Timeline of Chinese history

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This is a timeline of Chinese history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in China and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of China. See also the list of rulers of China, dynasties in Chinese history and years in China.

Dates prior to 841 BC, the beginning of the Gonghe Regency, are provisional and subject to dispute.

Prehistoric China[edit]

Year Date Event
780000 BC Peking Man died in modern Zhoukoudian.
20000 BC Pottery was used in Xianren Cave.[1]
7600 BC The Zhenpiyan culture appeared.
Pigs were first domesticated in China. [2]
7500 BC The Pengtoushan culture appeared.
Rice was first domesticated in China.
7000 BC The Peiligang culture appeared.
6600 BC The Jiahu symbols were first used at Jiahu.
6500 BC The Cishan culture appeared.
6000 BC Dogs were first domesticated in China.[2]
Cows were first domesticated in China.[2]
5000 BC The Baijia culture appeared.
Oxen were first domesticated in China.[2]
Sheep were first domesticated in China.[2]
4500 BC The Hemudu culture died out.
4000 BC Symbols were carved into pottery at Banpo.
3630 BC Silk was invented by the Yangshao culture.

Centuries: 30th BC · 29th BC · 28th BC · 27th BC · 26th BC · 25th BC · 24th BC · 23rd BC · 22nd BC · 21st BC

30th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
3000 BC The Longshan culture appeared.
Water buffalo were first domesticated in China.
The plow was first used in China.

29th century BC[edit]

28th century BC[edit]

27th century BC[edit]

26th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
2570 BC Silk was produced by the Liangzhu culture.

25th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
2500 BC Battle of Banquan: The forces of Shennong were repelled by a force of tribes allied under the Yellow Emperor.
Battle of Zhuolu: A combined army of Chinese tribes under the Yellow Emperor defeated an Hmong invasion at Zhuolo.

24th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
2366 BC Zhi became emperor of China.
2361 BC The Chinese people made their first contact with Văn Lang.[3]

23rd century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
2255 BC Shun became ruler of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors
Gun failed in taming the flood and was executed on Shun's order.
2205 BC Yu the Great tames the flood (est.)
The period ended which is part of Chinese mythology
Shun ended his reign as ruler of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors

22nd century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
2194 BC Yu
Nine Tripod Cauldrons
Bronze Age in China
2146 BC Qi
2117 BC Tai Kang
Erlitou culture

21st century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
2088 BC Zhong Kang
2075 BC Xiang
2047 BC Hou Yi
Hou Yi expelled Xiang from Xia and arrogated the crown to himself
2039 BC Han Zhuo
Han Zhuo killed Hou Yi and took his place
2007 BC Shao Kang
Shao Kang executed Han Zhuo and restored the kingdom lost by his father, Xiang

Centuries: 20th BC · 19th BC · 18th BC · 17th BC · 16th BC · 15th BC · 14th BC · 13th BC · 12th BC · 11th BC · 10th BC · 9th BC · 8th BC · 7th BC · 6th BC · 5th BC · 4th BC · 3rd BC · 2nd BC · 1st BC

20th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1985 BC Zhu
1968 BC Huai
1924 BC Mang
1906 BC Xie

19th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1890 BC Bu Jiang
1831 BC Jiong
1810 BC Jin

18th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1789 BC Kong Jia
1758 BC Gao
1747 BC Fa
Mount Tai earthquake (est.)
1728 BC Jie
Defeat at the Battle of Mingtiao

17th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1675 BC Tang
Fall of the Xia dynasty at the Battle of Mingtiao
1646 BC Tai Ding
Da Ding died before his coronation
Tai Jia
1634 BC Bu Bing
1632 BC Tai Geng
1607 BC Xiao Jia

16th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1590 BC Tai Wu
1515 BC Yong Ji
1503 BC Zhong Ding

15th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1492 BC Wai Ren
1477 BC He Dan Jia
1465 BC Zu Yi
1440 BC Zu Xin
1425 BC Wo Jia

14th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1400 BC Zu Ding
Discovery of Erligang culture dating from around 1400 BCE
1365 BC Nan Geng
1330 BC Yang Jia

13th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1290 BC Pan Geng
Around this time, the capital is moved from Zhengzhou to Yinxu.
1263 BC Xiao Xin
1260 BC Xiao Yi
1250 BC Wu Ding
Earliest surviving written records (oracle bones) from this period
Around this time, the militant consort Fu Hao is buried in her tomb at Yinxu.

12th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1192 BC Zu Geng
1185 BC Zu Jia
1166 BC Lin Xin
1160 BC Geng Ding
1147 BC Wu Yi
The Zhou dynasty is founded as a vassal state of the Shang regime in 1122 BCE.
1112 BC Wen Ding
1101 BC Di Yi

11th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1075 BC Zhou became ruler of the Shang dynasty
1050 BC Ji Chang dies, making this the alleged latest date for the creation of the mathematical King Wen sequence.
1047 BC King Zhou takes Daji as his concubine.
1046 BC Battle of Muye between Shang and Zhou forces; King Zhou allegedly dies while his palace burns to the ground.
Zhou ended his reign as ruler of the Shang dynasty
1034 BC King Wu
Bronze script in greater use.
1030 BC King Cheng became ruler of the Western Zhou dynasty
1026 BC King Cheng ended his reign as ruler of the Western Zhou dynasty
1020 BC King Kang

10th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1000 BC Earliest possible date for the compilation of the Book of Songs
995 BC King Zhao
976 BC King Mu
During the 12th year of King Mu's reign, Zhou forces attacked and defeated some branches of the Rong people, allowing for territorial expansion of Zhou. King Mu's critics, including the Duke of Zhai (as recorded in a later 4th century BCE discourse of the Biography of King Mu), stated that Mu's expeditions to displace the Rong people were unjustified, as they kept to their own lands and hence abided by their station in the cosmological-political order with China at the center.
920 BC King Gong

9th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
899 BC King Yi
891 BC King Xiao
885 BC King Yi
When the nomadic Rong people of Taiyuan staged an attack on the Zhou capital at Haojing (present-day Xi'an), King Yi called upon the aid of his nobles, a significant event which demarcated the beginning of the Zhou monarchs' dependence on their regional nobles to defend the kingdom. Under the command of Guo Gong, the Zhou were able to defeat the Rong people in a significant battle c. 854 BCE, reportedly capturing about a thousand horses.
877 BC King Li
During Li's reign, the Western Rong people launched an invasion deep into Chinese territory before being pushed out.
841 BC Gonghe Regency
First year of concise, consecutive court dating at the beginning of the Gonghe Regency.
827 BC King Xuan

8th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
781 BC King You became ruler of the Western Zhou dynasty
771 BC After King You had replaced Queen Shen with a favored concubine Baosi, the queen's father, the Marquis of Shen, allied with the Quanrong nomadic tribe to sack the capital. Queen Shen's son, Ji Yijiu, was then put on the throne, initiating the Eastern Zhou dynasty.
King You ended his reign as ruler of the Western Zhou dynasty
770 BC King Ping became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
722 BC Start of the Spring and Autumn period. The Lu state begins the chronicle of the Spring and Autumn Annals.
The Zhou capital is moved from Haojing (present-day Xi'an) to Luoyang.
King Ping ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
720 BC King Huan became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
707 BC King Huan led a campaign against Duke Zhuang of Zheng after the latter refused to appear in the capital, angered that King Huan had dismissed him from his old post as Left Advisor at court. King Huan was allegedly shamed when he was injured in the shoulder by an arrow in an ensuing battle. Duke Zhuang continued to rule the Zheng state until his death in 701 BCE.
King Huan ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty

7th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
697 BC King Zhuang became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
685 BC Duke Huan of Qi began his reign over the Qi state in this year, and was the first of the Five Hegemons who assumed great autonomy from the Zhou monarch, the latter of whom became more or less a figurehead during the Eastern Zhou dynasty.
King Zhuang ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
682 BC King Xi
677 BC King Hui
651 BC King Xiang became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
645 BC Death of Guan Zhong, the chancellor of the Qi state who was appointed by Duke Huan as recommended by Bao Shuya. Guan Zhong initiated centralizing administrative and economic reforms that, for a time, made Qi the most successful and developed state in ancient China.
632 BC Battle of Chengpu
King Xiang ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
618 BC King Qing
612 BC King Kuang
606 BC King Ding became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
Sunshu Ao, China's first known hydraulic engineer.

6th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
595 BC Battle of Bi
King Ding ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
585 BC King Jian became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
575 BC Battle of Yanling
King Jian ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
571 BC King Ling became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
551 BC Laozi, Confucius
548 BC Oldest known reference to the board game weiqi (known as go in Japanese).
King Ling ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
544 BC King Jing became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
Four occupations (est.)
543 BC Guided by the aristocratic statesman Zi Chan, the Zheng state creates a formal code of law.
King Jing ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
520 BC King Dao
515 BC King Jing became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
King Liao of Wu is assassinated by Zhuan Zhu, allowing King Helü of Wu to ascend to the throne of the Wu state.
506 BC Battle of Boju

5th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
500 BC Approximate date for the invention of cast iron in China and the earliest possible date for the invention of the iron plough, which by the 3rd century BCE, with better casting techniques, would become the heavy moldboard iron plough.
Approximate date for the first use of bronze knife money.
486 BC King Fuchai of Wu built the Han Canal, a proto-section of the Grand Canal of China
484 BC Death of Wu Zixu, an official of the Wu state and advisor to King Helü.
482 BC King Goujian of Yue captures the Wu state capital in a surprise assault while King Fuchai was away at Huangchi.
481 BC End of the Spring and Autumn period.
King Jing ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
475 BC King Yuan became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
474 BC The Wu state is annexed by the Yue state.
470 BC Birth of Mozi
King Yuan ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
468 BC King Zhending became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
465 BC Death of King Goujian of Yue; his sword was later found in an archaeological site in Hubei in the 1960s.
King Zhending ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
441 BC King Ai and King Si
440 BC King Kao became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
432 BC Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng
King Kao ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
425 BC King Weilie became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
403 BC The Jin state is partitioned, marking the beginning of the Warring States period. Meanwhile, Marquis Wen of Wei ascends to power, sponsoring Confucianism in the Wei state, and employing able advisors such as the Legalist Li Kui, the military strategist Wu Qi and the hydraulic engineer Ximen Bao.
King Weilie ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
401 BC King An became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty

4th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
400 BC Astronomers Gan De and Shi Shen
Earliest date for the creation of the earliest known maps made in China, from the Qin state.
Star catalogue compilation
389 BC Latest possible date for the Zuo Zhuan historical text.
386 BC The city of Handan is founded, serving as the capital for the Zhao state.
381 BC Wu Qi is assassinated at the funeral of King Diao of Chu; his book, Wuzi, is considered to be one of the Seven Military Classics.
King An ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
375 BC King Lie became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
The Zheng state is annexed by the Han state.
370 BC Zhuangzi is born around this time.
King Lie ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
368 BC King Xian became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
361 BC Duke Xiao became emperor of the Qin dynasty
356 BC Shang Yang initiates a reform movement in the Qin state, which is outlined in the Book of Lord Shang.
Duke Xiao ended his reign as emperor of the Qin dynasty
354 BC Battle of Guiling
350 BC Earliest proposed date for the Guodian Chu Slips, containing the oldest known version of the Daodejing, parts of the Book of History, and a chapter from the Book of Rites
342 BC Battle of Maling
Crossbow used in China.
King Xian ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
338 BC King Huiwen became emperor of the Qin dynasty
Shang Yang is executed. The rulers of the Qin state begin adopting the title of "King" instead of "Duke".
320 BC King Shenjing became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
319 BC Mencius becomes an official in the Qi state
316 BC Death of Sun Bin
The states of Shu and Ba are conquered by the Qin state
King Huiwen ended his reign as emperor of the Qin dynasty
King Shenjing ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
314 BC King Nan became ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
311 BC King Wu
310 BC Birth of Xunzi
307 BC Imitating the northern nomadic armies, King Wuling of Zhao reforms the Zhao state's military by adopting formal cavalry ranks over charioteers and importing the trouser-pants style of the nomads for soldiers.
306 BC King Zhaoxiang became emperor of the Qin dynasty
305 BC Birth of Zou Yan, whose school of thought would for the first time systematically combine the two premodern theories of yin and yang and the Five Elements.

3rd century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
300 BC Erya, China's oldest known dictionary
293 BC Battle of Yique
278 BC Qu Yuan writes the poem Lament for Ying and commits suicide after the Chu state's capital, Ying, falls to the Qin state.
260 BC Battle of Changping
256 BC King Nan dies. Zhou territory is annexed by the Qin state.
Dujiangyan Irrigation System
King Nan ended his reign as ruler of the Eastern Zhou dynasty
255 BC The emergence of the Seven Warring States began
King Zhaoxiang ended his reign as emperor of the Qin dynasty
250 BC The repeating crossbow is featured in drawings from the records of the Chu state.
King Xiaowen
The emergence of the Seven Warring States ended
249 BC King Zhuangxiang
246 BC The Zhengguo Canal is completed by Zheng Guo of the Qin state.
Ying Zheng (as King of Qin) became emperor of the Qin dynasty
Ying Zheng becomes the king of Qin
230 BC Qin's wars of unification begin. The Han state is conquered by the Qin state
227 BC Jing Ke fails to assassinate Ying Zheng.
223 BC The Chu state is conquered by the Qin state
222 BC The Yan and Zhao states are conquered by the Qin state.
Ying Zheng (as King of Qin) ended his reign as emperor of the Qin dynasty
221 BC The First Emperor became emperor of the Qin dynasty
The Qin state unifies China under the Qin dynasty with a powerful central government, marking the end of the Warring States period. Ying Zheng proclaims himself "Qin Shi Huang" (means "First Emperor of Qin").
Imperial Seal of China
220 BC Construction of the Great Wall of China begins
Chancellor Li Si standardizes the writing system with Small Seal Script characters.
214 BC The Lingqu Canal is engineered by Shi Lu, and is the oldest contour canal (i.e. follows a contour line) in the world
213 BC Burning of books and burying of scholars
210 BC Burial of the Terracotta Army, featuring over 8,000 terracotta statues and the earliest known umbrellas in China.
The First Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qin dynasty
209 BC The Second Emperor became emperor of the Qin dynasty
Chieftain Modu Chanyu establishes the Xiongnu empire on the northern steppe.
Military officers Chen Sheng and Wu Guang rebel against the Qin dynasty after fear of execution for delay of arriving at a post with newly drafted conscripts; their small revolt initiates a gradual but massive and uncoordinated revolt on several fronts against Qin authority.
208 BC Zhao Gao has the chancellor Li Si executed, destabilizing Qin as the rebellions of Xiang Yu and others become widespread.
The Qin army led by Zhang Han defeats Chen Sheng and Wu Guang's rebel force.
The Second Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qin dynasty
207 BC Ziying
Battle of Julu. Liu Bang's rebel force enters Guanzhong, the heartland of Qin. The last Qin ruler, Ziying, kills Zhao Gao and surrenders to Liu Bang.
The Nanyue state is established in present-day Vietnam by the Qin general Zhao Tuo.
206 BC In the first month of 206 BCE, after Liu Bang occupied the Qin capital Xianyang, Xiang Yu's rebel force arrives at the city and plunders it, destroying the Epang Palace by fire and killing Ziying and members of the Qin imperial family. Although Ziying had already surrendered to Liu Bang in the last month of 207 BCE, this event is viewed by historians as the final event of the Qin dynasty.
Start of the Chu–Han Contention, a civil war between the forces of Liu Bang and Xiang Yu after the fall of the Qin dynasty.
Feast at Hong Gate
205 BC Battle of Jingxing
202 BC Emperor Gaozu became emperor of the Western Han dynasty
Battle of Gaixia

2nd century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
200 BC Battle of Baideng
Sometime in the 2nd century BCE, the multi-tube seed drill is invented and increases agricultural yields as seeds are carefully planted in rows instead of being cast out onto the crop field.
195 BC Emperor Gaozu ended his reign as emperor of the Western Han dynasty
193 BC Death of Xiao He, the first chancellor of the Han dynasty.
190 BC Emperor Hui became emperor of the Western Han dynasty
Chang'an becomes the eastern terminus of the Silk Road connecting to Europe.
189 BC Death of Zhang Liang, a key advisor to Emperor Gaozu.
Emperor Hui ended his reign as emperor of the Western Han dynasty
180 BC Emperor Wen became emperor of the Western Han dynasty
Rule of Wen and Jing
Lü Clan Disturbance
168 BC Mawangdui Silk Texts are interred at the tombs of Mawangdui, containing some of the oldest known textual versions of the I Ching.
Emperor Wen ended his reign as emperor of the Western Han dynasty
157 BC Emperor Jing
141 BC Emperor Wu became emperor of the Western Han dynasty
140 BC Persuaded by Dong Zhongshu's essay in a literary competition, Emperor Wu, or his chancellor Wei Wan, adopts Confucianism.
139 BC Under the patronage of the prince Liu An, the scholars known as the Eight Immortals of Huainan publish the Huainanzi, a philosophical text that also covered subjects of military strategy as well as geography and cartography.
135 BC Han–Minyue War
Southward expansion of the Han dynasty
133 BC Han–Xiongnu War
Battle of Mayi
130 BC Sino-Roman relations
125 BC Zhang Qian returns to the Han Empire to report on his travels and the kingdoms of Dayuan (Fergana), Kangju (Sogdia), Daxia (Greco-Bactrian Kingdom), Shendu (Indo-Greek Kingdom), Anxi (Parthia), and Taozhi (Mesopotamia).
119 BC Battle of Mobei
111 BC Han–Dongyue War
Han–Nanyue War
109 BC Han–Dian War
108 BC Battle of Loulan
Wiman Joseon in modern Korea falls to Han forces.
102 BC Emperor Wu's forces besiege Kokand in the Fergana Valley

1st century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
100 BC Steel is used in China.
91 BC Sima Qian completes the Records of the Grand Historian, a groundbreaking work in Chinese historiography.
Emperor Wu ended his reign as emperor of the Western Han dynasty
87 BC Emperor Zhao became emperor of the Western Han dynasty
86 BC Death of Jin Midi, an official of Xiongnu ethnicity who became a regent of the Han dynasty during the early reign of Emperor Zhao.
Emperor Zhao ended his reign as emperor of the Western Han dynasty
74 BC Emperor Xuan became emperor of the Western Han dynasty
67 BC Battle of Jushi
60 BC Protectorate of the Western Regions is established.
Emperor Xuan ended his reign as emperor of the Western Han dynasty
48 BC Emperor Yuan became emperor of the Western Han dynasty
Consort Ban, a female poet, is born around this time.
40 BC The Ji Jiu Pian dictionary records China's first known use of the treadle-operated tilt hammer, while the later book Xinlun by Huan Tan described the first hydraulic-powered trip hammer which would have been operated by a waterwheel.
37 BC Death of Jing Fang, who was the first in music theory to note that 53 perfect fifths approximates 31 octaves. Like the later Zhang Heng, he was also a proponent of the radiating influence theory, which stated that the light of the moon was merely the reflected light of the sun.
36 BC Battle of Zhizhi
32 BC Emperor Cheng
30 BC First mention of the wheelbarrow in history.
18 BC Biographies of Exemplary Women, a book about exemplary women in Chinese history, is compiled by the scholar Liu Xiang.
Emperor Yuan ended his reign as emperor of the Western Han dynasty
6 BC Emperor Ai
1 BC Emperor Ping became emperor of the Western Han dynasty

Centuries: 1st · 2nd · 3rd · 4th · 5th · 6th · 7th · 8th · 9th · 10th · 11th · 12th · 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th

1st century[edit]

Year Date Event
1 Sometime from this year until the end of the century, the earliest representation of a stern-mounted rudder for steering ships is made in China, on a tomb model of a sailing junk.
2 Han government census counts 59 million people in the empire.
3 Emperor Ping establishes a nationwide school system on the central, prefectural, and county levels.
Emperor Ping ended his reign as emperor of the Western Han dynasty
6 Ruzi Ying became emperor of the Western Han dynasty
8 Liu Xin completes his star catalogue of 1080 stars, as well as fixing the year at 365.25016 days long (11 minutes longer than the modern year) by calculating the synodic month to be 29 43/81 days long, with a total of 235 synodic months adding up to 19 years. He is also the first Chinese to attempt a more accurate calculation of pi at 3.154, as the Chinese before him simply approximated it to 3. Zhang Heng and Liu Hui would later improve upon Liu's calculation in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, respectively.
Ruzi Ying ended his reign as emperor of the Western Han dynasty
9 Wang Mang became emperor of the Xin dynasty
Ruzi Ying is dethroned; Wang Mang initiates the short-lived Xin dynasty.
Wang Mang introduces the well-field system of land distribution and agricultural production.
10 Wang Mang introduces an income tax of 10% for professionals and skilled laborers.
Wang Mang outlaws the private use of crossbows. Despite this, Liu Xiu purchases them on the black market to aid the rebellion of his brother Liu Yan and rebel leader Li Tong in early winter of 22.
12 Under pressure from aristocrats, Wang Mang is forced to rescind the well-field system.
17 Wang Mang imposes government monopolies on liquor, salt, iron, coinage, forestry, and fishing.
Mother Lü initiates rebellion against a county magistrate in Shandong.
18 Death of Yang Xiong, a poet, Taoist and author who wrote the first dialect dictionary of China, the Fangyan.
23 Battle of Kunyang
Storming of Weiyang Palace, Wang Mang is killed, Emperor Gengshi restores the Han dynasty.
Emperor Gengshi
Wang Mang ended his reign as emperor of the Xin dynasty
25 Emperor Guangwu became emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
27 Chimei rebels surrender to Han authority after they are defeated.
31 Du Shi invents waterwheel-powered bellows for the blast furnace in making cast iron.
33 Rebellion of Gongsun Shu; Gongsun blockades the width of the Yangtze River with a fortified floating pontoon bridge, but his defences give in once the Han general Cen Peng employs "castle ships" to ram and attack Gongsun's rebel navy
43 Second Chinese domination of Vietnam
52 The first known gazetteer of China, the Yuejue Shu, is written.
57 Sino-Japanese relations
Emperor Guangwu ended his reign as emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
58 Emperor Ming became emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
Death of chancellor Deng Yu.
65 Liu Ying, son of Emperor Guangwu, sponsors Buddhism.
68 White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China, is founded.
73 Battle of Yiwulu
83 Wang Chong correctly theorizes the nature of the water cycle; he is also the first in Chinese history to mention the use of the chain pump.
87 Yuan An, an advocate of marriage alliance policies with the Xiongnu, is promoted to the position of Minister over the Masses.
Emperor Ming ended his reign as emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
88 Emperor He became emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
89 Battle of Ikh Bayan
97 Ban Chao sends envoy Gan Ying to the outskirts of the Roman Empire.
100 The Shuowen Jiezi dictionary is completed by Xu Shen.

2nd century[edit]

Year Date Event
105 Cai Lun invents papermaking
Goguryeo—Han War
Emperor He ended his reign as emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
106 Emperor Shang
111 Emperor An became emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
Ban Zhao completes the Book of Han, which was begun by her father Ban Biao and continued by her elder brother Ban Gu.
120 Zhang Heng completes his star catalogue, documenting 2,500 stars in over 100 constellations, writes a new formula for pi, corrected mistakes in the Chinese calendar, gave reasoning for a spherical moon that reflects light, and noted that lunar eclipse occurred when the earth obstructed the sunlight reaching the moon, while a solar eclipse was the moon's obstruction of sunlight reaching Earth.
Emperor An ended his reign as emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
125 Emperor Shun became emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
Zhang Heng invents the first hydraulic-powered armillary sphere, given motive power by a waterwheel and incorporating an inflow water clock, the latter of which he improved by adding a compensating tank between the reservoir and the inflow vessel.
The earliest known Chinese depiction of a mechanical distance-marking odometer is drawn on a mural of the Xiaotangshan Tomb.
132 Zhang Heng invents a seismometer device that, with a pendulum and complex set of gears and cranks, is able to discern the cardinal direction of earthquakes by the dropping of bronze balls into wrought toad's mouths indicating the direction.
Birth of Cai Yong, a mathematician, astronomer, musician and calligrapher.
142 Kinship of the Three
Emperor Shun ended his reign as emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
145 Emperor Chong
146 Emperor Zhi
147 Emperor Huan became emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
Birth of Lokaksema, a Yuezhi monk from Kushan who translated Mahayana Buddhist texts into Chinese.
148 An Shigao, a Persian prince from Parthia, arrives in China in this year to translate Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist texts into Chinese.
166 The Roman embassy reaches China.
Disasters of Partisan Prohibitions
Emperor Huan ended his reign as emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
168 Emperor Ling became emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
177 Birth of Cai Wenji, a female poet and musician.
179 Earliest known reference to The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art
180 Ding Huan invents the manual-powered rotary fan, which is recorded in the Book of the Later Han as being able to make halls cool enough for people to shiver during the summer. During the Tang dynasty, hydraulics were applied to power the rotary fan first innovated by Ding.
184 Yellow Turban Rebellion
Liang Province Rebellion
185 Zhi Yao, a Yuezhi monk from Kushan, translates Buddhist texts into Chinese.
Emperor Ling ended his reign as emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
189 Emperor Shao
Dong Zhuo deposes Emperor Shao
Massacre of eunuchs
190 Emperor Xian became emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
Campaign against Dong Zhuo
192 Death of Dong Zhuo at the hands of Lü Bu
194 Sun Ce's conquests in Jiangdong
198 Battle of Xiapi
200 Battle of Guandu

3rd century[edit]

Year Date Event
204 Gongsun Kang, a Liaodong warlord, establishes the Daifang Commandery in northern Korea.
208 Battle of Red Cliffs
211 Battle of Tong Pass
215 Liu Bei's takeover of Yi Province
217 Battle of Xiaoyao Ford
219 End of the Hanzhong Campaign
Battle of Fancheng and Lü Meng's invasion of Jing Province
220 Cao Pi forces Emperor Xian to abdicate the throne in his favor and establishes the state of Cao Wei. This event marks the end of the Eastern Han dynasty.
Emperor Xian ended his reign as emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty
221 Cao Pi became emperor of Cao Wei
Liu Bei became emperor of Shu Han
The Battle of Xiaoting began
222 Sun Quan became emperor of Eastern Wu
Liu Bei ended his reign as emperor of Shu Han
The Battle of Xiaoting ended
225 Liu Shan became emperor of Shu Han
Zhuge Liang's Southern Campaign
Cao Pi ended his reign as emperor of Cao Wei
228 Cao Rui became emperor of Cao Wei
Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions
Battle of Shiting
232 Death of Cao Zhi, a famous poet.
234 Battle of Wuzhang Plains
Cao Rui ended his reign as emperor of Cao Wei
244 Cao Fang became emperor of Cao Wei
Battle of Xingshi
247 Jiang Wei's Northern Expeditions
248 Triệu Thị Trinh's rebellion in Vietnam is crushed by Eastern Wu forces.
249 Incident at Gaoping Tombs
250 Introduction of Buddhism in China
Sun Quan ended his reign as emperor of Eastern Wu
Cao Fang ended his reign as emperor of Cao Wei
255 Cao Mao
Sun Liang
Ma Jun invents the south-pointing chariot, a mechanical directional pathfinder that acts like a compass in that it always points south. This device may have employed a differential gear system, the same found in modern automobiles.
263 Cao Huan became emperor of Cao Wei
Sun Xiu
Conquest of Shu by Wei
Liu Hui publishes the revised version of The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art, with Liu's commentary.
265 Sun Hao became emperor of Eastern Wu
Nine-rank system
Emperor Wu became emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
Sometime between this year and 271, the cartographer and geographer Pei Xiu noted a groundbreaking development in Chinese cartography, as he was the first to describe the grid reference and graduated scale of measurement for Chinese maps; however, it is known that grids and familiarity with scaled distance on maps existing beforehand, while scholars point to evidence that it might have been an original innovation of Zhang Heng.
Liu Shan ended his reign as emperor of Shu Han
Cao Huan ended his reign as emperor of Cao Wei
280 Conquest of Wu by Jin
Unification of China, Conquest of Wu by Jin
Records of the Three Kingdoms by Chen Shou
Sun Hao ended his reign as emperor of Eastern Wu
Emperor Wu ended his reign as emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
290 Emperor Hui became emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
291 War of the Eight Princes

4th century[edit]

Year Date Event
304 Sixteen Kingdoms (Han Zhao, Later Zhao, Cheng Han, Former Liang, Later Liang, Northern Liang, Western Liang, Southern Liang, Former Yan, Later Yan, Northern Yan, Southern Yan, Former Qin, Later Qin, Western Qin, Xia) were established
306 Emperor Hui ended his reign as emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
307 Emperor Huai
311 Emperor Min became emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
Emperor Huai is captured by Han Zhao forces, the capital is moved from Luoyang to Chang'an.
Sixteen Kingdoms (Han Zhao, Later Zhao, Cheng Han, Former Liang, Later Liang, Northern Liang, Western Liang, Southern Liang, Former Yan, Later Yan, Northern Yan, Southern Yan, Former Qin, Later Qin, Western Qin, Xia) were disestablished
313 The Korean kingdom Goguryeo conquers the Western Jin dynasty's Lelang Commandery.
316 Chang'an falls, Emperor Min surrenders to Liu Yao, a general of the Xiongnu state Han Zhao. The Eastern Jin dynasty's capital is established in Jiankang (present-day Nanjing).
Emperor Min ended his reign as emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
317 Emperor Yuan became emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
Sixteen Kingdoms and Six Dynasties were established
318 Emperor Min is executed by Liu Cong, the emperor of Han Zhao.
322 First accurate tomb depiction of stirrups.
Emperor Yuan ended his reign as emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
323 Emperor Ming became emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
324 The sick and ailing rebel Wang Dun dies while his forces are defeated by Emperor Ming's troops.
Emperor Ming ended his reign as emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
325 Emperor Cheng became emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
328 Su Jun, who waged war against the regent Yu Liang, is defeated by generals Tao Kan and Wen Jiao.
Emperor Cheng ended his reign as emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
342 Emperor Kang
344 Emperor Mu became emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
353 Calligrapher Wang Xizhi writes the Lantingji Xu in semi-cursive script.
Emperor Mu ended his reign as emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
361 Emperor Ai
365 Emperor Fei became emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
366 Painter Gu Kaizhi becomes an officer of Jin.
369 Jin general Huan Wen is defeated by Murong Chui, a general of the ethnic Xianbei state of Former Yan.
Emperor Fei ended his reign as emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
372 Emperor Xiaowu became emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
383 Battle of Fei River
Emperor Xiaowu ended his reign as emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
386 The Northern Wei dynasty began in the northern dynasty
396 Emperor An became emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
399 Faxian sails to Sri Lanka and India to recover Buddhist texts.

5th century[edit]

Year Date Event
404 Huiyuan, the founder of Pure Land Buddhism, writes the book On Why Monks Do Not Bow Down Before Kings, where he argues that members of the Buddhist clergy should stay out of politics but Buddhist laypeople make good subjects because of their belief in karma.
405 Poet Tao Yuanming goes into retirement for the next 22 years, until his death.
Emperor An ended his reign as emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
419 Emperor Gong became emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
420 The regent Liu Yu seizes the throne from Emperor Gong, initiating the Liu Song dynasty.
The Liu Song dynasty began in the southern dynasty
Sixteen Kingdoms and Six Dynasties were disestablished
Emperor Gong ended his reign as emperor of the Western Jin dynasty
475 Bodhidharma arrives in China
477 Oldest known painted depiction of a horse collar, on a cave mural of Dunhuang, Northern Wei.
The Liu Song dynasty ended in the southern dynasty
479 The Southern Qi dynasty began in the southern dynasty
485 After the well-field system had fallen out of use, Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei introduces the equal-field system.
496 Change of Xianbei names to Han names

6th century[edit]

Year Date Event
501 Cui Hong begins compiling the Shiliuguo Chunqiu
The Southern Qi dynasty ended in the southern dynasty
502 The Liang dynasty began in the southern dynasty
523 The Songyue Pagoda is built, the earliest known fully brick pagoda in China, in departure from the fully timber tradition. It still stands at a height of 40 m (131 ft).
The Northern Wei dynasty ended in the northern dynasty
534 The Eastern Wei dynasty and Western Wei dynasty began in the northern dynasty
543 The Chinese dictionary Yupian is completed by Gu Yewang.
The Eastern Wei dynasty and Western Wei dynasty ended in the northern dynasty
550 Northern Qi dynasty and Western Wei dynasty
The Liang dynasty ended in the southern dynasty
557 The Chen dynasty began in the southern dynasty
Northern Qi dynasty and Northern Zhou dynasty
577 The Northern Zhou dynasty began in the northern dynasty
581 Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou is forced to step down from the throne by his regent Yang Jian, who assumes power as Emperor Wen of Sui, initiating the Sui dynasty.
Emperor Wen became emperor of the Sui dynasty
The Chen dynasty ended in the southern dynasty
The Northern Zhou dynasty ended in the northern dynasty
582 Compilation begins on the Jingdian Shiwen dictionary.
589 Yan Zhitui makes the first reference to toilet paper in history.
598 The Goguryeo–Sui War begins in modern North Korea.
600 First of the Japanese embassies to China.

7th century[edit]

Year Date Event
601 Lu Fayan publishes the rime dictionary Qieyun.
602 Third Chinese domination of Vietnam
Emperor Wen ended his reign as emperor of the Sui dynasty
604 Emperor Yang became emperor of the Sui dynasty
605 Imperial examinations are instituted, beginning a long bureaucratic tradition of scholar-officialdom in China.
The Zhaozhou Bridge is completed.
607 The Japanese emissary Ono no Imoko arrives in China.
609 The Grand Canal of China is completed.
610 Engineers Geng Xun and Yuwen Kai improve the clepsydra clock model when they provided a steelyard balance that allowed seasonal adjustment in the pressure head of the compensating tank and could then control the rate of flow for different lengths of day and night. The earlier Zhang Heng of the Han dynasty was the first to add the compensating tank between the reservoir and the inflow vessel.
Emperor Yang collaborates a huge effort for all the commanderies of China to submit gazetteers describing their local areas and providing maps to the central government, in an effort to maintain control and provide better security.
611 The Four Gates Pagoda is completed.
612 Battle of Salsu
617 After capturing Chang'an, the rebel-turned-emperor Li Yuan demotes Emperor Yang to the status of a retired emperor.
Emperor Yang ended his reign as emperor of the Sui dynasty
618 Emperor Gaozu became emperor of the Tang dynasty
Transition from Sui to Tang
621 Battle of Hulao
624 The Yiwen Leiju encyclopedia is completed by Ouyang Xun.
Emperor Gaozu ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
626 Emperor Taizong became emperor of the Tang dynasty
Emperor Taizong's campaign against Eastern Tujue
Incident at Xuanwu Gate
635 The first Christian missionaries arrive in China. Nestorian monks from Asia Minor and Persia build the Daqin Pagoda. Alopen, a Persian bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, also writes the Jesus Sutras.
Emperor Taizong's campaign against Tuyuhun. The Book of Liang is published.
636 The Xumi Pagoda is completed.
Compilations of the Book of Chen, Book of Northern Qi, Book of Zhou, and Book of Sui.
638 Tibetan attack on Songzhou
639 Emperor Taizong's campaign against Xueyantuo
640 Protectorate General to Pacify the West
Emperor Taizong's campaign against Xiyu states, including the Karakhoja. The beginning of a series of campaigns against the Western Turks.
643 Emperor Taizong commissions the artist Yan Liben to paint the portraits at Lingyan Pavilion.
644 Emperor Taizong's campaign against Goguryeo: The Tang Empire allies with the Korean kingdom Silla during the Goguryeo–Tang War.
First Tang campaign against Karasahr
646 Great Tang Records on the Western Regions is compiled by Bianji, documenting the travels of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang through the Gobi Desert, Kucha, Tashkent, Samarkand, Gandhara, and finally to India, where he studied in Nalanda.
647 Protectorate General to Pacify the North
648 The Book of Jin is compiled.
Second Tang campaign against Karasahr and campaign against Kucha
Emperor Taizong ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
649 Emperor Gaozong became emperor of the Tang dynasty
Four Arts of the Chinese Scholar (est.)
650 The records of the Tang dynasty describes a landmark visit to China by Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, one of the sahaba, in 650. This event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China.
657 Emperor Gaozong commissions the compilation of a large materia medica documenting the use of 833 medicinal drugs.
Conquest of the Western Turks
659 Compilations for the History of Southern Dynasties and History of Northern Dynasties is completed.
663 Tang and Silla forces defeat the Japanese and Baekje navies at the Battle of Baekgang.
666 Two Chinese Buddhist monks, Zhiyu and Zhiyou, craft a mechanical south-pointing chariot for the Japanese Emperor Tenji.
668 Protectorate General to Pacify the East
Emperor Gaozong ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
684 Wu Zetian became emperor of the Tang dynasty
The Qianling Mausoleum is completed.
Death of poet Luo Binwang.
699 Tang forces retake the Four Garrisons of Anxi from the Tibetans.
700 Approximate date for the creation of the Dunhuang map, an astronomical chart.

8th century[edit]

Year Date Event
704 The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is rebuilt.
Wu Zetian ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
709 Emperor Zhongzong
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is completed.
710 Emperor Ruizong
The Shitong, a history of Chinese historiography up until the late 8th century, is compiled by Liu Zhiji.
Death of Shangguan Wan'er, a female writer, government official and concubine.
712 Emperor Xuanzong became emperor of the Tang dynasty
Pear Garden, a music academy that trained acting troupes.
713 Kaiyuan newspaper
725 Yi Xing invents a water-powered celestial globe featuring an escapement mechanism and striking clock.
729 Gautama Siddha completes the compilation of the Treatise on Astrology of the Kaiyuan Era.
740 This year marks the death of the painter Wu Daozi and poet Meng Haoran.
744 Poets Du Fu and Li Bai meet for the first time.
751 Battle of Talas; this battle marks the beginning of the westward transmission of the ancient Chinese papermaking process.
755 An Lushan Rebellion
Death of the painter Zhang Xuan.
Emperor Xuanzong ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
756 Emperor Suzong became emperor of the Tang dynasty
Battle of Yongqiu
757 Battle of Suiyang
758 Arab and Persian pirates loot and burn the seaport of Guangzhou, causing Tang officials to virtually shut down the port for five decades while foreign vessels from the Indian Ocean came mostly to Hanoi in Tang-controlled Vietnam to trade there instead.
760 Earliest date for The Classic of Tea by Lu Yu.
761 Death of Wang Wei, a painter, musician, poet, scholar and official.
Emperor Suzong ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
762 Emperor Daizong became emperor of the Tang dynasty
The Jingxingji is written by Du Huan, which described several major foreign countries including the Abbasid Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire.
763 Shi Siming is killed by his son. The An Lushan Rebellion ends.
Emperor Daizong ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
781 Emperor Dezong became emperor of the Tang dynasty
The Nestorian Stele is composed.
783 Death of the painter Han Gan.
785 The official Jia Dan begins a monumental work of cartography and geography. In it, he describes many foreign places, including present-day Japan, Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Arabian Peninsula, the Euphrates and Baghdad of present-day Iraq, and minaret lighthouses in the Persian Gulf that were later described by Al-Masudi and Al-Muqaddasi.
794 Prince Li Gao has the first Chinese paddle-wheel ships made.
798 The Army of Divine Strategy, staffed by eunuch officers, reaches 240,000 troops, thanks largely to the revenues of the salt commission.
799 The lucrative trade of the salt commission, a government monopoly, accounts for half of the government's incoming revenues by this year.

9th century[edit]

Year Date Event
801 Compilation of the Tongdian history and encyclopedia by Du You is complete.
Emperor Dezong ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
805 Emperor Shunzong
806 Emperor Xianzong
With a renewed military, Emperor Xianzong begins a series of seven major military campaigns in which he quells all remaining rebelling provinces except for two.
820 Emperor Muzong
824 Emperor Jingzong
Death of Han Yu, an essayist and poet who was an early proponent of the Classical Prose Movement, while his works are considered foundations for later Neo-Confucianism. He was also an early polemecist and advocate against Buddhism.
831 Emperor Wenzong
A Uyghur Turk sues the son of a Tang general who had failed to repay a debt of 11 million government-issued copper coins. Emperor Wenzong hears the news and is so upset that he not only banishes the general, but also attempts to ban all trade between Chinese and foreigners except for trade in livestock. This ban is unsuccessful and trade with foreigners resumes, especially in maritime affairs overseas.
843 Emperor Wuzong became emperor of the Tang dynasty
A large fire in Chang'an consumes 4,000 homes, warehouses, and other buildings in the East Market, yet the rest of the city is at a safe distance from the blaze (which is largely quarantined in East Central Chang'an thanks to the large width of roads in Chang'an that produce fire breaks).
845 Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution
Emperor Wuzong ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
846 Emperor Xuānzong became emperor of the Tang dynasty
Death of Bai Juyi, a poet who penned over 2,800 poems in his lifetime.
851 Arab merchant Suleiman al-Tajir visits Guangzhou seaport and describes Chinese porcelain manufacture, tea consumption, granaries and the Islamic mosque of the city. He notes that the Chinese use toilet paper instead of washing with water.
852 Death of Du Mu, a poet renowned for his vivid and realistic style.
853 Duan Chengshi publishes his Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang.
858 An enormous flood along the Grand Canal and on the North China Plain kills tens of thousands of people.
Emperor Xuānzong ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
863 Emperor Yizong became emperor of the Tang dynasty
Duan Chengshi describes the slave trade, ivory trade, and ambergris trade in Berbera, Somalia.
868 Woodblock printing of the Diamond Sutra
Emperor Yizong ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
874 Emperor Xizong became emperor of the Tang dynasty
Huang Chao starts a rebellion against the Tang dynasty.
879 Huang Chao burns and loots the international seaport at Guangzhou, killing thousands of native Chinese and foreign merchants from all over the Asian continent.
884 Huang Chao's rebellion is crushed by Tang forces.
Emperor Xizong ended his reign as emperor of the Tang dynasty
888 Emperor Zhaozong

10th century[edit]

Year Date Event
907 Emperor Ai
Zhu Wen overthrows the Tang dynasty and establishes the Later Liang state.
Ten thousand years (est.)
Later Liang began in the 5 Dynasties
Wu began in the 10 Kingdoms
Wuyue began in the 10 Kingdoms
Min began in the 10 Kingdoms
Chu began in the 10 Kingdoms
Southern Han began in the 10 Kingdoms
Former Shu began in the 10 Kingdoms
Later Shu began in the 10 Kingdoms
Jingnan began in the 10 Kingdoms
Southern Tang began in the 10 Kingdoms
Northern Han began in the 10 Kingdoms
Emperor Taizu
917 Earliest known description in China of Greek fire.
919 Earliest known description of a flamethrower in China.
Later Liang ended in the 5 Dynasties
923 Later Tang
926 Emperor Taizong
936 Later Jin
947 Later Han began in the 5 Dynasties
Emperor Shizong
950 The earliest known depiction of a fire lance (proto gun) and lobbed grenade.
951 Later Zhou began in the 5 Dynasties
Emperor Muzong
960 Around this time, Gu Hongzhong paints the classic Night Revels of Han Xizai.
Emperor Taizu became emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
Zhao Kuangyin (Emperor Taizu) becomes the emperor with the support of his soldiers in the Chen Bridge Mutiny.
In the Wuli Xiaoshi (1630), Fang Yizhi states that Emperor Taizu was presented with gunpowder-impregnated fire arrows in this year. Hundred Family Surnames (est.)
Later Han ended in the 5 Dynasties
961 The Huqiu Tower is built.
969 Emperor Jingzong
971 Song troops defeat the war elephants of Southern Han.
974 Song troops construct and defend a floating pontoon bridge across the Yangtze River in order to secure supply lines while fighting against the Southern Tang forces.
Emperor Taizu ended his reign as emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
976 Emperor Taizong became emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
The Yuelu Academy is founded.
977 The Longhua Pagoda is built.
978 The Extensive Records of the Taiping Era is completed. It is the first of the Four Great Books of Song.
979 Wu ended in the 10 Kingdoms
Wuyue ended in the 10 Kingdoms
Min ended in the 10 Kingdoms
Chu ended in the 10 Kingdoms
Southern Han ended in the 10 Kingdoms
Former Shu ended in the 10 Kingdoms
Later Shu ended in the 10 Kingdoms
Jingnan ended in the 10 Kingdoms
Southern Tang ended in the 10 Kingdoms
Northern Han ended in the 10 Kingdoms
Later Zhou ended in the 5 Dynasties
981 Battle of Bach Dang
983 Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era is completed.
984 Canal pound lock invented by Qiao Weiyo
986 Finest Blossoms in the Garden of Literature is completed.
990 The painter Fan Kuan is born around this time.
Emperor Taizong ended his reign as emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
993 Emperor Shengzong became emperor of the Liao dynasty
The First Goryeo–Khitan War marks the beginning of the Goryeo–Khitan Wars
997 The Chinese dictionary Longkan Shoujian is compiled by the monk Xingjun.
1000 Emperor Zhenzong became emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
Sometime between this year and the end of the century, the Chinese discovered how to use bituminous coke instead of charcoal for blast furnaces in casting iron, sparing thousands of acres of prime timberland from deforestation.

11th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1005 Shanyuan Treaty
The Shanyuan Treaty is signed between the Song and Liao dynasties.
1010 Second Goryeo–Khitan War
After 39 years in the making, the enormous atlas of China commissioned by the emperor and drawn by a team of scholars under Lu Duosun and Song Zhun is completed in 1556 chapters, including maps for individual towns, districts, counties, prefectures, circuits (provinces), and a map of the whole of China.
1011 The Guangyun rime dictionary is completed by Chen Pengnian and Qiu Yong.
1013 Prime Tortoise of the Record Bureau is completed.
Emperor Zhenzong ended his reign as emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
1018 Third Goryeo–Khitan War
Battle of Gwiju
Emperor Shengzong ended his reign as emperor of the Liao dynasty
1031 Emperor Xingzong
1037 Emperor Renzong became emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
Ding Du publishes the Jiyun rime dictionary.
1038 Emperor Jingzong
1041 Bi Sheng invents the earliest movable type printing.
1043 Fan Zhongyan and Ouyang Xiu introduce the Qingli Reforms, which would soon be rescinded in 1045.
1044 Wujing Zongyao, first book with written gunpowder formula; the book also describes the double-piston flamethrower.
1045 The Lingxiao Pagoda is completed.
1048 Emperor Yizong
1049 The Iron Pagoda is completed.
1055 The Liaodi Pagoda is completed.
1056 Emperor Daozong
Pagoda of Fogong Temple is completed.
1060 The compilation of the New Book of Tang, edited by Ouyang Xiu, is presented to the emperor.
Emperor Renzong ended his reign as emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
1063 Emperor Yingzong
The Pizhi Pagoda is completed.
1067 Emperor Huizong
1068 Emperor Shenzong became emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
First use of the drydock in China
1069 The chancellor Wang Anshi introduces the reforms of the New Policies, which included the Baojia system, his policies breed factionalism at court while the later chancellor Sima Guang would lead the conservatives against his party.
1070 Su Song publishes the Bencao Tujing, an interdisciplinary pharmaceutical treatise incorporating information on botany, zoology and mineralogy.
1072 Guo Xi paints Early Spring.
1075 The diplomat Shen Kuo asserts Song's rightful borders by using court archives against the bluff of Emperor Daozong of Liao.
Shen Kuo travels to Cizhou, and describes a forging process of cast iron under a cool blast that is considered by historians Needham and Hartwell as a predecessor to the metallurgic Bessemer process.
1076 Wang Anshi resigns as chancellor.
1077 Su Song is sent on a diplomatic mission to the Liao dynasty, discovers that the Khitan calendar is more mathematically accurate than the Song's; Emperor Zhezong later sponsors Su Song's clock tower in order to compete with Liao astronomers.
1078 According to the research of Robert Hartwell, China was producing on annual average 127,000,000 kg (125,000 t) of cast iron by this year, a sixfold increase since the year 806 during the Tang.
1080 Song forces inflict defeats on Western Xia, Shen Kuo takes up defense at Yan'an.
1081 An officer disobeys commands and his army is destroyed by the Tanguts; although he successfully defended Yan'an, Shen Kuo is blamed for the fiasco and impeached.
Su Song publishes a 200 volume work on Song-Liao relations.
1084 Sima Guang completes the compilation of Zizhi Tongjian, a universal history text of 294 volumes with 3 million Chinese characters.
The female poet Li Qingzhao is born.
Emperor Shenzong ended his reign as emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
1085 Emperor Zhezong became emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
The New Policies Group, a political faction once led by Wang Anshi, is ousted from power as the new empress dowager and regent overrule the young Emperor Zhezong with the political faction led by Sima Guang.
1086 Emperor Chongzong
1088 Dream Pool Essays by Shen Kuo, first book to describe the magnetic compass; Shen also postulates theories in early geomorphology and paleoclimatology, describes Bi Sheng's movable type printing, atmospheric refraction, problems of calculus and trigonometry, methods of archaeology, and is the first in China to describe camera obscura (after Ibn al-Haytham) and the concept of true north.
1090 First known description of the mechanical belt drive is found in the Book of Sericulture by Qin Guan.
1094 The clock tower of Su Song is completed in Kaifeng, featuring an escapement mechanism and chain drive to rotate an armillary sphere and sound an intricate striking clock.
Dongpo Academy is established on the island of Hainan, on the same spot where famous poet and official Su Shi was exiled by the New Policies court faction.
Emperor Zhezong ended his reign as emperor of the Northern Song dynasty

12th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1103 Emperor Huizong became emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
The Yingzao Fashi architectural treatise is published by Li Jie and is promoted by Huizong's government as a standard manual for construction and building.
1107 Death of the painter, calligrapher and poet Mi Fu.
1111 The Donglin Academy is founded.
1115 Emperor Taizu
Wanyan Aguda (Emperor Taizu) leads the Jurchens to attack the Liao dynasty.
1119 Zhu Yu publishes his Pingzhou Table Talks, confirming Shen Kuo's description of the magnetic compass by stating its use in seafaring.
1120 Emperor Tianzuo became emperor of the Liao dynasty
Pagoda of Tianning Temple is completed.
1124 Kara-Khitan Khanate
1125 The Jurchen-led Jin dynasty conquers the Liao dynasty.
Song forces ally with the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty to topple the Khitan-led Liao dynasty.
The beginning of the Jin–Song Wars
Emperor Taizong became emperor of the (Jurchen) Jin dynasty
The beginning of the Jin–Song Wars.
Emperor Huizong ended his reign as emperor of the Northern Song dynasty
Emperor Tianzuo ended his reign as emperor of the Liao dynasty
1127 Emperor Qinzong
The Jingkang Incident: Much of northern China is conquered by the Jin dynasty. The Song dynasty moves its capital south from Kaifeng to Hangzhou.
Jingkang Incident
Emperor Taizong ended his reign as emperor of the (Jurchen) Jin dynasty
1132 Emperor Gaozong became emperor of the Southern Song dynasty
China's first permanent standing navy is established, with the Song naval headquarters at Dinghai.
A fire destroys over 13,000 homes in the new capital at Hangzhou.
1135 Yue Fei defeats the rebels under Yang Yao by first entangling his paddle-wheel ships in rotten logs and other floating debris.
Emperor Xizong
1139 Emperor Renzong
1141 The Treaty of Shaoxing is signed between the Jin and Song dynasties.
1142 Yue Fei is accused of treason by Qin Hui and executed by Emperor Gaozong.
1153 Emperor Hailingwang became emperor of the (Jurchen) Jin dynasty
The Jin capital is moved from Huining Fu to Zhongdu (present-day Beijing)
1157 The capital is moved again, this time from Beijing to Kaifeng.
Emperor Hailingwang ended his reign as emperor of the (Jurchen) Jin dynasty
1161 Song defeats Jin at the Battle of Tangdao and Battle of Caishi after Jin attempted to conquer southern China.
The Yunjing rime dictionary is compiled by Zhang Linzhi.
Emperor Shizong became emperor of the (Jurchen) Jin dynasty
Hailingwang attempts to invade and conquer the Southern Song dynasty, but their naval forces are destroyed at the Battle of Tangdao and Battle of Caishi.
Emperor Gaozong ended his reign as emperor of the Southern Song dynasty
1162 Emperor Xiaozong became emperor of the Southern Song dynasty
The Beisi Pagoda is completed.
1164 The Treaty of Longxing between Song and Jin ushers in four decades of peace.
Emperor Shizong ended his reign as emperor of the (Jurchen) Jin dynasty
1165 The Liuhe Pagoda is completed
1179 The White Deer Grotto Academy is rebuilt by Zhu Xi.
Emperor Xiaozong ended his reign as emperor of the Southern Song dynasty
1189 Emperor Guangzong
Emperor Zhangzong
The Chengling Pagoda is built.
1193 Emperor Huanzong

13th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1206 Emperor Xiangzong
1211 Emperor Shenzong
Emperor Weishaowang
Genghis Khan launches a military campaign against the Jin dynasty.
1214 Emperor Xuanzong became emperor of the (Jurchen) Jin dynasty
In the terms of a treaty with Genghis Khan, the Jin dynasty becomes a vassal state of the expanding Mongol Empire.
1215 Emperor Ningzong
Battle of Zhongdu
When the Jin court moves their capital from Beijing to Kaifeng once more, Genghis Khan sees this as open revolt and sacks Beijing, burning the city to the ground.
1216 The Song dynasty attacks Jin from the south and again in 1223 while the Jin Empire was collapsing.
Emperor Xuanzong ended his reign as emperor of the (Jurchen) Jin dynasty
1223 Emperor Xianzong
1226 Emperor Mozhu became emperor of Western Xia
1227 Genghis Khan dies during the siege on the final Western Xia stronghold. His successor, Ögedei Khan, conquers Western Xia and resumes the war against the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty.
Emperor Aizong became emperor of the (Jurchen) Jin dynasty
Genghis Khan died during the siege of the final Western Xia stronghold in 1227. His successor, Ögedei Khan, resumes the war against the Jin dynasty in the same year.
Emperor Mozhu ended his reign as emperor of Western Xia
1233 The Jin capital Kaifeng is captured in the Mongol siege of Kaifeng by Ögedei Khan's forces.
Emperor Aizong ended his reign as emperor of the (Jurchen) Jin dynasty
1234 Emperor Modi
Emperor Modi is killed by Mongol forces at the siege of Caizhou in present-day Runan County, Henan.
1241 Emperor Lizong became emperor of the Southern Song dynasty
Emperor Lizong sponsors Zhu Xi's Four Books and Neo-Confucianism.
1247 Qin Jiushao writes his Mathematical Treatise in Nine Sections, which included use of the Horner scheme hundreds of years before it was discovered independently by William George Horner.
1259 The Mongol ruler Möngke Khan dies at Diaoyu Fortress in modern Chongqing during a battle against Song forces.
1260 The Toluid Civil War begins between Ariq Böke and Kublai Khan, forcing Kublai to retreat north as the Song chancellor Jia Sidao pushes Mongol troops north of the Yangtze River in an opportune assault.
Kublai Khan makes the Tibetan lama Drogön Chögyal Phagpa State Preceptor and grants him power over Tibet, his Sakya regime lasted until its overthrow in the 1350s by the Phagmodru myriarchy.
Emperor Lizong ended his reign as emperor of the Southern Song dynasty
1261 Emperor Duzong became emperor of the Southern Song dynasty
Although written of around 1100, Yang Hui draws the first known Chinese diagram of the Pascal's triangle.
From this year until the conquest of Song, Kublai Khan attempts to gain southern Chinese acceptance in benevolent displays of releasing large bands of Chinese merchants after short periods of capture and detainment at the border.
1265 The Mongol Empire, under Kublai Khan's leadership, invades Sichuan and captures 146 Song naval ships as the spoils of war.
1267 The Battle of Xiangyang begins.
1269 In this year, and every consecutive year until 1272, the Song navy attempts to break the enormous Mongol and northern Chinese naval blockade on the Han River. All attempts are unsuccessful, as thousands of men and hundreds of ships are lost in the process.
1270 Sambyeolcho Rebellion in Korea against Mongol-dominated Goryeo.
1271 Marco Polo's voyage begins.
Emperor Shizu (Kublai Khan) became emperor of the Yuan dynasty
Kublai Khan founds the Yuan dynasty.
1273 The Battle of Xiangyang concludes with a Mongol victory.
Battle of Xiangyang
Emperor Duzong ended his reign as emperor of the Southern Song dynasty
1274 Mongol invasions of Japan
1275 Emperor Gong
Turkish general Bayan defeats the Song army of 130,000 troops; The Song chancellor Jia Sidao is impeached from the imperial court and killed by one of his own guards.
1276 Emperor Duanzong became emperor of the Southern Song dynasty
Unlike his contemporary and fellow painter Zhao Mengfu, the scholar-official Qian Xuan declines the offer to serve the Yuan government and spends the rest of his life creating works of art.
Gaocheng Astronomical Observatory is built.
1278 Wen Tianxiang leads Song forces to resist the Mongol invaders. He is captured and refuses to surrender to the Yuan government. He spends four years in prison before being executed by Kublai Khan in 1283.
Emperor Duanzong ended his reign as emperor of the Southern Song dynasty
1279 Emperor Bing
Battle of Yamen; the Yuan general Zhang Hongfan crushes the last resistance of Southern Song.
Battle of Yamen
1287 Rabban Bar Sauma, a Nestorian Uyghur Turk from Beijing, travels to Europe in this year and hosted by Andronikos II Palaiologos of the Byzantine Empire, Philip IV of France, and Edward I of England in hopes of forming an alliance to seize Jerusalem, then under the Muslim Mamluk Bahri dynasty.
Battle of Pagan, end of Pagan Kingdom
1288 Battle of Bạch Đằng
1289 Franciscan friars begin missionary work in China
Emperor Shizu (Kublai Khan) ended his reign as emperor of the Yuan dynasty
1298 Emperor Chengzong
Wang Zhen improves the movable type printing of Bi Sheng by introducing the first successful wooden type characters; he also experiments with tin metal type characters.

14th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1307 Emperor Wuzong
1316 Emperor Renzong
Guo Shoujing dies; among his life achievements were fixing the calendar year at 365.2425 (same as the Gregorian calendar), building upon Shen Kuo's mathematical work on trigonometry by introducing spherical trigonometry, and engineered an artificial Kunming Lake in Beijing.
1320 Emperor Yingzong
1324 Emperor Taiding
The rime dictionary Zhongyuan Yinyun is published by Zhou Deqing.
1328 Emperor Tianshun
1329 Emperor Mingzong
1330 Emperor Wenzong
The Pagoda of Bailin Temple is completed
1332 Emperor Ningzong
1334 Emperor Huizong became emperor of the Yuan dynasty
Wang Dayuan ventures to North Africa.
1352 Zhu Yuanzhang joins the Red Turban Rebellion
1356 Zhu Yuanzhang's rebel force captures Nanjing.
1363 Battle of Lake Poyang
1368 Rebel general Xu Da defeats Yuan forces, while Emperor Huizong flees from Dadu (present-day Beijing). Zhu Yuanzhang establishes the Ming dynasty.
The Hongwu Emperor became emperor of the Ming dynasty
Zhu Yuanzhang (the Hongwu Emperor) overthrows the Yuan dynasty and founds the Ming dynasty.
Emperor Huizong ended his reign as emperor of the Yuan dynasty
1371 The Ming government initiates the haijin (maritime trade ban) policy.
1373 The Hongwu Emperor bans the imperial examinations in favor of a recommendation system.
The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees is rebuilt.
1375 Latest possible date for the writing of the Huolongjing treatise on gunpowder weapons, as its co-editor Liu Bowen dies on May 16.
1380 The Hongwu Emperor abolishes the office of the chancellor and takes over direct responsibility of the Three Departments and Six Ministries, although the later Grand Secretariat would aid the emperor in managing the state.
1381 The Ming Empire annexes land from the Dali Kingdom in present-day Yunnan and Guizhou, spurring a migration of hundreds of thousands.
1382 The jinyiwei (secret police) is established.
1384 Imperial examinations are reinstated by Hongwu, but he had the chief examiner executed on charges of corruption.
1397 The Ming Code (of Law) is completed, yet drawing much of its clauses from the earlier Tang Code of 653.
The Hongwu Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Ming dynasty
1398 Jianwen Emperor

15th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1402 The Yongle Emperor became emperor of the Ming dynasty
The Yongle Emperor takes the throne after a three-year-long civil war with his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor.
1405 The treasure voyages of admiral Zheng He begin, sailing around Southeast Asia, throughout the Indian Ocean, and as far as East Africa to reestablish tributary relations of foreign countries with China.
The Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is completed.
1406 Construction of the Forbidden City and new Beijing city fortifications begins.
1407 Fourth Chinese domination of Vietnam, although Ming forces were pushed out two decades later by Lê Lợi of the Vietnamese Lê dynasty.
Deshin Shekpa, the fifth Karmapa of Tibet, visits the imperial court of the Yongle Emperor.
1408 The massive Yongle Encyclopedia is completed.
1415 Restoration work on the Grand Canal is completed.
1420 After 13 years of a massive construction project for a new capital and Forbidden City, the Yongle Emperor declares Beijing the new capital, while Nanjing is demoted.
The Ming tombs are built.
The Yongle Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Ming dynasty
1424 Xuande Emperor
1427 The Xuande Emperor became emperor of the Ming dynasty
The painter Shen Zhou is born.
1431 The Vietnamese Lê dynasty is recognized by the Ming Empire as a tribute state.
The Xuande Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Ming dynasty
1443 The Zhengtong Emperor became emperor of the Ming dynasty
The Zhihua Temple is built.
1446 The Precious Belt Bridge is rebuilt.
The Zhengtong Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Ming dynasty
1449 Jingtai Emperor
Tumu Crisis; the Zhengtong Emperor is captured by the Oirat Mongols after losing the battle and is released a year later.
1457 The Tianshun Emperor became emperor of the Ming dynasty
The former Zhengtong Emperor seizes power from the Jingtai Emperor in a coup and begins his second reign as the Tianshun Emperor.
1461 Rebellion of Cao Qin
The Tianshun Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Ming dynasty
1464 The Chenghua Emperor became emperor of the Ming dynasty
The Miao people and Yao people of Guangxi rebel against Ming authority; a combined Ming force of 190,000 (including 1,000 Mongols) crushes the rebellion within two years.
1473 The Zhenjue Temple is completed.
The Chenghua Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Ming dynasty
1488 Hongzhi Emperor
The Korean official Choe Bu shipwrecks in Zhejiang and travels the entire length of the Grand Canal to repatriate back to Joseon Korea. He later wrote a famous book on his travels, which was printed in both Korea and Japan in the later half of the 16th century.

16th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1510 The Zhengde Emperor became emperor of the Ming dynasty
Prince of Anhua rebellion
1516 First Portuguese contact by Jorge Álvares in Macau, followed up by Rafael Perestrello in Guangzhou.
1517 Fernão Pires de Andrade and Tomé Pires are sent as ambassadors to China by Manuel I of Portugal; they land at Guangzhou.
1519 Prince of Ning rebellion
The Zhengde Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Ming dynasty
1521 The Jiajing Emperor became emperor of the Ming dynasty
Events, such as the Portuguese conquest of Malacca, lead to the rejection of the Portuguese embassy and the new Jiajing Emperor calling upon the Portuguese to return power of Malacca to the loyal Ming vassal Mahmud Shah; Ming and Portuguese ships fight at Tuen Mun, but relations are eventually smoothed out later by Leonel de Sousa and others determined to repair the reputation that the Portuguese initially won in the Ming Empire.
1529 Death of the philosopher Wang Yangming
1530 Around this time, mechanical engineer Zhou Shuxue improves Zhan Xiyuan's 14th century sand-driven mechanical clock by adding a fourth large gear wheel, revising gear teeth ratios, and widening the orifice which collected sand in Zhan's clock, since Zhou complained that the device clogged up too often. Although lacking the essential escapement mechanism of earlier Chinese clocks, this sand-driven clock of Zhan and Zhou featured a stationary dial face over which a pointer circulated by mechanical timing.
1549 Portuguese ships make continuous annual trade stops to Shangchuan Island.
1550 Altan Khan breaches the Great Wall, besieges Beijing, and burns down its suburbs after looting them.
1553 The Beijing outer city to the south is completed, which brought the overall size of the city to 4 by 4½ miles.
1556 The Shaanxi earthquake results in 850,000 casualties.
1557 The Portuguese establish permanent settlement in Macau.
1558 Ming forces led by Qi Jiguang defeat the wokou at Cengang.
The Jiajing Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Ming dynasty
1567 Longqing Emperor
The haijin policy is formally repealed; the Ming government allows private foreign maritime trade, although the state had conducted all foreign trade during the ban.
1573 The Wanli Emperor became emperor of the Ming dynasty
After the Spanish establish a permanent base at Manila in the Philippines, their American-mined silver trade with the Ming Empire trumps the Portuguese-Japanese silver trade.
1574 Qin Liangyu, a female Miao general, is born.
1576 The Pagoda of Cishou Temple is built.
1577 The Wanshou Temple is built.
1581 Grand Secretary Zhang Juzheng implements the Single Whip Reform, allowing the land tax to be paid entirely in silver due to inflated paper currency and widespread counterfeit coinage.
1582 Jesuits begin missionary work in China
First reference is made about the publishing of private newspapers in Beijing.
1584 Abraham Ortelius, in his atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, is the first known European to feature an illustration of the Chinese invention known as the 'sailing carriage', essentially a wheelbarrow with a ship's mast and a sail.
1587 Physician and pharmacologist Li Shizhen publishes the Bencao Gangmu, detailing the use of over 1,800 medicinal drugs.
1590 Wu Cheng'en writes the novel Journey to the West.
1592 When Japan invades Korea in the Imjin War, the Ming Empire aids Korea with troops and supplies.
1593 Siege of Pyongyang
1597 Siege of Ulsan
1598 Battle of Sacheon
Battle of Noryang; the theatrical drama Peony Pavilion, written by playwright Tang Xianzu, is performed at the Pavilion of Prince Teng.

17th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1602 From this year until 1682, the Dutch East India Company ships some six million Chinese porcelain items to Europe.
1604 Donglin movement
1607 The Greek mathematical treatise Euclid's Elements is translated into Chinese by Xu Guangqi, Sabatino de Ursis, and Matteo Ricci.
1609 The encyclopedia Sancai Tuhui is published.
1610 The novel Plum in the Golden Vase is published.
1615 The Chinese dictionary Zihui is compiled by Mei Yingzuo.
1616 Nurhaci found the Later Jin dynasty in Manchuria.
The Nanjing Religious Incident begins in this year, when all foreign Jesuits were expelled from the Ming imperial court and the astronomy bureau; this was a temporary triumph of traditionalist Confucian officials who rejected Western science in favor of Chinese science; by 1622 this policy was reversed, and the astronomy burea was once again staffed by European Jesuits and Chinese supportive of Western science.
1619 Battle of Sarhu
The philosopher Wang Fuzhi is born.
The Wanli Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Ming dynasty
1624 The Tianqi Emperor became emperor of the Ming dynasty
Headquartered in Jakarta, the Dutch East India Company establishes Dutch rule of Taiwan.
1626 Johann Adam Schall von Bell writes the first treatise on the telescope in Chinese.
Jesuit Nicolas Trigault writes the Xiru Ermu Zi, establishing the first system of romanization of Chinese.
The Tianqi Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Ming dynasty
1627 The Chongzhen Emperor became emperor of the Ming dynasty
First Manchu invasion of Korea; downfall of the eunuch Wei Zhongxian, who controlled the Ming government for seven years; Zhang Zilie publishes the Chinese dictionary Zhengzitong.
Polish Jesuit Michał Boym first introduces the heliocentric model of the solar system into Chinese astronomy.
1628 Battle of Ningyuan
1632 The Later Jin dynasty conquered much of Inner Mongolia.
1634 The Chongzhen Emperor acquires the telescope of the late Johann Schreck.
1635 Liu Tong adds his preface to the Dijing Jingwulue, a Chinese prose classic.
1637 Second Manchu invasion of Korea
Song Yingxing publishes the encyclopedia Tiangong Kaiwu. Due to his scholarly and encyclopedic achievements, scientist and sinologist Joseph Needham calls him the "Diderot of China".
1638 The Beijing Gazette switches its production method from woodblock printing to movable type printing.
1639 The Nongzheng Quanshu agricultural treatise of Xu Guangqi is published.
The painter Chen Hongshou travels to Beijing and earns instant acclaim by the Ming imperial court.
1641 Death of Xu Xiake, whose published travel diary of some 404,000 Chinese characters includes notes on regional geography, climate, and mineralogy.
1642 Kaifeng flood
With new additional Han Chinese banners, the full Manchu Eight Banners are established.
1644 Battle of Shanhai Pass. The Chongzhen Emperor hangs himself from the Guilty Pagoda Tree, after hearing that Li Zicheng's rebel forces have breached the gates of Beijing.
The former Ming general Wu Sangui and the Manchu prince Dorgon seize Beijing from Li Zicheng.
Li Zicheng
The Shunzhi Emperor became emperor of the Qing dynasty
The Qing dynasty is established in China.
The Chongzhen Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Ming dynasty
1645 Yangzhou massacre
1652 The 5th Dalai Lama of Tibet visits the Qing imperial court in Beijing.
1659 Jesuits Martino Martini and Ferdinand Verbiest arrive in China, the former for the second time.
1661 On the death of the Shunzhi Emperor, his confidant Johann Adam Schall von Bell is thrown into prison, eventually released, but dies shortly after.
The Shunzhi Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qing dynasty
1662 The Kangxi Emperor became emperor of the Qing dynasty
The Siege of Fort Zeelandia ends with the Dutch East India Company's surrender of Taiwan to the Ming loyalists led by Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong). Koxinga establishes the Kingdom of Tungning in Taiwan.
1674 Revolt of the Three Feudatories
1682 Belgian Jesuit Antoine Thomas arrives in China.
1683 The Qing Empire defeats the Kingdom of Tungning at the Battle of Penghu. Tungning's ruler, Zheng Keshuang, surrenders to the Qing Empire.
1689 The Treaty of Nerchinsk is signed between the Qing Empire and the Russian Empire.
1690 Death of Yun Shouping, a painter who was considered one of the "Six Masters" of the Qing dynasty.
1698 The Lugou Bridge is reconstructed.
1700 Thirteen Factories

18th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1705 Papal legate Charles-Thomas Maillard De Tournon arrives in China.
1711 The British East India Company establishes a trading post in Guangzhou.
The Peiwen Yunfu rime dictionary is completed.
1716 Publication of the Kangxi Dictionary
1720 In opposition to the Dzungars, Qing forces conquer and occupy Lhasa in Tibet.
1721 In a culmination of the Chinese Rites controversy, the Kangxi Emperor delivers a decree banning Jesuits preaching in China in response to a papal bull by Pope Clement XI.
The Kangxi Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qing dynasty
1725 The Yongzheng Emperor became emperor of the Qing dynasty
The encyclopedia Gujin Tushu Jicheng is completed.
1732 Death of Jiang Tingxi, a painter, calligrapher, and encyclopedia writer.
The Yongzheng Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qing dynasty
1750 The Qianlong Emperor became emperor of the Qing dynasty
French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot is sent to China.
1755 Ten Great Campaigns
The Puning Temple is built in commemoration of the defeat of the Dzungars.
1760 Initiation of the Canton System.
1771 Putuo Zongcheng Temple is completed.
1774 The Wenjin Chamber is built.
1780 The Fragrant Hills Pagoda is built.
1782 The encyclopedia Siku Quanshu is completed.
1791 The novel Dream of the Red Chamber is published.
1793 Anglo-Chinese relations and the Macartney Embassy; Lord Macartney, the first British envoy to Beijing, is hosted by the Qianlong Emperor's confidant Heshen.
The Qianlong Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qing dynasty
1796 The Jiaqing Emperor became emperor of the Qing dynasty
White Lotus Rebellion

19th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1807 Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary, arrives in China.
The Jiaqing Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qing dynasty
1820 The Daoguang Emperor became emperor of the Qing dynasty
1823 The Bible is published in Chinese.
1839 First Opium War
1842 The Treaty of Nanjing is signed between the British Empire and the Qing Empire. This marks the first of a series of unequal treaties signed between the Qing Empire and the Western powers and Japan.
1844 Wei Yuan publishes his Illustrated Treatise on the Maritime Kingdoms, a gazetteer inspired by the desire to learn more of the West and the threat it posed to the Qing Empire.
The Treaty of Wanghia is signed between the Qing Empire and the United States, with the appointment of the first United States Ambassador to China.
The Daoguang Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qing dynasty
1850 The Xianfeng Emperor became emperor of the Qing dynasty
1851 Taiping Rebellion
Jintian Uprising
1855 Third Pandemic of Bubonic plague
Punti–Hakka Clan Wars
1856 Second Opium War
1858 Battle of Sanhe
Treaty of Aigun
Treaty of Tianjin
1860 British and French forces loot and burn down the Old Summer Palace.
Prince Gong signs the Beijing Convention with the Western powers.
1861 Prince Gong establishes the Zongli Yamen (Foreign Office).
The Xianfeng Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qing dynasty
1862 The Tongzhi Emperor became emperor of the Qing dynasty
Dungan revolt
The Tongwen Guan, or School of Combined Learning, is established to for Chinese students to learn European languages.
1864 After fighting the Taiping rebels for four years, the Ever Victorious Army is disbanded; it was the first Chinese army that employed a European officer corps and adopted European military tactics, strategies and techniques.
1868 Yangzhou riot
End of the Nian Rebellion
1870 Tianjin Massacre
1871 Li Hongzhang is appointed to the position of Viceroy of Zhili, an office he would hold until 1895, serving again in the same post from 1900 to 1901, until replaced by Yuan Shikai.
1873 End of the Panthay Rebellion
The Tongzhi Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qing dynasty
1876 The Guangxu Emperor became emperor of the Qing dynasty (to 1910)
After the murder of Augustus Raymond Margary in the 'Margary Affair', the Chefoo Convention is held to resolve the issue but turns into an excuse for the British to press for additional concessions.
1884 Sino-French War
1891 Founding of Shanghai Sharebrokers Association
1894 The First Sino-Japanese War began
1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki
The First Sino-Japanese War ended
1898 Hundred Days' Reform
Coup led by Empress Dowager Cixi
1900 Boxer Rebellion

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1901 Boxer Protocol
1910 The Xuantong Emperor became emperor of the Qing dynasty
Huanghuagang Uprising
The Guangxu Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qing dynasty
1911 Xinhai Revolution
Wuchang Uprising
The Xuantong Emperor ended his reign as emperor of the Qing dynasty
1912 Sun Yat-sen became head of state of the Republic of China
The Provisional Government became the government of the Republic of China
Xinhai Revolution
The Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) is founded.
1913 Four big families of the Republic of China
Sun Yat-sen ended his reign as head of state of the Republic of China
The Provisional Government ended its term as the government of the Republic of China
1915 Yuan Shikai
The Beiyang Government became the government of the Republic of China
Empire of China
New Culture Movement
National Protection War
Japan's Twenty-One Demands
Chen Duxiu starts the magazine New Youth.
1916 various leaders became head of state of the Republic of China
The Warlord Era begins
1919 May Fourth Movement
Treaty of Versailles
1920 Push for written vernacular Chinese
1921 The Communist Party of China is founded.
Lu Xun writes the novella The True Story of Ah Q.
1923 Radio Corporation of China
1924 First United Front
1926 Northern Expedition
1927 Nanchang Uprising
Chinese Civil War
Kuomintang-Communist split
The Beiyang Government ended its term as the government of the Republic of China
various leaders ended their reign as head of state of the Republic of China
1928 Chiang Kai-shek became head of state of the Republic of China
The Nationalist Government became the government of the Republic of China
Nanjing decade
Zhang Zuolin
Jinan Incident
1930 Encirclement Campaign against Northeastern Jiangxi Soviet
1931 Chinese Soviet Republic
1931 China floods
Japanese invasion of Manchuria
Mukden Incident
Chiang Kai-shek ended his reign as head of state of the Republic of China
1932 Lin Sen became head of state of the Republic of China
Imperial Japanese colonialism in Manchukuo
Pacification of Manchukuo
January 28 Incident
Defense of Harbin
1934 Long March
New Life Movement
1935 December 9th Movement
First Encirclement Campaign against Hubei–Henan–Shaanxi Soviet
1936 Xi'an Incident
Japan establishes the Mengjiang
1937 The Second Sino-Japanese War (Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Battle of Shanghai, Battle of Pingxingguan, Battle of Nanjing, Battle of Tai'erzhuang, Battle of Changsha 1939, Hundred Regiments Offensive, Battle of Changsha 1941, Battle of Changsha 1942, Battle of Changsha 1944) began
Nanking Massacre
Second United Front
1938 Bombing of Chongqing
1941 Yan'an Rectification Movement
1943 Cairo Declaration
Lin Sen ended his reign as head of state of the Republic of China
1944 Chiang Kai-shek became head of state of the Republic of China
1945 Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, World War II ends
China become one of the founding members of the United Nations
The Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Northeast China
The Second Sino-Japanese War (Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Battle of Shanghai, Battle of Pingxingguan, Battle of Nanjing, Battle of Tai'erzhuang, Battle of Changsha 1939, Hundred Regiments Offensive, Battle of Changsha 1941, Battle of Changsha 1942, Battle of Changsha 1944) ended
1946 Second Chinese Civil War
1947 228 Incident in Taiwan Province
1948 Liaoshen Campaign, Pingjin Campaign and Huaihai Campaign
Constitution of the Republic of China
Nationalist Government dissolved
Establishment of the government of the Republic of China
Chiang Kai-shek ended his reign as head of state of the Republic of China
The Nationalist Government ended its term as the government of the Republic of China
1949 Fall of Nanjing, the capital of the Republic of China
Establishment of the People's Republic of China led by Communist Party of China
The Republic of China government is relocated to Guangzhou and then Taipei.
After 1 October, the history of the Republic of China continues at Timeline of Taiwanese history.
Mao Zedong (Mao Zedong Thought)
Founding of the People's Republic of China
1950 Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River, Landing Operation on Hainan Island
Korean War
Canidrome massacre
1951 Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet
1952 Three-anti/five-anti campaigns
1953 Five Year Plan
1956 Hundred Flowers campaign
1957 Anti-Rightist Movement
Asian Flu
1958 Great Leap Forward
1959 Great sparrow campaign causes famine
Three Years of Natural Disasters begins
Tibetan uprising
1960 Sino-Soviet split
1962 Sino-Indian War
1964 Destruction of Four Olds
State Council pushed for Simplified Chinese characters in the mainland
First PRC atomic bomb detonation, 596 nuclear test
1966 Cultural Revolution
Three-Self Patriotic Movement
The Down to the Countryside Movement began
The Little Red Book
1968 Deng Pufang handicap incident
The Down to the Countryside Movement ended
1969 Zhenbao Island Sino-Soviet border conflict
Beijing Subway
1970 Long March rocket, first satellite launch
1971 Henry Kissinger visits Beijing
1972 Shanghai Communiqué
Richard Nixon visits China
1974 Battle of the Paracel Islands
1975 Four Modernizations
1976 Hua Guofeng (Two Whatevers) became paramount leader of the People's Republic of China (to 1977)
Tiananmen incident following the death of Zhou Enlai
The Great Tangshan earthquake
Death of Mao Zedong
1977 Beijing Spring
Hua Guofeng (Two Whatevers) ended his reign as paramount leader of the People's Republic of China
1978 Deng Xiaoping (Deng Xiaoping Theory) became paramount leader of the People's Republic of China
Chinese economic reforms
Democracy Wall Movement
1979 One-child policy
Four cardinal principles
Sino-American relations
Border-war with Vietnam. Series of border conflicts until 1990
1980 Special Economic Zones
Trial of Gang of Four
1984 Margaret Thatcher in China, signs Sino-British Joint Declaration
1988 Johnson South Reef Skirmish with Viet Nam
1989 Tiananmen Square protests
PRC declares Martial law on Lhasa, Tibet
1991 First McDonald's restaurant in Beijing
Deng Xiaoping (Deng Xiaoping Theory) ended his reign as paramount leader of the People's Republic of China
1992 Jiang Zemin (Three Represents) became paramount leader of the People's Republic of China
1996 Karamay fire incident
1997 Hong Kong handover, becomes a Special Administrative Region
Death of Deng Xiaoping
1998 Great Firewall of China
Banning of China Democracy Party
1999 Macau handover
NATO bombing of embassy in Belgrade
Falun Gong banned by the PRC government
2000 The PRC passes Japan as the country with which the USA has the largest trade deficit

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2001 Tiananmen Square self-immolation incident
Accession to World Trade Organization
Hainan Island incident
2003 SARS outbreak
Shenzhou 5, PRC's first manned space mission
Jiang Zemin (Three Represents) ended his reign as paramount leader of the People's Republic of China
2004 Hu Jintao (Scientific Development Concept) became paramount leader of the People's Republic of China
Jiang Zemin retires from his post as Chairman of the Central Military Commission
2005 Anti-Secession law
Jilin Chemical plant explosions
Anti-Japanese history revisionism
2006 Structural work finished in the Three Gorges Dam
2007 Head of SFDA Zheng Xiaoyu executed
Chang'e 1 of Lunar Exploration Program
Chinese slave scandal
Reincarnation application
2008 2008 Summer Olympics/2008 Summer Paralympics
Hangzhou Bay Bridge opens
Shenzhou 7 first spacewalk
Early winter storms
Tibetan unrest
Sichuan earthquake
Milk scandal
2009 Urumqi riots
60th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China
2010 2010 Yushu earthquake
2010 Shanghai World Expo
2011 Protests of Wukan
Hu Jintao (Scientific Development Concept) ended his reign as paramount leader of the People's Republic of China
2012 Xi Jinping (Chinese Dream) became paramount leader of the People's Republic of China
Wang Lijun incident
18th National Congress of CCP
Diaoyu Islands dispute
2013 Third Plenum of 18th Party Congress
Chang'e 3 landing on the moon
Shanghai Free Trade Zone
Tiananmen Square attack
Xi Jinping (Chinese Dream) ended his reign as paramount leader of the People's Republic of China

See also[edit]

Cities in China

References[edit]

  1. ^ Xiaohong, et al. (2002).
  2. ^ a b c d e Huang et al. (2002).
  3. ^ [1]

Further reading[edit]

Published in the 19th century
Published in the 20th century
  • Charles E. Little (1900), "China", Cyclopedia of Classified Dates, New York: Funk & Wagnalls – via Internet Archive 
  • Benjamin Vincent (1910), "China", Haydn's Dictionary of Dates (25th ed.), London: Ward, Lock & Co. – via Hathi Trust 
Published in the 21st century

External links[edit]