Chinese civilization has endured for thousands of years, held fast by the notion of unity and challenged by the constant struggle to maintain it. To understand this notion, how it evolved, and why it has endured for thousands of years is to understand the very essence of Chinese civilization.
For 3,500 years, China was ruled by a succession of kings, emperors, and their respective dynasties. The dynastic years were a time of repeated fragmentation and reunification, with frequent wars followed by periods of peace that sometimes lasted for centuries. As each dynasty came to power, it strove to expand and maintain its power over a vast territory of diverse lands and peoples until it ultimately failed and another dynasty took power. Despite constant political turmoil and frequent wars, Chinese culture and civilization flourished and took shape during the dynastic years. Each dynasty left behind a unique legacy, whether in the form of cultural and artistic achievements; new takes on centuries-old religions and philosophies; or innovative ideas about government, society, military strategy, and the economy. Studying the Chinese dynasties provides us with valuable insight into the foundations of modern civilization. It also affords us perspective regarding our place in the vastness of world history and civilization.
Chinese Dynasties, Part One introduces students to the first 2,500 years of Chinese history and offers students an in-depth view of Chinese civilization from the nascent years of the Shang Dynasty through the golden age of the Tang Dynasty. In six lessons plus a separate concluding activity, students study important events, people, and achievements of the following dynasties and dynastic periods:
Lesson One: Shang Dynasty (1600 BCE–1050 BCE)
Lesson Two: Zhou Dynasty (1050–256 BCE)
Lesson Three: Qin Dynasty (221–206 BCE)
Lesson Four: Han Dynasty (202 BCE–220 CE)
Lesson Five: Six Dynasties Period (220–581 CE)
Lesson Six: Sui and Tang Dynasties (581–907 CE)
Chinese Dynasties, Part Two continues the exploration of dynasties, offering students an in-depth view of Chinese civilization from the Song Dynasty to the fall of the Qing Dynasty and the end of the entire dynastic system. In four lessons, students study important events, people, and achievements of the following dynasties:
Lesson One: Song Dynasty (960–1279
Lesson Two: Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368)
Lesson Three: Ming Dynasty (1368–1644)
Lesson Four: Qing Dynasty (1644–1911)