Changes and Continuities China

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Changes and Continuities - China


The Mnemonic Device

  • Quincey Has Ten Seats Yonder for My Quinceañera . (Qin Han Tang Song Yuan Ming and Qing)

8000 BC – 600 AD Political

  • -First dynasties built on river valleys -Respect to the Middle Kingdom ruler -Mandate of Heaven justifies political overthrow -Dynastic cycle begins to rule Chinese life -Feudalism develops due to large landholdings -Warring States: Zhou ruled mostly as figurehead -Confucius wanted bureaucratic gov't -Centralized imperial rule -Establishment of Confucian education system for gov't service -Yellow Turban Uprising

8000 BC – 600 AD Economic/Religious

  • -Huang He brought fertile soil -Coined money -Standardized measure and currency -Land distributed into the hands of a few -Indirect trade through the Silk Roads and sea routes
  • -Spirits of ancestors bring good fortune/disaster -Kings consulted gods through oracle bones -Mandate of Heaven - gods determined ruler -Confucius wants harmony and peace through ethics -Daoists want harmony and peace through nature -Legalists want harmony and peace through efficient and harsh rule

8000 BC – 600 AD Social

  • -Peasants live outside cities in hovel -Peasants toiled for land nobles -Family central in society, men good, women bad -Respect for the family's elders -Nobles were literate but peasants weren't -Confucian ideal - 5 basic relationships -Land seized from the nobles -Visible gap between rich and poor -One unified language

8000 BC – 600 AD Interactions/Arts

  • -Constantly waging war with other societies -Large campaigns of imperial expansion -Trade with foreign societies -Cities surrounded with walls for protection
  • -Flood control and irrigation -Cities built of wood -Bronze tools -Silk -Iron metallurgy and textiles

600-1450 Political/Economic

  • - Mongols take over China in their reign.
  • -Region of China is called the Golden Horde, led by the infamous Kublai Khan.
  • -The main dynasties during this time period include Tang, Song, Yuan and the Ming.
  • -Each dynasty adopted the system of meritocracy, used the civil service examinations, and gave jobs based on intelligence and merit rather than corrupt reasons.
  • -Were bureaucratic as well.
  • -Tributary system between China with “lesser” areas such as Korea, Vietnam, and more.
  • -Chinese use a system of credit as well as paper money (new technology) rather than the traditional barter system (i.e I’ll give you my donkey for some cheese).
  • -Tributary gifts from Korea and Vietnam.
  • -Champa rice - incredibly fast growing and led to a surplus of food (which led to population increase) Helped build economy and specialized society.

600-1450 Religious/Social

  • -Confucianism is widely accepted/practiced and seemingly co-exists with Buddhism.
  • -Daoists get jealous of Buddhism’s foothold in China and burn down their temples stunting its growth a bit.
  • - Neo-Confucianism is known as the blend between both Buddhism and Confucianism (more spiritual)
  • -Foot binding of women in upper classes
  • -Marriage is forbidden between Mongols and native Chinese. (As a result they retain their unique cultures and don’t really mix)
  • -Cultural diffusion is everywhere, especially throughout trade routes
  • -Bubonic plague is spread along with ideas and various technologies. Millions of people are wiped out and it spread from Greece all the way to China.
  • -Literacy rate improves as well!

600-1450 Interactions/Arts

  • -Chinese desire to remain isolated still and feel that their country is superior to others.
  • -However, through limited trade they had gained ideas of Buddhism and others, while many of their technologies and innovations revolutionized the world.
  • -Silk roads aided interactions.
  • -Korea, Japan, and Vietnam are tributary nations toward China.
  • -Also the Mongols help spread culture, ironically, by unifying as they conquered.
  • -Major developments in all types of technologies and theories.
  • -Some specifics include paper, compass, money, math, science, astronomy, the printing press, poetry, art, and transportation.
  • -Many of these originate from China and fall into the hands of the west who take advantage of these items greatly for their growth/imperialism

1450-1750 Political/Economic

  • In 1450, the Ming Dynasty was almost a century old. From its foundation in 1368 to the early 1400’s, the Ming Dynasty had developed into a centralized and militarily powered state. The 1600’s were a time of decline for the Ming. Later rulers of the Dynasty were weak and allowed government to decentralize and eventually fall apart. The Qing dynasty replaces the Ming.
  • Ming China was economically prosperous at its height. After Ming rulers decided to have China withdraw into a period of isolation, trade was restricted to 3 coastal ports – but many traders smuggle goods in exchange for the European’s silver (most likely from American mines). In the 1600’s, the sudden silver influx causes extreme inflation and the Ming suffers an economic breakdown. The Chinese never industrialized because it went against Confucian ideology and their love of agriculture. This backfires in the 1600’s because the agricultural yields shrank and the Ming dynasty suffers from extreme famine as well as extreme poverty.

1450-1750 Religious/Social

  • Confucian principles were revived during the Ming Dynasty. Jesuit missionaries try to convert Chinese to Christianity.
  • Populations grew steadily as China recovers from wars and diseases of Yuan Empire in the early 1400’s. In the 1600’s the Ming Dynasty’s population grew too fast for the land’s ability to support the people leading to famine.

1450-1750 Interactions/Arts

  • During the Ming period, the 1st European traders began to arrive in China. Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch try to establish ties with Ming Emperor. China was too large for them to conquer so they established embassies and trade houses. In the Early Ming period, the rulers wished to impress the world with the power of the Chinese so they sent Muslim sailor Zheng He on a series of expeditions in order to increase the number of tributary states as well as to awe the rest of the world. The government officials eventually convinced the emperor to halt the expeditions and to concentrate on the Chinese military. China entered a period of isolationism. In the 1600’s the Manchu’s continual raids on northern china eventually became too much for the Ming to handle.
  • Ming China’s strengths in the early 15 and 1600’s were mostly cultural: literature, fine “china” porcelain, and architecture.

1750-1914 Political

  • - Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Manchus take over Ming China
  • - Adopted many traditional Chinese administrative policies from Ming Dynasty
  • - “Middle Kingdom”- Chinese ethnocentrism toward tributary states (Vietnam, Tibet, Taiwan, Mongolia, Burma, Nepal, and Chinese central Asia)
  • - In the mid-1800s, China became the victim of many unequal treaties, undermining Chinese sovereignty; Open Door Policy in 1899-spheres of influence
  • - Self-Strengthening Movement in 1860-1895 was an effort to stabilize China by reasserting traditional Confucian culture while adopting and blending foreign technology, but it didn’t work
  • - Hundred Days Reform of 1989- Emperor Guangxu intended to turn China into a modern industrial power, until the Empress Dowager Cixi nullified the reforms
  • - Qing decline after a series of lost wars (Sino-French, Sino-Japanese, and both Opium Wars) and social uprisings due to drought, famine, opium addiction, and foreign oppression
  • - Qing Dynasty ended in 1911 in the Chinese Revolution when the boy emperor Puyi was forced to abdicate his throne, and in 1912 Sun Yatsen established the Republic of China

1750-1914 Economic/Religious

  • - Agriculturally-based economy of mostly a quick-growing strain of rice from Vietnam
  • - Regulated Chinese cohongs traded with foreigners
  • - From the 1600s-1700s, Spanish and Portuguese traders brought maize, sweet potatoes, and peanuts from the Americas
  • - Mainly accepted silver bars from its foreign merchants in Canton who represented mostly Western nations where there was high demand for silk, tea, porcelain, and lacquerware
  • - Opium Trade- introduced by British merchants in 1773, was high in demand by 1838; caused social and economic problems, so the government tried to repress/outlaw drug dealing
  • - European Christian missionaries tried to convert the Chinese to Christianity by appealing to the Chinese imperial court
  • - Qing Dynasty continued Neo-Confucianism doctrines- a combination of Buddhism religion and Confucian philosophy

1750-1914 Social/Interactions/Arts

  • - Manchus maintained Chinese social values such as social structure based on filial piety and Confucian doctrine, and women inferiority and foot binding
  • - Famine and drought led to a population decline in China in the mid to late-1800s
  • - Opium trade had detrimental effects on Chinese society who became dependent on opium, especially during a time of scarce food, starvation, and disease
  • - Taiping Rebellion- built on anti-Manchu sentiments, led by schoolteacher Hong Xiuquan; -Boxer Rebellion- (1899-1901) Chinese Boxers led rebellion against “foreign devils”
  • - China tried to maintain an isolationist foreign policy, only foreign trading in port of Canton
  • - Sino-French War (1883) over possession of Vietnam (French Indochina), in which France won
  • - Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) result- Japanese victory over the Liaotung peninsula and Korea
  • - Opium Wars (first war: 1839-1842, second war: 1856-1860) ended in British victory and the Treaty of Nanjing after China resisted Opium trade with British merchants and refused to open ports for foreign importation
  • - Merchants and missionaries from Western from Western Europe try to impress the Chinese with Western developments

1914-present Political/Economic/Religious

  • • Dispute between Communists and Nationalists (Mao Zedong vs. Sun Yatsen) • Nationalists and Communists work together to fend off Japanese and then communists took over after (Manchuria, Murkden incident)
  • • Land collectivization • 5 year plans – succeeded and industrial outputs increased greatly • Collectivist Farms • Great Leap Forward – call for larger collective farms- failed and hampered growth
  • • New communist ideals challenged Confucian ideals due to new equality

1914-Present Social/Interactions

  • • Cultural Revolution • Communist Ideals challenged Confucian ideals • Made women fully equal • Government took control of and owned many companies, etc.
  • • China overtakes Inner Mongolia, Tibet, etc. • China at first received aid from Soviet Union but then aid stopped because of territorial dispute and because both countries wanted to be the leading communist power in the world


  • • Women’s equality as a result of communism • Communism (challenged Confucian ideals) → 4 news and 4 olds • Land collectivization – communes • New equality between classes due to communism • Absolute ruler → Mao – Marxism • Losing power and technological innovation due to isolationism • Breaks in Chinese self rule (Mongols, Manchus, European spheres of influence)


  • • Continues to overtake regions around it like Tibet and Inner Mongolia, “Middle Kingdom” • Maintained isolationist ideals • Mandate of Heaven – transition of dynasties adopted by communists to justify rise to power • Demand for silk, tea (hot commodity) • Surviving culture despite foreign invasion (Manchus, Mongols, Europeans) • Remained one united nation despite conflicts • Confucian ideals remain prevalent in culture, able to survive (Neo-Confucianism)

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