|Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC|
|Xia c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC|
|Shang c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC|
|Zhou c. 1046 – 256 BC|
|Spring and Autumn|
|Qin 221–207 BC|
|Han 202 BC – 220 AD|
|Three Kingdoms 220–280|
|Wei , Shu and Wu|
|Eastern Jin||Sixteen Kingdoms|
| Northern and Southern dynasties |
|(Wu Zhou 690–705)|
| Five Dynasties and|
|Northern Song||Western Xia|
|Southern Song||Jin||Western Liao|
|Republic of China on the mainland 1912–1949|
|People's Republic of China 1949–present|
|Republic of China in Taiwan 1949–present|
Dynasties in Chinese history, or Chinese dynasties, were hereditary monarchical regimes that ruled over China during much of its history. From the inauguration of dynastic rule by Yu the Great in circa 2070 BC to the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor on 12 February 1912 in the wake of the Xinhai Revolution, China was ruled by a series of successive dynasties.Dynasties of China were not limited to those established by ethnic Han—the dominant Chinese ethnic group—and its predecessor, the Huaxia tribal confederation, but also included those founded by non-Han peoples.
Dividing Chinese history into periods ruled by dynasties is a convenient method of periodization.Accordingly, a dynasty may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, as well as to describe events, trends, personalities, artistic compositions, and artifacts of that period. For example, porcelain made during the Ming dynasty may be referred to as "Ming porcelain". The word "dynasty" is usually omitted when making such adjectival references.
The longest-reigning orthodox dynasty of China was the Zhou dynasty, ruling for a total length of 789 years, albeit it is divided into the Western Zhou and the Eastern Zhou in Chinese historiography, and its power was drastically reduced during the latter part of its rule.The largest orthodox Chinese dynasty in terms of territorial size was either the Yuan dynasty or the Qing dynasty, depending on the historical source.
Chinese dynasties often referred to themselves as " Tiāncháo " (天朝; "Celestial Dynasty" or "Heavenly Dynasty"). As a form of respect and subordination, Chinese tributary states referred to Chinese dynasties as "Tiāncháo Shàngguó" (天朝上國; "Celestial Dynasty of the Lofty State") or "Tiāncháo Dàguó" (天朝大國; "Celestial Dynasty of the Great State").
In the Chinese language, the character "cháo" (朝) originally meant "morning" and "today". Politically, the word is taken to refer to the regime of the incumbent ruler.
The following is a list of terms associated with the concept of dynasty in Chinese historiography:
As the founder of China's first orthodox dynasty, the Xia dynasty, Yu the Great is conventionally regarded as the inaugurator of dynastic rule in China. 家天下; "All under Heaven belongs to the ruling family"), was in contrast to the pre-Xia notion of gōng tiānxià (公天下; "All under Heaven belongs to the public") whereby leadership succession was non-hereditary.In the Chinese dynastic system, sovereign rulers theoretically possessed absolute power and private ownership of the realm, even though in practice their actual power was dependent on numerous factors. By tradition, the Chinese throne was inherited exclusively by members of the male line, but there were numerous cases whereby the consort kins came to possess de facto power at the expense of the monarchs. This concept, known as jiā tiānxià (
The rise and fall of dynasties is a prominent feature of Chinese history. Some scholars have attempted to explain this phenomenon by attributing the success and failure of dynasties to the morality of the rulers, while others have focused on the tangible aspects of monarchical rule.This method of explanation has come to be known as the dynastic cycle.
Dynastic transitions (改朝換代; gǎi cháo huàn dài) in the history of China occurred primarily through two ways: military conquest and usurpation. The supersession of the Liao dynasty by the Jin dynasty was achieved following a series of successful military campaigns, as was the later unification of China proper under the Yuan dynasty; on the other hand, the transition from the Eastern Han to the Cao Wei, as well as from the Southern Qi to the Liang dynasty, were cases of usurpation. Oftentimes, usurpers would seek to portray their predecessors as having relinquished the throne willingly—a process called shànràng ( 禪讓 ; "voluntary abdication")—as a means to legitimize their rule.
One might incorrectly infer from viewing historical timelines that transitions between dynasties occurred abruptly and roughly. Rather, new dynasties were often established before the complete overthrow of an existing regime.For example, AD 1644 is frequently cited as the year in which the Qing dynasty succeeded the Ming dynasty in possessing the Mandate of Heaven. However, the Qing dynasty was officially proclaimed in AD 1636 by the Emperor Taizong of Qing through renaming the Later Jin established by his father the Emperor Taizu of Qing in AD 1616, while the Ming imperial family would rule the Southern Ming until AD 1662. The Ming loyalist Kingdom of Tungning based in Taiwan continued to oppose the Qing until AD 1683. Meanwhile, other factions also fought for control over China during the Ming–Qing transition, most notably the Shun and the Xi dynasties proclaimed by Li Zicheng and Zhang Xianzhong respectively. This change of ruling houses was a convoluted and prolonged affair, and the Qing took almost two decades to extend their rule over the entirety of China proper.
Similarly, during the earlier Sui–Tang transition, numerous regimes established by rebel forces vied for control and legitimacy as the power of the ruling Sui dynasty weakened. Autonomous regimes that existed during this period of upheaval included, but not limited to, Wei (魏; by Li Mi), Qin (秦; by Xue Ju), Qi (齊; by Gao Tancheng), Xu (許; by Yuwen Huaji), Liang (梁; by Shen Faxing), Liang (梁; by Liang Shidu), Xia (夏; by Dou Jiande), Zheng (鄭; by Wang Shichong), Chu (楚; by Zhu Can), Chu (楚; by Lin Shihong), Yan (燕; by Gao Kaidao), and Song (宋; by Fu Gongshi). The Tang dynasty that superseded the Sui launched a decade-long military campaign to reunify China proper.
Frequently, remnants and descendants of previous dynasties were either purged or granted noble titles in accordance with the Èr Wáng Sān Kè ( 二王三恪 ; "two crownings, three respects") system. The latter served as a means for the reigning dynasty to claim legitimate succession from earlier dynasties. For example, the Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei was accorded the title "Prince of Zhongshan" by the Emperor Wenxuan of Northern Qi following the latter's deposition of the former. Similarly, Chai Yong, a nephew of the Emperor Shizong of Later Zhou, was conferred the title "Duke of Chongyi" by the Emperor Renzong of Song; other descendants of the Later Zhou ruling family came to inherit the noble title thereafter.
According to Chinese historiographical tradition, each new dynasty would compose the history of the preceding dynasty, culminating in the Twenty-Four Histories .This tradition was maintained even after the Xinhai Revolution overthrew the Qing dynasty in favor of the Republic of China. However, the attempt by the Republicans to draft the history of the Qing was disrupted by the Chinese Civil War, which resulted in the political division of China into the People's Republic of China on mainland China and the Republic of China on Taiwan.
Dynastic rule in China collapsed in AD 1912 when the Republic of China superseded the Qing dynasty following the success of the Xinhai Revolution.While there were attempts after the Xinhai Revolution to reinstate dynastic rule in China, they were unsuccessful at consolidating their rule and gaining political legitimacy.
During the Xinhai Revolution, there were numerous proposals advocating for the replacement of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty by a new dynasty of Han ethnicity. Kong Lingyi ( 孔令貽 ), the Duke of Yansheng and a 76th-generation descendant of Confucius, was identified as a potential candidate for Chinese emperorship by Liang Qichao. Meanwhile, gentry in Anhui and Hebei supported a restoration of the Ming dynasty under Zhu Yuxun (朱煜勳), the Marquis of Extended Grace. Both suggestions were ultimately rejected.
The Empire of China (AD 1915–1916) proclaimed by Yuan Shikai sparked the National Protection War, resulting in the premature collapse of the regime 101 days later.The Manchu Restoration (AD 1917) was an unsuccessful attempt at reviving the Qing dynasty, lasting merely 11 days. Similarly, the Manchukuo (AD 1932–1945; monarchy since AD 1934), a puppet state of the Empire of Japan during World War II with limited diplomatic recognition, is not regarded as a legitimate regime. Ergo, historians usually consider the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor on 12 February 1912 as the end of the Chinese dynastic system. Dynastic rule in China lasted almost four millennia.
China was politically divided during multiple periods in its history, with different regions ruled by different dynasties. These dynasties effectively functioned as separate states with their own court and political institutions. Political division existed during the Three Kingdoms, the Sixteen Kingdoms, the Northern and Southern dynasties, and the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms periods, among others.
Relations between Chinese dynasties during periods of division often revolved around political legitimacy, which was derived from the doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven. 正統 ; zhèngtǒng) are termed cháo (朝; "dynasty"); "illegitimate" or "unorthodox" regimes are referred to as guó (國; usually translated as either "state" or "kingdom" ), even if these regimes were dynastic in nature. The issue of political legitimacy pertaining to some of these dynasties remains contentious in modern academia.Dynasties ruled by ethnic Han would proclaim rival dynasties founded by other ethnicities as illegitimate, usually justified based on the concept of Hua–Yi distinction. On the other hand, many dynasties of non-Han origin saw themselves as the legitimate dynasty of China and often sought to portray themselves as the true inheritor of Chinese culture and history. Traditionally, only regimes deemed as "legitimate" or "orthodox" (
Such legitimacy dispute existed during the following periods:
Traditionally, periods of disunity often resulted in heated debates among officials and historians over which prior dynasties could and should be considered orthodox, given that it was politically imperative for the current dynasty to present itself as being linked in an unbroken lineage of moral and political authority back to ancient times. However, the Northern Song statesman Ouyang Xiu propounded that such orthodoxy existed in a state of limbo during fragmented periods and was restored after political unification was achieved.From this perspective, the Song dynasty possessed legitimacy by virtue of its ability to end the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period despite not having succeeded the orthodoxy from the Later Zhou. Similarly, Ouyang considered the concept of orthodoxy to be in oblivion during the Three Kingdoms, the Sixteen Kingdoms, and the Northern and Southern dynasties periods.
As most Chinese historiographical sources uphold the idea of unilineal dynastic succession, only one dynasty could be considered orthodox at any given time.Most modern sources consider the legitimate line of succession to be as follows:
These historical legitimacy disputes are similar to the modern competing claims of legitimacy by the People's Republic of China based in Beijing and the Republic of China based in Taipei. Both regimes formally adhere to the One-China policy and claim to be the sole legitimate representative of the whole of China.
There were several groups of Chinese dynasties that were ruled by families with patrilineal relations, yet due to various reasons these regimes are considered to be separate dynasties and given distinct retroactive names for historiographical purpose. Such conditions as differences in their official dynastic title and fundamental changes having occurred to their rule would create the need for nomenclatural distinction, despite these dynasties sharing common ancestral origins.
Additionally, numerous other dynasties claimed descent from earlier dynasties as a calculated political move to obtain or enhance their legitimacy, even if such claims were unfounded.
The agnatic relations of the following groups of Chinese dynasties are typically recognized by historians:
The Central Plain is a vast area on the lower reaches of the Yellow River which formed the cradle of Chinese (Han) civilization. "Central Plain dynasties" ( 中原王朝 ; Zhōngyuán wángcháo) refer to dynasties of China that had their capital cities situated within the Central Plain. This term could refer to dynasties of both Han and non-Han ethnic origins.
"Unified dynasties" (大一統王朝; dàyītǒng wángcháo) refer to dynasties of China, regardless of their ethnic origin, that achieved the unification of China proper. "China proper" is a region generally regarded as the traditional heartland of the Han people, and is not equivalent to the term "China". Imperial dynasties that had attained the unification of China proper may be known as the "Chinese Empire" or the "Empire of China" (中華帝國; Zhōnghuá Dìguó).
The concept of "great unity" or "grand unification" (大一統; dàyītǒng) was first mentioned in the Gongyang Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals that was supposedly authored by the Qi scholar Gongyang Gao. Other prominent figures like Confucius and Mencius also elaborated on this concept in their respective works.
Historians typically consider the following dynasties to have unified China proper ("Central Plain" (中原)): the Qin dynasty, the Western Han, the Xin dynasty, the Eastern Han, the Western Jin, the Sui dynasty, the Tang dynasty, the Wu Zhou, the Northern Song, the Yuan dynasty, the Ming dynasty, and the Qing dynasty.The status of the Northern Song as a unified dynasty is disputed among historians as the Sixteen Prefectures of Yan and Yun were partially administered by the contemporaneous Liao dynasty while the Western Xia exercised partial control over Hetao; the Northern Song, in this sense, did not truly achieve the unification of China proper.
"Conquest dynasties" (征服王朝; zhēngfú wángcháo) refer to dynasties of China founded by non-Han peoples that ruled parts or all of China proper. This term was first coined by the historian and sinologist Karl August Wittfogel and remains a source of controversy among scholars who believe that Chinese history should be analyzed and understood from a multiethnic and multicultural perspective. For instance, the Northern Wei and the Qing dynasty, established by the Xianbei and Manchu ethnicities respectively, are considered conquest dynasties of China.
It was customary for Chinese monarchs to adopt an official name for the realm, known as the guóhào ( 國號 ; "name of the state"), upon the establishment of a dynasty. During the rule of a dynasty, its guóhào functioned as the formal name of the state, both internally and for diplomatic purposes.
The formal name of Chinese dynasties was usually derived from one of the following sources:
There were instances whereby the official name was changed during the reign of a dynasty. For example, the dynasty known retroactively as Southern Han initially used the name "Yue", only to be renamed to "Han" subsequently.
The official title of several dynasties bore the character "dà" (大; "great"). In Yongzhuang Xiaopin by the Ming historian Zhu Guozhen, it was claimed that the first dynasty to do so was the Yuan dynasty. However, several sources like the History of Liao and the History of Jin compiled by the Yuan historian Toqto'a revealed that the official dynastic name of some earlier dynasties such as the Liao and the Jin also contained the character "dà". It was also common for officials, subjects, or tributary states of a particular dynasty to include the term "dà" (or an equivalent term in other languages) when referring to this dynasty as a form of respect, even if the official dynastic name did not include it. For instance, The Chronicles of Japan referred to the Tang dynasty as "Dai Tō" (大唐; "Great Tang") despite its dynastic name being simply "Tang".
While all dynasties of China sought to associate their respective realm with Zhōngguó (中國; "Central State"; usually translated as "Middle Kingdom" or "China" in English texts), none of these regimes officially used the term as their dynastic name. Although the Qing dynasty explicitly identified their state with and employed "Zhōngguó"—and its Manchu equivalent "Dulimbai Gurun" (ᡩᡠᠯᡳᠮᠪᠠᡳ
ᡤᡠᡵᡠᠨ)—in official capacity in numerous international treaties beginning with the Treaty of Nerchinsk dated AD 1689, its dynastic name had remained the "Great Qing". "Zhōngguó", which has become nearly synonymous with "China" in modern times, is a concept with geographical, political, and cultural connotations.
The adoption of guóhào, as well as the importance assigned to it, had promulgated within the Sinosphere. Notably, rulers of Vietnam and Korea also declared guóhào for their respective realm.
In Chinese historiography, historians generally do not refer to dynasties directly by their official name. Instead, historiographical names, which were most commonly derived from their official name, are used. For instance, the Sui dynasty is known as such because its formal name was "Sui". Likewise, the Jin dynasty was officially the "Great Jin".
When more than one dynasty shared the same Chinese character(s) as their formal name, as was common in Chinese history, prefixes are retroactively applied to dynastic names by historians in order to distinguish between these similarly-named regimes.Frequently used prefixes include:
A dynasty could be referred to by more than one retroactive name in Chinese historiography, albeit some are more widely used than others. For instance, the Western Han is also known as the "Former Han", and the Yang Wu is also called the "Southern Wu".
Scholars usually make a historiographical distinction for dynasties whose rule were interrupted. For example, the Song dynasty is divided into the Northern Song and the Southern Song, with the Jingkang Incident as the dividing line; the original "Song" founded by the Emperor Taizu of Song was therefore differentiated from the "Song" restored under the Emperor Gaozong of Song.In such cases, the regime had collapsed, only to be re-established; a nomenclatural distinction between the original regime and the new regime is thus necessary for historiographical purpose. Major exceptions to this historiographical practice include the Western Qin and the Tang dynasty, which were interrupted by the Later Qin and the Wu Zhou respectively.
In Chinese sources, the term "dynasty" (朝; cháo) is usually omitted when referencing dynasties that have prefixes in their historiographical names. Such a practice is sometimes adopted in English usage, even though the inclusion of the word "dynasty" is also widely seen in English scholarly writings. For example, the Northern Zhou is also sometimes referred to as the "Northern Zhou dynasty".
Often, scholars would refer to a specific Chinese dynasty by adding the word "China" after the dynastic name. For instance, "Tang China" refers to the Chinese state under the rule of the Tang dynasty and the corresponding historical era.
While the earliest orthodox Chinese dynasties were established along the Yellow River and the Yangtze River in China proper, numerous Chinese dynasties later expanded beyond the region to encompass other territorial domains.
At various points in time, Chinese dynasties exercised control over China proper (including Hainan, Macau, and Hong Kong),Taiwan, Manchuria (both Inner Manchuria and Outer Manchuria), Sakhalin, Mongolia (both Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia), Vietnam, Tibet, Xinjiang, as well as parts of Central Asia, the Korean Peninsula, Afghanistan, and Siberia.
Territorially, the largest orthodox Chinese dynasty was either the Yuan dynasty or the Qing dynasty, depending on the historical source.This discrepancy can be mainly attributed to the ambiguous northern border of the Yuan realm: whereas some sources describe the Yuan border as located to the immediate north of the northern shore of Lake Baikal, others posit that the Yuan dynasty reached as far north as the Arctic coast. In contrast, the borders of the Qing dynasty were demarcated and reinforced through a series of international treaties, and thus were more well-defined.
Apart from exerting direct control over the Chinese realm, various dynasties of China also maintained hegemony over other states and tribes through the Chinese tributary system.The Chinese tributary system first emerged during the Western Han and lasted until the 19th century AD when the Sinocentric order broke down.
The modern territorial claims of both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China are inherited from the lands once held by the Qing dynasty at the time of its collapse.
This list includes only the major dynasties of China that are typically found in simplified forms of Chinese historical timelines. This list is neither comprehensive nor representative of Chinese history as a whole.
|Dynasty||Ruling house||Period of rule||Rulers|
(English / Chinese / Hanyu Pinyin / Wade–Giles / Bopomofo)
|Origin of name|| Surname |
(English / Chinese )
|Ethnicity||Status||Year||Term||Founder||Last monarch||List / Family tree|
| Xia dynasty |
|Tribal name||Si |
|Huaxia||Royal||2070–1600 BC||430 years||Yu of Xia||Jie of Xia||(list)|
| Shang dynasty |
|Huaxia||Royal||1600–1046 BC||554 years||Tang of Shang||Zhou of Shang||(list)|
| Western Zhou |
|Huaxia||Royal||1046–771 BC||275 years||Wu of Zhou||You of Zhou||(list)|
| Eastern Zhou |
|From Zhou dynasty||Ji|
|Huaxia||Royal||770–256 BC||514 years||Ping of Zhou||Nan of Zhou||(list)|
|Early Imperial China|
| Qin dynasty |
|221–207 BC||14 years||Qin Shi Huang||Qin San Shi||(list)|
| Western Han |
|Toponym & Noble title||Liu|
|Han||Imperial||202 BC–AD 9||211 years||Gao of Han||Liu Ying||(list)|
| Xin dynasty |
|Han||Imperial||AD 9–23||14 years||Wang Mang||Wang Mang||(list)|
| Eastern Han |
|From Han dynasty||Liu|
|Han||Imperial||AD 25–220||195 years||Guangwu of Han||Xian of Han||(list)|
| Three Kingdoms |
|AD 220–280||60 years||(list)|
| Cao Wei |
|Han||Imperial||AD 220–266||46 years||Wen of Cao Wei||Yuan of Cao Wei||(list)|
| Shu Han |
|From Han dynasty||Liu|
|Han||Imperial||AD 221–263||42 years||Zhaolie of Shu Han||Huai of Shu Han||(list)|
| Eastern Wu |
|AD 222–280||58 years||Da of Eastern Wu||Sun Hao||(list)|
| Western Jin |
|Han||Imperial||AD 266–316||50 years||Wu of Jin||Min of Jin||(list)|
| Eastern Jin |
|From Jin dynasty (AD 266–420)||Sima|
|Han||Imperial||AD 317–420||103 years||Yuan of Jin||Gong of Jin||(list)|
| Sixteen Kingdoms |
ㄕˊ ㄌㄧㄡˋ ㄍㄨㄛˊ
|AD 304–439||135 years||(list)|
| Han Zhao |
|Toponym & From Han dynasty||Liu |
|AD 304–329||25 years||Guangwen of Han Zhao||Liu Yao||(list)|
| Cheng Han |
|Toponym & From Han dynasty||Li|
|AD 304–347||43 years||Wu of Cheng Han||Li Shi||(list)|
| Later Zhao |
|AD 319–351||32 years||Ming of Later Zhao||Shi Zhi||(list)|
| Former Liang |
(AD 320–354, AD 355–363)
|AD 320–376||56 years||Cheng of Former Liang||Dao of Former Liang||(list)|
| Former Yan |
|AD 337–370||33 years||Wenming of Former Yan||You of Former Yan||(list)|
| Former Qin |
|Di||Imperial||AD 351–394||43 years||Jingming of Former Qin||Fu Chong||(list)|
| Later Yan |
|From Former Yan||Murong |
|AD 384–409||25 years||Chengwu of Later Yan|| Zhaowen of Later Yan |
Huiyi of Yan
| Later Qin |
|AD 384–417||33 years||Wuzhao of Later Qin||Yao Hong||(list)|
| Western Qin |
|Xianbei||Princely||AD 385–400, AD 409–431||37 years||Xuanlie of Western Qin||Qifu Mumo||(list)|
| Later Liang |
|AD 386–403||17 years||Yiwu of Later Liang||Lü Long||(list)|
| Southern Liang |
|Xianbei||Princely||AD 397–414||17 years||Wu of Southern Liang||Jing of Southern Liang||(list)|
| Northern Liang |
(AD 397–399, AD 401–412)
(AD 399–401, AD 412–439)
|AD 397–439||42 years||Duan Ye||Ai of Northern Liang||(list)|
| Southern Yan |
|From Former Yan||Murong|
|AD 398–410||12 years||Xianwu of Southern Yan||Murong Chao||(list)|
| Western Liang |
|Toponym|| Li |
|Han||Ducal||AD 400–421||21 years||Wuzhao of Western Liang||Li Xun||(list)|
| Hu Xia |
|From Xia dynasty||Helian |
|Xiongnu||Imperial||AD 407–431||24 years||Wulie of Hu Xia||Helian Ding||(list)|
| Northern Yan |
|From Former Yan||Feng |
|Han||Imperial||AD 407–436||29 years|| Huiyi of Yan |
Wencheng of Northern Yan
|Zhaocheng of Northern Yan||(list)|
| Northern dynasties |
|AD 386–581||195 years||(list)|
| Northern Wei |
|Toponym|| Tuoba |
|AD 386–535||149 years||Daowu of Northern Wei||Xiaowu of Northern Wei||(list)|
| Eastern Wei |
|From Northern Wei||Yuan |
|Xianbei||Imperial||AD 534–550||16 years||Xiaojing of Eastern Wei||Xiaojing of Eastern Wei||(list)|
| Western Wei |
|From Northern Wei||Yuan |
|Xianbei||Imperial||AD 535–557||22 years||Wen of Western Wei||Gong of Western Wei||(list)|
| Northern Qi |
|Han||Imperial||AD 550–577||27 years||Wenxuan of Northern Qi||Gao Heng||(list)|
| Northern Zhou |
|Xianbei||Imperial||AD 557–581||24 years||Xiaomin of Northern Zhou||Jing of Northern Zhou||(list)|
| Southern dynasties |
|AD 420–589||169 years||(list)|
| Liu Song |
|Han||Imperial||AD 420–479||59 years||Wu of Liu Song||Shun of Liu Song||(list)|
| Southern Qi |
|A prophecy on defeating the Liu clan||Xiao|
|Han||Imperial||AD 479–502||23 years||Gao of Southern Qi||He of Southern Qi||(list)|
| Liang dynasty |
|Han||Imperial||AD 502–557||55 years||Wu of Liang||Jing of Liang||(list)|
| Chen dynasty |
|Han||Imperial||AD 557–589||32 years||Wu of Chen||Chen Shubao||(list)|
|Middle Imperial China|
| Sui dynasty |
|Noble title ("随" homophone)||Yang |
|Han||Imperial||AD 581–619||38 years||Wen of Sui||Gong of Sui||(list)|
| Tang dynasty |
|Noble title|| Li |
|Han||Imperial||AD 618–690, AD 705–907||274 years||Gaozu of Tang||Ai of Tang||(list)|
| Wu Zhou |
|From Zhou dynasty||Wu|
|Han||Imperial||AD 690–705||15 years||Wu Zhao||Wu Zhao||(list)|
| Five Dynasties |
|AD 907–960||53 years||(list)|
| Later Liang |
|Han||Imperial||AD 907–923||16 years||Taizu of Later Liang||Zhu Youzhen||(list)|
| Later Tang |
|From Tang dynasty||Li |
|Shatuo||Imperial||AD 923–937||14 years||Zhuangzong of Later Tang||Li Congke||(list)|
| Later Jin |
|Shatuo||Imperial||AD 936–947||11 years||Gaozu of Later Jin||Chu of Later Jin||(list)|
| Later Han |
|From Han dynasty||Liu|
|Shatuo||Imperial||AD 947–951||4 years||Gaozu of Later Han||Yin of Later Han||(list)|
| Later Zhou |
|From Zhou dynasty||Guo |
|Han||Imperial||AD 951–960||9 years||Taizu of Later Zhou||Gong of Later Zhou||(list)|
| Ten Kingdoms |
|AD 907–979||62 years||(list)|
| Former Shu |
|Toponym / Noble title||Wang|
|Han||Imperial||AD 907–925||18 years||Gaozu of Former Shu||Wang Yan||(list)|
| Yang Wu |
|AD 907–937||30 years||Liezu of Yang Wu||Rui of Yang Wu||(list)|
| Ma Chu |
|AD 907–951||44 years||Wumu of Ma Chu||Ma Xichong||(list)|
| Wuyue |
(AD 907–932, AD 937–978)
|AD 907–978||71 years||Taizu of Wuyue||Zhongyi of Qin||(list)|
| Min |
(AD 909–933, AD 944–945)
(AD 933–944, AD 945)
|AD 909–945||36 years||Taizu of Min||Tiande||(list)|
| Southern Han |
|From Han dynasty||Liu|
|Han||Imperial||AD 917–971||54 years||Gaozu of Southern Han||Liu Chang||(list)|
| Jingnan |
|Han||Princely||AD 924–963||39 years||Wuxin of Chu||Gao Jichong||(list)|
| Later Shu |
|Han||Imperial||AD 934–965||31 years||Gaozu of Later Shu||Gongxiao of Chu||(list)|
| Southern Tang |
|From Tang dynasty||Li |
|AD 937–976||37 years||Liezu of Southern Tang||Li Yu||(list)|
| Northern Han |
|From Later Han||Liu |
|Shatuo||Imperial||AD 951–979||28 years||Shizu of Northern Han||Yingwu of Northern Han||(list)|
| Liao dynasty |
|"Iron" ( Khitan homophone) / Toponym|| Yelü |
|Khitan||Imperial||AD 916–1125||209 years||Taizu of Liao||Tianzuo of Liao||(list)|
| Western Liao |
|From Liao dynasty|| Yelü |
|AD 1124–1218||94 years||Dezong of Western Liao||Kuchlug||(list)|
| Northern Song |
|Toponym|| Zhao |
|Han||Imperial||AD 960–1127||167 years||Taizu of Song||Qinzong of Song||(list)|
| Southern Song |
|From Song dynasty|| Zhao |
|Han||Imperial||AD 1127–1279||152 years||Gaozong of Song||Zhao Bing||(list)|
| Western Xia |
|Tangut||Imperial||AD 1038–1227||189 years||Jingzong of Western Xia||Li Xian||(list)|
| Jin dynasty |
|"Gold"|| Wanyan |
|Jurchen||Imperial||AD 1115–1234||119 years||Taizu of Jin||Wanyan Chenglin||(list)|
|Late Imperial China|
| Yuan dynasty |
|"Great" / "Primacy"|| Borjigin |
|Mongol||Imperial||AD 1271–1368||97 years||Shizu of Yuan||Huizong of Yuan||(list)|
| Northern Yuan |
|From Yuan dynasty|| Borjigin |
|Mongol||Imperial||AD 1368–1635||267 years||Huizong of Yuan||Borjigin Erke Khongghor||(list)|
| Ming dynasty |
|"Bright"|| Zhu |
|Han||Imperial||AD 1368–1644||276 years||Hongwu||Chongzhen||(list)|
| Southern Ming |
|From Ming dynasty|| Zhu |
|Han||Imperial||AD 1644–1662||18 years||Hongguang||Yongli||(list)|
| Later Jin |
|From Jin dynasty (AD 1115–1234)|| Aisin Gioro |
|Jurchen||Royal||AD 1616–1636||20 years||Tianming||Taizong of Qing||(list)|
|"Pure"|| Aisin Gioro |
|Manchu||Imperial||AD 1636–1912||276 years||Taizong of Qing||Xuantong||(list)|
There are traditionally four major historical capitals of China, collectively referred to as the "Four Great Ancient Capitals of China". The four are Beijing, Nanjing, Luoyang and Xi'an (Chang'an).
The nobility of China was an important feature of the traditional social structure of Ancient China and Imperial China.
Heqin, also known as marriage alliance, refers to the historical practice of Chinese emperors marrying princesses—usually members of minor branches of the ruling family—to rulers of neighboring states. It was often adopted as an appeasement strategy with an enemy state that was too powerful to defeat on the battlefield. The policy was not always effective. It implied an equal diplomatic status between the emperor and the ruler of the other state. As a result, it was controversial and had many critics.
Taizu is an imperial temple name typically used for Chinese emperors who founded a particular dynasty. It may refer to:
You Prefecture or Province, also known by its Chinese name Youzhou, was a prefecture (zhou) in northern China during its imperial era.
The following is a family tree of Chinese emperors (420–1279), from the Northern and Southern dynasties period, of first half of the fifth century AD, until the conquest of the Southern Song dynasty in 1279 by the Yuan dynasty.
A conquest dynasty in the history of China refers to a Chinese dynasty established by non-Han ethnicities that ruled parts or all of China proper, the traditional heartland of the Han people.
The distinction between Huá and Yí, also known as Sino–barbarian dichotomy, is an ancient Chinese concept that differentiated a culturally defined "China" from cultural or ethnic outsiders. Although Yí is often translated as "barbarian", other translations of this term in English include "foreigners", "ordinary others" "wild tribes", and "uncivilised tribes". The Hua–Yi distinction asserted Chinese superiority, but implied that outsiders could become Hua by adopting Chinese values and customs. These concepts were not unique to the Chinese, but was also applied by the Vietnamese, Japanese and Koreans who all considered themselves at one point in history to be the actual "Middle Kingdom" instead of China.
The Xianbei state or Xianbei confederation was a nomadic empire which existed in modern-day Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, northern Xinjiang, Northeast China, Gansu, Buryatia, Zabaykalsky Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, Tuva, Altai Republic and eastern Kazakhstan from 156 to 234. Like most ancient peoples known through Chinese historiography, the ethnic makeup of the Xianbei is unclear.
The Upheaval of the Five Barbarians is a Chinese expression referring to a series of rebellions and invasions between 304 and 316 by non-Han peoples, commonly called the Five Barbarians, living in North China against the Jin Empire, which had recently been weakened by a series of civil wars. The uprisings helped topple Emperor Huai of Jin in Luoyang and ended the Western Jin dynasty in northern China.
Chinese era names were titles used by various Chinese dynasties and regimes in Imperial China for the purpose of year identification and numbering. The first monarch to adopt era names was the Emperor Wu of Han in 140 BCE, and this system remained the official method of year identification and numbering until the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912 CE. Other polities in the Sinosphere—Korea, Vietnam and Japan—also adopted the concept of era name as a result of Chinese politico-cultural influence. In the Republic of China, this system has since been superseded by the Republic of China calendar.
"Beijing" is the atonal pinyin romanization of the Mandarin pronunciation of the Chinese characters 北京, the Chinese name of the capital of China.
Ji or Jicheng was an ancient city in northern China, which has become the longest continuously inhabited section of modern Beijing. Historical mention of Ji dates to the founding of the Zhou dynasty in about 1045 BC. Archaeological finds in southwestern Beijing where Ji was believed to be located date to the Spring and Autumn period. The city of Ji served as the capital of the ancient states of Ji and Yan until the unification of China by the Qin dynasty in 221 BC. Thereafter, the city was a prefectural capital for Youzhou through the Han dynasty, Three Kingdoms, Western Jin dynasty, Sixteen Kingdoms, Northern Dynasties, and Sui dynasty. With the creation of a Jizhou (蓟州) during the Tang dynasty in what is now Tianjin Municipality, the city of Ji took on the name Youzhou. Youzhou was one of the Sixteen Prefectures ceded to the Khitans during the Five Dynasties. The city then became the southern capital of the Liao dynasty and then main capital of the Jin dynasty (1115–1234). In the 13th century, Kublai Khan built a new capital city for the Yuan dynasty adjacent to Ji to the north. The old city of Ji became a suburb to Dadu. In the Ming dynasty, the old and new cities were merged by Beijing's Ming-era city wall.
Hanfu is a term used for the historical styles of clothing worn by the Han people in China. Earliest record for the term "Hanfu" (漢服) can be traced back to the bamboo and wooden slips (簡牘) buried in the tomb of Mawangdui in the Western Han Dynasty. There are several representative styles of hanfu, such as the ruqun, the aoqun, the beizi and the shenyi, and the shanku.
The daughter of Emperor Xiaoming of Northern Wei, whose given name is unknown, was briefly the emperor of Northern Wei (386–534), a Xianbei dynasty that ruled Northern China from the late fourth to the early sixth century AD. She bore the surname Yuan, originally Tuoba. Yuan was the only child of Emperor Xiaoming, born to his concubine Consort Pan. Soon after her birth, her grandmother the Empress Dowager Hu, who was also Xiaoming's regent, falsely declared that she was a boy and ordered a general pardon. Emperor Xiaoming died soon afterwards. On 1 April 528, Empress Dowager Hu installed the infant on the throne for a matter of hours before replacing her with Yuan Zhao the next day. Xiaoming's daughter was not recognised as an emperor (huangdi) by later generations. No further information about her is available.
Suoyang City, also called Kuyu (苦峪), is a ruined Silk Road city in Guazhou County of Gansu Province in northwestern China. First established as Ming'an County in 111 BC by Emperor Wu of Han, the city was relocated and rebuilt at the current site in 295 AD by Emperor Hui of the Western Jin dynasty. As the capital of Jinchang Commandery, the city prospered during the Tang and Western Xia dynasties. It was an important administrative, economic, and cultural center of the Hexi Corridor for over a millennium, with an estimated peak population of 50,000. It was destroyed and abandoned in the 16th century, after the Ming dynasty came under attack by Mansur Khan of Moghulistan.
Throughout Chinese history, China had multiple periods of golden age. In Chinese historiography, golden ages on a large scale are known as shèngshì, while golden ages on a smaller scale are termed as zhìshì.