yan, Later Yan, Northern Yan, Southern Yan, Former Qin, Later Qin, Western Qin, Xia)
307 Huai
311 Min Emperor Huai is captured by Han Zhao forces, the capital is moved from Luoyang to Chang'an.
313 The state of Goguryeo in Manchuria and Korea conquers the Jin-Chinese Lelang Commandery.
316 Chang'an is captured, Emperor Min of Jin surrenders to Liu Yao, a general of the Xiongnu state Han Zhao. The Jin court flees south to Jiankang, what is now Nanjing, the capital of the Eastern Jin Dynasty.
318 Former Emperor Min is executed by Liu Cong, emperor of Han Zhao.

[edit] Eastern Jin Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
317 Yuan Sixteen Kingdoms and Six Dynasties
322 First accurate tomb depiction of stirrups.
323 Ming
324 The sick and ailing rebel Wang Dun dies while his forces are being repelled by Emperor Ming's troops.
325 Cheng
328 Su Jun, who had waged war against the regent Yu Liang, is defeated by generals Tao Kan and Wen Jiao.
342 Kang
344 Mu
353 Famous calligrapher Wang Xizhi writes the Lantingji Xu in semi-cursive script.
361 Ai
365 Fei
366 Famous painter Gu Kaizhi becomes an officer of Jin.
369 Jin general Huan Wen is defeated by Murong Chui, a general of the ethnic Xianbei state Former Yan.
372 Xiaowu
383 Battle of Fei River
396 An
399 Faxian sails to Sri Lanka and India to recover Buddhist texts.
405 Famous poet Tao Qian goes into retirement for the next 22 years, until his death.
419 Gong
420 The regent Liu Yu seizes the throne from Emperor Gong, initiating the Liu Song Dynasty.

[edit] Southern and Northern Dynasties

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
404 Huiyuan, founder of Pure Land Buddhism, writes the book On Why Monks Do Not Bow Down Before Kings, where he argues that Buddhist clergy should stay out of politics but Buddhist laypeople make good subjects because of belief in karma.
475 Bodhidharma arrives in China
477 Oldest known painted depiction of a horse collar, on a cave mural of Dunhuang, Northern Wei Dynasty.
485 After the well-field system had fallen out of use, Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei introduces the equal-field system.
496 Change of Xianbei names to Han names
501 Cui Hong begins compiling the Shiliuguo Chunqiu
523 Songyue Pagoda is built, the earliest known fully brick pagoda in China, in departure from the fully timber tradition. It still stands at a height of 40 m (131 ft).
543 The Chinese dictionary Yupian is completed by Gu Yewang.
581 Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou is forced to step down from the throne by his regent Yang Jian, who assumes power as Emperor Wen of Sui, initiating the Sui Dynasty.

[edit] Sui Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
581 Wen
582 Compilation begins on the Jingdian Shiwen dictionary.
589 Yan Zhitui makes the first reference to toilet paper in history.
598 Goguryeo-Sui Wars begin in what is now North Korea.
600 First of the Japanese embassies to China.
601 Lu Fayan publishes the rime dictionary Qieyun.
602 Third Chinese domination of Vietnam
604 Yang
605 Imperial examinations are instituted, beginning a long bureaucratic tradition of scholar-officialdom in China. Zhaozhou Bridge completed.
607 Japanese emissary Ono no Imoko arrives in China.
609 Grand Canal of China completed.
610 Engineers Geng Xun and Yuwen Kai improve the clepsydra clock model when they provided a steelyard balance that allowed seasonal adjusment in the pressure head of the compensating tank and could then control the rate of flow for different lengths of day and night. The earlier Zhang Heng of the Han Dynasty was the first to add the compensating tank between the reservoir and the inflow vessel. Emperor Yang collaborates a huge effort for all the commanderies of China to submit gazetteers describing their local areas and providing maps to the central government, in an effort to maintain control and provide better security.
611 Four Gates Pagoda is completed.
612 Battle of Salsu
617 After capturing Chang'an, the rebel-turned-emperor Li Yuan demotes Emperor Yang to the status of a Taishang Huang (Retired Emperor).

[edit] Tang Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
618 Gaozu Transition from Sui to Tang
621 Battle of Hulao
624 The Yiwen Leiju encyclopedia is completed by Ouyang Xun.
626 Taizong Emperor Taizong's campaign against Eastern Tujue Incident at Xuanwu Gate
635 First Christian missionaries arrive in China: Nestorian monks from Asia Minor and Persia, building Daqin Pagoda. Alopen, a Persia bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, also writes the Jesus Sutras. Emperor Taizong's campaign against Tuyuhun; also, Book of Liang is published.
636 Xumi Pagoda is completed. Compilations of the Book of Chen, Book of Northern Qi, Book of Zhou, and the Book of Sui.
638 Emperor Taizong's campaign against Tufan
639 Emperor Taizong's campaign against Xueyantuo
640 Protectorate General to Pacify the West Emperor Taizong's campaign against Xiyu states
643 Emperor Taizong commissions artist Yan Liben to paint the portraits of 24 different emperors and 18 noted scholars for the Portraits at Lingyan Pavilion.
644 Emperor Taizong's campaign against Goguryeo, Tang allies with Korean Silla during the Goguryeo-Tang Wars
646 Great Tang Records on the Western Regions is compiled by Bianji, documenting the travels of Buddhist monk Xuanzang through the Gobi Desert, Kucha, Tashkent, Samarkand, Gandhara, and finally to India where he studied at Nalanda.
647 Protectorate General to Pacify the North
648 Book of Jin is compiled.
649 Gaozong Four Arts of the Chinese Scholar (est.)
650 The Records of the Tang Dynasty describes a landmark visit to China by Saad ibn Abi Waqqas, one of the sahaba, in 650 C.E. This event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China.
657 Emperor Gaozong commissions the compilation of a large materia medica documenting the use of 833 medicinal drugs.
659 Compilations for the History of Southern Dynasties and History of Northern Dynasties is completed.
663 Battle of Baekgang, Silla-Tang forces defeat Japanese-Baekje navy.
666 Two Chinese Buddhist monks, Zhi Yu and Zhi You, craft a mechanical South Pointing Chariot for Japanese Emperor Tenji.
668 Protectorate General to Pacify the East
684 Wu Zetian Qianling Mausoleum is completed. Death of poet Luo Binwang.
699 Chinese troops retake the Four Garrisons of Anxi from the Tibetans.
700 Approximate date for the creation of the Dunhuang map, an astronomical chart.
704 Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is rebuilt.
705 Zhongzong
709 Small Wild Goose Pagoda is completed.
710 Ruizong The Shitong, a history of Chinese historiography up until the late 8th century, is compiled by Liu Zhiji. Death of Shangguan Wan'er, a female writer, government official, and concubine.
712 Xuanzong Pear Garden, an Academy of Music that trained acting troupes.
713 Kai yuan newspaper
725 Yi Xing invents a water-powered celestial globe featuring an escapement mechanism and striking clock.
729 Gautama Siddha completes the compilation of the Treatise on Astrology of the Kaiyuan Era.
740 This year marks the death of both Wu Daozi, a renowned Tang painter, and Meng Haoran, a renowned Tang poet.
744 Famous poets Du Fu and Li Bai meet for the first time.
751 Battle of Talas; this battle marks the beginning of the westward transmission of the ancient Chinese papermaking process.
755 An Lushan Rebellion Death of Zhang Xuan, a renowned painter.
756 Suzong Battle of Yongqiu
758 Arab and Persian pirates loot and burn the seaport of Guangzhou, causing Chinese officials to virtually shut down the port for five decades while foreign vessels from the Indian Ocean came mostly to Hanoi in Chinese-controlled Vietnam to trade there instead.
757 Battle of Suiyang
760 Earliest date for the Classic of Tea by Lu Yu.
761 Death of Wang Wei, a renowned painter, musician, poet, scholar, and official.
762 Daizong The Jingxingji is written by Du Huan, which described several major foreign countries including the Abbasid Empire and the Byzantine Empire.
763 Shi Siming is killed by his own son, putting an end to the An Lushan Rebellion
779 Dezong
781 Nestorian Stone is composed.
783 Death of the famous painter Han Gan.
785 Official Jia Dan begins a monumental work of cartography and geography. In it he describes many foreign places, including the Japan, Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Arabian Peninsula, the Euphrates River and Baghdad of modern day Iraq, and minaret lighthouses in the Persian Gulf that were later described by al-Mas'udi and al-Muqaddasi.
794 Prince Li Gao has the first Chinese paddle-wheel ships made.
798 The Army of Divine Strategy, staffed by eunuch officers, reaches 240,000 troops, thanks largely to the revenues of the salt commission.
799 The lucrative trade of the salt commission, a government monopoly, accounts for half of the government's incoming revenues by this year.
801 Compilation of the Tongdian history and encyclopedia by Du You is complete.
805 Xianzong
806 With a renewed military, Emperor Xianzong of Tang begins a series of seven major military campaigns in which he quells all remaining rebelling provinces except for two.
820 Muzong
824 Jingzong Death of Han Yu, an essayist and poet who was an early proponent of the Classical Prose Movement, while his works are considered foundations for later Neo-Confucianism. He was also an early polemecist and advocate against Buddhism.
826 Wenzong
831 An Uyghur Turk sues the son of a Tang grand general who had failed to repay a debt of 11 million government-issued copper coins. Emperor Wenzong of Tang soon hears the news, and is so upset that he not only banishes the general, but attempts to ban all trade between Chinese and foreigners except for trade in livestock. This ban is unsuccessful, and trade with foreigners resumes, especially in maritime affairs overseas.
840 Wuzong
843 Chang'an, a large fire consumes 4,000 homes, warehouses, and other buildings in the East Market, yet the rest of the city is at a safe distance from the blaze (which is largely quarantined in East Central Chang'an thanks to the large width of roads in Chang'an that produce fire breaks).
845 Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution
846 Xuānzong Death of Bai Juyi, a renowned Tang poet who penned over 2,800 poems in his lifetime.
851 Arab merchant Suleiman al-Tajir visits Guangzhou seaport and describes Chinese porcelain manufacture, tea consumption, granaries, and the Islamic mosque of the city. He notes that the Chinese use toilet paper instead of washing with water.
852 Death of Du Mu, a famous poet renowned for his vivid and realistic style.
853 Duan Chengshi publishes his Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang.
858 An enormous flood along the Grand Canal and on the North China Plain kills tens of thousands of people.
859 Yizong
863 Duan Chengshi describes the slave trade, ivory trade, and ambergris trade in Berbera, Somalia, East Africa.
868 Woodblock printing of the Diamond Sutra
873 Xizong
874 Huang Chao Rebellion
879 Huang Chao burns and loots the international seaport at Guangzhou, killing thousands of native Chinese and foreign merchants from all over the Asian continent.
884 The Huang Chao Rebellion is finally crushed by Tang troops.
889 Zhaozong
904 Ai
907 Zhu Wen overthrows the Tang Dynasty and initiates the Later Liang Ten thousand years (est.)

[edit] Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms

Date 5 Dynasties 10 Kingdoms Events
907 Later Liang Dynasty Wu
Southern Han
Former Shu
Later Shu
Southern Tang
Northern Han
917 Earliest known description in China of Greek Fire.
919 Earliest known description of a flamethrower in China.
923 Later Tang Dynasty
936 Later Jin Dynasty
947 Later Han Dynasty
950 The earliest known depiction of a fire lance (proto gun) and lobbed grenade.
960 Around this time, Gu Hongzhong paints the classic Night Revels of Han Xizai.
951 Later Zhou Dynasty
961 Huqiu Tower is built.

[edit] Liao Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
907 Taizu
926 Taizong
947 Shizong
951 Muzong
969 Jingzong
982 Shengzong
993 The First Goryeo-Khitan War, marking the beginning of the Goryeo-Khitan Wars
997 The Chinese dictionary Longkan Shoujian is compiled by the monk Xingjun.
1005 Treaty of Shanyuan
1010 Second Goryeo-Khitan War
1018 Third Goryeo-Khitan War Battle of Kwiju
1031 Xingzong
1055 Daozong
1056 Pagoda of Fogong Temple is completed.
1101 Tianzuo
1120 Pagoda of Tianning Temple is completed.
1124 Kara-Khitan Khanate
1125 Song and Jin conquest of Liao.

[edit] Northern Song Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
960 Taizu Hundred Family Surnames (est.) In the Wuli Xiaoshi (1630), Fang Yizhi states that Song Taizu was presented with gunpowder-impregnated fire arrows in this year.
971 Song troops defeat the war elephants of the Southern Han.
974 Song troops construct and defend a floating pontoon bridge across the Yangzi River in order to secure supply lines while fighting against the Southern Tang forces.
976 Taizong Yuelu Academy founded.
977 Longhua Pagoda is built.
978 Extensive Records of the Taiping Era is completed. It is the first of the Four Great Books of Song.
981 Battle of Bach Dang
983 Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era is completed.
984 Canal pound lock invented by Qiao Weiyo
986 Finest Blossoms in the Garden of Literature is completed.
990 Famous painter Fan Kuan is born around this time.
997 Zhenzong
1100 Sometime between this year and the end of the century, the Chinese discovered how to use bituminous coke instead of charcoal for blast furnaces in casting iron, sparing thousands of acres of prime timberland from deforestation.
1005 Treaty of Shanyuan between Liao and Song.
1010 After 39 years in the making, the enormous atlas of China commissioned by the emperor and drawn by a team of scholars under Lu Duosun and Song Zhun is completed in 1556 chapters, including maps for individual towns, districts, counties, prefectures, circuits (provinces), and a map of the whole of China.
1011 The Guangyun rime dictionary is completed by Chen Pengnian and Qiu Yong.
1013 Prime Tortoise of the Record Bureau is completed.
1022 Renzong
1037 Ding Du publishes the Jiyun rime dictionary.
1041 Bi Sheng invents the earliest movable type printing.
1043 Officials Fan Zhongyan and Ouyang Xiu introduce the Qingli Reforms, which would soon be rescinded in 1045.
1044 Wujing Zongyao, first book with written gunpowder formula; the book also describes the double-piston flamethrower.
1045 Lingxiao Pagoda is completed.
1049 Iron Pagoda is completed.
1055 Liaodi Pagoda is completed.
1060 The compilation of the New Book of Tang, edited by Ouyang Xiu, is presented to the throne.
1063 Yingzong Pizhi Pagoda is completed.
1067 Shenzong
1068 First use of the drydock in China
1069 Chancellor Wang Anshi introduces the reforms of the New Policies, which included the Baojia system, his policies breed factionalism at court while the later chancellor Sima Guang would lead the conservatives against his party.
1070 Su Song publishes the Bencao Tujing, an interdisciplinary pharmaceutical treatise incorporating info on botany, zoology, and mineralogy.
1072 Guo Xi paints his famous work Early Spring.
1075 Diplomat Shen Kuo asserts Song's rightful borders by using court archives against the bluff of Emperor Daozong of Liao. Shen Kuo travels to Cizhou, and describes a forging process of cast iron under a cool blast that is considered by historians Needham and Hartwell as a predecessor to the metallurgic Bessemer process.
1076 Wang Anshi resigns as chancellor.
1077 Su Song is sent on a diplomatic mission to the Liao Dynasty, discovers that the Khitan calendar is more mathematically accurate than the Song; Emperor Zhezong later sponsors Su Song's clock tower in order to compete with Liao astronomers.
1078 According to the research of Robert Hartwell, China was producing on annual average 127,000,000 kg (125,000 t) of cast iron by this year, a sixfold increase since the year 806 during the Tang.
1080 Song forces inflict defeats on the Western Xia Dynasty, Shen Kuo takes up defense at Yan'an.
1081 An officer disobeys commands and his army is destroyed by the Tanguts; although he successfully defended Yan'an, Shen Kuo is blamed for the fiasco and impeached. Su Song publishes a 200 volume work on Liao-Song relations.
1084 Sima Guang completes the compilation of Zizhi Tongjian, a universal history text of 294 volumes with 3 million Chinese characters. Famous lady poet Li Qingzhao is born.
1085 Zhezong The New Policies Group, a political faction once led by Wang Anshi, is ousted from power as the new Empress dowager and regent over the young Zhezong Emperor sides with the faction led by the statesman and historian Sima Guang.
1088 Dream Pool Essays by Shen Kuo, first book to describe the magnetic compass; Shen also postulates theories in early geomorphology and paleoclimatology, describes Bi Sheng's movable type printing, atmospheric refraction, problems of calculus and trigonometry, methods of archaeology, and is the first in China to describe camera obscura (after Ibn al-Haytham) and the concept of true north.
1090 First known description of the mechanical belt drive is found in the Book of Sericulture by Qin Guan.
1094 Clock tower of Su Song is completed in Kaifeng, featuring an escapement mechanism and chain drive to rotate an armillary sphere and sound an intricate striking clock.
1094 Dongpo Academy is established on the island of Hainan, on the same spot where famous poet and official Su Shi was exiled by the New Policies court faction.
1100 Huizong
1103 Yingzao Fashi architectural treatise is published by Li Jie and is promoted by Huizong's government as a standard manual for construction and building.
1107 Death of famous painter, calligrapher, and poet Mi Fu.
1111 Donglin Academy is founded.
1119 Zhu Yu publishes his Pingzhou Table Talks, confirming Shen Kuo's description of the magnetic compass by stating its use in seafaring.
1125 Song Dynasty forces ally with rebel Jurchens to topple the Khitan Liao Dynasty.
1126 Qinzong
1127 Jingkang Incident, the northern third of China is conquered by the Jurchens under the Jin Dynasty, the capital of Song China is pushed south from Kaifeng to Hangzhou.

[edit] Southern Song Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
1127 Gaozong
1132 China's first permanent standing navy is established, with Song naval headquarters at Dinghai. A fire destroys some 13,000 homes in the new capital at Hangzhou.
1135 General Yue Fei defeats the rebels under Yang Yao by first entangling his paddle-wheel ships in rotten logs and other floating debris.
1141 Treaty of Shaoxing between Jin and Song.
1161 Battle of Tangdao and Battle of Caishi, Song naval victories over Jin after the latter attempted to conquer southern China. The Yunjing rime dictionary is compiled by Zhang Linzhi.
1162 Xiaozong Beisi Pagoda is completed.
1165 Liuhe Pagoda is completed
1179 White Deer Grotto Academy is rebuilt by Zhu Xi.
1189 Guangzong
1194 Ningzong
1215 Battle of Beijing
1224 Lizong
1241 Emperor Lizong sponsors Zhu Xi's Four Books and Neo-Confucianism.
1247 Qin Jiushao writes his Mathematical Treatise in Nine Sections, which included use of the Horner scheme hundreds of years before it was discovered independently by William George Horner.
1259 Möngke Khan dies in Chongqing during the Fishing Battle of Fishing Town.
1260 Ariq Böke threatens civil war, forcing Kublai Khan to retreat north as Song Dynasty Chancellor Jia Sidao pushes Mongol troops north of the Yangzi River in an opportune assault.
1264 Duzong
1261 Although written of around 1100, Yang Hui draws the first known Chinese diagram of Pascal's triangle. From this year until the conquest of Song, Kublai attempts to gain southern Chinese acceptance in benevolent displays of releasing large bands of Southern Song merchants after short periods of capture and detainment at the border.
1265 Kublai Khan invades Sichuan and captures 146 Song naval ships as war booty.
1267 Battle of Xiangyang begins.
1269 In this year, and every consecutive year until 1272, the Song navy attempts to break the enormous Mongol and Northern Chinese naval blockade on the Han River. All attempts are unsuccessful, as thousands of men and hundreds of ships are lost in the process.
1271 Voyage of Marco Polo begins
1273 Battle of Xiangyang ends, Yuan victory.
1275 Turkish general Bayan defeats Song Chancellor Jia Sidao's army of 130,000 troops; Jia is impeached from court and killed by one of his own guards.
1276 Duanzong Unlike his contemporary and fellow painter Zhao Mengfu, the scholar-official Qian Xuan declines the offer to serve the Yuan government out of Song patriotism and devotes his retirement (until his death in 1305) to creating works of art.
1278 Bing
1279 Battle of Yamen; the Yuan Dynasty Chinese General Zhang Hongfan crushes the last resistance of the Southern Song.

[edit] Western Xia

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
1038 Jingzong
1048 Yizong
1067 Huizong
1086 Chongzong
1139 Renzong
1193 Huanzong
1206 Xiangzong
1211 Shenzong
1223 Xianzong
1226 Mozhu
1227 Genghis Khan died during the siege of the final Western Xia stronghold in 1227, so it is his successor Ögedei Khan who in this year resumes the war against Jin.

[edit] Jin Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
1115 Taizu
1123 Taizong
1127 Jingkang Incident
1135 Xizong
1149 Hailingwang
1153 The Jin capital is moved from Huining Fu to Zhongdu (Beijing)
1157 The capital is moved again, this time from Beijing to Kaifeng.
1161 Shizong The Jin Dynasty under Hailingwang attempts to invade and conquer the Southern Song Dynasty, but their naval forces are destroyed at the Battle of Tangdao and Battle of Caishi
1164 The Treaty of Longxing between Song and Jin ushers in four decades of peace.
1189 Chengling Pagoda is built.
1190 Zhangzong
1209 Weishaowang
1211 The Mongol leader Genghis Khan launches a major military campaign against the Jin Dynasty.
1213 Xuanzong
1214 In the terms of a treaty with Genghis Khan, the Jin Dynasty becomes a vassal state of the expanding Mongol Empire.
1215 When the Jin court moves their capital from Beijing to Kaifeng once more, Genghis Khan sees this as open revolt, and sacks the former capital Beijing, burning the city to the ground.
1216 The Song Dynasty assaults Jin from the south, and again in 1223 while the Jin empire was collapsing.
1224 Aizong
1227 Genghis Khan died during the siege of the final Western Xia stronghold in 1227, so it is his successor Ögedei Khan who in this year resumes the war against Jin.
1233 The Jin capital at Kaifeng is captured by Ögedei Khan's forces.
1234 Modi The last Jin emperor is killed by Mongol forces in what is now Runan County of Henan.

[edit] Yuan Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
1260 Kublai Khan makes the Tibetan lama Drogön Chögyal Phagpa the State Preceptor and grants him power over Tibet, his Sakya regime lasting until its overthrow in the 1350s by the Phagmodru myriarchy.
1270 Sambyeolcho Rebellion in Korea against Mongol-dominated Goryeo.
1271 Kublai Khan
1273 Battle of Xiangyang
1274 Mongol Invasions of Japan
1276 Gaocheng Astronomical Observatory is built.
1279 Battle of Yamen
1287 Rabban Bar Sauma, a Nestorian Uyghur Turk from Beijing, travels to Europe in this year and hosted by Andronikos II Palaiologos of the Byzantine Empire, Philip IV of France, and Edward I of England in hopes of striking an alliance to seize Jerusalem, then under the Muslim Mamluk Bahri dynasty. Battle of Pagan, end of Pagan Kingdom
1288 Battle of Bạch Đằng (1288)
1289 Franciscan friars begin mission work in China
1294 Chengzong
1298 Wang Zhen improves the movable type printing of Bi Sheng by introducing the first successful wooden type characters; he also experiments with tin metal type characters.
1308 Wuzong
1311 Renzong
1316 Guo Shoujing dies; among his life achievements were fixing the calendar year at 365.2425 (same as the Gregorian Calendar), building upon Shen Kuo's mathematical work on trigonometry by introducing spherical trigonometry, and engineered an artificial Kunming Lake in Beijing.
1321 Yingzong
1323 Taiding
1324 The rime dictionary Zhongyuan Yinyun is published by Zhou Deqing.
1328 Wenzong
1330 Pagoda of Bailin Temple is completed
1333 Huizong
1334 Wang Dayuan ventures to North Africa.
1352 The penniless monk—and later emperor—Zhu Yuanzhang joins the Red Turban Rebellion
1356 Zhu Yuanzhang captures Nanjing.
1363 Battle of Lake Poyang, one of the largest naval battles in world history in terms of personnel.
1368 Rebel general Xu Da defeats Yuan forces, while Ukhaantu Khan, Emperor Huizong of Yuan flees Dadu (Beijing). Zhu Yuanzhang establishes the Ming Dynasty and reigns as the Hongwu Emperor.

[edit] Ming Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
1368 Hongwu City Wall of Nanjing is rebuilt. The Phagspa script, devised by the Tibetan lama Drogön Chögyal Phagpa as a universal writing system for Kublai Khan's Mongol Empire, begins to wane in use and then becomes extinct over the course of the Ming Dynasty.
1371 Hai Jin maritime trade ban
1373 Emperor Hongwu bans the Imperial examinations in favor of a recommendation system. The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees is rebuilt.
1375 Latest possible date for the writing of the Huolongjing treatise on gunpowder weapons, as its co-editor Liu Ji dies on May 16.
1380 Hongwu abolishes the Chancellery of China, taking over direct responsibility of the Three Departments and Six Ministries, although the later Grand Secretariat would aid the emperor in managing the state.
1381 The Ming Dynasty annexes land from the Kingdom of Dali, in what is now Yunnan and Guizhou, spurring a Chinese migration of hundreds of thousands.
1382 The Jinyi Wei, a secret police organization, is established.
1384 Imperial examinations are reinstated by Hongwu, but he had the chief examiner executed on charges of corruption.
1397 The Daming Lu law code is completed, yet drawing much of its clauses from the earlier Tang Code of 653.
1398 Jianwen
1402 Yongle Yongle takes the throne after a three-year long civil war with his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor.
1405 The overseas voyages of the eunuch Muslim admiral Zheng He begin, sailing around Southeast Asia, throughout the Indian Ocean, and as far as East Africa to reestablish tributary relations of foreign countries with China. Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is completed.
1406 Construction of the Forbidden City begins, as well as new Beijing city fortifications
1407 Fourth Chinese domination of Vietnam, although Chinese troops were pushed out two decades later by Lê Lợi of the Lê Dynasty. Deshin Shekpa, the fifth Karmapa of Tibet, visits the court of Yongle.
1408 The massive Yongle Encyclopedia is completed.
1415 Restoration work on the Grand Canal is completed.
1420 After 13 years of a massive construction project for a new capital and Forbidden City, the Yongle Emperor declares Beijing the new capital, while Nanjing is demoted. Ming Dynasty Tombs are built.
1424 Hongxi
1425 Xuande
1427 Famous painter Shen Zhou is born.
1431 The Lê Dynasty of Vietnam is recognized by the Ming court as a tribute state.
1435 Zhengtong
1443 The Zhihua Si Temple is built.
1446 The Precious Belt Bridge is rebuilt.
1449 Jingtai Battle of Tumu Fortress
1457 Tianshun
1461 Rebellion of Cao Qin
1464 Chenghua The Miao people and Yao people of Guangxi rebel against Ming authority; a combined Ming force of 190,000 (including 1,000 Mongols) crushes the rebellion within two years.
1473 Zhenjue Temple is completed.
1487 Hongzhi
1488 The Korean official Choe Bu shipwrecks along Zhejiang coast of China. Travels the entire length of the Grand Canal to repatriate back to Joseon Korea. He later wrote a famous book on his travels, which was printed in both Korea and Japan in the latter half of the 16th century.
1505 Zhengde
1516 First Portuguese contact by Jorge Álvares in Macau, followed up by Rafael Perestrello in Guangzhou.
1517 Fernão Pires de Andrade and Tomé Pires are sent as ambassadors to China by Manuel I of Portugal; they land at Guangzhou.
1521 Jiajing Events, such as the Portuguese conquest of Malacca, lead to the rejection of the Portuguese embassy and the new Jiajing Emperor calling upon the Portuguese to return power of Malacca to the loyal Ming vassal Mahmud Shah; Chinese and Portuguese ships fight at Tuen Mun, but relations are eventually smoothed out later by Leonel de Sousa and others determined to repair the reputation that the Portuguese initially won in China.
1522 Jiajing
1529 Death of philosopher Wang Yangming
1530 Around this time, mechanical engineer Zhou Shuxue improves Zhan Xiyuan's 14th century sand-driven mechanical clock by adding a fourth large gear wheel, revising gear teeth ratios, and widening the orifice which collected sand in Zhan's clock, since Zhou complained that the device clogged up too often. Although lacking the essential escapement mechanism of earlier Chinese clocks, this sand-driven clock of Zhan and Zhou featured a stationary dial face over which a pointer circulated by mechanical timing.
1549 Portuguese ships make continuous annual trade stops to Shangchuan Island from now on.
1550 Altan Khan breaches the Great Wall, besieges Beijing, and burns down its suburbs after looting it.
1553 Outer City of Beijing to the south is completed, which brought the overall size of the city to 4 by 4½ miles.
1556 Shaanxi Earthquake. 850,000 casualties
1557 Portuguese establish permanent settlement in Macau.
1558 Qi Jiguang is victorious over Japanese pirates at Cengang.
1566 Longqing
1567 Hai jin laws are formally repealed; government allows private foreign maritime trade, although the state had conducted all foreign trade during the ban.
1572 Wanli
1573 After the Spanish establish a permanent base at Manila in the Philippines, their American-mined silver trade with China trumps the Portuguese-Japanese silver trade.
1574 Qin Liangyu, a later female military officer of Miao heritage, is born.
1576 Pagoda of Cishou Temple is built.
1577 Wanshou Temple is built.
1581 Grand Secretary Zhang Juzheng implements the Single Whip Reform, allowing the land tax to be paid entirely in silver due to inflated paper currency and widespread counterfeit coinage.
1582 Jesuits begin mission work in China First reference is made about the publishing of private newspapers in Beijing.
1584 Abraham Ortelius, in his atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, is the first known European to feature an illustration of the Chinese invention known as the 'sailing carriage', essentially a wheelbarrow with a ship's mast and a sail.
1587 Physician and pharmacologist Li Shizhen publishes the Bencao Gangmu, detailing the use of over 1,800 medicinal drugs.
1590 Journey to the West is written.
1592 When Japan invades Korea in the Imjin War, Ming China aids Korea with troops and supplies.
1593 Siege of Pyongyang
1597 Siege of Ulsan
1598 Battle of Sacheon Battle of Noryang Point; the theatrical drama The Peony Pavilion, written by playwright Tang Xianzu, is performed at the Pavilion of Prince Teng.
1602 From this year until 1682, the Dutch East India Company ships some six million Chinese porcelain items to Europe.
1604 Donglin Movement
1607 The Greek mathematical treatise Euclid's Elements is translated into Chinese by Xu Guangqi, Sabatino de Ursis, and Matteo Ricci.
1609 Sancai Tuhui encyclopedia is published.
1610 Plum in the Golden Vase is published.
1615 The Chinese dictionary Zihui is compiled by Mei Yingzuo.
1616 Nurhaci found the Qing Dynasty in Manchuria The Nanjing Religious Incident begins in this year, when all foreign Jesuits were expelled from the Ming court and the astronomy bureau; this was a temporary triumph of traditionalist Confucian officials who rejected Western science in favor of Chinese science; by 1622 this policy was reversed, and the astronomy burea was once again staffed by European Jesuits and Chinese supportive of Western science.
1619 Battle of Sarhu Chinese philosopher Wang Fuzhi is born.
1620 Tianqi
1624 Headquartered in Jakarta, the Dutch East India Company establishes Dutch rule of Taiwan.
1626 Johann Adam Schall von Bell writes the first treatise on the telescope into the Chinese language. Jesuit Nicolas Trigault writes the Xiru Ermu Zi, establishing the first system of Chinese Romanization.
1627 Chongzhen First Manchu invasion of Korea; downfall of eunuch Wei Zhongxian, who ruled as a virtual dictator for seven years; Zhang Zilie publishes the Chinese dictionary Zhengzitong. Polish Jesuit Michael Boym first introduces the heliocentric model of the solar system into Chinese astronomy.
1628 Battle of Ningyuan
1632 By this time, the Manchus have conquered much of Inner Mongolia.
1634 Chongzhen Emperor acquires the telescope of the late Johann Schreck.
1635 Liu Tong adds his preface to the Dijing Jingwulue, a Chinese prose classic.
1637 Second Manchu invasion of Korea Song Yingxing publishes the Tiangong Kaiwu encyclopedia; due to his scholarly and encyclopedic achievements, scientist and sinologist Joseph Needham calls him the "Diderot of China".
1638 The Beijing Gazette switches its production method from woodblock printing to movable type printing in this year.
1639 The Nongzheng Quanshu agricultural treatise of Xu Guangqi is published. Painter Chen Hongshou travels to Beijing and earns instant acclaim by the court.
1641 Death of Xu Xiake, whose published travel diary of some 404,000 Chinese characters includes notes on regional geography, climate, and mineralogy.
1642 The Kaifeng flood With new additional Han Chinese banners, the full Eight Banners of the Manchu Qing Dynasty are established.
1644 Battle of Shanhai Pass; the Chongzhen Emperor hangs himself on the Guilty Chinese Scholartree, after hearing that rebels under Li Zicheng breached the gates of the capital Beijing Chinese general Wu Sangui and the Manchu prince Dorgon occupy Beijing; soon after, the Shunzhi Emperor is proclaimed ruler of China under the Qing Dynasty.

[edit] Shun Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
1644 Li Zicheng

[edit] Qing Dynasty

Date Emperor Events Other people/events
1644 Shunzhi
1652 Lozang Gyatso, 5th Dalai Lama of Tibet visits the court of Shunzhi in Beijing.
1659 Jesuits Martino Martini and Ferdinand Verbiest arrive in China, the former for the second time.
1661 On the death of the Shunzhi Emperor, his confidant Johann Adam Schall von Bell is thrown into prison, eventually released, but dies shortly after.
1662 Kangxi The Siege of Fort Zeelandia ends with the Dutch East India Company's surrender of Taiwan to Koxinga.
1674 Revolt of the Three Feudatories
1682 Belgian Jesuit Antoine Thomas arrives in China.
1683 Battle of Penghu, surrender of the Kingdom of Tungning
1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk with Russia
1690 Death of Yun Shouping, a painter who was considered one of the "Six Masters" of the Qing era.
1698 Lugou Bridge is reconstructed.
1705 Papal legate Charles-Thomas Maillard De Tournon arrives in China.
1700 Thirteen Factories
1711 British East India Company establishes a trading post in Guangzhou The Peiwen Yunfu rime dictionary is completed.
1716 Publication of the Kangxi Dictionary
1720 In opposition to the Dzungars, Qing troops conquer and occupy Lhasa in Tibet.
1721 In a culmination of the Chinese Rites controversy, the Kangxi Emperor delivers a decree banning Christian preaching in China in response to a papal bull by Pope Clement XI.
1722 Yongzheng
1725 The Gujin Tushu Jicheng encyclopedia is completed.
1732 Death of Jiang Tingxi, a painter, calligrapher, and encyclopedist
1735 Qianlong
1750 French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot is sent to China.
1755 Ten Great Campaigns Puning Temple is built in commemoration of the defeat of the Dzungars.
1760 Initiation of the Canton System.
1771 Putuo Zongcheng Temple is completed.
1774 The Wenjin Chamber is built.
1780 Fragrant Hills Pagoda is built.
1782 Imperial collection of Four encyclopedia is completed.
1791 Dream of the Red Chamber is published.
1793 Anglo-Chinese relations and the Macartney Embassy; Lord Macartney, the first British envoy to Beijing, is hosted by Qianlong's confidant Heshen.
1796 Jiaqing White Lotus Rebellion
1807 Robert Morrison, first Protestant missionary arrives
1821 Daoguang
1823 Publication of the Bible in Chinese
1839 First Opium War
1842 First of the Unequal Treaties,
Treaty of Nanjing
1844 Wei Yuan publishes his Illustrated Treatise on the Maritime Kingdoms, a gazetteer inspired by the desire to learn more of the West and the threat it posed to Qing China. Treaty of Wanghia between the Qing Empire and the United States, with the first United States Ambassador to China.
1850 Ten Tigers of Canton
1851 Xianfeng Taiping Rebellion Jintian Uprising
1855 Third Pandemic of Bubonic plague Punti-Hakka Clan Wars
1856 Second Opium War
1858 Battle of Sanhe Treaty of Aigun,
Treaties of Tianjin
1860 Burning of Old Summer palace Beijing Convention
1861 Following the Convention of Peking, Prince Gong establishes the Zongli Yamen (Foreign Office).
1862 Tongzhi Dungan revolt The Tongwen Guan, or School of Combined Learning, is established to teach Chinese students Western languages.
1864 After fighting the Taiping rebels for four years, the Ever Victorious Army is disbanded; it was the first Chinese army that employed a European officer corps and as well as tactics, strategy, and techniques.
1868 Yangzhou riot End of the Nien Rebellion
1870 Tianjin Massacre
1871 The famous general Li Hongzhang is appointed to the position of Viceroy of Zhili, an office he would hold until 1895, serving again in the same post from 1900 to 1901, until replaced by Yuan Shikai.
1873 End of the Panthay Rebellion
1875 Guangxu
1876 After the murder of Augustus Raymond Margary in the 'Margary Affair', the Chefoo Convention is held to resolve the issue but turns into an excuse for the British to press for additional concessions.
1884 Sino-French War
1885 Battle of Foochow
1891 Founding of Shanghai Sharebrokers Association
1894 First Sino-Japanese War

(Battle of Pungdo,
Battle of Seonghwan,
Battle of Pyongyang,
Battle of Yalu River,
Battle of Jiuliangcheng,
Battle of Lushunkou,
Battle of Weihaiwei,
Battle of Yingkou)
1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki
1898 Hundred Days' Reform Coup by Empress Dowager Cixi
1900 Boxer Rebellion
1901 Boxer Protocol
1908 Puyi
1910 Huanghuagang Uprising
1911 Xinhai Revolution Wuchang Uprising

[edit] Modern China

[edit] Republic of China

Date Head of State Events Other people/events
1912 Sun Yat Sen Xinhai Revolution Foundation of Kuomintang 
1915 Yuan Shikai Empire of China

New Culture Movement
National Protection War

Japan's Twenty-One Demands

Chen Duxiu starts New Youth
1916 Li Yuanhong Warlord era begins
1919 May Fourth Movement Treaty of Versailles
1920 Push for Vernacular Chinese  
1921 Foundation of Communist Party of China The True Story of Ah Q
1923 Radio Corporation of China
1924 First United Front
1926 Northern Expedition
1927 Nanchang Uprising

Chinese Civil War
Kuomintang-Communist split
1928 Zhang Zuolin Nanjing decade Jinan Incident
1930 Encirclement Campaign against Northeastern Jiangxi Soviet
1931 Chinese Soviet Republic

1931 China floods
Invasion of Manchuria

Mukden Incident
1932 Lin Sen Imperial Japanese colonialism in Manchukuo

Pacification of Manchukuo
January 28 Incident

Defense of Harbin
1934 Long March New Life Movement
1935 December 9th Movement First Encirclement Campaign against Hubei-Henan-Shaanxi Soviet
1936 Xian incident Japan establishes the Mengjiang
1937 Second Sino-Japanese War

(Marco Polo Bridge Incident,
Battle of Shanghai,
Battle of Pingxingguan,
Battle of Nanjing,
Battle of Tai'erzhuang,
Battle of Changsha 1939,
Hundred Regiments Offensive,
Battle of Changsha 1941,
Battle of Changsha 1942,
Battle of Changsha 1944)
Nanking Massacre

Second United Front
1938 Bombing of Chongqing
1941 Yan'an Rectification Movement
1945 US drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, World War II ends

The Nationalist government become one of the founding members of the United Nations

The Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Northeast China
1947 228 Incident  
1948 Chiang Kai-shek Liaoshen Campaign, Pingjin Campaign, and Huaihai Campaign

[edit] PRC/ROC

People's Republic of China (on Mainland)
Republic of China (on Taiwan)
Paramount Leader Events Other people/events President Events Other people/events
1949 Mao Zedong

(Mao Zedong Thought)
Founding of the People's Republic of China Li Tsung-jen Kuomintang retreats to Taiwan, becomes government of the Republic of China White Terror
1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, Landing Operation on Hainan Island Korean War

Canidrome massacre
Chiang Kai-shek
1951 PLA operations in Tibet
1952 Three-anti/five-anti campaigns
1956 Hundred Flowers campaign
1957 Anti-Rightist Movement Asian Flu
1958 Great Leap Forward
1959 Great sparrow campaign causes famine

Three Years of Natural Disasters begins
Tibetan uprising
1960 Sino-Soviet split
1962 Sino-Indian War
1964 Destruction of Four Olds

State Council pushed for Simplified Chinese character in the mainland
First PRC atomic bomb detonation, 596 nuclear test Taiwan continued the use of Traditional Chinese characters
1966 Mao Zedong Cultural Revolution

Three-Self Patriotic Movement

Down to the Countryside Movement
The Little Red Book Chinese Cultural Renaissance
1968 Deng Pufang handicap incident
1969 Zhenbao Island Sino-Soviet border conflict Beijing Subway
1970 Long March rocket, first satellite launch
1971 Henry Kissinger visits Beijing UN resolution 2758, PRC replace ROC as UN representative
1972 Shanghai Communiqué

Richard Nixon visits China
1975 Four Modernizations Yen Chia-kan
1976 Hua Guofeng Tiananmen incident following the death of Zhou Enlai The Great Tangshan earthquake
1977 Beijing Spring
1978 Deng Xiaoping

(Deng Xiaoping Theory)
Chinese economic reforms Democracy Wall Movement Chiang Ching-kuo
1979 One-child policy

Four cardinal principles

Sino-American relations
Border-war with Vietnam Taiwan Relations Act passed by United States Congress Kaohsiung Incident
1980 Special Economic Zones Trial of
Gang of Four
1984 Margaret Thatcher in China, signs Sino-British Joint Declaration
1987 Lifting of Taiwanese aborigines Martial Law
1988 Lee Teng-hui
1989 Tiananmen Square protests PRC declares Martial law on Lhasa, Tibet Cheng Nan-jung self-immolation
1990 Wild Lily student movement
1991 First McDonald's restaurant in Beijing Democratic Progressive Party
Taiwanese Independence
1992 Jiang Zemin

(Three Represents)
Falon Gong introduction 1992 Consensus
1996 Karamay fire incident Third Taiwan Strait Crisis
1997 Hong Kong handover, becomes a Special Administrative Region Death of Deng Xiaoping
1998 Great Firewall of China Banning of China Democracy Party
1999 Macau handover

NATO bombing of embassy
Persecution of Falun Gong begins Resolution on Taiwan's Future
2000 The PRC passes Japan as the country with which the USA has the largest trade deficit Chen Shui-bian DDP ended Kuomintang rule in the 2000 ROC election Four Noes and One Without
2001 Tiananmen Square self-immolation incident

Accession to World Trade Organization
Hainan Island incident
2002 Accession to World Trade Organization
2003 SARS outbreak Shenzhou 5, PRC's first manned space mission SARS outbreak
2004 Hu Jintao

(Scientific Development Concept)
Jiang Zemin retires from his post as Chairman of the Central Military Commission 3-19 shooting incident
2005 Anti-Secession law Jilin Chemical plant explosions

Anti-Japanese history revisionism
Pan-Blue visit
2006 Structural work finished in the Three Gorges Dam Rename "Chiang Kai-shek airport" to "Taiwan airport"
2007 Head of SFDA Zheng Xiaoyu executed

Chang'e 1 of Lunar Exploration Program
Chinese slave scandal

Reincarnation application
Rename "Chiang Kai-shek memorial" to "Taiwan memorial"
2008 2008 Summer Olympics

2008 Summer Paralympics

Hangzhou Bay Bridge opens

Shenzhou 7 first spacewalk
Early winter storms

China Railways train T195 accident

Tibetan unrest

Sichuan earthquake

South China floods

Milk scandal
Ma Ying-jeou Cross-strait charter

1025 demonstration

Chen Yunlin visit

Wild Strawberry student movement
Lien Chen & Hu Jintao at APEC Peru

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c Huang et al (2002).

[edit] References

  • Zhenguo, Huang et al (2002). "The relative stability of prehistorical geographic environment in China´s tropics on the basis of archaeology," in Journal of Geographical Sciences, Vol. 12, No. 4.

[edit] See also

[edit] By sources

[edit] By era

History of the Republic of China
History of Taiwan (timeline)
History of the People's Republic of China
History of Hong Kong (timeline)
History of Macau

[edit] By individual categories

[edit] External links

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