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Chinese Geography and Ancient China
Transcript of Chinese Geography and Ancient China
but the Qinling Shandi mountains separated the
north and south. In the south, there is more rain, so rice was the main crop in the south. It rains so much there they could grow multiple crops in a year. They also hunted with bows and arrows, and domesticated animals like sheep and pigs. As food supplies grew, so did the population. As the food surplus grew, people began to settle in villages and towns. Many artifacts have been found, including arrowheads, pottery, fishing hooks, and tools. We have learned a lot about the early Chinese from their burial sites. Like Egyptians, they filled their tombs with objects, Some tombs had more items than others, which suggests that a social order had developed. Some of the richer tombs had items made of jade, a hard green gemstone. First Dynasties Xia Dynasty The Xia (Shah) was the first dynasty in ancient China. It was founded by a man named Yu the Great. Writers tell of terrible floods during Yu's life. According to these stories, Yu dug channels and made dikes to stop the Yellow river from flooding so much. It took over 10 years, and made Yu into a legend. Evidence of the Xia has been hard to find because they did not have a written language. But even if they were not real, they gave the ancient Chinese important stories about kings who helped solve problems by working together. Shang Dynasty The Shang dynasty is the first one we have clear evidence for. It was established by 1500s BC, and was strongest near the Yellow River. Shang rulers moved their capital many times, probably to avoid floods or attacks by enemies. During the Shang dynasty, the king was on the top of the social hierarchy, Nobles served as advisors or government officials. The royal family and nobles were on top of the social order. Nobles owned a lot of land, and passed their wealth and power to their sons. Many powerful warriors were in the upper class as well. Artisans were in the middle of the social hierarchy. They lived outside the city walls in groups, based on what they made. Some made pottery, tools, or clothing. Farmers were almost on the bottom. THey worked long hours but had little money. Much of their earnings went to taxes. Slaves were on the bottom. The Shang invented China's first written language. It had over 2000 (!) symbols to express ideas and words. Much of this writing has been found on oracle bones. These were large flat bones, like turtle shells or shoulder blades. Questions would be carved into the bone, then the bone would be heated until it cracked. Priests would then "read" the cracks to predict the future. Shang artisans also made beautiful bronze containers and ornaments of jade. The military had powerful chariots and weapons made of bronze.