World History > Chinese History
夏 Xia Dynasty (no historical evidence)
商 Shang Dynasty
西周 Western Zhou Dynasty
東周 Eastern Zhou Dynasty
秦 Qin Dynasty
- 221 BC - King Ying Zheng of Qin completes his conquest of central China and names himself Qin Shihuangdi or "First Emperor of Qin."
- 220 BC - Construction begins on the Great Wall of China.
- 213 BC - In a megalomaniacal attempt to destroy all history prior to himself, Qin Shihuangdi orders all all writings burned, other than official Qin state documents, texts on agriculture and medicine, and a few writings on divination, in The Great Book Burning.
- 212 BC - Continuing his assault on scholarly learning, Qin Shihuangdi orders 460 scholars buried alive. He also institutes a uniform system of weights, measures, and most importantly for trade, wagon axle widths, throughout China.
- 211 BC - Qin forces invade northern Vietnam.
- 210 BC - Qin Shihuangdi dies of mercury poisoning, the result of a mercury-laced elixir he believed would grant him eternal life. His advisor Li Si murders his legitimate heir and gives the throne to his weak and controlable second son.
- 208 BC - Li Si is executed by other schemers.
- 207 BC - As peasant revolts wrack the country, the puppet second Qin emperor is poisoned.
- 206 BC - The last remnants of the Qin government surrender to rebels led by Chu nobleman Xiang Yu and low-born peasant Liu Bang.
漢 Han Dynasty
新 Xin Dynasty - Interregnum of Wang Mang (9-23)
東漢 Eastern Han Dynasty (23-220)
- 9 - Having served as regent for several child emperors, Confucian official Wang Mang seizes the throne, establishing the short-lived Xin dynasty. Wang initiates a series of radical reforms along ancient Zhou models, most of which fail.
- 2-11 - A series of floods and famines devastate China, fostering unrest among the populace.
- 18 - Disgruntled vagrants form the Red Eyebrows secret society and foment a rebellion against Wang Mang.
- 22 - Members of the old Han royal house join the Red Eyebrows Rebellion.
三國 Three Kingdoms Period
晋 Jin Dynasty
南北朝 Southern and Northern Dynasties
隋 Sui Dynasty
唐 Tang Dynasty
875-884 - The Rebellion of Huang Chao severely weakens the Tang.
903 - Zhu Wen, a former rebel ally of Huang Chao, seizes Chang'an.
904 - Zhu Wen installs a puppet boy Emperor to legitimate his rule.
905 - The Khitans invade northern China, marking the beginning of the end of the Tang dynasty.
907 - Zhu Wen seizes the throne in his own name, ending the Tang Dynasty.
五朝 Five Dynasties Period
宋 Song Dynasty
- 960 - Zhao Kuangyin, a general of the Later Zhou, establishes the Song Dynasty at Kaifeng, becoming Emperor Taizu.
- 979 - Song forces under Emperor Taizong complete the reunification of China with the exception of a small amount of northern territory controlled by the Khitans, who successfully resist all attacks.
- 1004 - An invasion by the Khitans reaches the Yellow River near Kaifeng. The invaders are temporarily appeased with an annual tribute payment of silver and silk.
- 1084 - Historian Sima Guang completes his monumental Zizhi Tongjian ("The Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government"), an exhaustive integrated history of China from 403 BC to AD 959.
- 1114 - The Jurchins rebel against the Khitans in Manchuria, declaring themselves the Jin Dynasty.
- 1125 - The Jurchins capture Beijing, ending the Liao Dynasty and attack Kaifeng, forcing the Song to submit to paying tribute.
- 1127 - The Jurchins attack Kaifeng again when the Song fail to pay enough tribute, kidnapping the Emperor and absconding to their capital at Bejing. The remnants of the Song court flee south to Nanjing, establishing the Southern Song Dynasty.
- 1138 - The Southern Song court relocates to Hangzhou.
- 1142 - The Song sign a peace treaty with the Jurchins, accepting vassal status, relinquishing all lands north of the Jinling Mountains and the Huai River, and agreeing to pay annual tribute.
- 1210 - Genghis Khan and the Mongols begin their assault on the Jurchin Empire.
- 1215 - The Jurchin capital at Beijing falls to the Mongols.
- 1217 - Genghis Khan defeats the independent Xixia Kingdom.
- 1227 - The Mongols obliterate the last remnants of the Xixia at the Massacre of Ningxia. Genghis Khan dies of natural causes during the campaign.
- 1232 - The Song ally with the Mongols to crush the Jurchins.
- 1235 - The Mongols begin attacking the Song.
- 1238 - Sichuan falls to the Mongols.
- 1260 - Kublai Khan succeeds his brother Mongke Khan as Khan of the Mongol lands in northern China.
- 1267 - Kublai Khan establishes a winter capital at Beijing.
元 Yuan Dynasty
明 Ming Dynasty
清 Qing Dynasty
1843 - The British negotiate a supplimentary treaty, gaining most-favored-nation status and even further expanded trading rights. The opium trade remains technically illegal, but continues unabated.
1844 - In the Treaty of Wangxia, Caleb Cushing secures trading rights in China for the United States, as well as extraterritoriality for US citizens and protection for Protestant missionaries. The similar Treaty of Huangpu with the French likewise protects Catholic missionaries.
1850-1865 - In the Taiping Rebellion, a horde of disaffected peasants led by visionary pseudo-Christian prophet Hong Xiuquan, who believes himself the younger brother of Christ, captures the area around Nanjing, making it the capital of a distopian state named Taiping Tianguo ("Heavenly Kingdom of Peace"). The rebellion devastates 17 provinces and costs an estimated 20 million lives before finally being crushed by the Western trained and led "Ever-Victorious Army" in 1865.
1851-1888 - Several dissaffected groups throughout China take advantage of the chaos of the Taiping Rebellion to revolt, including the Nian revolutionaries (1851–1868), the Muslim Panthays in Yunnan (1855–1873), and the Hmong of Guizhou (1855-1888).
1856–1860 - The Arrow Incident, in which a British ship is allegedly illegally searched, spurs the Second Opium War, which results in the occupation of Beijing by British and French troops (who destroy the Summer Palace), increased indemnities and trade rights for Western powers, the cession of the Maritime Province to Russia, and the right of French Catholic missions to hold land. Henceforth the British play an increasing role in securing Chinese internal affairs, and even in managing the income of the Qing government through Robert Hart's Imperial Maritime Customs Service.
1870 - The so-called Tianjin massacre, in which 13 Frenchmen and 3 Russians are killed by an angry mob following the shooting of a Chinese by the French consul, results in Chinese reparations and a mission of apology to France.
1874 - Japan invades Taiwan.
1876 - The Zhifu Convention, resulting from the 1875 murder of a British interpreter by local tribesmen, opens ten new ports to Western trade.
1883-1884 - The Treaty of Huê and the Treaty of Tianjin cede Indochina to France.
1887 - China cedes Macau to Portugal.
1894-1895 - Japan humiliates China in the Sino-Japanese War, securing the independence of Korea, unequal trade rights and five treaty ports, the cession of the Liaodong Penninsula in southern Manchuria, and a huge indemnity of 200 million taels.
1895 - In the Tripartite Intervention, Russia, Germany, and France force Japan to return the Liaodong peninsula to China in exchange for a further 30 million taels.
1896 - A secret defensive alliance is extracted from Russia in exchange for Russian railroad rights in Manchuria that will eventually precipitate the Ruso-Japanese War.
1897 - Germany occupies Jiaozhou Bay following the murder of two missionaries in Shandong, initiating a scramble for concessions that results in a virtual partitioning of China by the European powers and Japan.
1898 - China's last hope for serious reform is squashed when the reformist Guangxu Emperor is deposed by Dowager Empress Ci Xi and her conservative Manchu allies.
1899 - Concern over the continuing scramble for concessions prompts US Secretary of State John Hay to issue his famous Open Door circular, which will form the basis of US foreign policy for the next five decades.
1900 - A mass movement of disaffected peasants erupts into the Boxer Rebellion, which is suppressed by an international China Relief Expedition.
- 1644 - Following the fall of Beijing to Li Zicheng's rebels, Ming general Wu Sangui collaborates with Manchu prince-regent Dorgon, allowing Manchu forces to cross the Shanhai Pass into China unhindered where they destroy Li Zicheng's band and establish the Qing Dynasty
- 1673 - The Rebellion of the Three Feudatories erupts when Wu Sangui and two other Ming collaborators with the Manchus, having been awarded large satrapies in the south for their aid in bringing Manchu rule to China, revolt against the Qing.
- 1681 - The Rebellion of the Three Feudatories comes to an end when the last rebels are defeated.
- 1683 - A Qing armada dispatched to end Taiwanese piracy successfully brings Taiwan under Qing control.
- 1688 - Galdan, chief of the Olöt Dzungars (Western Mongols), invades Mongolia from Central Asia.
- 1689 - The Treaty of Nerchinsk, which establishes a loose border with Russia, is China's first treaty with a European nation.
- 1690 - Emperor Kangxi takes personal command of the war against Galdan in Mongolia.
- 1696 - Galdan is finally crushed by Qing and allied forces near Urga, securing Qing hegemony over Mongolia.
- 1727 - The Kiakhta Treaty, which fixes the border with Russia more precisely, is concluded with Sava Vladislavich in Beijing.
- 1751 - After a long border war, Qing forces invade and conquer Tibet.
- 1759 - Qing forces defeat the last of the Dzungars, bringing all of Turkestan under Chinese control.
- 1765-1769 - A Qing invasion of Burma fails to reach the capital of Ava, ending when the Burmese agree to recognize Qing suzerainty.
- 1788 - The Qing invade Vietnam, which submits to Qing suzerainty.
- 1792 - A Gurkha attack on Tibet leads to a Qing invasion of Nepal. The Gurkhas agree to recognize Qing suzerainty.
- 1795-1797 - A revolt by Hmong tribes in Hunan and Guizhou is suppressed.
- 1796–1804 - The White Lotus Rebellion, led by a millenarian Buddhist sect, feeds on social and economic discontents and spreads across the impoverished provinces of Hubei, Shaanxi, and Sichuan before being finally suppressed by the Qing army.
- 1800 - The opium trade is introduced about this time by Western traders as a means of reducing reliance on silver currency in the China Trade, and is promptly banned by the Chinese government, but continues illicitly.
- 1813 - Adherents of the millenarian Tianli Sect rise in rebellion and fight their way into the imperial palace in Beijing before being suppressed.
- 1838 - Annual illegal importation of opium surpasses 40,000 chests. Daoguang Emperor Xuanzong orders his administration to end the opium trade once and for all.
- 1839 - Imperial Commissioner Lin Zexu arrives in Guangzhou (Canton) where he siezes and destroys more than 3 million pounds of opium. Hostilities ensue with the British.
- 1839-1842 - The Opium War fatally weakens the Qing Dynasty, although it will take another 70 years to die a slow, painful death.
中華民國 Republic of China
中華人民共和國 People's Republic of China
- 1949 - Mao Zedong proclaims the People's Republic of China, declaring, "The Chinese people have stood up!" Mao announces the policy of "leaning to one side." The Nationalists flee to Taiwan.
- 1950 - China and the USSR sign the Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance. Chinese troops invade Tibet. 180,000 Chinese "volunteers" intervene in the Korean War when MacArthur's troops invade North Korea.
- 1958-1960 - In the Great Leap Forward, Mao attempts to jumpstart industrialization at the expense of agriculture. Instead, 30 million starve to death.
- 1964 - China successfully tests an Atomic Bomb.
- 1966-1976 - In the Cultural Revolution, Mao and the Gang of Four unleash the Red Guards to "purify" Chinese communism. A killing spree ensues, halted only by Mao's death in 1976.
- 1972 - Richard Nixon visits China, ending two decades of western disregard.
- 1979 - President Deng Xiaoping creates the first "special economic zones," establishes formal relations with the US, and visits the United States.
- 1989 - In the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Chinese Army tanks and troops fire on peaceful democratic demonstrators in Beijing.
- 1997 - Hong Kong reverts to Chinese control.
- 1999 - Macau reverts to Chinese control.
- 2008 - Beijing hosts the 2008 Summer Olympics.
- 2010 - China passes Japan to become the world's second-largest economy by GDP, after the United States.