Dynasties in Chinese history

From Academic Kids

Below is a table of the dynasties in Chinese history.



In most cases the dates given in the table are the commonly used conventional dates marking the generally agreed point at which power in China changed hands.

There is, however, still much dispute about dates in the Western Zhou period and earlier. It should also be noted that history is rarely as neat as it is portrayed and it was rare indeed for one dynasty to end calmly and give way quickly and smoothly to a new one. Dynasties were often established before the overthrow of an existing regime, or continued for a time after they had been defeated. In addition, China was divided for long periods of its history, with different regions being ruled over by different groups. At times like these there was no dynasty ruling a unified China.

One example of the potential for confusion will suffice. The conventional date 1644 marks the year in which the Manchu Qing dynasty armies occupied Beijing and brought Qing rule to China proper, succeeding the Ming dynasty. However, the Qing dynasty itself was established in 1636 (or even 1616, albeit under a different name), while the last Ming dynasty pretender was not disposed of until 1662. The change of ruling houses was a messy and prolonged affair, and the Qing took almost twenty years to extend their control over the whole of China. To pretend that everything changed all at once all over China in the year 1644 would make a nonsense of what actually happened.

For more details on the dynasties listed here and their emperors, follow the relevant links in the table. Click on H for the history of the dynasty, and E for a table of its emperors (or other rulers).

Table of dynasties

Dynasty Links Years
The Three August Ones and the Five Emperors 三皇五帝 sān huᮧ wǔ d즬t;/td> (H - E) before 2070 BC
Xia xiবt;/td> (H - E) 2070 BC - 1600 BC
Shang shāng (H - E) 1600 BC - 1046 BC
Western Zhou 西周 xī zhōu (H - E) 1046 BC - 770 BC
Eastern Zhou

traditionally divided into
Spring and Autumn Period

Warring States Period


dōng zhōu

chūn qiū

(H - E)

(H - E)

(H - E)
770 BC - 256 BC

770 BC - 476 BC

475 BC - 221 BC
Qin q�lt;/td> (H - E) 221 BC - 206 BC
Western Han 西漢 xī h஦lt;/td> (H - E) 206 BC - 9 AD
Xin xīn (H - E) 9 - 25
Eastern Han 東漢 dōng h஦lt;/td> (H - E) 25 - 220
Three Kingdoms 三國 sān gu󦬴;/td> (H - E) 220 - 265
Western Jin 西晉 xī j쮦lt;/td> (H - E) 265 - 317
Eastern Jin 東晉 dōng j쮦lt;/td> (H - E) 317 - 420
Northern and Southern Dynasties 南北朝 nᮠběi ch᯦lt;/td> (H - E) 420 - 581
Sui su�t;/td> (H - E) 581 - 618
Tang tᮧ (H - E) 618 - 907
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms 五代十國 wǔ d੠sh�u󦬴;/td> (H - E) 907 - 960
Northern Song 北宋 běi s򮧦lt;/td> (H - E) 960 - 1127
Southern Song 南宋 nᮠs򮧦lt;/td> (H - E) 1127 - 1279
Liao li᯦lt;/td> (H - E) 916 - 1125
Jin jīn (H - E) 1115 - 1234
Yuan yuᮦlt;/td> (H - E) 1271 - 1368
Ming m� (H - E) 1368 - 1644
Qing qīng (H - E) 1644 - 1912


One version


sān huáng wǔ dì xià shāng zhōu
chūn qiū zhàn guó qín hàn liú
sān guó wèi jìn nán běi suí
táng sòng yuán míng qīng mín shōu

Another version


tᮧ yᯠy?n xi࠳hāng zhōu, chūn qiū zh஠gu󠬵஠yōu yōu.
q�h஠sān gu󠪬n tǒng yī, nᮠchᯠběi chᯠsh젤u젴󵮦lt;br /> su�ᮧ wǔ d੠y򵠳h�u󬠳򮧠yuᮠm� qīng d젷ᮧ xiū.

(Compare with British monarchs mnemonics.)

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