In 1959, an ancient palace was found in Erlitou, Henan, beginning the uncovering of a culture that left much behind. This development marks the beginning of the real first historical state in Chinese history which is called the Xia. This shows that the Shang had immense military and commercial power for territorial expansion in the Bronze Age. 1 Xia Dynasty is the first Hereditary Kingdom in the history of China. Xia. The Xia dynasty 夏 (21th - 17th cent. Evidence regarding the ancient Xia Dynasty (2100 BC – 1600 BC) is difficult to find. Western Xia Tombs. Beginning of the Historical Era: Shang. According to tradition, the Xia dynasty was established by the legendary Yu … During the prosperous times, the territory of the Xia Dynasty spread to the west … Occasionally identified as one of The Three August Ones and the Five Emperors, he is best remembered for teaching the people flood control techniques to tame China's rivers and lakes. Location of Xia Dynasty/Courtesy: WikiMedia. The early cultures continued to produce pottery but now also began to develop a metallurgical industry. One of the semi-mythical leaders that the Book of Documents mentions is Yu the Great (c. 2200 BC - c. 2100 BC). Because its capital was located in the city of Yin Xu, the Shang dynasty is sometimes referred to as the Yin dynasty. The Xia Dynasty is on... Get Your WeiVase Today, Use Code TUBE10 for 10 % off: https://weivase.comHave you always wondered about the history of the Xia Dynasty? The Western Xia or Xi Xia (Chinese: 西 夏; pinyin: Xī Xià; Wade–Giles: Hsi 1 Hsia 4; also known as the Tangut Empire, and known as Mi-nyak to Tibetans and Tanguts) was an empire which existed from 1038 to 1227 in what are now the northwestern Chinese provinces of Ningxia, Gansu, eastern Qinghai, northern Shaanxi, northeastern Xinjiang, southwest Inner Mongolia, and southernmost Outer Mongolia, … Battle of Mingtiao Illustration courtesy: history.followcn.com The xia dynasty (Chinese: 夏朝; pinyin: Xià Cháo; Wade–Giles: Hsia-Ch'ao; ca. Chinese History Digest summarizes and illustrates China's history and helps you to plan a trip to see the country's historic sights. These buildings used a post and beam architecture, where upright posts were erected on … Chinese History Digest's summary of China's history continues with the story of the Shang dynasty in the next section. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Xia-dynasty, Ancient History Encyclopedia - Xia Dynasty, Xia dynasty - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). He was the supposed founder of the Xia dynasty who was (and still is) greatly revered for the flood control measures (the building of irrigation canals and the dredging of riverbeds) that he was in charge of and personally worked on along the Yellow River, Wei River and other waterways. Evidence regarding the ancient Xia Dynasty (2100 BC – 1600 BC) is difficult to find. No archaeological evidence was found of it until 1959 in the city of Yanshi, most likely a capital of the Xia Dynasty. The Xia Dynasty began when the kingdom began to be passed to a relative, usually from father to son. The resulting walls were very light and therefore didn't have to carry a lot of weight (which was carried by the posts). The establishment of the Xia Dynasty (21st - 17th century BC) is an important milestone in the history of Chinese civilization and marks the end of the Primitive Society and the beginning of the Class Society. The Xia ruled from around 2070 BC to 1600 BC when the Shang Dynasty took control. The Xia Dynasty was the first Chinese dynasty; it is still not known whether this dynasty existed or is only mythological. The domination of the lower basin of the Yellow Riverallowed them to rapidly increase their population and dominate dozens of different surrounding villages, both culturally and militarily. At the time of the political rise of Genghis Khan in 1206 CE, the Mongol Empire shared its western borders with the Western Xia Dynasty of the Tanguts. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Economically, Xia dynasty is the era of the ex-use of gold (copper) and stones. Xia dynasty of China is the first dynasty to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Records of the Grand Historian and Bamboo Annals. Beams were then placed on top of these posts and a roof was built over these structures. According to mythology, when the last Xia king became corrupt and cruel, Cheng Tang overthrew him in c. 1760 BCE and founded the Shang Dynasty. The Xia dynasty is the first dynasty in traditional Chinese historiography.According to tradition, the Xia dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great, after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors, gave the throne to him. And it was a slave-owner's state. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. The Xia Dynasty was the first Chinese dynasty; it is still not known whether this dynasty existed or is only mythological. It is said that most of the people during the dynasty probably inhabited the western area of Henan Province and southern Shanxi Province. Currently the province of Ningxiashares the character with the Xia dynasty (夏; Xià), although they have nothing to do with each other. 2100 to 1800 BC, providing physical evidence of the existence of a state contemporaneous with and possibly equivalent to the xia dynasty as … By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Tradition gives the names of the dynasty’s successive 16 rulers, ending with Jie, who is said to have fallen in love with a beautiful but evil woman, who acted cruelly. Xia Dynasty (夏朝) Kingdom, circa 2070-1600 BC, is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History & Records of the Grand Historian. During the Xia period, large palace forms of architecture began to emerge. It existed from the 21st century BC to the 16th century BC, and lasted for nearly 500 years. According to Warring States and Han Dynasty texts, the Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun gave his throne to him, and was later defeated and replaced by the Shang. It is the first dynasty in Chinese history, and lasted nearly 500 years including the reigns of 17 emperors. He was widely believed as the writer of the Classic of Mountains and Seas.. 3 Kings of the Xia Empire were descendants of King Huang Di. The Xia ruled the current provinces of Shanxi and Henan. These newly emerging political elites used these large-scale palace structures for public activities that were designed to legitimize their leadership. His capital was at Yang City. The first prehistoric dynasty is said to be Xia, from about the twenty-first to the sixteenth century BC. The capital of the Xia dynasty seems to have been a site called Erlitou, located in the western part of modern day Henan province. Omissions? Xi Xia, also spelled Xixia, Wade-Giles romanization Hsi Hsia, English Western Xia, kingdom of the Tibetan-speaking Tangut tribes that was established in 1038 and flourished until 1227. Therefore, artisans, craftsmen, warriors and spiritual as well as political leaders began to appear in society. Xi Xia, also spelled Xixia, Wade-Giles romanization Hsi Hsia, English Western Xia, kingdom of the Tibetan-speaking Tangut tribes that was established in 1038 and flourished until 1227. The Xia leaders seem to have performed public sacrifices to commemmorize their ancestors and they seem to have performed rituals in which they asked the ancestors for help and advice regarding current problems of their world. Updates? As already mentioned, the Shang dynasty ruled over several cities or “zu” along the Yellow River basin. They had god-like … It was located in what are now the northwestern Chinese provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi.. Geographically as well, the Xia could very much have been the Erlitou, but the records of the Xia’s location, of course, were written too long after the dynasty’s supposed existence to be considered conclusive evidence. Seventeen Xia kings are listed in the Shiji, a comprehensive history written during the 1st century bce, and much ingenuity has been devoted to identifying certain Late Neolithic fortified sites—such as Wangchenggang (“Mound of the Royal City”) in north-central Henan and Dengxiafeng in Xia… Located throughout Henan and Shanxi Province, and later Shaanxi and Hubei provinces, the Erlitou culture - discovered in 1959 by Xu Xusheng, - has been identified by several Chinese archeologists as the site of the legendary Xia Dynasty (c.2100-1700 BCE). 2 Yu the Great defeated the Great Flood, established the Xia Dynasty, and divided his land into nine administrative divisions. Facts about the Xia Dynasty . Most people during the Xia Dynasty period localized in the western area of the province of Henan and some also inhabited the northern and southern part of the province of Shanxi. According to Chinese folklore, the Xia Dynasty (pronounced 'Sha') was the first dynasty to rule over China. Location of the Xia dynasty state. There are indications that they founded small commercial towns and border posts in the valleys of the Yangtze and Liao rivers. Others, however, swear that there is archaeological proof of the Xia dynasty. In the traditional historiography, the Xia was later succeeded by the Shang dynasty. From then on, the ancestors of the current rulers were seen as divine powers who could affect life in the present world. The first rulers of China were the Three Sovereigns. He was widely believed as the writer of the Classic of Mountains and Seas. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors Chinese legend tells the story of the rulers before the Xia Dynasty. This development of a social hierarchy was only possible through productivity increases in agriculture. The last king of the Xia dynasty, Jie, was so tyrannical and incompetent that Tang, a tribal citizen, rebelled and seized the throne. The Western Xia dynasty were very first built by the founder of the Western Xia Kingdom (1038 to 1227), Li Yuanhao, exactly who built about 70 tombs; among which, one was for himself, and a few tombs for his relatives and much more to be kept empty in order to prevent theft. It is the first of China's imperial dynasties of which written records exist. The capital of the Xia dynasty seems to have been a site called Erlitou, located in the western part of modern day Henan province. These buildings used a post and beam architecture, where upright posts were erected on rammed earth platforms. Did the Xia Dynasty really exist? Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. General Introduction to Xia Dynasty. 1600 bce), early Chinese dynasty mentioned in legends. The Xia dynasty began with an abdication system that eventually turned into a hereditary one. Copper, tin and other metals began to be mined and people developed a smelting technology that led to the creation of bronze. By using a post and beam system, fairly large interior spaces could be created which were perfectly suited as places of worship as well as for political activities. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... …the first Chinese dynasty, called Xia. Radiocarbon dating places the site at ca. The Xia dynasty which began either around 2200 BC (according to the historian Sima Qian) or around 2100 BC (as most modern scholars believe) is unique in that we don't possess actual written texts from the Xia itself but can only study texts that talk about the Xia. Afterward, Genghis Khan began the conquest of the neighboring Jin Dynasty in 1211. According to legend, the founder was Yu, who was credited with having engineered the draining of the waters of a great flood (and who was later identified as a deified lord of the harvest). The emergence of this new type of architecture during the Xia period was a significant change compared to earlier methods of construction and over time became characteristic of urban places in Chinese history. 2 Yu the Great defeated the Great Flood, established the Xia Dynasty, and divided his land into nine administrative divisions.. Under Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire conquered the Tanguts’ Western Xia Dynasty in 1209. 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