Dynasties in Chinese history
|History of China|
|Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC|
|Xia dynasty c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC|
|Shang dynasty c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC|
|Zhou dynasty c. 1046 – 256 BC|
|Spring and Autumn|
|Qin dynasty 221–206 BC|
|Han dynasty 206 BC – 220 AD|
|Three Kingdoms 220–280|
|Wei, Shu and Wu|
|Jin dynasty 265–420|
|Eastern Jin||Sixteen Kingdoms|
|Southern and Northern Dynasties
|Sui dynasty 581–618|
|Tang dynasty 618–907|
|(Wu Zhou interregnum 690–705)|
|Five Dynasties and
|Northern Song||W. Xia|
|Yuan dynasty 1271–1368|
|Ming dynasty 1368–1644|
|Qing dynasty 1644–1911|
|Republic of China 1912–1949|
China on Taiwan
It was rare for one dynasty to transition smoothly into the next, as is depicted in history timelines, since dynasties were often established before the overthrow of an existing reign, or continued for a time after they had been defeated. For example, the conventional date 1644 marks the year in which the Qing dynasty armies replaced the preceding Ming dynasty according to the dynastic cycle. However, the Qing dynasty was established in 1636 (or even 1616, albeit under a different name), while the last Ming dynasty pretender was not deposed until 1663. This 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. It is therefore inaccurate to assume China changed suddenly and all at once in the year 1644.
In addition, China was divided for short periods of its history, with different regions being ruled by different groups. At times like these, there was not any single dynasty ruling a unified China. As a case in point, there is much dispute about times in and after the Western Zhou period. In the Chinese historiographical tradition, each new dynasty would write the history of the dynasty which preceded it. This cycle was disrupted, however, when the Xinhai Revolution overthrew the Qing dynasty in favor of a republic. Even an attempt by Republicans to draft the history of the Qing was disrupted by the Chinese Civil War, which resulted in the division of China into the People's Republic of China on mainland China and the Republic of China on Taiwan.
|Dynasty||Rulers||Ruling house or clan of houses||From||To||Term|
|Xia dynasty||夏||Xià||Summer||(list)||Sì (姒)||2070 BC||1600 BC||470 years|
|Shang dynasty||商||Shāng||Toponym||(list)||Zǐ (子)||1600 BC||1050 BC||571 years|
|Western Zhou dynasty||西周||Xī Zhōu||Toponym||(list)||Jī (姬)||1050 BC||770 BC||275 years|
|Eastern Zhou dynasty||東周 / 东周||Dōng Zhōu||Toponym||(list)||Jī (姬)||770 BC||250 BC||514 years|
|Spring and Autumn period||春秋||Chūn Qiū||As English||770 BC||479 BC||295 years|
|Warring States period||戰國 / 战国||Zhàn Guó||As English||476 BC||221 BC||255 years|
|Qin dynasty||秦||Qín||Toponym||(list)||Yíng (嬴)||221 BC||206 BC||15 years|
|Western Han dynasty||西漢 / 西汉||Xī Hàn||Toponym||(list)||Liú (劉)||206 BC or 202 BC||9 AD or 23–25 AD||215 years|
|Xin dynasty||新||Xīn||"New"||(list)||Wáng (王)||9 AD||23 AD||14 years|
|Eastern Han dynasty||東漢 / 东汉||Dōng Hàn||Toponym||(list)||Liú (劉)||25 AD||220 AD||195 years|
|Three Kingdoms||三國 / 三国||Sān Guó||As English||(list)||Cáo (曹)
Liú (劉 / 刘)
Sūn (孫 / 孙)
|220 AD||265 AD or 280 AD||45 years|
|Western Jin dynasty||西晉 / 西晋||Xī Jìn||Ducal title||(list)||Sīmǎ (司馬)||265 AD||317 AD||52 years|
|Eastern Jin dynasty||東晉 / 东晋||Dōng Jìn||Ducal title||(list)||Sīmǎ (司馬)||317 AD||420 AD||103 years|
|Southern and Northern Dynasties||南北朝||Nán Běi Cháo||As English||(list)||various||386 AD or 420 AD||589 AD||169 years|
|Sui dynasty||隋||Suí||Ducal title
|(list)||Yáng (楊)||581 AD||618 AD||37 years|
|Tang dynasty||唐||Táng||Ducal title||(list)||Lǐ (李)||618 AD||907 AD||289 years|
|Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms||五代十國
|Wǔ Dài Shí Guó||As English||(list)||various||907 AD||960 AD||53 years|
|Kingdom of Dali||大理國
|Dà Lǐ Guó||Toponym||(list)||Duan (段)||937 AD||1253 AD||316 years|
|Northern Song dynasty||北宋||Běi Sòng||Toponym||(list)||Zhào (趙)||960 AD||1127 AD||167 years|
|Southern Song dynasty||南宋||Nán Sòng||Toponym||(list)||Zhào (趙)||1127 AD||1279 AD||152 years|
|Liao dynasty||遼 / 辽||Liáo||"Vast" or "Iron"
|(list)||Yelü (; 耶律)||907 AD or 916 AD||1125 AD||209 years|
|1115 AD||1234 AD||119 years|
|Western Xia||西夏||Xī Xià||Toponym||(list)||Li (; 李)||1038 AD||1227 AD||189 years|
|Yuan dynasty||元||Yuán||"Great" or "Primacy"||(list)||Borjigin
|1271 AD||1368 AD||97 years|
|Ming dynasty||明||Míng||"Bright"||(list)||Zhū (朱)||1368 AD||1644 AD or 1662 AD||276 years|
|Qing dynasty||清||Qīng||"Pure"||(list)||Aisin Gioro
( ᠠᡳᠰᡳᠨ ᡤᡳᠣᡵᠣ}; 愛新覺羅)
|1636 AD or 1644 AD||1911 AD||268 years|
Dynasties in foreign countries
|Dynasty||Rulers||Ruling House or clan of houses||From||To||Term|
|Trần dynasty||陳||Chén||Surname||(list)||Chén (陳)||1225 AD||1400 AD||175 years|
|Hồ dynasty||胡||Hú||Surname||(list)||Hú (胡)||1400 AD||1406 AD||6 years|
- History of China
- Conquest dynasties
- Timeline of Chinese history
- List of Chinese monarchs
- List of recipients of tribute from China
- List of tributaries of Imperial China
- Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project
- Dynastic cycle
- "Chiang Kai-shek and retrocession". Taiwan: China Post. November 5, 2012. p. 2. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
- Taylor 2013, p. 120.
- Taylor 2013, p. 103.
- ed. Hall 2008, p. 159.
- eds. Dutton & Werner & Whitmore 2013 .
- Gunn 2011, p. 112.
- Embree & Lewis 1988, p. 190.
- Woodside 1971, p. 8.
- Taylor 2013, p. 166.
- ed. Hall 2008, p. 161.
- China Handbook Editorial Committee, China Handbook Series: History (trans., Dun J. Li), Beijing, 1982, 188-89; and Shao Chang Lee, "China Cultural Development" (wall chart), East Lansing, 1984.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dynasties of China.|
- Columbia University. Dynasties song sung to the tune of "Frère Jacques" that repeats the major Chinese dynasties in chronological order.