The History of China and the Chinese Culture is one of the oldest and greatest cultures in the world.  Since the earliest cultures along the Hwang He and Yangtze Rivers China has grown into one of the world's most powerful and wealthy regions.  Traditionally, China is the dominant culture of Asia and today China is reclaiming that title as it becomes more and more powerful militarily and economically. The AP World History Course is designed to test your knowledge of Chinese history from the Shang Civilization to the currnet age and it  tends to divide its information in six categories to think about.  These categories are politics, economics, religion, social life, intellectual life, and art.  Often the AP exam also expects students to know how the geography of a place influences the historical developments over time. 

In China, Confucianism is the dominant force throughout history and continues to be a very powerful layer of culture even today.  The Chinese also tend to value harmony, agriculture, peace and beauty.  They also excel at practical inventions like paper, gunpowder, the wheelbarrow, fishing reel and many, many others.  Click on the dynasty time periods to the right to learn more about each of the Chinese dynastic periods.

Overview of Chinese History

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As you can see, China is a huge country.  Throughout its history China has included many different ethnic groups, religions, geographic regions and has had challenges connecting all of its people in a single Chinese nationality.  Today, most people live in the eastern regions of China although population is growing rapidly in the western region of the country.

This satelite image helps explain why more people live in the eastern and southern regions of China.  The Gobi Desert is a very difficult place to survive even in modern times and in anceint China it was even more challenging.  The nomadic groups living in northern and western China have often been considered less civilized than the Han Chinese who dominate Chinese culture.  The Huns, Mongols, Tartars, Tibetans, Turks and many other nationalities have played a very important role in Chinese history although sometimes as combatants rather than friends.