Lecture5Aancientchina - Ancient China: From India, we move...

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From India, we move to ancient China. This lecture will cover the emergence of complex civilizations in China. After reading through the lecture, be sure to view the PowerPoint. At the end of the PowerPoint presentation you will find questions that you should answer on the Discussion Board. As usual the discussion postings are due by midnight Sunday. For more on Ancient China visit: http://www.ancientchina.co.uk/menu.html http://historylink101.com/china_history.htm Early Agriculture and society As we saw with other early societies, agricultural developments and animal domestication gave rise to increased populations and paved the way for the development of cities in China. Humans have been in East Asia and China since 400, 000 years ago. Rice was cultivated after 7000 bce and by 5000 bce Neolithic villages dotted the area around the Yangzi River. In the north, millet was grown along the Yellow River by 5000 bce. Mesopotamian products such as wheat and barley made their way into China and were under cultivation by 2000 bce. Originally, as we saw previously, people lived in small agricultural villages. As populations expanded, some grew in size to become major cities. The earliest culture to develop along the Yellow river was the Yangshoao society – 5000- 3000 bce. Communities within this society dredged the Yellow River to prevent devastating floods, built dikes, and produced good harvests in the fertile flood plains. They produced pottery, used bone tools, and organized themselves into villages. As the populations expanded three major dynasties arose along the Yellow River – around 2200 bce – which regulated affairs. Other powerful states probably also existed but these three occupied the location of later imperial China’s states, so were considered very important by Chinese historians. By the 2 nd millennium large cities had developed into states with governments, organized societies, and distinct cultures. Each society was divided into hierarchies and was patriarchal. Royal families and nobles ruled over a large population of commoners. They lived in huge palaces off of the labor and taxes of their subjects. The elite were the only people who could afford the high cost of bronze – so they had a monopoly on weapons. Nobles and allies held the prestigious positions within the military and governments, owned large tracts of land, had access to educations, owned slaves, and lowly paid peasants to work their land. They were extremely concerned with manners and published books of etiquette that governed dining habits, greetings, and behavior in all social circumstances. Some craftsmen became well off by producing goods specifically for the royal family and aristocrats – jade workers, metal smiths, jewelers, embroiderers and workers of silk textiles. Peasants labored in the fields with wooden and bone tools and owned no land. Women worked in the homes – small subterranean huts with thatched roofs, men in the fields. The family was the basic organizing principle of life.
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Lecture5Aancientchina - Ancient China: From India, we move...

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