Ancient China

Where can I find information about Ancient China?

Junior Secondary

(Years 7-10)

Image: Photo of Dog Statue by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.

Entry last updated: 25/05/22

Introduction

The history of Ancient China goes back over 4000 years. It is one of the oldest and longest living civilisations. Some of this history is still alive in the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army we see today. Much of Ancient China was ruled by different dynasties which were powerful families that ruled China for a very long time. Xia, Shang, and Qin are some examples of these powerful dynasties.

List of dynasties

A dynasty is when a country is ruled by one family over a long period of time. Here are some of the more well known dynasties in Ancient China.

Xia Dynasty (c. 2070 - 1600 BCE): Earliest dynasty. Whether this dynasty was real or a myth is argued about.

Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BCE - 1045 BCE): Earliest Chinese dynasty with archaeological evidence.

Zhou Dynasty (1045 BCE - 256 BCE): Dynasty that ruled for the longest time.

Qin Dynasty (221 BCE - 206 BCE): First imperial dynasty of China. Beginning of the Great Wall.

Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220): A very prosperous period with a lot of political uncertainty and disorder. Beginning of the Silk Road.

Tang Dynasty (618-907): The Silk Road continued to be important during this period.

Song Dynasty (960-1279): Divided into two periods, the Northern Song (960-1127) and the Southern Song (1127-1279).

Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368): China came under Mongolian rule.

Ming Dynasty (1368-1644): Last dynasty to be ruled by Han Chinese.

General websites

The websites below will lead you to information on the history, culture, and people of Ancient China.

Ducksters

This is a fun, educational website with information that's easy to understand. Sometimes it's a good idea to start simple to help understand a topic.

  • Choose Ancient China from the topics on the home page under World History.
  • This topic covers thedynasties, culture, important people like Confucius, and fun facts about Ancient China.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Ancient History Encyclopedia

This is a great place for information about different historical civilisations. The information available includes timelines, articles, videos, and more.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg Ancient China. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

YouTube

Youtube is a video-sharing website. It has many videos about Ancient China.

Tips: As Youtube has lots of videos for all ages from many organisations, it's better to watch the ones from reliable organisations like Khan Academy, National Geographic, or other educational organisations.

EPIC resources

EPIC is a collection of reliable resources covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

Middle School (Gale In Context)

This database contains lots of curriculum topics in science, history, literature, and social issues for intermediate and junior secondary students.

  • Look down the page to Cultures and select Ancient China from the list of topics.
  • You will find a selection of biographies, images, articles, videos, audio, and news updates on Ancient China.

World History (Gale In Context)

This EPIC resource covers a range of history topics from around the world including ancient civilizations.

  • Enter 'Ancient China' into the search box.
  • Read the biography on Lao-Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher, and the article on Women in Ancient China.
  • Remember to explore the other results as well.
  • Or go to Browse Topics and look for one of the dynasties eg Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Books

Check your school library or public library for some titles on Ancient China.

Here are some we recommend:

SCIS no. 5354317

Topics covered

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