Chinese civilization, China Culture

Chinese civilization, as described in mythology, begins with Pangu , the creator of the universe, and a succession of legendary sage-emperors and culture heroes (among them are Huang Di , Yao, and Shun) who taught the ancient Chinese to communicate and to find sustenance, clothing, and shelter.


China Culture


The first people (leaving out Neanderthal-type pre-humans) seem to have reached China about 50,000 BC. This is about the same time as the first people in Europe. These people lived in caves, made fires, used stone and bone tools, and wore fur and leather clothes. They were hunters and gatherers.


But big changes happened around 4000-3000 BC, in the Neolithic or New Stone Age, when people began farming rice and keeping animals (like sheep and chickens) in China. West Asian people had already been farming for about two thousand years, but we don't know whether people in China learned how to farm from the West Asians or began doing it on their own. Probably they began on their own, just as a natural response to being more crowded and needing to produce more food on their land, or because of climate changes. As in Egypt and West Asia, the first place where people began settling down in cities was in a river valley, along the Yellow River in northern China.

Chinese civilization PanGu

Once people living in China began farming, they also began to live in villages and build small houses with reed roofs. Around 3000-2000 BC, they also began to make pottery. Again, this is later than in West Asia, but that doesn't mean that the Chinese learned how from the West Asians. We know about two kinds of Chinese pottery from this time:


Red clay pots with swirling black designs from north-west China, and
Smooth black pots from north-east China.

 China Culture, Oriental Culture

It was also about this time that the Chinese began to use silk to make clothes, and to use wagons with wheels



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Peking Man 北京猿人

(~500,000 B.C)


Peking (Beijing) Men were great hunters and they knew how to create fire. Peking man was unearthed in Zhou Kou Dian close to Beijing, China.

Peking Man Period (~500,000 B.C.)


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Events In China

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Upper Cave

Caveman 山顶洞人

(~25,000 B.C.)


Upper Cavemen were unearthed in a mountaintop cave overseeing Zhou Kou Dian. These Cavemen had husband-and-wife system, knew how to carve and tie knots, and they had a chief with a primitive political system.

Upper Cave Period (~25,000 B.C.)


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Yangshao Culture
(5,000 - 3,000 B.C.)


Evidence of rice cultivation and weaving.

Egypt- agriculture spreads southwards from Nile Delta

Europe- Minoan civilization.

Yangshao Period (5,000 - 3,000 B.C.)


Kings / Kingdoms

Events In China

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San Huang

(Three Emperors, ~3,0002,700 B.C)

Fu Xi Shi

(2,953 2,852 B.C.)

Invented Ba Gua, a base 2 system that has been used in a variety of different things, including fortune telling. Fu Xis wife Nu Huo was famous for the legendary story of "mending the sky". Fu Xi was also known for teaching Chinese music, painting, fishing with nets, the domestication of animals, and the feeding of silkworms for silk.

First Egyptian Dynasty (3,100 B.C.)- first use of bricks for building cities.

Europe- invention of weaving, villages built of stone.

America- Mayan civilization, and villages and towns on coast of Peru.

Shen Nong Shi

Also known as Yan Di

(2,852 2,737 B.C.)

As the father of agriculture, Shen Nong invented the wooden ploughs. He was also the inventor of Chinese herbal medicine and tea. He also introduced the concept of markets and trade.

Sui Ren Shi

(2,737 2,697 B.C.)

The inventor of cooking to prevent disease of eating raw food.

San Huang Period (~3,000 - 2,700 B.C.)


Kings / Kingdoms

Events In China

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Wu Di

(Five Kings)

Note: Historians have not been able to agree upon who were the five kings; Some say Huang Di, Shao Hao, Zhuan Xu, Di Yao and Di Shun. Others say Shao Hao, Zhuan Xu, Gao Di, Di Yao and Di Shun.

Huang Di - Xuan Yuan Shi

(2,697 - 2,597 B.C.)

Made You Xiong his capital. Huang Di was a vigorous soldier-emperor. He ordered his officer Can Ji to establish Chinese characters. (Ancient inscriptions of pictographs belonged to the late Da Wen Kou culture were found in Dakou of Dadu, in Shangdong, 2800-2500 B.C.). Huang Di invented magnet and the wheel, built the first brick structures, erected an observatory for studying stars, corrected the calendar, and redistributed the land. Fought a fierce battle against rival leader Chi You and defeated him.

Egypt- first pyramid (2,780 B.C.); introduction of a 365 day calendar (2,772 B.C.).

Shao Hao - Jin Tian Shi

(2,597 - 2,513 B.C.)

Shao Hao- Son of Huang Di and Lei Zu. Built his kingdom at Qian Yang and made Qiu Fu his capital. He was buried at Yun Yang.


Zhuan Xu - Gao Yang Shi

(2,513 - 2,435 B.C.)

Zhuan Xu- Grandson of Huang Di and son of Chang Yi. Assisted Shao Hao and was awarded the land of Gao Yang. Zhuan Xi first built his kingdom at Gao Yang and made Diqiu his capital.


Di Ku - Gao Xin Shi

(2,435 - 2,365 B.C.)

Di Ku- Huang Di's great grandson. Ku was awarded the land of Xin at age 15 for his merit in helping Zhuan Xu. After he became king, his kingdom was known as the Gao Xin Shi, and Di Ku made Hao his capital (Yanshi county of Henan).


Zhi Di

(2,365 - 2,357 B.C.)

Di Zhi- Di Ku's first son, who took over his father's kingdom traditionally. Awarded his step brother Fang Xun as the Duke of Tang. Di Zhi was a weak leader. Zhi's officers abolished Di Zhi and crowned Duke Tang as their king, known a Di Yao.


Yao Di - or Tang Yao

(2,357 - 2,255 B.C)

Yao Di made Qi his capital. Di Yao- Di Ku's second son, born in Yi, was awarded the land of Tao, and later the land of Tang. Yao was known to be a good king with great compassion towards his people. He was also very wise.

Yao commanded his officer Yu to combat the flood of the Yellow River (2,283 B.C.)

According to the legend, Yao invented Weiqi to enlighten his son Dan Zhu. Unfortunately, Dan has no interest in anything else besides Weiqi. When Yao was advanced in age he decided to elect a Tiandi Official (equivalent to a prime minister) to replace Yihe. His followers recommended Dan Zhu but Yau disagreed, stating that Dan was no good in anything else other than Weiqi. Yao appointed Shun as his own successor, giving his two daughters to Shun as wives. He also exiled his son Dan Zhu to Yan (Yan Zhu Cheng of Shandong).


Shun Di- or Yu Shun

(2,255 - 2,205 B.C.)

Yu Shun's original name was Yao (this Yao although rhymes with Yao of Di Yao, are two different words). He was known for his piety and won the support of the pheasants. Di Yao appointed Shun as his successor. Shun Di made Qi his capital. He fought the flood, improved on the calendar, and standardized weights and measures. A sophisticated education system existed during Shun's reign. Shun died in the wilderness of Can Wu during a journey to the south (18 years after he took over the throne). Since none of his sons were righteous, Yu was named his successor.

Wu Di Period (2,697 - 2,205 B.C.)


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