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2000 Years of Chinese History The Mandate of Heaven and Confucius World History 7
Hi, I'm John Green, this is Crash Course World History,and today we're going to talk about China, which these days is discussed almost constantly on televisionand in newspapers wait, are they still a thingé So, we used to print information on thinlysliced trees and then you would pay someone to take these thinly sliced trees and throwthem onto your front lawn, and that's how we received information. No one thought thiswas weird, by the way. theme music Right, but anyway, you hear a lot about howChina is going to overtake the U.S. and bury us under a pile of inexpensive electronics,but I don't want to address those fears
today. Instead, I want to talk about how theway you tell a story shapes the story. China was really the first modern state â€“ bywhich I mean it had a centralized government and a corps of bureaucrats who could executethe wishes of that government. And it lasted, in pretty much the same form, from 150 BCE until 1911CE, which is technically known as a longass time. The Chinese were also among the first peopleto write history. In fact, one of the Confucian Classics is called the Shujing, or Classicof History. This is great for us, because we can now see the things that the Chineserecorded as they were happening, but it is also problematic because of the way the storyis told.
So even Me From The Past with his five minutesof World History knows that Chinese History is conveniently divided into periods calledDynasties. Mr. Green, I didn't even say anything. Thatdoesn't seem very fair Shh! What makes a dynasty a dynasty is thatit's ruled by a king, or as the Chinese know him, an emperor, who comes from a continuousruling family. As long as that family produces emperors and they are always dudes No they aren't. First off, there were severalempress dowagers who wielded tremendous power throughout Chinese history, and there wasone very important fullfledged empress, Empress
Wu, who WUled China for more than 20 yearsand founded her own freaking dynasty! and those emperors keep ruling, the dynastygets to be a dynasty. So the dynasty can end for two reasons: eitherthey run out of dudes (which never happened thanks to the hard work of many, many concubines),or the emperor's overthrown after a rebellion or a war. This is more or less what happenedto all the dynasties, which makes it easy for me to go over to camera two and describe themin a single runon sentence: Hi there â€“ camera two. Leaving aside the Xia dynasty, which was sadlyfictional, the first Chinese dynasty was the Shang, who were overthrown by the Zhou, whichdisintegrated into political chaos called
the Warring States period, in which stateswarred over periods oh, no, wait, it was a period in which states warred which endedwhen the Qin emperor was able to extend his power over most of the heretofore warringstates, but the Qin were replaced by the Han, which was the dynasty that really set thepattern for most of China's history and lasted for almost 400 years after which Chinafell again into political chaos â€“ which only means there was no dynasty that ruledover all of China â€“ and out of this chaos rose the Sui, who were followed quickly bythe Tang, who in turn were replaced, after a short period of no dynasty, by the Song,who saw a huge growth in China's commerce
that was still not enough to prevent themfrom being conquered by the Yuan, who were both unpopular and unusual. because theywere Mongols mongoltage which sparked rebellions resulting in the rise of the Ming,which was the dynasty that built the Great Wall and made amazing vases, but didn'tsave them from falling to the Manchus, who founded a dynasty that was called the Qing,which was the last dynasty because in 1911 there was a rebellion like the ones in, say,America, France or Russia, and the whole dynastic system which at this point had lasted fora longass time, came to an end. And. breathe. So that's what happened, butwhat's interesting, as far as capitalH History