Top 10 Great Dynasties of China

In the history of China, there emerged many great dynasties that have contributed a lot to the development of the whole country.  Among them, there are some dynasties like Han (206 BC–220 AD), Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD) and so on which made significant contributions to the whole nation. Here is a list of the top 10 great dynasties in China history. Which of the Chinese dynasties do you think is the greatest?

1. Xia Dynasty 夏朝 (2070 – 1600 BC)

Xia Dynasty MapThe Xia Dynasty is the first imperial dynasty in China. The dynasty was established by the legendary Da Yu the Great and lasted nearly 500 years including the reigns of 17 emperors. The Xia dynasty was the first to irrigate the land, produce bronze and keep a strong army.

2. Shanghai Dynasty 商朝 (1600 – 1046 BC)

shang dynastyThe Shang Dynasty was the first recorded Chinese dynasty. It ruled parts of northern and central China. Its capital city was located at today’s Anyang of Henan Province. The important contributions of the period were the development of a writing system found on tortoise shells and flat cattle and the use of bronze metallurgy.

3. Zhou Dynasty 周朝 (1046–256 BC)

zhou dynasty mapThe Zhou Dynasty, which ruled ancient China for almost a millennium, lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history. During the Zhou dynasty, ox-drawn ploughs, iron, horseback riding, coinage, chopsticks, and the crossbow were introduced. The philosophies of Confucianism and Taoism also emerged.

4. Qin Dynasty (221 – 207 BC)

qin dynastyThe Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 206 BC. Conquering the six other states, Yingzheng became the First Emperor of Qin. Qin Dynasty was the first unified, multi-national and power-centralized state in the Chinese history. Qin also standardized the Chinese script, currency, and system of measurements, and expanded the network of roads and canals.  Although surviving only 15 years, the dynasty held an important role in Chinese history and it exerted great influence on the following dynasties.

5. Han Dynasty 汉朝  (206 BC–220 AD)

Han Dynasty MapThe Han Dynasty was a great dynasty in Chinese History. It Spanned over four centuries and is considered a golden age in Chinese history. Chang’an in present-day Shaanxi Province was one of the two largest cities in the ancient world (Rome was the other). The Han Dynasty adopted Confucian ideology that emphasized moderation. To this day, China’s majority ethnic group refers to itself as the “Han people”

6. Tang Dynasty 唐朝 (618–907 AD)

Tang DynastyTang Dyansty emerged as one of the greatest empires in the medieval world. Under the ruling of the Tang Emperors, Tang Dynasty became the most powerful and prosperous country in the world. Its economy, politics, culture and military strength reached an unparalleled advanced level. Today Chinatown is called Chinese: 唐人街, literally “Street of the Tang People”.

7. Song Dynasty 宋朝 (960 – 1279 AD)

Song DynastyWith a prosperous economy and remarkable cultural achievements, Song Dynasty was considered as another period of ‘golden age’ after the glorious Tang Dynasty. The Song Dynasty was the first in world to nationally issue banknotes. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as the first discernment of true north using a compass.

8. Yuan Dynasty 元朝  (1279–1368 AD)

Yuan Dynasty MapDuring the Yuan Dynasty, China was part of the Mongol Empire. However, Chinese culture not only survived but was reinvigorated. The unification of the whole territory enhanced the communication between different ethnic minorities, thus strengthening the national integration process.

9. Ming Dynasty 明朝 (1368–1644 AD)

Ming Dynasty mapThe Ming Dynasty ruled the country for 276 years. It was one of the most stable of all Chinese dynasties.  During the Ming Dynasty, Zhenhe, one of eunuchs of the fifth Ming emperor, led seven maritime expeditions to the Pacific and Indian Oceans from 1405 to 1433. The Ming Dynasty witnessed great literary achievements. Several of the most popular Chinese novels, including Journey to the West’ and The Golden Lotus were written in this period.

10. Qing Dynasty 清朝 (1644 – 1912 AD)

Qing dynasty MapThe Qing Dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912. The Qing Empire lasted almost three centuries and formed the territorial base for the modern Chinese nation.

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6 Responses

  1. Ching Chang says:

    Can I get a hiya

  2. Mouschi says:

    Very nice article! Asides from the few spelling mistakes like Zhenhe, which is spelled as Zheng He, and the mistake with the Shang Dynasty being called the Shanghai Dynasty, its an overall nice article.

    • Charles Vernon Watson says:

      I agree with you about the misnaming of the “Shanghi” dynasty, of which I have never heard despite massive reading. Concerning Zhenhe/Zheng He, there are so many alternative spellings that it seems minor, but who is to say.

  3. Suzie says:

    Was there a Manchu dynasty?

    • Song Ai li says:

      That is the Qing Dynasty. The Machu invaded China. The ruler of the Ming Dynasty hanged himself, and the Machu led. After it was the Republic of China.

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