I have used Chinese and Western sources to compile the following table of Chinese dynasties and governments, covering the legendary Xia to the end of the Manchu period (Qing) in 1911. More information in English may be sought in Jacques Gernet's History of Chinese Civilization.

Note that I have grouped dynasties and governments in the large into six large periods. Dynasties appearing in boldface are of particular importance in literature.


The "Pre-Han" (Chinese: "Pre-Qin") or "Three Dynasties"

First Empire

  1. 221 - 206 B.C.E.       Qin
          capital: Xianyang (near Xi'an)
  2. B.C.E. 206 - 221 C.E.       Han
    1. Western Han B.C.E. 206 - 8 C.E.
            capital: Chang'an (modern Xi'an)
    2. Xin (interregnum of Wang Mang) 8 - 25 C.E.
            capital: Chang'an
    3. Eastern Han 25 - 221
            capital: Luoyang

(Disunion) The "Six Dynasties period"

  1. 221 - 265       Three Kingdoms period
  2. 265 - 420       Jin period
  3. 420 - 581       Northern and Southern Dynasties period

Second Empire

  1. 581 - 618       Sui
          capital: Chang'an, later Luoyang, later jointly Yangzhou
  2. 618 - 907       Tang
          capital: Chang'an, later Luoyang

(Disunion)

Third Empire

  1. 1279 - 1368       Yuan (Mongol)
          capital: modern Beijing
  2. 1368 - 1644       Ming
          capital: modern Nanjing, later Beijing
  3. 1644 - 1911       Qing (Manchu)
          capital: Beijing

Modern Times

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