Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi)


2500BC: ink, tea and silk are invented
2357BC: Yao rules northeastern China
2205BC: the Xia dynasty is founded by Yu: Yellow River (Huang He) valley
1766BC: Tang deposes the last Xia and founds the Shang dynasty
1500BC: the Shang dynasty expands in the northern plains of the Yellow River (Huang He): advanced bronze casting, Chinese alphabet, human sacrifice, war chariot, succession from elder brother to younger brother and then to the oldest maternal nephew,
1395BC: the Shang move their capital to Yin (near Anyang)
1133BC: Wu becomes king of the Zhou (a population that originated in Central Asia) and builds the capital of Hao (near Xian)
1122BC: Wu conquers the Shang empire and founds the Zhou dynasty: father-to-son succession system, decentralized feudal rule (federation of city-states)
1116BC: the Zhou build a city at Luoyang
1046BC: Zhou Wuwang defeats the Shang and establishes the Zhou Dynasty
900BC: I Ching/Yi Jing
841BC: A popular uprising deposes the tenth Zhou emperor, Zhou Liwang , and Gong Hebo is elected to rule the empire
771BC: Western barbarians sack Zhou's capital and the Zhous move their capital east to Luoyang
700 BC: the Chinese invent gunpowder
651BC: The states of northern China unify in a league against the southern state of Chun and King Huan of Qi is appointed their leader
600BC: Confucius
550BC: Taoism/Daoism
473BC: The state of Yueh destroys the state of Wu
453BC: The main states of China are Qi in the east, Qin in the west and Chu and Yueh in the south
403BC: the Zhou empire begins to split in several states (Qin in the west, Qi in the east, Chu in the south and smaller ones)
350BC: the period of the "warring states" is characterized by coins, iron weapons, public works (canals, walls)
334BC: The state of Chu destroys the state of Yueh in the south
286BC: The Qi destroy the state of Sung
256BC: the Qin depose the last Zhou emperor, the Zhou dynasty ends after over 800 years of rule
249BC: The state of Chu destroys the state of Lu in the north
246BC: A boy (later renamed Qin Shi Huangdi) ascends to the throne of Qin, assisted by Lu Pu-wei
237BC: Lu Pu-wei is replaced by Li Ssu as prime minister of Qin
221BC: Qin Shi Huangdi of the Qin state conquers all of China and becomes the first emperor of China (first Great Wall of China, about 5,000 kms)
213BC: Shi Huangdi outlaws all schools of thought except the legalist one, burns thousands of books and buries alive 346 scholars
210BC: Shi Huangdi is buried in a colossal tomb near Xian, surrounded by thousands of terracotta soldiers, while Li Ssu chooses a new successor who is incompetent
209BC: Uprisings erupt throughout the Qin empire
207BC: Liu Pang, a man of humble origins, seizes the Wei Valley (base of Qin power)
206BC: The aristocrat Hsian Yu, a descendant of the Chu, defeats the Qin
202BC: Liu Pang defeats Hsian Yu, assumes the name Gaozu and founds the Han dynasty with capital in Xian
200BC: Mao-tun unites the Turkic-speaking Huns (Xiongnu, Hsiung-nu) in Central Asia around Lake Bajkal and southeastern Mongolia
195BC: Liu Pang dies and one of his consorts become empress Lu Zhi
180BC: The empress Lu dies
176BC: the Huns attack eastern China
154BC: The Han emperor defeats seven rebellious kings
141BC: Wu-ti/ Wu Di becomes emperor and adopts an expansionist policy
140BC: Han emperor Wu-ti conducts campaigns against the Huns
139BC: Han emperor Wu Di dispatches Zhang Qian/ Chang-Ch'ien to Central Asia
121BC: China defeats the Huns
121BC: Chinese invent the magic lantern
115BC: Han emperor Wu Di dispatches Zhang Qian/ Chang-Ch'ien to Central Asia again (second journey)
111BC: Wu Di destroys the South Yuen state
108BC: Wu Di invades North Korea and south Manchuria
106BC: the Silk Road is inaugurated (a treaty between Chinese emperor Wu-Ti/Wu Di and Parthian king Mithridates II)
104BC: a Chinese army briefly invades the Fergana Valley (Uzbekistan)
87BC: Han emperor Wu-ti dies having achieved a vast territorial expansion and building a strong and centralized Confucian state
57 BC: a kingdom is established in the Silla region of south Korea with capital in Kyongju
51 BC: the Hsiung-nu/Xiongnu split into two hordes, with the eastern (southern) horde surrendering to China
22 BC: Uprisings against the Han
2 AD: the Han empire has 57 million people, the most populous country in the world
9 AD: Wang Mang deposes the empress and tries to start a new dynasty
25 AD: Wang Mang is removed from power by Liu Hsiu (Kuang Wu Di)
48 AD: the Hsiung-nu empire is defeated by the Han and dissolves
57 AD: Ming Di becomes emperor
68 AD: Buddhism is introduced in China
68 AD: Youstol Dispage
73 AD: Ming Di sends Ban Chao to conquer Central Asia
88 AD: Empress Dowager Tou appoints her brother Tou Hsien as emperor
89 AD: The Tou family of the empress is exterminated
97 AD: Chinese general Pan Chao sends an embassy to the Roman Empire
105 AD: Cai Lun/Tsai Luns invents paper
132 AD: Emperor Shun chooses Liang Na/ Shunlie as empress
141 AD: The empress' brother Liang Ji is appointed prime minister
144 AD: Emperor Shun dies and his toddler son Liu Bing/ Chong becomes emperor, with Liang Na as empress dowager
145 AD: Emperor Chong dies and Liang Na and Liang Ji appoint the child Liu Zuan as emperor
146 AD: Liang Ji poisons emperor Liu Zuan and appoints 14-year-old Liu Zhi/ Huan as emperor, with Liang Na still regent
150 AD: Empress dowager Liang Na dies but Liang Ji continues to exert power
160 AD: The Liang family of the empress is exterminated by emperor Huan
165 AD: Confucian classics are carved into rows of stones to protect them from natural disasters
166 AD: The imperial eunuchs carry out purges to eliminate political enemies
169 AD: The imperial eunuchs carry out a second wave of purges to eliminate political enemies
184 AD: Revolt of the "Yellow Turbans" who believe that the end of the world is approaching
190: the Chinese invent the abacus
220: a new wave of invasions by the Hsiung-nu cause population movement to the south (from the Yellow River to the Yangze in the south) and the Han dynasty collapses, allowing three kingdoms to appear: Wei in the north (founded by Wei Wen Di), Shu in Szechuan (founded by Liu Bei) and Wu in the south (founded by Sun Quan)
221: Liu Bei founds a dynasty in Chengdu
263: Wei general Wudi takes Chengdu and annexes Shu
265: Wei general Wudi stages a coup and founds the Western Qin dynasty
290: Wudi dies and the Western Qin kingdom falls apart
316: The Hsiung-nu destroy Luoyang and found the Chao dynasty
317: The Qin move their capital from Luoyang to Nanjing/Nanking and start the Eastern Qin dynasty
351: Tibetan general Fu Chien founds a dynasty in Xian
366: Buddhists begin the Mogao caves near Dunhuang
372: Buddhism is introduced from China into the kingdom of Koguryo (Korea)
386: Chinese astronomers witness a supernova
391: Kwanggaeto becomes emperor of Koguryo
386: The Northern Wei dynasty is established by the barbarian tribe of Topa with capital in Datong
420: Qin general Liu Yu stages a coup and causes the collapse of the Eastern Qin dynasty
427: Koguryo moves the capital to Pyongyang
439: The Northern Wei unifies northern China
444: Northern Wei adopts Daosim as official religion
446: Buddhist persecutions in Northern Wei
465: Buddhists begin the Yungang caves near Datong in China (Northern Wei)
485: Northern Wei introduces the "equal field" system
493: The Northern Wei move their capital from Datong to Luoyang
494: Buddhists begin the Longmen caves near Luoyang in China (Northern Wei)
520: Bodhidharma popularizes Chan/ Zen Buddhism
514: Pophung becomes emperor of Koguryo
527: the Korean kingdom of Paekche builds the Buddhist temple Taetong-sa in the capital Ungjin (Kongju)
538: the Korean kingdom of Paekche dispatches a delegation to introduce Buddhism to the Japanese emperor
551: Silla seizes territory from Koguryo
552: the Turks conquer the Rouran state and establish the Ashina Kaghanate
553: the Korean kingdom of Silla builds the Buddhist temple Hwangnyong-sa in the capital Kumsong (Kyongju)
557: The Northern Zhou establish themselves in Xian
574: Buddhist persecutions in Northern Zhou
581: A general usurps the throne of Northern Zhou and founds the Sui dynasty, and builds a new capital in Changan/Xian
589: The Sui re-unify China
602: Tibet is unified under Namri Songtsen
604: Yang Di becomes emperor of Sui
608: Sui emperor Yangdi orders the construction of a Grand Canal between Rongyang and the region of Beijing
612: The Sui are defeated by the Korean kingdom of Koguryo
615: The Sui are defeated by the Eastern Turks
617: Li Shih-min conquers the Sui capital of Xian and overthrows the Sui dynasty
618: Li Shih-min appoints his father Li Yuan as first emperor of a new dynasty, Tang, with capital still in Xian
626: Li Shih-min deposes his father and appoints himself as Tang emperor Tai Tsung/ Taizong
629: the eastern Ashina kaghanate is defeated by the Tang
629: Tibet expands to Nepal under Songtsen Gampo
630: The Tang conquer the Eastern Turks
643: Buddhist pilgrim Hiuan-tsang/ Xuanzang brings sanskrit manuscripts from India to China
648: The Tang conquer the Western Turks (the Tarim basin) and the Uighurs become allies of the Tang
649: Tang emperor Tai Tsung/Taizong dies and is succeeded by Kao Tsung
650: the Tang dynasty extends the boundaries of China west into Afghanistan, north into Siberia, east into Korea and south into Vietnam, golden age of art and literature (ideal of the universal man, combining the qualities of scholar, poet, painter, statesman)
650: Acupuncture is invented
655: Kao Tsung's wife Wu is the de facto ruler of the Tang and scientifically exterminates the aristocracy
659: The western Ashina kaghanate is defeated by the Tang
668: Silla, with the help of the Tang, conquers Koguryo and Paekche, thereby uniting the whole of Korea, with capital in Kyongju, but becomes a vassal of the Tang
682: Elterish rebels to the Chinese and founds a second Turk Kaghanate
690: Kao Tsung's empress Wu assumes power
705: Empress Wu is deposed by a coup
712: Hsuan Tsung/Xuangzong becomes emperor after seven years of chaos
713: The first ambassador from the Islamic caliphate visits the emperor of China
714: Guangzhou port opens to Muslim traders
725: Xian is probably the largest city in the world
744: the Turk Kaghanate collapses and the Uigur empire is founded in Mongolia with capital in Ordubalik
751: the Arabs defeat the Chinese at the battle of the Talas River (in the Fergana valley)
751: Korean prime Minister Kim Tae-song orders the construction of the Buddhist cave temple Sokkuram at Mount Toham
755: Governor An Lu-shan of Sogdian origins, protected by empress Yang Kuei-fei, leads a rebellion and captures Xian
756: Xuangzong abdicates
757: An Lu-shan is killed by his son
758: Muslims raid Canton/Guangzhou
762: The Tang army restores order with help from the Uighurs
763: Tibetans sack of Chinese capital Xian
780: The Double Tax system is introduced that taxes land and not individuals
781: Tibetans occupy Dunhuang
811: "Flying money" (paper money) is introduced in China to pay for goods in distant places
821: Peace treaty between Tibet and China
842: The Tibetan emperor Langdarma is assassinated and the empire disintegrates
844: Persecution of Buddhism by the Tang (40 thousand temples and more than four thousand monasteries are destroyed)
846: the Kirghiz drive the Uighurs west to the Tarim Basin
868: the Diamond Sutra (Jingang Jing) is printed (oldest extant book in 2000)
874: An uprising in the north
875: Peasant uprising led by Haung Chao in the south
878: Muslims are massacred in Canton/Guangzhou
884: A general of Turkish origins quells the uprising in the north
907: A northern general usurps the throne and terminates the Tang dynasty
907: Hangzhou is made capital of the kingdom of Wuyse under Qian Liu
918: Wang Kon terminates the Silla dynasty in Korea and founds the Goryeo dynasty
932: the Turkic Qarakhanid dynasty is founded in Kashgar
932: Qian Liu dies
932: Chinese official Fang Tao commissions block printing of the 130 vlumes of the Confucian classics
936: Wang Kon unifies Korea and moves the capital north to Songdo (Kaesong)
938: the Vietnamese repel the Chinese at the battle of Bach Dang
947: The Khitan found the Liao dynasty in northern China with five capitals
960: general Tai Tsu usurps the throne and founds the Song dynasty
971: Guangzhou is annexed by the Song
979: The Song dynasty under Tai Tsung re-unifies China
1000: Kaifeng is the largest city in the world with about one million inhabitants
1004: The Liao in the north defeat the Song and carve out their independent state
1024: The Northern Song issue the first paper money (in Chengdu)
1035: Thousands of Buddhist scriptures are hidden in Dunhuang to save it form a Tibetan invasion
TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
1041: Bi Sheng invents the printing press with movable type
1038: Tibetan tribes founds the Hsia/Xia state in notheast China with capital on the Yellow River
1044: The Hsia/Xia in the nothwest defeat the Song
1052: Uprising in Guangzhou
1067: Shen Tsung becomes emperor
1069: Shen Tsung appoints Wang Anshih as prime minister who launches economic and military reforms
1085: Shen Tsung dies and Wang Anshih's reforms are undone
1087: the Korean court has the entire Tripitaka carved in woodblocks
1092: Lu Dalin publishes the first archeological treatise
1100: Hui Tsung becomes emperor
1114: the Jurchen/Nuzhen (Manchu) rebel against the Liao
1115: the Jurchen/Nuzhen (Manchu) invade from the north and establish the Jin dynasty with capital in Beijing
1120: uprising of Fang-La
1124: The Khitan found the Karakhitai empire in East Turkestan
1125: the Jurchen/Jin destroy the Liao
1126: the Jurchen/Jin conquer the Song's capital of Kaifeng and the Song move their capital to Hangzhou in the south
1127: Gaozong/ Kao Tsung becomes Song emperor
1130: The kingdom of Qi is created in the central plains
1130: Peasant uprising by Zhong Xian in the lower Yangtze
1135: Song general Yue Fei puts down Zhong Xian's rebellion
1137: Song general Yue Fei destroys the kingdom of Qi
1138: The Song establish a new capital at Huangzhou
1141: Song signs a peace treaty with the Qin accepting the role of vassal
1161: Qin invades south China of Song
1162: Gaozong is deposed
1234: Mongols led by Ogodai Khagan conquer northern China and expel the Jurchen
1264: the Mongols invade China and Kublai Khan founds the Yuan dynasty and moves the capital from Karakorum to Khanbaligh (Beijing)
1266: the Polo brothers travel from Venezia to China
1275: Hangzhou has 1.7 million people
1279: Mongols complete the conquest of entire China and terminate the Song dynasty
1284: the Uighur empire is absorbed by the Mongols
1330: An outbreak of bubonic plague kills thousands of people
1356: Peasant uprising led by Zhu Yuangzhang that captures Nanjing
1368: the Ming dynasty is founded by a Chinese peasant and former Buddhist monk turned rebel, Zhu Yuanzhang/ Chu Yuanchang/ Hongwu, under whose leadership China regains independence from the Mongols
1368: the renovation of the Great Wall of China is begun
1380: Hongwu disbands the central administration and assumes absolute powers
1389: the Uigurs convert to Islam
1392: Yi Song-gye seizes power, terminates the Goryeo/ Koryo dynasty dynasty, founds the Yi/Choson dynasty and moves the capital to Seoul
1392: end of the Goryeo dynasty in Korea and beginning of the Joseon dynasty
1398: Yi Song-gye abdicates in Korea
1400: Taejong becomes emperor of Korea
1403: Yongle/ Yung-lo/ Zhu Di/ Chengzu becomes the third emperor of Ming China after a civil war
1405: Zheng He/ Cheng Ho (a former Muslim slave) sails west with a fleet of 300 ships, invading Sumatra and Ceylon and eventually reaching the coast of Africa
1418: Taejong of Korea dies and is succeeded by Sejong
1420: The third Ming emperor Yong Le/ Yung Lo moves the capital from Nanjing to Beijing
1421: construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing
1424: Ming emperor Yongle/ Yung-lo dies
1433: Shipbuilding is halted and sea travel forbidden
1446: Korean king Sejong enacts the official Korean alphabet Hangui of 14 consonants and ten vowels
1455: Sejo becomes emperor of Korea
1468: Sejo of Korea dies
1469: Songjong, a child, becomes emperor of Korea
1500: 100 million live in the Ming empire
1550: the renovation of the Great Wall of China is completed
1556: an earthquake kills 800,000 people in Shensi
1557: Portugal establishes a trading post in Macao (first European settlement in the Far East)
1557: Pirate Wang Zhi is captured and killed
1567: uprising of the White Lotus secret society in Chungking
1573: The Mongol emperor invites the Dalai Lama of Tibet to the Mongol capital of Altan Khan and begins conversion of Mongolia to Buddhism
1583: Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci arrives in China
1592: Japan invades Korea and destroys dozens of temples
1592: Huang Taiji seizes power in Manchuria and founds the Qing dynasty with capital in Shenyang
1598: China expels the Japanese from Korea
1600: the Chinese empire is the largest nation in the world
1616: Nurhachi unifies the Jurchen (Manchus) and creates the state of Jin/Qing in northeastern China
1620: A 15-year old boy ascends to the Ming throne and the eunuch Wei Zhongxian/ Wei Chung-hsien is the de facto ruler of China
1622: The Jesuit Johannes-Adam Schall moves to China and becomes the favorite astronomer of the emperor
1623: A military coup installs the "Westerners" in Korea
1625: The Qing move their capital south to Mukden
1626: Spain begins colonizing Formosa/Taiwan
1626: Nurhachi dies and the empress Abahai/ Xiao Lie Wu is forced to commit suicide, while power shifts to his eighth son Hong Taiji
1628: A peasant, Li Zicheng/ Li Tzu-cheng, starts a rebellion against the Ming
1636: Qing emperor Hong Taiji changes the name of his people from Jurchen to Manchu ("pure")
1637: the Manchus invade Korea and Korea becomes a vassal state of the Manchus
1642: Holland seizes Formosa/Taiwan from Spain
1643: Qing emperor Hong Taiji dies and is succeeded by Dorgon, regent for Hong Taiji's six-year old son Fulin,
1644: Li Zicheng/ Li Tzu-cheng, who controls northwestern China, sacks Beijing and overthrow the Ming, and general Wu Sangui asks the Manchu for help
1644: the Manchus, led by Dorgon, invade northern China and take Beijing, establishing the Qing dynasty, while general Wu Sangui and two other generals create their own states in the south
1650: Koxinga (Kuo Hsing Yeh), refusing to submit to the Manchus, founds a pro-Ming kingdom in the South China Seas
1658: Koxinga retreats to Formosa/Taiwan with more than 1,000 scholars and artists
1661: Koxinga expels the Dutch from Formosa/Taiwan
1661: Kangxi, still a child, ascends to the throne of the Manchu/Qing but real power is in the hand of prime minister Oboi
1663: Tainan is declared capital of Formosa/Taiwan
1668: Chinese immigration to Manchuria is banned by the Manchus
1669: Kangxi throws Oboi into jail and assumes real power
1673: Wu Sangui and the other two states in the south rebel against the Qing
1681: Wu Sangui is defeated by the Qing
1683: Koxinga's grandson Zheng Keshuang cedes Formosa (Taiwan) to the Manchus
1685: Guangzhou opens to foreign trade
1689: China signs a border treaty with Russia (first bilateral agreement with a European power), the treaty of Nerchinsk, to settle the border between Russian Siberia and Chinese Manchuria, declaring Outer Mongolia a neutral land (partition of the steppe world between Russia and China)
1696: The Qing defeats the barbarian Galdan of Eastern Turkestan, supported by Tibet, at the battle of Urga
1699: Britain opens a trading post in Canton
1708: Jesuit missionaries draw the first accurate map of China
1715: East India Company opens offices in Guangzhou
1722: Qing emperor Kangxi
1723: Yongzheng becomes Qing emperor
1724: Yongzheng persecutes the Jesuits
1724: Yongjo becomes emperor of Korea
1727: Russia and China sign the treaty of Kyakhta, defining their border and granting Russia a trading post in Kyakhta
1728: France establishes a trading post in Canton
1729: the emperor issues a decree banning the sale of opium
1736: Yongzheng dies and his fourth son Qianlong becomes emperor
1750: Dream of the Red Chamber
1757: China invades eastern Turkestan
1760: all foreign trade is confined to Guangzhou
1766: The Qing send troops to Burma
1776: Yongjo dies and his grandson Chongjo becomes emperor of Korea
1777: The corrupt Heshen becomes influential on the Qing emperor
1785: Korea bans Christianity because it disapproves of ancestor worship:w
1787: the Qing send troops to quell a rebellion in Taiwan
1790: The Qing send troops into Nepal
1795: Qianlong abdicates in favor of his son Jiaqing
1796: The "White Lotus Rebellion" against the Qing
1799: Qianlong dies and Heshen loses his power

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Click here for modern China.

Xia Dynasty 21-16th c. BC
2070-1600 BC
Shang Dynasty 16th-1066 BC
1600-1046 BC
Western Zhou 1066-770 BC
1046 - 771 BC
Eastern Zhou 770-256 BC
Spring & Autumn 722-481 BC
Warring States 403-221 BC
Qin State 900s?-221 BC
Qin Dynasty 221-206 BC
Western Han 206 BC-23 AD
Xin (New) 9-23 AD
Western Han 23-25 AD
Eastern Han 25-220
Three Kingdoms Wei 220-265
Three Kingdoms Shu 221-263
Three Kingdoms Wu 222-280
Western Jin 265-316
Eastern Jin 317-420
16 Nations 304-420
Cheng Han Di 301-347
Hun Han (Zhao) Hun 304-329 ss
Anterior Liang Chinese 317-376
Posterior Zhao Jiehu 319-352 ss
Anterior Qin Di 351-394 ss
Anterior Yan Xianbei 337-370
Posterior Yan Xianbei 384-409
Posterior Qin Qiang 384-417 ss
Western Qin ss Xianbei 385-431
Posterior Liang Di 386-403
Southern Liang Xianbei 397-414
Northern Liang Hun 397-439
Southern Yan Xianbei 398-410
Western Liang Chinese 400-421
Xia Hun 407-431 ss
Northern Yan Chinese 409-436
North Dynasties 386-581
Northern Wei 386-534
Eastern Wei 534-550
Western Wei 535-557
Northern Qi 550-577
Northern Zhou 557-581
South Dynasties 420-589
Liu Song 420-479
Southern Qi 479-502
Liang 502-557
Chen 557-589
Sui Dynasty 581-618
Tang Dynasty 618-907
Five Dynasties 907-960
Posterior Liang 907-923
Posterior Tang 923-936
Posterior Jin 936-946
Posterior Han 947-950
Posterior Zhou 951-960
10 Kingdoms 902-979
Wu 902-937 Nanjing/Nanking
Shu 907-925 Sichuan
Nan-Ping 907-963 Hubei
Wu-Yueh 907-978 Zhejiang
Min 907-946 Fukien
Southern Han 907-971 Canton
Chu 927-956 Hunan
Later Shu 934-965 Sichuan
Southern Tang 937-975 Nanjing/Nanking
Northern Han 951-979 Shaanxi
Khitan Liao 907-1125
Northern Sung 960-1127
Southern Sung 1127-1279
Western Xia 1032-1227
Jurchen Jin (Gold) 1115-1234
Mongol Yuan 1279-1368
Ming Dynasty 1368-1644
Manchu Qing 1644-1911
Republic 1912-1949 Beijing
Taiwan 1949-present Taipei
Communists 1949-present Beijing

(Excerpted from Ugly Chinese)

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(Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi)