|CONFLICTS AND BATTLES OF THE HUMANITY|
|Shang and Zhou
Spring and autumn
Chart of China
In Henan, at the end of the 3rd millenium, the history of China starts. An agricultural economics, (cultures of Yuang-chao in the east and Long Chan in the west), will know its the first three sovereign then the legendary dynasty of Hia or Xia, founded by Yu the Large one. With the whole beginning of XXIIth century, it includes seventeen sovereigns. This dynasty seems to have disappeared after five centuries, because of the corruption, reversed by the vassal ones, led by prince Tang the Victorious one.
The dynasty of Shang
About the XVIIth century before J.C, la first historical
dynasty, called Shang (or Yin) is dependent to the discovery of the
and the apogee of the metallurgy of the bronze, appeared towards - 200,
which develops a specialized craft industry and a warlike nobility. It
has as a Dayi capital, today Anyiang and is protected by citadels with
the walls packed loess as hard as the stone, and uses chariots. Its
are frightening. They use the composite arc, made up of several layers
of flexible materials. Enough runs to be used with horse, it has a long
range nevertheless. The catch is particularly effective at the moment
the tension of the arc because of a ring for the inch used by the
The war is frequent against the nomads, stockbreeders of goats of the
of the interior.
The dynasty of Zhou
In XIth century, Zhou, semi nomad and vassal of the West, installed in the valley of Wei, directed by prince Wen, attack the Shang kingdom. They control the use of the chariot whose attachment comprises four horses of face and are accustomed to the war against the barbarians of the steppe. The victory is complete with the battle of Muye, in the north of the Jaune river, and last king Shang, Zhouxin, is decapitated. The dynasty of Zhou or Tcheou is founded. The king carries the title of tianzi "Wire of the Sky", and exerts especially religious functions. The capital is Hao (Xi' year). Central administration appear. The kingdom increases towards the South, to reach the valleys of Huaihe and Yangzijiang.
At the beginning of IXth century, the weakening of Zhou is
the time of the accession to the throne of king Yi, imposed by a
of vassal. Under the following reign (878-828), the dynasty is almost
The first attacks of the nomads of the steppe begin towards 822.
the beginning of VIIIth century, an invasion of the nomads of North
out Zhou towards Lo-yang, area where the king depends more on his
The authority of the sovereign disappears for the profit of the
which are formed starting from the fiefs granted to the members of the
royal family. A new category of officials, the shi, provide the
of the army. The external threat constrain to find a head among the
ones, whereas the central authority is failing. North, Zeng plays this
role, but it is challenged by the kingdoms of the South.
The Spring and Autumns Period
The crumbling is such as several hundreds of "local authorities" coexist. The war becomes soon the traditional mode of relations between these incipient "states", which, possibly allied with non Chinese groups, gather and erase the kingdom of Zhou.
The period is called: "Spring and Autumns" and also Chunqiu, it lasts from - 722 with - 481. Power, until there rested on religious bases, now it is the military aspect which dominates.
Powerful states appear after annexation of next small states:
Jin in current Shanxi
Qin in the North-West
Zhao (Bye), Han and Wei on the territory of the current provinces of Shanxi and Shanxxi
Yan in the area of Peking
Qi and Lu in Shandong
Chu in Hubei
Wu towards the mouth of Yangtse
Qi asserts hegemony while breaking with Zhou (- 667), and
oath of alliance on the other seigniories. The clan heir to Shang,
wants to reconstitute the royalty with his profit, but it is beaten by
Chu. During these two centuries and half, the number of the significant
kingdoms falls and the use of iron modifies the conflicts. In the
"cruel kingdoms" using the metallurgy of bronze appear.
Warring States Period
Warring States Period (- 481- 221) continues this evolution and the seven most powerful Chinese kingdoms are opposed and these centralized administrations (Qin, Qi, Chu, Yan, Zhao, Han and Wei). This period starts with the confrontation of the principal "competitors" Qi, Chu, Han and Wei. But the frontier state of Qin, trained by the vicinity of the barbarians and controlling the manufacture of iron weapons, conquers Western North and East (Chu dominated towards 316), then during the end of the 3rd century eliminate one after the other the states.
IVe century is that of the invention of the crossbow and of
of the Art of the war, by Sun Tzu, It is also the beginning of
the sections of the first Great Wall of China by the kingdoms of North,
made with simple pebbles and ground ramparts.
The empire is founded into -221.
In - 221, the kingdom of Qin being only winner, Qin Shihuang joins together its conquests within the same empire. It launches a series of military offensives in direction of the south. It allots the title of huangdi then, "emperor". The will to make of China a unit state, subjected to the written law, is brutally implemented. The officials manage the country evicting the feudal ones. The opposition of the well-read men confuceans is broken by the destruction of the books. The policy of great public works (unification of the Large Wall) and them loads imposed on the farming community involves a collapse of the empire with died of the emperor. Shaken by the rebellion, the Qin capital, near to current Xian to the hands of an army from risen in - 207 fall. Their head, Liu Bang, take the title of emperor and melt the Western Han dynasty (Xihan), or former (Qianhan) in - 206.
Liu Bang uses the administration installation by Qin, in less rigorous. Han install little by little a doubled powerful central government of an effective local government. They appoint the officials of a very hierarchical administration, on the basis of merit rather than of the birth, following a principle confucean there. The selection and the qualification rest on written examinations.
Wudi the conqueror
The threat of the nomads is added to that of feudal which
head. It is the emperor Han, Wudi (- 140 - 87) which undertakes the
towards the west and the south. In the west, forwardings against the
Xiongnu (Huns) and Xianbei, open a breach towards the Central Asia and
establish a protectorate on the basin of Tarim, towards what will
the road of silk. They advance to the valley of the Iaxarte river
Syr-Daria, in Kazakhstan). Wudi must equip its cavalry with horses of
to fight against the nomads. At the end of 2nd front century JC. the
of Mandchourie and most of Korea are conquered, in the same way the
of Min Yue and Nan Yue (respectively at the south east of China and the
northern coast of Vietnam). The island of Hainan becomes Chinese and of
the colonies are founded around the delta of the Xi jiang. The capital,
Chang' year (current Xian), account 250 000 inhabitants. The wall is
towards western north. The compass is already invented in the shape of
a "magnetic tank" carrying a mobile statue always indicating the south,
guided by a bar magnet.
But the conquests of Wudi exhaust the financial reserves of the
and required unpopular measurements to reinflate the Treasury. The
are raised, the restored monopolies of State and the devaluated
The sufferings of the peasants are worsened by the demographic growth.
The families of land great landowners, defying the tax collectors of
central government, acquire a kind of tax exemption. The burden
by the rural ones subjected to the tax is done increasingly heavy. The
country revolts multiply.
The dynasty Xin (9-23 apr.J.-C.)
Benefitting from this period of disorders, an ambitious
Mang, deposit the emperor, then child, of which it assumed regency. It
creates the transitory dynasty of Xin and tries to restore the
of the imperial government and to improve the lot of the peasants. It
in particular against the great exempted properties of taxes. Those are
confiscated with the profit of the imperial field and are redistributed
with the peasants who cultivated them. Slavery is abolished, the
monopolies are reinforced, and of new, benches. But the resistance of
owners is so strong that Wang Mang is constrained to cancel its reform
of the lsystem of land tenure. The agrarian crisis worsens in
in China of North, where a violent country insurrection bursts, of 23
directed by the "red Eyebrows". The latter are supported by the great
who take by storm Chang' year and kill the usurper Wang Mang. The Han
Han Posterior (23-220)
Prince Liu Xiu (23-55 apr. J-C), become Guang Wudi later, melts
dynasty of Han posterior (Houhan), or Han Eastern (Donghan). Their
is transferred to Luoyang. In Ier century apr. J-C, China pushes back
towards the west. The conquest of the basin of Tarim is completed by
General Ban Chao whose army takes Kasghar in Turkestan. This expansion
towards the Caspian Sea is most Western that China knew. Towards 90,
Chao conducts a campaign against the
Indians of Kushana whose army is led
by Kanishka and into 91, inflicts to them a defeat. His son Ban Yong
back an attempt at conquest of the basin of Tarim by Koushans of India.
The Chinese, who control the road of Silk, develop an active trade with
barbarians people of Occident. But pressure of the Qiang tribes in the
North-West and fights of factions at the court where children are
emperor seriously weaken the empire in second half of the 2nd century.
The weakness and the inefficiency of the imperial administration
the situation. In 184, after a series of agricultural "catastrophes",
revolts burst, carried out by sects taoists. The first, that of the
Turbans", devastates Shandong and next provinces. The second, the
of the five bushels of rice", in Sichuan, is
subdued only into 215 by General Cao Cao. During this time, Xiongnu carry out a return threatening on the borders, towards 196. The General Ts' ao Ts' ao deposits the last Han emperor.
The power is with the hands of local chiefs and empire is divided into 3 kingdoms :
- Wei in north, more populated
- Shu in the west
- Wu in the south
It is the Wei kingdom which only remains and restores an
of unit in China towards 265. Tarim is abandoned. The country is
he population decreased by half following the wars between the 3
Each battle is accompanied by the decapitation of tens of thousands of
overcome soldiers. The violent fights between the members of the royal
family, (war between the Eight Princes), at the end of the 3rd century,
benefit the nomads which are installed to keep the boundaries, as will
make the Romans with the barbarians.
|Return in top of page|