Dynasties in Chinese history

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History of China
History of China
3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors
Xia Dynasty 2100–1600 BC
Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BC
Zhou Dynasty 1045–256 BC
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn period
   Warring States period
Qin Dynasty 221 BC–206 BC
Han Dynasty 206 BC–220 AD
  Western Han
  Xin Dynasty
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu and Wu
Jin Dynasty 265–420
  Western Jin16 Kingdoms
  Eastern Jin
Southern and Northern Dynasties
Sui Dynasty 581–618
Tang Dynasty 618–907
  (Second Zhou 690–705)
5 Dynasties and
10 Kingdoms

Liao Dynasty
Song Dynasty
  Northern SongW. Xia
  Southern SongJin
Yuan Dynasty 1271–1368
Ming Dynasty 1368–1644
Qing Dynasty 1644–1911
Republic of China 1912–1949
People's Republic
of China

Republic of
China (Taiwan)

Territories occupied by different dynasties as well as modern political states throughout the history of China

The following is a chronology of the dynasties in Chinese history.



Chinese history is not as simple as is often described and it was rare for one dynasty to change peacefully into the next. Dynasties were often established before the overthrow of an existing regime, or continued for a time after they had been defeated. For example, the conventional date 1644 marks the year in which the Manchu Qing dynasty armies occupied Beijing and brought Qing rule to China proper, succeeding the Ming dynasty. However, the Qing dynasty itself was established in 1636 (or even 1616, albeit under a different name), while the last Ming dynasty pretender was not deposed until 1662. This change of ruling houses was a messy and prolonged affair, and the Qing took almost twenty years to extend their control over the whole of China. It is therefore inaccurate to assume China changed suddenly and all at once in the year 1644.

In addition, China was divided for long periods of its history, with different regions being ruled by different groups. At times like these, there was not any single dynasty ruling a unified China. As a case in point, there is much dispute about times in and after the Western Zhou period.


DynastyRulersRuling House or ClanYears
Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors三皇五帝Sān Huáng Wǔ DìAs English(list)various2852[1]-2070 BC782
Xia DynastyXiàUnknown, Possibly Toponym(list)Sì (姒)2070–1600 BC470
Shang DynastyShāngToponym(list)Zǐ (子)1600–1029 BC571
Western Zhou Dynasty西周Xī ZhōuToponym(list) (姬)1029–771 BC275
Eastern Zhou Dynasty

Traditionally divided into
Spring and Autumn Period
Warring States Period

東周 / 东周

戰國 / 战国

Dōng Zhōu



(literally "Spring and Autumns")
"Warring States"





770–256 BC

722–476 BC
475–221 BC



Qin DynastyQínUnknown, Possibly Toponym(list)Yíng (嬴)221–206 BC15
Western Han Dynasty西漢 / 西汉Xī HànToponym(list)Liú (劉 / 刘)206 or 202 BC–9 AD, 23-25 AD215
Xin DynastyXīn"New"(list)Wáng (王)9–23 AD14
Eastern Han Dynasty東漢 / 东汉Dōng HànToponym(list)Liú (劉 / 刘)25–220195
Three Kingdoms三國 / 三国Sān GuóAs English(list)Cáo (曹)
Liú (劉 / 刘)
Sūn (孫 / 孙)
220–265 or 28045
Western Jin Dynasty西晉 / 西晋Xī JìnDucal title(list)Sīmǎ (司馬 / 司马)265–31752
Eastern Jin Dynasty東晉 / 东晋Dōng JìnDucal title(list)Sīmǎ (司馬 / 司马)317–420103
Southern and Northern Dynasties南北朝Nán Běi CháoAs English(list)various386 or 420–589169
Sui DynastySuíDucal title
(随 homophone)
(list)Yáng (楊 / 杨)581–61837
Tang DynastyTángDucal title(list) (李)618–907289
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms五代十國 / 五代十国Wǔ Dài Shí GuóAs English(list)various907–96053
Northern Song Dynasty北宋Běi SòngToponym(list)Zhào (趙 / 赵)960–1127167
Southern Song Dynasty南宋Nán SòngToponym(list)Zhào (趙 / 赵)1127–1279152
Liao Dynasty遼 / 辽Liáo"Vast" or "Iron"
(Khitan homophone)
(list)Yelü (Ei.ra.u.ud.svg; 耶律)907 or 916–1125209
Jin DynastyJīn"Gold"(list)Wanggiyan
(Wo-on gia-an.png; 完顏 / 完颜)
Western Xia西夏Xī XiàToponym(list)Lie (Tangut Lie.png; 李)1038–1227189
Yuan DynastyYuán"Great" or "Primacy"(list)Borjigin
(ᠪᠣᠷᠵᠢᠭᠢᠨ; 孛兒只斤 / 孛儿只斤)
Ming DynastyMíng"Bright"(list)Zhū (朱)1368–1644 or 1662276
Qing DynastyQīng"Pure" or "Gold"
(Manchu homophone)
(list)Aisin Gioro
(ᠠᡳᠰᡳᠨ ᡤᡳᠣᡵᠣ; 愛新覺羅 / 爱新觉罗)
1636 or 1644–1911268
Timeline graph

See also


  1. ^ Hucker, Charles (1995). China's Imperial Past: An Introduction to Chinese History and Culture. Stanford University Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780804723534.