- Timeline of Chinese history
History of China ANCIENT 3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors Xia Dynasty 2100–1600 BCE Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE Zhou Dynasty 1045–256 BCE Western Zhou Eastern Zhou Spring and Autumn Period Warring States Period IMPERIAL Qin Dynasty 221 BCE–206 BCE Han Dynasty 206 BCE–220 CE Western Han Xin Dynasty Eastern Han Three Kingdoms 220–280 Wei, Shu and Wu Jin Dynasty 265–420 Western Jin 16 Kingdoms
Eastern Jin Southern and Northern Dynasties
Sui Dynasty 581–618 Tang Dynasty 618–907 (Second Zhou 690–705) 5 Dynasties and
Northern Song W. Xia Southern Song Jin Yuan Dynasty 1271–1368 Ming Dynasty 1368–1644 Qing Dynasty 1644–1911 MODERN Republic of China 1912–1949 People's Republic
The following is a timeline of the history of China. Between the changing of the dynasties, most dates overlap as ruling periods do not transfer immediately. Dates prior to 841 BC (beginning of the Gonghe regency) are provisional and subject to dispute.
Date Emperor Events Other people/events 400,000 BC Peking Man of Zhoukoudian (est.) 7600 BC Zhenpiyan culture Archaeological evidence on domestication of pigs for the first time. 7500 BC Pengtoushan culture Analysis of Chinese rice residues show that rice had been domesticated by this time. 7000 BC Peiligang culture 6600 BC Jiahu script: still under debate whether this can be considered as a form of writing 6000 BC Cishan culture Archaeological evidence on domestication of dogs and chickens for the first time. 5000 BC Baijia culture Archaeological evidence on domestication of oxen and sheep for the first time. 4500 BC Approximate end of Hemudu culture. 4000 BC Banpo script; scholars still debate if it is actual writing or not. 3630 BC Approximate date of the oldest discovered silk in China, found by archaeologists in what is now Henan province in what was the late Yangshao period. 3000 BC Longshan culture During the Longshan Neolithic period, the buffaloes are domesticated for the first time in China, and the plow may have been used. 2570 BC Approximate date for the silk and other items found at the Liangzhu culture site at Qianshanyang in Wuxing District, Zhejiang; silk items found there included a braided silk belt, silk threads, and woven silk.
Date Ruler Events Other people/events 2852 BC Fuxi This period is part of Chinese mythology 2737 BC Yan Emperor 2698 BC Yellow Emperor The Battle of Banquan, the first battle in Chinese history and the Battle of Zhuolu, the second battle in Chinese history, fought by the Yellow Emperor. 2650 BC Legend of Cangjie, inventor of the Chinese character 2597 BC Emperor Shaohao 2514 BC Emperor Zhuanxu 2436 BC Emperor Ku 2366 BC Emperor Zhi 2358 BC Emperor Yao Yao ordered Gun to tame the flooding of the rivers. 2255 BC Emperor Shun Gun failed in taming the flood and was executed on Shun's orders. 2205 BC Yu the Great conquers the flood (est.) Date Ruler Events Other people/events 2194 BC King Yu Nine Tripod Cauldrons Bronze Age in China 2146 BC King Qi 2117 BC King Tai Kang Erlitou culture 1831 BC King Fa Mount Tai earthquake (est.) 1600 BC King Jie of Xia Battle of Mingtiao Date Ruler Events Other people/events 1675 BC King Tang of Shang 1400 BC Erligang Culture 1398 BC King Pan Geng Around this time, the capital is moved from Zhengzhou to Yinxu. 1250 BC King Wu Ding 1200 BC Oracle bone script, providing the first evidence for the Chinese calendar system. Around this time, the militant consort Fu Hao is buried in her tomb at Yinxu. 1122 BC The Zhou Dynasty is founded on the periphery of the Shang realm. 1101 BC King Di Yi 1075 BC King Zhou 1050 BC Ji Chang (posthumously known as King Wen of Zhou) 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; King Zhou allegedly dies while his palace burns to the ground. Date Ruler Events Other people/events 1034 BC King Wu Bronze script in greater use. 1042 BC King Cheng 1027 BC 1020 BC King Kang 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 BC 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. 922 BC King Gong 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 regency of Gonghe. 827 BC King Xuan 781 BC King You 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 era. Date Ruler Events Other people/events 770 BC King Ping 722 BC Spring and Autumn Period begins, the Lu state begins the chronicle of the Spring and Autumn Annals. Capital moved from Haojing (present-day Xi'an) to Luoyang. 720 BC King Huan 707 BC King Huan led a campaign against Duke Zhuang of Zheng after the latter refused to appear in the capital, angered that 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 BC. 697 BC King Zhuang 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 Dynasty monarch, the latter whom became more or less a figurehead during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty. 682 BC King Xi 677 BC King Hui 651 BC King Xiang 645 BC Death of Guan Zhong, the chancellor of the Qi state who was appointed by Duke Huan as recommended by Bao Shuya. Guan 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 618 BC King Qing 612 BC King Kuang 606 BC King Ding Sunshu Ao, China's first known hydraulic engineer. 595 BC Battle of Bi 585 BC King Jian 575 BC Battle of Yanling 571 BC King Ling 551 BC Laozi, Confucius 548 BC Oldest known reference to the weiqi (known as go in Japanese) board game. 544 BC King Jing Four occupations (est.) 543 BC Guided by the aristocratic statesman Zi Chan, the Zheng state creates a formal code of law. 520 BC King Jing 515 BC 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 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 BC, 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 Spring and Autumn Period 475 BC King Yuan 473 BC The Wu state is annexed by the Yue state. 470 BC Birth of Mozi 468 BC King Zhending 465 BC Death of King Goujian of Yue; his sword was later found in an archaeological site in Hubei in the 1960s. 441 BC King Ai and King Si 440 BC King Kao 432 BC Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng 425 BC King Weilie 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 militant officer Wu Qi and the hydraulic engineer Ximen Bao. 401 BC King An 400 BC Astronomers Gan De and Shi Shen
Star catalogue compilation (est.)
Earliest date for the creation of the earliest known maps made in China, from the Qin state. 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. 375 BC King Lie The Zheng state is annexed by the Han state. 370 BC Zhuangzi is born around this time. 368 BC King Xian 354 BC Battle of Guiling 350 BC Earliest proposed date for the Guodian Chu Slips, containing the oldest known version of the Tao Te Ching, parts of the Book of History, and a chapter from the Book of Rites 342 BC Battle of Maling Crossbow used in China. 320 BC King Shenjing 319 BC Mencius becomes an official in the Qi state 316 BC Death of Sun Bin 314 BC King Nan 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. 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. 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 fall of the Chu state's capital, Ying, to the Qin state. 260 BC Battle of Changping 256 BC King Nan dies. Dujiangyan Irrigation System 250 BC King Hui The repeating crossbow is featured in drawings from the records of the Chu state. 246 BC The Zhengguo Canal is completed by Zheng Guo of the Qin state.
Date Emperor Events Other people/events 361 BC Duke Xiao 356 BC Shang Yang initiates a reform movement in the Qin state, which is outlined in the Book of Lord Shang. 338 BC King Huiwen Shang Yang is executed. The rulers of the Qin state begin adopting the title of "King" instead of "Duke". 316 BC The states of Shu and Ba are conquered by the Qin state 311 BC King Wu 306 BC King Zhaoxiang 293 BC Battle of Yique 255 BC Emergence of the Seven Warring States 250 BC King Xiaowen 249 BC King Zhuangxiang 246 BC Ying Zheng
(as King of Qin)
Ying Zheng becomes 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. 221 BC First Emperor of Qin 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 Start of the Burning of books and burying of scholars policy 210 BC Burial of the Terracotta Army, featuring over 8,000 terracotta statues and the earliest known umbrellas in China. 209 BC Second Emperor of Qin 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 The chief eunuch 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. 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 BC, after Liu Bang occupied the Qin capital of 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 royal family. Although Ziying had already surrendered to Liu Bang in the last month of 207 BC, this event is viewed by historians as the final event of the Qin Dynasty. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 206 BC Start of the Chu-Han contention, a civil war between the forces of Liu Bang and Xiang Yu after the fall of Qin. Feast at Hong Gate 205 BC Battle of Jingxing 202 BC Emperor Gaozu Battle of Gaixia 200 BC Battle of Baideng Sometime in the 2nd century BC, 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. 193 BC Death of Xiao He, the first chancellor of the Han Dynasty 195 BC 190 BC Emperor Hui 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. 180 BC Emperor Wen 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. 157 BC Emperor Jing 141 BC Emperor Wu 140 BC Persuaded by Dong Zhongshu's essay in a literary competition, Emperor Wu, or his chancellor Wei Wan, adopts Confucianism at court. 139 BC Under the patronage of 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. 133 BC Sino-Xiongnu War Battle of Mayi 130 BC Sino-Roman relations 125 BC Zhang Qian returns to China to report on his travels and the kingdoms of Dayuan (Fergana), Kangju (Sogdiana), Daxia (Greco-Bactrian Kingdom), Shendu (Indo-Greek Kingdom), Anxi (Parthia), and Taozhi (Mesopotamia). 119 BC Battle of Mobei 108 BC Battle of Loulan Wiman Joseon in Korea falls to Han forces. 102 BC Emperor Wu's forces besiege Kokand in the Fergana Valley 100 BC Steel in China. 94 BC Emperor Zhao 91 BC Sima Qian completes the Records of the Grand Historian, a groundbreaking work in Chinese historiography. 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. 74 BC Emperor Xuan 67 BC Battle of Jushi 60 BC Protectorate of the Western Regions is established. 48 BC Emperor Yuan 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 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. 32 BC Emperor Cheng 6 BC Emperor Ai 1 BC Emperor Ping 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. 6 Emperor Ruzi 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. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 9 Wang Mang Emperor Ruzi 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 (later Emperor Guangwu of Han) 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 With pressure from aristocrats, Wang 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 province. 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. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 23 Emperor Gengshi 25 Emperor Guangwu 27 Chimei rebels surrender to Han authority after defeat 31 Prefect 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 defenses give in once 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 58 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. 88 Emperor He 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. 105 Cai Lun invents papermaking Goguryeo-Han Wars 106 Emperor Shang 111 Ban Zhao completes the Book of Han, which was begun by her father Ban Biao and continued by her older 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. 125 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 Emperor Shun The Kinship of the Three 147 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 Roman embassy reaches China. Disasters of Partisan Prohibitions 168 Emperor Ling 177 Birth of Cai Wenji, a female poet and music composer. 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. 189 Emperor Shao Dong Zhuo deposes Emperor Shao (demoted to the status of Prince of Hongnong) Massacre of eunuchs 190 Emperor Xian Campaign against Dong Zhuo Battle of Xingyang 191 Battle of Jieqiao Battle of Yangcheng, Battle of Xiangyang 192 Lü Bu murders Dong Zhuo in an assassination plot masterminded by minister Wang Yun. 193 Battle of Fengqiu 194 Sun Ce's conquests in Jiangdong Battle of Yan Province 197 Battle of Wancheng 198 Battle of Xiapi Battle of Yijing 199 Campaign against Yuan Shu 200 Battle of Guandu 202 Battle of Bowang 204 Gongsun Kang, a Chinese warlord of Liaodong, establishes the Daifang Commandery in northern Korea. 208 Battle of Red Cliffs Battle of Changban, Battle of Xiakou, Battle of Yiling, Battle of Jiangling 211 Battle of Tong Pass 213 Siege of Jicheng Battle of Lucheng 214 Liu Bei's takeover of Yi Province Battle of Jiameng Pass 215 Battle of Yangping Battle of Baxi 217 Battle of Xiaoyao Ford Battle of Ruxukou 218 Battle of Mount Dingjun 219 Lü Meng's invasion of Jing Province Battle of Han River, Battle of Fancheng 220 Cao Pi forces Emperor Xian to abdicate and proclaims himself Emperor of Cao Wei. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 265 Emperor Wu Sometime between this year and 271, the Jin Dynasty 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. 271 280 Unification of China, Conquest of Wu by Jin Records of Three Kingdoms by Chen Shou 290 Emperor Hui 291 War of the Eight Princes 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) 306 307 Emperor Huai 311 Emperor Min Emperor Huai is captured by Han Zhao forces, the capital is moved from Luoyang to Chang'an. 313 The state of Goguryeo in Manchuria and Korea conquers the Jin-Chinese 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). 318 Emperor Min is executed by Liu Cong, emperor of Han Zhao. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 317 Emperor Yuan Sixteen Kingdoms and Six Dynasties 322 First accurate tomb depiction of stirrups. 323 Emperor Ming 324 The sick and ailing rebel Wang Dun dies while his forces are defeated by Emperor Ming's troops. 325 Emperor Cheng 328 Su Jun, who waged war against the regent Yu Liang, is defeated by generals Tao Kan and Wen Jiao. 342 Emperor Kang 344 Emperor Mu 353 Calligrapher Wang Xizhi writes the Lantingji Xu in semi-cursive script. 361 Emperor Ai 365 Emperor Fei 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. 372 Emperor Xiaowu 383 Battle of Fei River 396 Emperor An 399 Faxian sails to Sri Lanka and India to recover Buddhist texts. 405 Poet Tao Qian goes into retirement for the next 22 years, until his death. 419 Emperor Gong 420 The regent Liu Yu seizes the throne from Emperor Gong, initiating the Liu Song Dynasty. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 386 404 Huiyuan, founder of Pure Land Buddhism, writes the book On Why Monks Do Not Bow Down Before Kings, where he argues that Buddhist clergy should stay out of politics but Buddhist laypeople make good subjects because of belief in karma. 439 475 Bodhidharma arrives in China 477 Oldest known painted depiction of a horse collar, on a cave mural of Dunhuang, Northern Wei. 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 501 Cui Hong begins compiling the Shiliuguo Chunqiu 523 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). 543 The Chinese dictionary Yupian is completed by Gu Yewang. 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. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 581 Emperor Wen 582 Compilation begins on the Jingdian Shiwen dictionary. 589 Yan Zhitui makes the first reference to toilet paper in history. 598 Goguryeo–Sui Wars begin in what is now North Korea. 600 First of the Japanese embassies to China. 601 Lu Fayan publishes the rime dictionary Qieyun. 602 Third Chinese domination of Vietnam 604 Emperor Yang 605 Imperial examinations are instituted, beginning a long bureaucratic tradition of scholar-officialdom in China. Zhaozhou Bridge completed. 607 Japanese emissary Ono no Imoko arrives in China. 609 Grand Canal of China completed. 610 Engineers Geng Xun and Yuwen Kai improve the clepsydra clock model when they provided a steelyard balance that allowed seasonal adjusment 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 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 Taishang Huang (retired emperor). Date Emperor Events Other people/events 618 Emperor Gaozu Transition from Sui to Tang 621 Battle of Hulao 624 The Yiwen Leiju encyclopedia is completed by Ouyang Xun. 626 Emperor Taizong Emperor Taizong's campaign against Eastern Tujue Incident at Xuanwu Gate 635 First Christian missionaries arrive in China: Nestorian monks from Asia Minor and Persia, building Daqin Pagoda. Alopen, a Persia bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, also writes the Jesus Sutras. Emperor Taizong's campaign against Tuyuhun; also, Book of Liang is published. 636 Xumi Pagoda is completed. Compilations of the Book of Chen, Book of Northern Qi, Book of Zhou, and the Book of Sui. 638 Emperor Taizong's campaign against Tufan 639 Emperor Taizong's campaign against Xueyantuo 640 Protectorate General to Pacify the West Emperor Taizong's campaign against Xiyu states 643 Emperor Taizong commissions artist Yan Liben to paint the portraits of 24 different emperors and 18 noted scholars for the Portraits at Lingyan Pavilion. 644 Emperor Taizong's campaign against Goguryeo, Tang allies with Korean Silla during the Goguryeo–Tang Wars 646 Great Tang Records on the Western Regions is compiled by Bianji, documenting the travels of Buddhist monk Xuanzang through the Gobi Desert, Kucha, Tashkent, Samarkand, Gandhara, and finally to India where he studied at Nalanda. 647 Protectorate General to Pacify the North 648 Book of Jin is compiled. 649 Emperor Gaozong 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 C.E. 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. 659 Compilations for the History of Southern Dynasties and History of Northern Dynasties is completed. 663 Battle of Baekgang, Silla-Tang forces defeat Japanese-Baekje navy. 666 Two Chinese Buddhist monks, Zhi Yu and Zhi You, craft a mechanical South Pointing Chariot for Japanese Emperor Tenji. 668 Protectorate General to Pacify the East 684 Wu Zetian Qianling Mausoleum is completed. Death of poet Luo Binwang. 699 Chinese troops retake the Four Garrisons of Anxi from the Tibetans. 700 Approximate date for the creation of the Dunhuang map, an astronomical chart. 704 Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is rebuilt. 709 Emperor Zhongzong 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 Pear Garden, an Academy of Music 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. 756 Emperor Suzong Battle of Yongqiu 758 Arab and Persian pirates loot and burn the seaport of Guangzhou, causing Chinese officials to virtually shut down the port for five decades while foreign vessels from the Indian Ocean came mostly to Hanoi in Chinese-controlled Vietnam to trade there instead. 757 Battle of Suiyang 760 Earliest date for The Classic of Tea by Lu Yu. 761 Death of Wang Wei, a painter, musician, poet, scholar and official. 762 Emperor Daizong 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. 781 Emperor Dezong Nestorian Stone is composed. 783 Death of the famous painter Han Gan. 785 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 River 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. 801 Compilation of the Tongdian history and encyclopedia by Du You is complete. 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. 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 grand 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 Chang'an, a large fire 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 846 Emperor Xuānzong 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 famous 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. 863 Emperor Yizong Duan Chengshi describes the slave trade, ivory trade, and ambergris trade in Berbera, Somalia, East Africa. 868 Woodblock printing of the Diamond Sutra 874 Emperor Xizong Huang Chao Rebellion 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 The Huang Chao Rebellion is crushed by Tang troops. 907 Emperor Ai Zhu Wen overthrows the Tang Dynasty and initiates the Later Liang Ten thousand years (est.) Date 5 Dynasties 10 Kingdoms Events 907 Later Liang Dynasty Wu
917 Earliest known description in China of Greek fire. 919 Earliest known description of a flamethrower in China. 923 Later Tang Dynasty 936 Later Jin Dynasty 947 Later Han Dynasty 950 The earliest known depiction of a fire lance (proto gun) and lobbed grenade. 960 Around this time, Gu Hongzhong paints the classic Night Revels of Han Xizai. 951 Later Zhou Dynasty 960 961 Huqiu Tower is built. 979 Date Emperor Events Other people/events 907 Emperor Taizu 926 Emperor Taizong 947 Emperor Shizong 951 Emperor Muzong 969 Emperor Jingzong 993 Emperor Shengzong The First Goryeo–Khitan War, marking the beginning of the Goryeo–Khitan Wars 997 The Chinese dictionary Longkan Shoujian is compiled by the monk Xingjun. 1005 Shanyuan Treaty 1010 Second Goryeo–Khitan War 1018 Third Goryeo–Khitan War Battle of Gwiju 1031 Emperor Xingzong 1056 Emperor Daozong Pagoda of Fogong Temple is completed. 1120 Emperor Tianzuo Pagoda of Tianning Temple is completed. 1124 Kara-Khitan Khanate 1125 Song and Jin conquest of Liao. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 960 Emperor Taizu Chenqiao Mutiny In the Wuli Xiaoshi (1630), Fang Yizhi states that Song Taizu was presented with gunpowder-impregnated fire arrows in this year. Hundred Family Surnames (est.) 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. 976 Emperor Taizong Yuelu Academy founded. 977 Longhua Pagoda is built. 978 Extensive Records of the Taiping Era is completed. It is the first of the Four Great Books of Song. 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 Famous painter Fan Kuan is born around this time. 1100 Emperor Zhenzong 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. 1005 The Shanyuan Treaty is signed between Liao and Song. 1010 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. 1037 Emperor Renzong Ding Du publishes the Jiyun rime dictionary. 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 Lingxiao Pagoda is completed. 1049 Iron Pagoda is completed. 1055 Liaodi Pagoda is completed. 1060 The compilation of the New Book of Tang, edited by Ouyang Xiu, is presented to the emperor. 1063 Emperor Yingzong Pizhi Pagoda is completed. 1068 Emperor Shenzong First use of the drydock in China 1069 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 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 people calendar is more mathematically accurate than the Song; 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 the Western Xia Dynasty, 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 Liao-Song 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. 1085 Emperor Zhezong 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. 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 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. 1094 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. 1103 Emperor Huizong 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 Donglin Academy is founded. 1119 Zhu Yu publishes his Pingzhou Table Talks, confirming Shen Kuo's description of the magnetic compass by stating its use in seafaring. 1125 Song Dynasty forces ally with rebel Jurchens to topple the Khitan Liao Dynasty. 1127 Emperor Qinzong Jingkang Incident, the northern third of China is conquered by the Jurchens under the Jin Dynasty, the capital of Song Dynasty is moved south from Kaifeng to Hangzhou. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 1132 Emperor Gaozong China's first permanent standing navy is established, with Song naval headquarters at Dinghai. A fire destroys some 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. 1141 The Treaty of Shaoxing is signed between Jin and Song. 1142 Yue Fei is accused of alleged treason by the chancellor Qin Hui and put to death on Emperor Gaozong's orders. 1161 Battle of Tangdao and Battle of Caishi, Song naval victories over Jin after the latter attempted to conquer southern China. The Yunjing rime dictionary is compiled by Zhang Linzhi. 1162 Emperor Xiaozong Beisi Pagoda is completed. 1165 Liuhe Pagoda is completed 1179 White Deer Grotto Academy is rebuilt by Zhu Xi. 1215 Emperor Ningzong Battle of Beijing 1241 Emperor Lizong 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 Möngke Khan dies in Chongqing during the Battle of Fishing Town. 1260 Ariq Böke threatens civil war, forcing Kublai Khan to retreat north as Song chancellor Jia Sidao pushes Mongol troops north of the Yangtze River in an opportune assault. 1261 Emperor Duzong 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 Southern Song merchants after short periods of capture and detainment at the border. 1265 The Mongols, under Kublai Khan's leadership, invade Sichuan and capture 146 Song naval ships as war booty. 1267 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. 1271 Voyage of Marco Polo begins 1273 Battle of Xiangyang concludes with Yuan victory. 1275 Turkish general Bayan defeats Song chancellor Jia Sidao's army of 130,000 troops; Jia is impeached from court and killed by one of his own guards. 1276 Emperor Duanzong 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. 1278 Scholar-general Wen Tianxiang leads Song forces to resist the Mongol invaders. Wen is captured and refuses to surrender to the Yuan government. He spends four years in prison before being executed on Kublai Khan's orders in 1283. 1279 Emperor Bing Battle of Yamen; the Yuan general Zhang Hongfan crushes the last resistance of Southern Song. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 1038 Emperor Jingzong 1048 Emperor Yizong 1067 Emperor Huizong 1086 Emperor Chongzong 1139 Emperor Renzong 1193 Emperor Huanzong 1206 Emperor Xiangzong 1211 Emperor Shenzong 1223 Emperor Xianzong 1226 Emperor Mozhu 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 Jin Dynasty.
Date Emperor Events Other people/events 1115 Emperor Taizu Wanyan Aguda (Emperor Taizu) leads the Jurchens to attack the Liao Dynasty. 1127 Emperor Taizong Jingkang Incident 1153 Emperor Hailingwang 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. 1161 Emperor Shizong 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 1164 The Treaty of Longxing between Song and Jin ushers in four decades of peace. 1189 Chengling Pagoda is built. 1211 Emperor Weishaowang The Mongol leader Genghis Khan launches a military campaign against the Jin Dynasty. 1214 Emperor Xuanzong In the terms of a treaty with Genghis Khan, the Jin Dynasty becomes a vassal state of the expanding Mongol Empire. 1215 When the Jin court moves their capital from Beijing to Kaifeng once more, Genghis Khan sees this as open revolt and sacks the former capital 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. 1227 Emperor Aizong Genghis Khan died during the siege of the final Western Xia stronghold in 1227. His successor, Ögedei Khan, resumes the war against Jin in the same year. 1233 The Jin capital at Kaifeng is captured by Ögedei Khan's forces. 1234 Emperor Modi Emperor Modi is killed by Mongol forces in present-day Runan County of Henan. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 1260 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. 1270 Sambyeolcho Rebellion in Korea against Mongol-dominated Goryeo. 1271 Emperor Shizu
Kublai Khan founds the Yuan Dynasty. 1273 Battle of Xiangyang 1274 Mongol invasions of Japan 1276 Gaocheng Astronomical Observatory is built. 1279 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 mission work in China 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. 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. 1324 Emperor Taiding The rime dictionary Zhongyuan Yinyun is published by Zhou Deqing. 1330 Emperor Wenzong Pagoda of Bailin Temple is completed 1334 Emperor Huizong 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, one of the largest naval battles in world history in terms of personnel. 1368 Rebel general Xu Da defeats Yuan forces, while Emperor Huizong flees from Dadu (present-day Beijing). Zhu Yuanzhang establishes the Ming Dynasty and becomes the Hongwu Emperor. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 1368 Hongwu Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang overthrows the Yuan Dynasty and founds the Ming Dynasty. He adopts the reign title of "Hongwu". 1371 Haijin (maritime trade ban) 1373 Emperor Hongwu 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 Ji dies on May 16. 1380 Hongwu abolishes the Chancellery of China, taking 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 Dynasty annexes land from the Kingdom of Dali, in present-day Yunnan and Guizhou, spurring a Chinese migration of hundreds of thousands. 1382 The Jinyi Wei, a secret police organization, 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. 1402 Yongle Emperor Yongle takes the throne after a three-year long civil war with his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor. 1405 The overseas 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. Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is completed. 1406 Construction of the Forbidden City begins, as well as new Beijing city fortifications 1407 Fourth Chinese domination of Vietnam, although Chinese troops were pushed out two decades later by Lê Lợi of the Lê Dynasty. Deshin Shekpa, the fifth Karmapa of Tibet, visits the court of Yongle. 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. Ming Dynasty Tombs are built. 1427 Xuande Emperor Famous painter Shen Zhou is born. 1431 The Lê Dynasty of Vietnam is recognized by the Ming court as a tribute state. 1443 Zhengtong Emperor The Zhihua Temple is built. 1446 The Precious Belt Bridge is rebuilt. 1449 Jingtai Emperor Tumu Crisis; the Zhengtong Emperor is captured by the Mongols after losing the battle and is released a year later 1457 Tianshun Emperor Zhu Qizhen (former Zhengtong Emperor) seizes power from the Jingtai Emperor in a palace coup and begins his second reign as the "Tianshun Emperor". 1461 Rebellion of Cao Qin 1464 Chenghua Emperor 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 Zhenjue Temple is completed. 1488 Hongzhi Emperor The Korean official Choe Bu shipwrecks along Zhejiang coast of China. 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 latter half of the 16th century. 1516 Zhengde Emperor 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. 1521 Jiajing Emperor 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; Chinese 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 China. 1529 Death of 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 from now on. 1550 Altan Khan breaches the Great Wall, besieges Beijing, and burns down its suburbs after looting it. 1553 Outer City of Beijing to the south is completed, which brought the overall size of the city to 4 by 4½ miles. 1556 Shaanxi Earthquake. 850,000 casualties 1557 The Portuguese establish permanent settlement in Macau. 1558 Ming forces led by Qi Jiguang defeat Japanese pirates at Cengang. 1567 Longqing Emperor Haijin laws are formally repealed; government allows private foreign maritime trade, although the state had conducted all foreign trade during the ban. 1573 Wanli Emperor After the Spanish establish a permanent base at Manila in the Philippines, their American-mined silver trade with China trumps the Portuguese-Japanese silver trade. 1574 Qin Liangyu, a later female military officer of Miao heritage, is born. 1576 Pagoda of Cishou Temple is built. 1577 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 mission 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 Journey to the West. 1592 When Japan invades Korea in the Imjin War, Ming China aids Korea with troops and supplies. 1593 Siege of Pyongyang 1597 Siege of Ulsan 1598 Battle of Sacheon Battle of Noryang; the theatrical drama The Peony Pavilion, written by playwright Tang Xianzu, is performed at the Pavilion of Prince Teng. 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 Sancai Tuhui encyclopedia is published. 1610 Plum in the Golden Vase is published. 1615 The Chinese dictionary Zihui is compiled by Mei Yingzuo. 1616 Nurhaci found the Later Jin Dynasty (later renamed to Qing Dynasty) in Manchuria The Nanjing Religious Incident begins in this year, when all foreign Jesuits were expelled from the Ming 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 Chinese philosopher Wang Fuzhi is born. 1624 Tianqi Emperor 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 into the Chinese language. Jesuit Nicolas Trigault writes the Xiru Ermu Zi, establishing the first system of Chinese Romanization. 1627 Chongzhen Emperor First Manchu invasion of Korea; downfall of eunuch Wei Zhongxian, who ruled as a virtual dictator 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 By this time, the Manchus have conquered much of Inner Mongolia. 1634 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 Tiangong Kaiwu encyclopedia; 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 in this year. 1639 The Nongzheng Quanshu agricultural treatise of Xu Guangqi is published. Painter Chen Hongshou travels to Beijing and earns instant acclaim by the 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 Eight Banners of the Manchu Qing Dynasty are established. 1644 Battle of Shanhai Pass; the Chongzhen Emperor hangs himself from the Guilty Chinese Scholartree, after hearing that rebels under Li Zicheng breached the gates of Beijing Ming general Wu Sangui and the Manchu prince Dorgon occupy Beijing; soon after, the Shunzhi Emperor is proclaimed ruler of China under the Qing Dynasty. Date Emperor Events Other people/events 1644 Li Zicheng Date Emperor Events Other people/events 1644 Shunzhi Emperor The Qing Dynasty is established in China. 1652 The 5th Dalai Lama of Tibet visits the court of Shunzhi 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. 1662 Kangxi Emperor The Siege of Fort Zeelandia ends with the Dutch East India Company's surrender of Taiwan to Koxinga. 1674 Revolt of the Three Feudatories 1682 Belgian Jesuit Antoine Thomas arrives in China. 1683 Battle of Penghu, surrender of the Kingdom of Tungning 1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk with Russia 1690 Death of Yun Shouping, a painter who was considered one of the "Six Masters" of the Qing era. 1698 Lugou Bridge is reconstructed. 1705 Papal legate Charles-Thomas Maillard De Tournon arrives in China. 1700 Thirteen Factories 1711 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 troops conquer and occupy Lhasa in Tibet. 1721 In a culmination of the Chinese Rites controversy, the Kangxi Emperor delivers a decree banning Christian preaching in China in response to a papal bull by Pope Clement XI. 1725 Yongzheng Emperor The Gujin Tushu Jicheng encyclopedia is completed. 1732 Death of Jiang Tingxi, a painter, calligrapher, and encyclopedist 1750 Qianlong Emperor French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot is sent to China. 1755 Ten Great Campaigns 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 Fragrant Hills Pagoda is built. 1782 Imperial collection of Four encyclopedia is completed. 1791 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 Qianlong's confidant Heshen. 1796 Jiaqing Emperor White Lotus Rebellion 1807 Robert Morrison, first Protestant missionary arrives 1823 Daoguang Emperor Publication of the Bible in Chinese 1839 First Opium War 1842 First of the Unequal Treaties,
Treaty of Nanjing
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 Qing China. Treaty of Wanghia between the Qing Empire and the United States, with the first United States Ambassador to China. 1850 Ten Tigers of Canton 1851 Xianfeng Emperor 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 Burning of Old Summer palace Beijing Convention 1861 Following the Convention of Peking, Prince Gong establishes the Zongli Yamen (Foreign Office). 1862 Tongzhi Emperor Dungan revolt The Tongwen Guan, or School of Combined Learning, is established to teach Chinese students Western 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 as well as tactics, strategy, and techniques. 1868 Yangzhou riot End of the Nien Rebellion 1870 Tianjin Massacre 1871 The famous general 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 1876 Guangxu Emperor 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 1885 Battle of Fuzhou 1891 Founding of Shanghai Sharebrokers Association 1894 First Sino-Japanese War
(Battle of Pungdo,
Battle of Seonghwan,
Battle of Pyongyang,
Battle of Yalu River,
Battle of Jiuliancheng,
Battle of Lushunkou,
Battle of Weihaiwei,
Battle of Yingkou)
1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki 1898 Hundred Days' Reform Coup led by Empress Dowager Cixi 1900 Boxer Rebellion 1901 Boxer Protocol 1910 Xuantong Emperor Huanghuagang Uprising 1911 Xinhai Revolution Wuchang Uprising
Republic of China
- Current year in the People's Republic of China
- Current year in the Republic of China
- List of Palaeolithic sites in China
- List of Neolithic cultures of China
- List of Chalcolithic cultures in China
- History of China
By individual categories
- Chinese sovereign
- Dynasties in Chinese history
- Foreign relations of Imperial China
- Historical capitals of China
- History of the political divisions of China
- Table of Chinese monarchs (very long)
- List of recipients of tribute from China
- List of tributaries of Imperial China
- Unequal Treaties
- Zhenguo, Huang et al. (2002). "The relative stability of prehistorical geographic environment in China´s tropics on the basis of archaeology," in Journal of Geographical Sciences, Vol. 12, No. 4.
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