Timeline of Chinese history

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History of China
History of China
3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors
Xia Dynasty 2100–1600 BCE
Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE
Zhou Dynasty 1045–256 BCE
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn period
   Warring States period
Qin Dynasty 221 BCE–206 BCE
Han Dynasty 206 BCE–220 CE
  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)


The following is a timeline of the history of China. Between the changing of the dynasties, most dates overlap as ruling periods do not transfer immediately. Even in the simplest case the last year of one dynasty is the first year of the next dynasty, which amounts to counting that year twice, in terms of the arithmetic process used in the Gregorian calendar. The overlap could grow to many years in the case of dynasties in which the actual founder's father was posthumously declared as the official founder and the official founding date altered accordingly, despite the concurrent existence of the previous dynasty; for example, Wen of Zhou and Cao Cao. Dates prior to 841 BC (beginning of the Gonghe regency) are provisional and subject to dispute.


Prehistoric China

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
400,000 BCPeking Man of Zhoukoudian (est.)
19-20,000 BCFirst evidence of creation and use of pottery found in Xianren Cave in Jiangxi province. [1]
7600 BCZhenpiyan cultureArchaeological evidence on domestication of pigs for the first time.[2]
7500 BCPengtoushan cultureAnalysis of Chinese rice residues show that rice had been domesticated by this time.
7000 BCPeiligang culture
6600 BCJiahu script: still under debate whether this can be considered as a form of writing
6000 BCCishan cultureArchaeological evidence on domestication of dogs and chickens for the first time.[2]
5000 BCBaijia cultureArchaeological evidence on domestication of oxen and sheep for the first time.[2]
4500 BCApproximate end of Hemudu culture.
4000 BCBanpo script; scholars still debate if it is actual writing or not.
3630 BCApproximate date of the oldest discovered silk in China, found by archaeologists in what is now Henan province in what was the late Yangshao period.
3000 BCLongshan cultureDuring the Longshan Neolithic period, the buffaloes are domesticated for the first time in China, and the plow may have been used.
2570 BCApproximate date for the silk and other items found at the Liangzhu culture site at Qianshanyang in Wuxing District, Zhejiang; silk items found there included a braided silk belt, silk threads, and woven silk.

Ancient China

DateRulerEventsOther people/events
2852 BCFuxiThis period is part of Chinese mythology
2737 BCYan Emperor
2698 BCYellow EmperorThe Battle of Banquan, the first battle in Chinese history and the Battle of Zhuolu, the second battle in Chinese history, fought by the Yellow Emperor.
2650 BCLegend of Cangjie, inventor of the Chinese character
2597 BCEmperor Shaohao
2514 BCEmperor Zhuanxu
2436 BCEmperor Ku
2366 BCEmperor Zhi
2358 BCEmperor YaoYao ordered Gun to tame the flooding of the rivers.
2255 BCEmperor ShunGun failed in taming the flood and was executed on Shun's orders.
2205 BCYu the Great conquers the flood (est.)

Xia Dynasty

DateRulerEventsOther people/events
2194 BCKing YuNine Tripod CauldronsBronze Age in China
2146 BCKing Qi
2117 BCKing Tai KangErlitou culture
1831 BCKing FaMount Tai earthquake (est.)
1600 BCKing Jie of XiaBattle of Mingtiao

Nolan Dynasty

DateRulerEventsOther people/events
1675 BCKing Tang of Shang
1400 BCErligang Culture
1398 BCKing Pan GengAround this time, the capital is moved from Zhengzhou to Yinxu.
1250 BCKing Wu Ding
1200 BCOracle bone script, providing the first evidence for the Chinese calendar system.Around this time, the militant consort Fu Hao is buried in her tomb at Yinxu.
1122 BCThe Zhou Dynasty is founded on the periphery of the Shang realm.
1101 BCKing Di Yi
1075 BCKing Zhou
1050 BCJi Chang (posthumously known as King Wen of Zhou) dies, making this the alleged latest date for the creation of the mathematical King Wen sequence.
1047 BCKing Zhou takes Daji as his concubine.
1046 BCBattle of Muye; King Zhou allegedly dies while his palace burns to the ground.

Western Zhou Dynasty

DateRulerEventsOther people/events
1034 BCKing WuBronze script in greater use.
1042 BCKing Cheng
1027 BC
1020 BCKing Kang
1000 BCEarliest possible date for the compilation of the Book of Songs
995 BCKing Zhao
976 BCKing MuDuring the 12th year of King Mu's reign, Zhou forces attacked and defeated some branches of the Rong people, allowing for territorial expansion of Zhou. King Mu's critics, including the Duke of Zhai (as recorded in a later 4th century BC discourse of the Biography of King Mu), stated that Mu's expeditions to displace the Rong people were unjustified, as they kept to their own lands and hence abided by their station in the cosmological-political order with China at the center.
922 BCKing Gong
899 BCKing Yi
891 BCKing Xiao
885 BCKing YiWhen the nomadic Rong people of Taiyuan staged an attack on the Zhou capital at Haojing (present-day Xi'an), King Yi called upon the aid of his nobles, a significant event which demarcated the beginning of the Zhou monarchs' dependence on their regional nobles to defend the kingdom. Under the command of Guo Gong, the Zhou were able to defeat the Rong people in a significant battle c. 854 BCE, reportedly capturing about a thousand horses.
877 BCKing LiDuring Li's reign, the Western Rong people launched an invasion deep into Chinese territory before being pushed out.
841 BCGonghe regencyFirst year of concise, consecutive court dating at the beginning of the regency of Gonghe.
827 BCKing Xuan
781 BCKing You
771 BCAfter King You had replaced Queen Shen with a favored concubine Baosi, the queen's father, the Marquis of Shen, allied with the Quanrong nomadic tribe to sack the capital. Queen Shen's son Ji Yijiu was then put on the throne, initiating the Eastern Zhou era.

Eastern Zhou Dynasty

DateRulerEventsOther people/events
770 BCKing Ping
722 BCSpring and Autumn Period begins, the Lu state begins the chronicle of the Spring and Autumn Annals.Capital moved from Haojing (present-day Xi'an) to Luoyang.
720 BCKing Huan
707 BCKing Huan led a campaign against Duke Zhuang of Zheng after the latter refused to appear in the capital, angered that Huan had dismissed him from his old post as Left Advisor at court. King Huan was allegedly shamed when he was injured in the shoulder by an arrow in an ensuing battle. Duke Zhuang continued to rule the Zheng state until his death in 701 BC.
697 BCKing Zhuang
685 BCDuke Huan of Qi began his reign over the Qi state in this year, and was the first of the Five Hegemons who assumed great autonomy from the Zhou Dynasty monarch, the latter of whom became more or less a figurehead during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty.
682 BCKing Xi
677 BCKing Hui
651 BCKing Xiang
645 BCDeath of Guan Zhong, the chancellor of the Qi state who was appointed by Duke Huan as recommended by Bao Shuya. Guan initiated centralizing administrative and economic reforms that, for a time, made Qi the most successful and developed state in ancient China.
632 BCBattle of Chengpu
618 BCKing Qing
612 BCKing Kuang
606 BCKing DingSunshu Ao, China's first known hydraulic engineer.
595 BCBattle of Bi
585 BCKing Jian
575 BCBattle of Yanling
571 BCKing Ling
551 BCLaozi, Confucius
548 BCOldest known reference to the weiqi (known as go in Japanese) board game.
544 BCKing JingFour occupations (est.)
543 BCGuided by the aristocratic statesman Zi Chan, the Zheng state creates a formal code of law.
520 BCKing Jing
515 BCKing Liao of Wu is assassinated by Zhuan Zhu, allowing King Helü of Wu to ascend to the throne of the Wu state.
506 BCBattle of Boju
500 BCApproximate date for the invention of cast iron in China and the earliest possible date for the invention of the iron plough, which by the 3rd century BC, with better casting techniques, would become the heavy moldboard iron plough.Approximate date for the first use of bronze knife money.
486 BCKing Fuchai of Wu built the Han Canal, a proto-section of the Grand Canal of China
484 BCDeath of Wu Zixu, an official of the Wu state and advisor to King Helü.
482 BCKing Goujian of Yue captures the Wu state capital in a surprise assault while King Fuchai was away at Huangchi.
481 BCEnd of Spring and Autumn Period
475 BCKing Yuan
474 BCThe Wu state is annexed by the Yue state.
470 BCBirth of Mozi
468 BCKing Zhending
465 BCDeath of King Goujian of Yue; his sword was later found in an archaeological site in Hubei in the 1960s.
441 BCKing Ai and King Si
440 BCKing Kao
432 BCTomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng
425 BCKing Weilie
403 BCThe Jin state is partitioned, marking the beginning of the Warring States Period. Meanwhile, Marquis Wen of Wei ascends to power, sponsoring Confucianism in the Wei state, and employing able advisors such as the Legalist Li Kui, the militant officer Wu Qi and the hydraulic engineer Ximen Bao.
401 BCKing An
400 BCAstronomers Gan De and Shi Shen
Star catalogue compilation (est.)
Earliest date for the creation of the earliest known maps made in China, from the Qin state.
389 BCLatest possible date for the Zuo Zhuan historical text.
386 BCThe city of Handan is founded, serving as the capital for the Zhao state.
381 BCWu Qi is assassinated at the funeral of King Diao of Chu; his book, Wuzi, is considered to be one of the Seven Military Classics.
375 BCKing LieThe Zheng state is annexed by the Han state.
370 BCZhuangzi is born around this time.
368 BCKing Xian
354 BCBattle of Guiling
350 BCEarliest proposed date for the Guodian Chu Slips, containing the oldest known version of the Tao Te Ching, parts of the Book of History, and a chapter from the Book of Rites
342 BCBattle of MalingCrossbow used in China.
320 BCKing Shenjing
319 BCMencius becomes an official in the Qi state
316 BCDeath of Sun Bin
314 BCKing Nan
310 BCBirth of Xunzi
307 BCImitating the northern nomadic armies, King Wuling of Zhao reforms the Zhao state's military by adopting formal cavalry ranks over charioteers and importing the trouser-pants style of the nomads for soldiers.
305 BCBirth of Zou Yan, whose school of thought would for the first time systematically combine the two premodern theories of Yin and yang and the Five Elements.
300 BCErya, China's oldest known dictionary
293 BCBattle of Yique
278 BCQu Yuan writes the poem Lament for Ying and commits suicide after the fall of the Chu state's capital, Ying, to the Qin state.
260 BCBattle of Changping
256 BCKing Nan dies. Zhou territory annexed by Qin.Dujiangyan Irrigation System
250 BCThe repeating crossbow is featured in drawings from the records of the Chu state.
246 BCThe Zhengguo Canal is completed by Zheng Guo of the Qin state.

Imperial China

Qin Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
361 BCDuke Xiao
356 BCShang Yang initiates a reform movement in the Qin state, which is outlined in the Book of Lord Shang.
338 BCKing HuiwenShang Yang is executed. The rulers of the Qin state begin adopting the title of "King" instead of "Duke".
316 BCThe states of Shu and Ba are conquered by the Qin state
311 BCKing Wu
306 BCKing Zhaoxiang
293 BCBattle of Yique
255 BCEmergence of the Seven Warring States
250 BCKing Xiaowen
249 BCKing Zhuangxiang
246 BCYing Zheng
(as King of Qin)
Ying Zheng becomes king of Qin
230 BCQin's wars of unification begin. The Han state is conquered by the Qin state
227 BCJing Ke fails to assassinate Ying Zheng.
223 BCThe Chu state is conquered by the Qin state
222 BCThe Yan and Zhao states are conquered by the Qin state.
221 BCFirst Emperor of Qin
The Qin state unifies China under the Qin Dynasty with a powerful central government, marking the end of the Warring States Period. Ying Zheng proclaims himself "Qin Shi Huang" (means "First Emperor of Qin").Imperial Seal of China
220 BCConstruction of the Great Wall of China beginsChancellor Li Si standardizes the writing system with Small Seal Script characters.
214 BCThe Lingqu Canal is engineered by Shi Lu, and is the oldest contour canal (i.e. follows a contour line) in the world
213 BCStart of the Burning of books and burying of scholars policy
210 BCBurial of the Terracotta Army, featuring over 8,000 terracotta statues and the earliest known umbrellas in China.
209 BCSecond Emperor of QinChieftain Modu Chanyu establishes the Xiongnu empire on the northern steppe.Military officers Chen Sheng and Wu Guang rebel against the Qin Dynasty after fear of execution for delay of arriving at a post with newly drafted conscripts; their small revolt initiates a gradual but massive and uncoordinated revolt on several fronts against Qin authority.
208 BCThe chief eunuch Zhao Gao has the chancellor Li Si executed, destabilizing Qin as the rebellions of Xiang Yu and others become widespread.The Qin army led by Zhang Han defeats Chen Sheng and Wu Guang's rebel force.
207 BCZiyingBattle of Julu. Liu Bang's rebel force enters Guanzhong, the heartland of Qin. The last Qin ruler, Ziying, kills Zhao Gao and surrenders to Liu Bang.The Nanyue state is established in present-day Vietnam by the Qin general Zhao Tuo.
206 BCIn the first month of 206 BC, after Liu Bang occupied the Qin capital of Xianyang, Xiang Yu's rebel force arrives at the city and plunders it, destroying the Epang Palace by fire and killing Ziying and members of the Qin royal family. Although Ziying had already surrendered to Liu Bang in the last month of 207 BC, this event is viewed by historians as the final event of the Qin Dynasty.

Western Han Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
206 BCStart of the Chu-Han contention, a civil war between the forces of Liu Bang and Xiang Yu after the fall of Qin.Feast at Hong Gate
205 BCBattle of Jingxing
202 BCEmperor GaozuBattle of Gaixia
200 BCBattle of BaidengSometime in the 2nd century BC, the multi-tube seed drill is invented and increases agricultural yields as seeds are carefully planted in rows instead of being cast out onto the crop field.
193 BCDeath of Xiao He, the first chancellor of the Han Dynasty
195 BC
190 BCEmperor HuiChang'an becomes the eastern terminus of the Silk Road connecting to Europe
189 BCDeath of Zhang Liang, a key advisor to Emperor Gaozu.
180 BCEmperor WenRule of Wen and JingLü Clan Disturbance
168 BCMawangdui Silk Texts are interred at the tombs of Mawangdui, containing some of the oldest known textual versions of the I Ching.
157 BCEmperor Jing
141 BCEmperor Wu
140 BCPersuaded by Dong Zhongshu's essay in a literary competition, Emperor Wu, or his chancellor Wei Wan, adopts Confucianism at court.
139 BCUnder the patronage of Prince Liu An, the scholars known as the Eight Immortals of Huainan publish the Huainanzi, a philosophical text that also covered subjects of military strategy as well as geography and cartography.
133 BCHan–Xiongnu WarBattle of Mayi
130 BCSino-Roman relations
125 BCZhang Qian returns to China to report on his travels and the kingdoms of Dayuan (Fergana), Kangju (Sogdiana), Daxia (Greco-Bactrian Kingdom), Shendu (Indo-Greek Kingdom), Anxi (Parthia), and Taozhi (Mesopotamia).
119 BCBattle of Mobei
108 BCBattle of LoulanWiman Joseon in Korea falls to Han forces.
102 BCEmperor Wu's forces besiege Kokand in the Fergana Valley
100 BCSteel in China.
94 BCEmperor Zhao
91 BCSima Qian completes the Records of the Grand Historian, a groundbreaking work in Chinese historiography.
86 BCDeath of Jin Midi, an official of Xiongnu ethnicity who became a regent of the Han Dynasty during the early reign of Emperor Zhao.
74 BCEmperor Xuan
67 BCBattle of Jushi
60 BCProtectorate of the Western Regions is established.
48 BCEmperor YuanConsort Ban, a female poet, is born around this time.
40 BCThe Ji Jiu Pian dictionary records China's first known use of the treadle-operated tilt hammer, while the later book Xinlun by Huan Tan described the first hydraulic-powered trip hammer which would have been operated by a waterwheel.
37 BCDeath of Jing Fang, who was the first in music theory to note that 53 perfect fifths approximates 31 octaves. Like the later Zhang Heng, he was also a proponent of the radiating influence theory, which stated that the light of the moon was merely the reflected light of the sun.
36 BCBattle of Zhizhi
30 BCFirst mention of the wheelbarrow in history.
18 BCBiographies of Exemplary Women, a book about exemplary women in Chinese history, is compiled by the scholar Liu Xiang.
32 BCEmperor Cheng
6 BCEmperor Ai
1 BCEmperor Ping
1Sometime from this year until the end of the century, the earliest representation of a stern-mounted rudder for steering ships is made in China, on a tomb model of a sailing junk.
2Han government census counts 59 million people in the empire.
3Emperor Ping establishes a nationwide school system on the central, prefectural, and county levels.
6Emperor Ruzi
8Liu Xin completes his star catalogue of 1080 stars, as well as fixing the year at 365.25016 days long (11 minutes longer than the modern year) by calculating the synodic month to be 29 43/81 days long, with a total of 235 synodic months adding up to 19 years. He is also the first Chinese to attempt a more accurate calculation of pi at 3.154, as the Chinese before him simply approximated it to 3. Zhang Heng and Liu Hui would later improve upon Liu's calculation in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, respectively.

Xin Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
9Wang MangEmperor Ruzi is dethroned; Wang Mang initiates the short-lived Xin DynastyWang Mang introduces the well-field system of land distribution and agricultural production.
10Wang Mang introduces an income tax of 10% for professionals and skilled laborers.Wang Mang outlaws the private use of crossbows. Despite this, Liu Xiu (later Emperor Guangwu of Han) purchases them on the black market to aid the rebellion of his brother Liu Yan and rebel leader Li Tong in early winter of 22.
12With pressure from aristocrats, Wang is forced to rescind the well-field system.
17Wang Mang imposes government monopolies on liquor, salt, iron, coinage, forestry, and fishing.Mother Lü initiates rebellion against a county magistrate in Shandong province.
18Death of Yang Xiong, a poet, Taoist and author who wrote the first dialect dictionary of China, the Fangyan.
23Battle of KunyangStorming of Weiyang Palace, Wang Mang is killed, Emperor Gengshi restores the Han Dynasty.

Eastern Han Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
23Emperor Gengshi
25Emperor Guangwu
27Chimei rebels surrender to Han authority after defeat
31Prefect Du Shi invents waterwheel-powered bellows for the blast furnace in making cast iron.
33Rebellion of Gongsun Shu; Gongsun blockades the width of the Yangtze River with a fortified floating pontoon bridge, but his defenses give in once Han general Cen Peng employs "castle ships" to ram and attack Gongsun's rebel navy
43Second Chinese domination of Vietnam
52The first known gazetteer of China, the Yuejue Shu, is written.
57Sino-Japanese relations
58Death of chancellor Deng Yu.
65Liu Ying, son of Emperor Guangwu, sponsors Buddhism.
68White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China, is founded.
73Battle of Yiwulu
83Wang Chong correctly theorizes the nature of the water cycle; he is also the first in Chinese history to mention the use of the chain pump.
87Yuan An, an advocate of marriage alliance policies with the Xiongnu, is promoted to the position of Minister over the Masses.
88Emperor He
89Battle of Ikh Bayan
97Ban Chao sends envoy Gan Ying to the outskirts of the Roman Empire.
100The Shuowen Jiezi dictionary is completed by Xu Shen.
105Cai Lun invents papermakingGoguryeo—Han War
106Emperor Shang
111Ban Zhao completes the Book of Han, which was begun by her father Ban Biao and continued by her older brother Ban Gu.
120Zhang Heng completes his star catalogue, documenting 2,500 stars in over 100 constellations, writes a new formula for pi, corrected mistakes in the Chinese calendar, gave reasoning for a spherical moon that reflects light, and noted that lunar eclipse occurred when the earth obstructed the sunlight reaching the moon, while a solar eclipse was the moon's obstruction of sunlight reaching earth.
125Zhang Heng invents the first hydraulic-powered armillary sphere, given motive power by a waterwheel and incorporating an inflow water clock, the latter of which he improved by adding a compensating tank between the reservoir and the inflow vessel.The earliest known Chinese depiction of a mechanical distance-marking odometer is drawn on a mural of the Xiaotangshan Tomb.
132Zhang Heng invents a seismometer device that, with a pendulum and complex set of gears and cranks, is able to discern the cardinal direction of earthquakes by the dropping of bronze balls into wrought toad's mouths indicating the direction.Birth of Cai Yong, a mathematician, astronomer, musician and calligrapher.
142Emperor ShunThe Kinship of the Three
147Birth of Lokaksema, a Yuezhi monk from Kushan who translated Mahayana Buddhist texts into Chinese.
148An Shigao, a Persian prince from Parthia, arrives in China in this year to translate Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist texts into Chinese.
166Roman embassy reaches China.Disasters of Partisan Prohibitions
168Emperor Ling
177Birth of Cai Wenji, a female poet and music composer.
179Earliest known reference to The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art
180Ding Huan invents the manual-powered rotary fan, which is recorded in the Book of the Later Han as being able to make halls cool enough for people to shiver during the summer. During the Tang Dynasty, hydraulics were applied to power the rotary fan first innovated by Ding.
184Yellow Turban RebellionLiang Province Rebellion
185Zhi Yao, a Yuezhi monk from Kushan, translates Buddhist texts into Chinese.
189Emperor ShaoDong Zhuo deposes Emperor Shao (demoted to the status of Prince of Hongnong)Massacre of eunuchs
190Emperor XianCampaign against Dong ZhuoBattle of Xingyang
191Battle of JieqiaoBattle of Yangcheng, Battle of Xiangyang
192Lü Bu murders Dong Zhuo in an assassination plot masterminded by minister Wang Yun.
192Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Liu Bei fights against Lu Bu.
193Battle of Fengqiu
194Sun Ce's conquests in JiangdongBattle of Yan Province
197Battle of Wancheng
198Battle of XiapiBattle of Yijing
199Campaign against Yuan Shu
200Battle of Guandu
202Battle of Bowang
204Gongsun Kang, a Chinese warlord of Liaodong, establishes the Daifang Commandery in northern Korea.
208Battle of Red Cliffs - - Cao Cao loses war with 840,000 troops against Liu Bei and Sun Quan's 50,000. Zhuge Liang, Zhou Yu, and Pang Tong came up with the interlock of strategies, which included the Ruse of Pain strategy and many others. Zhuge Liang uses fire the third time after predicting the unusual direction of the wind blow (which at that time during the winter the wind usually blew from west to east, but he predicted that for three days the wind will blow the opposite direction) and burned down Cao's ships with most of his troops in itBattle of Changban Zhuge Liang uses fire first time, Battle of Xiakou Zhuge Liang uses fire second time, Battle of Yiling, Battle of Jiangling
211Battle of Tong Pass
213Siege of JichengBattle of Lucheng
214Liu Bei's takeover of Yi ProvinceBattle of Jiameng Pass
215Battle of YangpingBattle of Baxi
217Battle of Xiaoyao FordBattle of Ruxukou
218Battle of Mount Dingjun
219Lü Meng's invasion of Jing ProvinceBattle of Han River, Battle of Fancheng
220Cao Pi forces Emperor Xian to abdicate and proclaims himself Emperor of Cao Wei

Three Kingdoms

(Cao Wei)
(Shu Han)
(Eastern Wu)
EventsOther people/events
221Cao PiLiu BeiBattle of Xiaoting
222Sun QuanBattle of Yiling
225Liu ShanZhuge Liang's Southern Campaign
227Cao RuiBattle of Xincheng
228Zhuge Liang's Northern ExpeditionsBattle of Tianshui, Battle of Jieting, Battle of Shiting, Siege of Chencang
232Death of Cao Zhi, a famous poet, author of the Seven Paces Poem (Written While Taking Seven Paces: "Pods burned to cook peas, Peas weep in the pot:'Grown from the same trees, Why boil us so hot?'" - It was for his brother, who was trying to find an excuse to execute him, his brother lost the bargain of telling him to make a poem in seven steps or be executed for his fraud educations), and son of Cao Cao.
234Battle of Wuzhang Plains
244Cao FangBattle of Xingshi
247Jiang Wei's Northern Expeditions
248The rebellion of Triệu Thị Trinh in Vietnam is crushed by Eastern Wu.
249Incident at Gaoping Tombs
250Introduction of Buddhism in China
255Cao MaoSun LiangMa Jun invents the south-pointing chariot, a mechanical directional pathfinder that acts like a compass in that it always points south. This device may have employed a differential gear system, the same found in modern automobiles.Battle of Didao, Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin start a rebellion in Shouchun
263Cao HuanSun XiuConquest of Shu by WeiLiu Hui publishes the revised version of The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art, with Liu's commentary.
265Sun HaoNine-rank system
280Emperor Wu of JinConquest of Wu by Jin (Si Ma, descendant of Cao's general of the army)

Western Jin Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
265Emperor WuSometime between this year and 271, the Jin Dynasty cartographer and geographer Pei Xiu noted a groundbreaking development in Chinese cartography, as he was the first to describe the grid reference and graduated scale of measurement for Chinese maps; however, it is known that grids and familiarity with scaled distance on maps existing beforehand, while scholars point to evidence that it might have been an original innovation of Zhang Heng.
280Unification of China, Conquest of Wu by JinRecords of the Three Kingdoms by Chen Shou
290Emperor Hui
291War of the Eight Princes
304Sixteen Kingdoms (Han Zhao, Later Zhao, Cheng Han, Former Liang, Later Liang, Northern Liang, Western Liang, Southern Liang, Former Yan, Later Yan, Northern Yan, Southern Yan, Former Qin, Later Qin, Western Qin, Xia)
307Emperor Huai
311Emperor MinEmperor Huai is captured by Han Zhao forces, the capital is moved from Luoyang to Chang'an.
313The state of Goguryeo in Manchuria and Korea conquers the Jin-Chinese Lelang Commandery.
316Chang'an falls, Emperor Min surrenders to Liu Yao, a general of the Xiongnu state Han Zhao. The Eastern Jin Dynasty's capital is established in Jiankang (present-day Nanjing).
318Emperor Min is executed by Liu Cong, emperor of Han Zhao.

Eastern Jin Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
317Emperor YuanSixteen Kingdoms and Six Dynasties
322First accurate tomb depiction of stirrups.
323Emperor Ming
324The sick and ailing rebel Wang Dun dies while his forces are defeated by Emperor Ming's troops.
325Emperor Cheng
328Su Jun, who waged war against the regent Yu Liang, is defeated by generals Tao Kan and Wen Jiao.
342Emperor Kang
344Emperor Mu
353Calligrapher Wang Xizhi writes the Lantingji Xu in semi-cursive script.
361Emperor Ai
365Emperor Fei
366Painter Gu Kaizhi becomes an officer of Jin.
369Jin general Huan Wen is defeated by Murong Chui, a general of the ethnic Xianbei state of Former Yan.
372Emperor Xiaowu
383Battle of Fei River
396Emperor An
399Faxian sails to Sri Lanka and India to recover Buddhist texts.
405Poet Tao Qian goes into retirement for the next 22 years, until his death.
419Emperor Gong
420The regent Liu Yu seizes the throne from Emperor Gong, initiating the Liu Song Dynasty.

Southern and Northern Dynasties

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
404Huiyuan, founder of Pure Land Buddhism, writes the book On Why Monks Do Not Bow Down Before Kings, where he argues that Buddhist clergy should stay out of politics but Buddhist laypeople make good subjects because of belief in karma.
475Bodhidharma arrives in China
477Oldest known painted depiction of a horse collar, on a cave mural of Dunhuang, Northern Wei.
485After the well-field system had fallen out of use, Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei introduces the equal-field system.
496Change of Xianbei names to Han names
501Cui Hong begins compiling the Shiliuguo Chunqiu
523Songyue Pagoda is built, the earliest known fully brick pagoda in China, in departure from the fully timber tradition. It still stands at a height of 40 m (131 ft).
543The Chinese dictionary Yupian is completed by Gu Yewang.
581Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou is forced to step down from the throne by his regent Yang Jian, who assumes power as Emperor Wen of Sui, initiating the Sui Dynasty.

Sui Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
581Emperor Wen
582Compilation begins on the Jingdian Shiwen dictionary.
589Yan Zhitui makes the first reference to toilet paper in history.
598Goguryeo–Sui War begins in what is now North Korea.
600First of the Japanese embassies to China.
601Lu Fayan publishes the rime dictionary Qieyun.
602Third Chinese domination of Vietnam
604Emperor Yang
605Imperial examinations are instituted, beginning a long bureaucratic tradition of scholar-officialdom in China.Zhaozhou Bridge completed.
607Japanese emissary Ono no Imoko arrives in China.
609Grand Canal of China completed.
610Engineers Geng Xun and Yuwen Kai improve the clepsydra clock model when they provided a steelyard balance that allowed seasonal adjusment in the pressure head of the compensating tank and could then control the rate of flow for different lengths of day and night. The earlier Zhang Heng of the Han Dynasty was the first to add the compensating tank between the reservoir and the inflow vessel.Emperor Yang collaborates a huge effort for all the commanderies of China to submit gazetteers describing their local areas and providing maps to the central government, in an effort to maintain control and provide better security.
611Four Gates Pagoda is completed.
612Battle of Salsu
617After capturing Chang'an, the rebel-turned-emperor Li Yuan demotes Emperor Yang to the status of a Taishang Huang (retired emperor).

Tang Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
618Emperor GaozuTransition from Sui to Tang
621Battle of Hulao
624The Yiwen Leiju encyclopedia is completed by Ouyang Xun.
626Emperor TaizongEmperor Taizong's campaign against Eastern TujueIncident at Xuanwu Gate
635First Christian missionaries arrive in China: Nestorian monks from Asia Minor and Persia, building Daqin Pagoda. Alopen, a Persia bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, also writes the Jesus Sutras.Emperor Taizong's campaign against Tuyuhun; also, Book of Liang is published.
636Xumi Pagoda is completed.Compilations of the Book of Chen, Book of Northern Qi, Book of Zhou, and the Book of Sui.
638Emperor Taizong's campaign against Tufan
639Emperor Taizong's campaign against Xueyantuo
640Protectorate General to Pacify the WestEmperor Taizong's campaign against Xiyu states
643Emperor Taizong commissions artist Yan Liben to paint the portraits of 24 different emperors and 18 noted scholars for the Portraits at Lingyan Pavilion.
644Emperor Taizong's campaign against Goguryeo, Tang allies with Korean Silla during the Goguryeo–Tang War
646Great Tang Records on the Western Regions is compiled by Bianji, documenting the travels of Buddhist monk Xuanzang through the Gobi Desert, Kucha, Tashkent, Samarkand, Gandhara, and finally to India where he studied at Nalanda.
647Protectorate General to Pacify the North
648Book of Jin is compiled.
649Emperor GaozongFour Arts of the Chinese Scholar (est.)
650The Records of the Tang Dynasty describes a landmark visit to China by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, one of the sahaba, in 650 C.E. This event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China.
657Emperor Gaozong commissions the compilation of a large materia medica documenting the use of 833 medicinal drugs.
659Compilations for the History of Southern Dynasties and History of Northern Dynasties is completed.
663Battle of Baekgang, Silla-Tang forces defeat Japanese-Baekje navy.
666Two Chinese Buddhist monks, Zhi Yu and Zhi You, craft a mechanical South Pointing Chariot for Japanese Emperor Tenji.
668Protectorate General to Pacify the East
684Wu ZetianQianling Mausoleum is completed.Death of poet Luo Binwang.
699Chinese troops retake the Four Garrisons of Anxi from the Tibetans.
700Approximate date for the creation of the Dunhuang map, an astronomical chart.
704Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is rebuilt.
709Emperor ZhongzongSmall Wild Goose Pagoda is completed.
710Emperor RuizongThe Shitong, a history of Chinese historiography up until the late 8th century, is compiled by Liu Zhiji.Death of Shangguan Wan'er, a female writer, government official, and concubine.
712Emperor XuanzongPear Garden, an Academy of Music that trained acting troupes.
713Kaiyuan newspaper
725Yi Xing invents a water-powered celestial globe featuring an escapement mechanism and striking clock.
729Gautama Siddha completes the compilation of the Treatise on Astrology of the Kaiyuan Era.
740This year marks the death of the painter Wu Daozi and poet Meng Haoran.
744Poets Du Fu and Li Bai meet for the first time.
751Battle of Talas; this battle marks the beginning of the westward transmission of the ancient Chinese papermaking process.
755An Lushan RebellionDeath of the painter Zhang Xuan.
756Emperor SuzongBattle of Yongqiu
758Arab and Persian pirates loot and burn the seaport of Guangzhou, causing Chinese officials to virtually shut down the port for five decades while foreign vessels from the Indian Ocean came mostly to Hanoi in Chinese-controlled Vietnam to trade there instead.
757Battle of Suiyang
760Earliest date for The Classic of Tea by Lu Yu.
761Death of Wang Wei, a painter, musician, poet, scholar and official.
762Emperor DaizongThe Jingxingji is written by Du Huan, which described several major foreign countries including the Abbasid Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire.
763Shi Siming is killed by his son. The An Lushan Rebellion ends.
781Emperor DezongNestorian Stone is composed.
783Death of the famous painter Han Gan.
785Official Jia Dan begins a monumental work of cartography and geography. In it he describes many foreign places, including present-day Japan, Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Arabian Peninsula, the Euphrates River and Baghdad of present-day Iraq, and minaret lighthouses in the Persian Gulf that were later described by Al-Masudi and Al-Muqaddasi.
794Prince Li Gao has the first Chinese paddle-wheel ships made.
798The Army of Divine Strategy, staffed by eunuch officers, reaches 240,000 troops, thanks largely to the revenues of the salt commission.
799The lucrative trade of the salt commission, a government monopoly, accounts for half of the government's incoming revenues by this year.
801Compilation of the Tongdian history and encyclopedia by Du You is complete.
806Emperor XianzongWith a renewed military, Emperor Xianzong begins a series of seven major military campaigns in which he quells all remaining rebelling provinces except for two.
824Emperor JingzongDeath of Han Yu, an essayist and poet who was an early proponent of the Classical Prose Movement, while his works are considered foundations for later Neo-Confucianism. He was also an early polemecist and advocate against Buddhism.
831Emperor WenzongA Uyghur Turk sues the son of a Tang grand general who had failed to repay a debt of 11 million government-issued copper coins. Emperor Wenzong hears the news and is so upset that he not only banishes the general, but also attempts to ban all trade between Chinese and foreigners except for trade in livestock. This ban is unsuccessful and trade with foreigners resumes, especially in maritime affairs overseas.
843Emperor WuzongChang'an, a large fire consumes 4,000 homes, warehouses, and other buildings in the East Market, yet the rest of the city is at a safe distance from the blaze (which is largely quarantined in East Central Chang'an thanks to the large width of roads in Chang'an that produce fire breaks).
845Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution
846Emperor XuānzongDeath of Bai Juyi, a poet who penned over 2,800 poems in his lifetime.
851Arab merchant Suleiman al-Tajir visits Guangzhou seaport and describes Chinese porcelain manufacture, tea consumption, granaries and the Islamic mosque of the city. He notes that the Chinese use toilet paper instead of washing with water.
852Death of Du Mu, a famous poet renowned for his vivid and realistic style.
853Duan Chengshi publishes his Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang.
858An enormous flood along the Grand Canal and on the North China Plain kills tens of thousands of people.
863Emperor YizongDuan Chengshi describes the slave trade, ivory trade, and ambergris trade in Berbera, Somalia, East Africa.
868Woodblock printing of the Diamond Sutra
874Emperor XizongHuang Chao Rebellion
879Huang Chao burns and loots the international seaport at Guangzhou, killing thousands of native Chinese and foreign merchants from all over the Asian continent.
884The Huang Chao Rebellion is crushed by Tang troops.
907Emperor AiZhu Wen overthrows the Tang Dynasty and initiates the Later LiangTen thousand years (est.)

Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period

Date5 Dynasties10 KingdomsEvents
907Later Liang DynastyWu
Southern Han
Former Shu
Later Shu
Southern Tang
Northern Han
917Earliest known description in China of Greek fire.
919Earliest known description of a flamethrower in China.
923Later Tang Dynasty
936Later Jin Dynasty
947Later Han Dynasty
950The earliest known depiction of a fire lance (proto gun) and lobbed grenade.
960Around this time, Gu Hongzhong paints the classic Night Revels of Han Xizai.
951Later Zhou Dynasty
961Huqiu Tower is built.

Liao Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
907Emperor Taizu
926Emperor Taizong
947Emperor Shizong
951Emperor Muzong
969Emperor Jingzong
993Emperor ShengzongThe First Goryeo–Khitan War, marking the beginning of the Goryeo–Khitan Wars
997The Chinese dictionary Longkan Shoujian is compiled by the monk Xingjun.
1005Shanyuan Treaty
1010Second Goryeo–Khitan War
1018Third Goryeo–Khitan WarBattle of Gwiju
1031Emperor Xingzong
1056Emperor DaozongPagoda of Fogong Temple is completed.
1120Emperor TianzuoPagoda of Tianning Temple is completed.
1124Kara-Khitan Khanate
1125Song and Jin conquest of Liao.

Northern Song Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
960Emperor TaizuChenqiao MutinyIn the Wuli Xiaoshi (1630), Fang Yizhi states that Song Taizu was presented with gunpowder-impregnated fire arrows in this year. Hundred Family Surnames (est.)
971Song troops defeat the war elephants of Southern Han.
974Song troops construct and defend a floating pontoon bridge across the Yangtze River in order to secure supply lines while fighting against the Southern Tang forces.
976Emperor TaizongYuelu Academy founded.
977Longhua Pagoda is built.
978Extensive Records of the Taiping Era is completed. It is the first of the Four Great Books of Song.
981Battle of Bach Dang
983Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era is completed.
984Canal pound lock invented by Qiao Weiyo
986Finest Blossoms in the Garden of Literature is completed.
990Famous painter Fan Kuan is born around this time.
1000Emperor ZhenzongSometime between this year and the end of the century, the Chinese discovered how to use bituminous coke instead of charcoal for blast furnaces in casting iron, sparing thousands of acres of prime timberland from deforestation.
1005The Shanyuan Treaty is signed between Liao and Song.
1010After 39 years in the making, the enormous atlas of China commissioned by the emperor and drawn by a team of scholars under Lu Duosun and Song Zhun is completed in 1556 chapters, including maps for individual towns, districts, counties, prefectures, circuits (provinces), and a map of the whole of China.
1011The Guangyun rime dictionary is completed by Chen Pengnian and Qiu Yong.
1013Prime Tortoise of the Record Bureau is completed.
1037Emperor RenzongDing Du publishes the Jiyun rime dictionary.
1041Bi Sheng invents the earliest movable type printing.
1043Fan Zhongyan and Ouyang Xiu introduce the Qingli Reforms, which would soon be rescinded in 1045.
1044Wujing Zongyao, first book with written gunpowder formula; the book also describes the double-piston flamethrower.
1045Lingxiao Pagoda is completed.
1049Iron Pagoda is completed.
1055Liaodi Pagoda is completed.
1060The compilation of the New Book of Tang, edited by Ouyang Xiu, is presented to the emperor.
1063Emperor YingzongPizhi Pagoda is completed.
1068Emperor ShenzongFirst use of the drydock in China
1069Chancellor Wang Anshi introduces the reforms of the New Policies, which included the Baojia system, his policies breed factionalism at court while the later chancellor Sima Guang would lead the conservatives against his party.
1070Su Song publishes the Bencao Tujing, an interdisciplinary pharmaceutical treatise incorporating information on botany, zoology and mineralogy.
1072Guo Xi paints Early Spring.
1075Diplomat Shen Kuo asserts Song's rightful borders by using court archives against the bluff of Emperor Daozong of Liao.Shen Kuo travels to Cizhou, and describes a forging process of cast iron under a cool blast that is considered by historians Needham and Hartwell as a predecessor to the metallurgic Bessemer process.
1076Wang Anshi resigns as chancellor.
1077Su Song is sent on a diplomatic mission to the Liao Dynasty, discovers that the Khitan people calendar is more mathematically accurate than the Song; Emperor Zhezong later sponsors Su Song's clock tower in order to compete with Liao astronomers.
1078According to the research of Robert Hartwell, China was producing on annual average 127,000,000 kg (125,000 t) of cast iron by this year, a sixfold increase since the year 806 during the Tang.
1080Song forces inflict defeats on the Western Xia Dynasty, Shen Kuo takes up defense at Yan'an.
1081An officer disobeys commands and his army is destroyed by the Tanguts; although he successfully defended Yan'an, Shen Kuo is blamed for the fiasco and impeached.Su Song publishes a 200 volume work on Liao-Song relations.
1084Sima Guang completes the compilation of Zizhi Tongjian, a universal history text of 294 volumes with 3 million Chinese characters.The female poet Li Qingzhao is born.
1085Emperor ZhezongThe New Policies Group, a political faction once led by Wang Anshi, is ousted from power as the new Empress dowager and regent overrule the young Emperor Zhezong with the political faction led by Sima Guang.
1088Dream Pool Essays by Shen Kuo, first book to describe the magnetic compass; Shen also postulates theories in early geomorphology and paleoclimatology, describes Bi Sheng's movable type printing, atmospheric refraction, problems of calculus and trigonometry, methods of archaeology, and is the first in China to describe camera obscura (after Ibn al-Haytham) and the concept of true north.
1090First known description of the mechanical belt drive is found in the Book of Sericulture by Qin Guan.
1094Clock tower of Su Song is completed in Kaifeng, featuring an escapement mechanism and chain drive to rotate an armillary sphere and sound an intricate striking clock.
1094Dongpo Academy is established on the island of Hainan, on the same spot where famous poet and official Su Shi was exiled by the New Policies court faction.
1103Emperor HuizongYingzao Fashi architectural treatise is published by Li Jie and is promoted by Huizong's government as a standard manual for construction and building.
1107Death of the painter, calligrapher and poet Mi Fu.
1111Donglin Academy is founded.
1119Zhu Yu publishes his Pingzhou Table Talks, confirming Shen Kuo's description of the magnetic compass by stating its use in seafaring.
1125Song Dynasty forces ally with rebel Jurchens to topple the Khitan Liao Dynasty.
1127Emperor QinzongJingkang Incident, the northern third of China is conquered by the Jurchens under the Jin Dynasty, the capital of Song Dynasty is moved south from Kaifeng to Hangzhou.

Southern Song Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
1132Emperor GaozongChina's first permanent standing navy is established, with Song naval headquarters at Dinghai.A fire destroys some 13,000 homes in the new capital at Hangzhou.
1135Yue Fei defeats the rebels under Yang Yao by first entangling his paddle-wheel ships in rotten logs and other floating debris.
1141The Treaty of Shaoxing is signed between Jin and Song.
1142Yue Fei is accused of alleged treason by the chancellor Qin Hui and put to death on Emperor Gaozong's orders.
1161Battle of Tangdao and Battle of Caishi, Song naval victories over Jin after the latter attempted to conquer southern China.The Yunjing rime dictionary is compiled by Zhang Linzhi.
1162Emperor XiaozongBeisi Pagoda is completed.
1165Liuhe Pagoda is completed
1179White Deer Grotto Academy is rebuilt by Zhu Xi.
1215Emperor NingzongBattle of Zhongdu
1241Emperor LizongEmperor Lizong sponsors Zhu Xi's Four Books and Neo-Confucianism.
1247Qin Jiushao writes his Mathematical Treatise in Nine Sections, which included use of the Horner scheme hundreds of years before it was discovered independently by William George Horner.
1259Möngke Khan dies in Chongqing during the Battle of Fishing Town.
1260Ariq Böke threatens civil war, forcing Kublai Khan to retreat north as Song chancellor Jia Sidao pushes Mongol troops north of the Yangtze River in an opportune assault.
1261Emperor DuzongAlthough written of around 1100, Yang Hui draws the first known Chinese diagram of the Pascal's triangle.From this year until the conquest of Song, Kublai Khan attempts to gain southern Chinese acceptance in benevolent displays of releasing large bands of Southern Song merchants after short periods of capture and detainment at the border.
1265The Mongols, under Kublai Khan's leadership, invade Sichuan and capture 146 Song naval ships as war booty.
1267Battle of Xiangyang begins
1269In this year, and every consecutive year until 1272, the Song navy attempts to break the enormous Mongol and Northern Chinese naval blockade on the Han River. All attempts are unsuccessful, as thousands of men and hundreds of ships are lost in the process.
1271Voyage of Marco Polo begins
1273Battle of Xiangyang concludes with Yuan victory.
1275Turkish general Bayan defeats Song chancellor Jia Sidao's army of 130,000 troops; Jia is impeached from court and killed by one of his own guards.
1276Emperor DuanzongUnlike his contemporary and fellow painter Zhao Mengfu, the scholar-official Qian Xuan declines the offer to serve the Yuan government and spends the rest of his life creating works of art.
1278Scholar-general Wen Tianxiang leads Song forces to resist the Mongol invaders. Wen is captured and refuses to surrender to the Yuan government. He spends four years in prison before being executed on Kublai Khan's orders in 1283.
1279Emperor BingBattle of Yamen; the Yuan general Zhang Hongfan crushes the last resistance of Southern Song.

Western Xia

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
1038Emperor Jingzong
1048Emperor Yizong
1067Emperor Huizong
1086Emperor Chongzong
1139Emperor Renzong
1193Emperor Huanzong
1206Emperor Xiangzong
1211Emperor Shenzong
1223Emperor Xianzong
1226Emperor Mozhu
1227Genghis Khan dies during the siege on the final Western Xia stronghold. His successor, Ögedei Khan, conquers Western Xia and resumes the war against the Jurchen Jin Dynasty.

Jin Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
1115Emperor TaizuWanyan Aguda (Emperor Taizu) leads the Jurchens to attack the Liao Dynasty.
1127Emperor TaizongJingkang Incident
1153Emperor HailingwangThe Jin capital is moved from Huining Fu to Zhongdu (present-day Beijing)
1157The capital is moved again, this time from Beijing to Kaifeng.
1161Emperor ShizongHailingwang attempts to invade and conquer the Southern Song Dynasty, but their naval forces are destroyed at the Battle of Tangdao and Battle of Caishi
1164The Treaty of Longxing between Song and Jin ushers in four decades of peace.
1189Chengling Pagoda is built.
1211Emperor WeishaowangThe Mongol leader Genghis Khan launches a military campaign against the Jin Dynasty.
1214Emperor XuanzongIn the terms of a treaty with Genghis Khan, the Jin Dynasty becomes a vassal state of the expanding Mongol Empire.
1215When the Jin court moves their capital from Beijing to Kaifeng once more, Genghis Khan sees this as open revolt and sacks the former capital Beijing, burning the city to the ground.
1216The Song Dynasty attacks Jin from the south and again in 1223 while the Jin empire was collapsing.
1227Emperor AizongGenghis Khan died during the siege of the final Western Xia stronghold in 1227. His successor, Ögedei Khan, resumes the war against Jin in the same year.
1233The Jin capital at Kaifeng is captured by Ögedei Khan's forces.
1234Emperor ModiEmperor Modi is killed by Mongol forces in present-day Runan County of Henan.

Yuan Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
1260Kublai Khan makes the Tibetan lama Drogön Chögyal Phagpa State Preceptor and grants him power over Tibet, his Sakya regime lasted until its overthrow in the 1350s by the Phagmodru myriarchy.
1270Sambyeolcho Rebellion in Korea against Mongol-dominated Goryeo.
1271Emperor Shizu
(Kublai Khan)
Kublai Khan founds the Yuan Dynasty.
1273Battle of Xiangyang
1274Mongol invasions of Japan
1276Gaocheng Astronomical Observatory is built.
1279Battle of Yamen
1287Rabban Bar Sauma, a Nestorian Uyghur Turk from Beijing, travels to Europe in this year and hosted by Andronikos II Palaiologos of the Byzantine Empire, Philip IV of France, and Edward I of England in hopes of forming an alliance to seize Jerusalem, then under the Muslim Mamluk Bahri dynasty.Battle of Pagan, end of Pagan Kingdom
1288Battle of Bạch Đằng
1289Franciscan friars begin mission work in China
1298Emperor ChengzongWang Zhen improves the movable type printing of Bi Sheng by introducing the first successful wooden type characters; he also experiments with tin metal type characters.
1316Emperor RenzongGuo Shoujing dies; among his life achievements were fixing the calendar year at 365.2425 (same as the Gregorian Calendar), building upon Shen Kuo's mathematical work on trigonometry by introducing spherical trigonometry, and engineered an artificial Kunming Lake in Beijing.
1324Emperor TaidingThe rime dictionary Zhongyuan Yinyun is published by Zhou Deqing.
1330Emperor WenzongPagoda of Bailin Temple is completed
1334Emperor HuizongWang Dayuan ventures to North Africa.
1352Zhu Yuanzhang joins the Red Turban Rebellion
1356Zhu Yuanzhang's rebel force captures Nanjing.
1363Battle of Lake Poyang, one of the largest naval battles in world history in terms of personnel.
1368Rebel general Xu Da defeats Yuan forces, while Emperor Huizong flees from Dadu (present-day Beijing). Zhu Yuanzhang establishes the Ming Dynasty and becomes the Hongwu Emperor.

Ming Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
1368Hongwu EmperorZhu Yuanzhang overthrows the Yuan Dynasty and founds the Ming Dynasty. He adopts the reign title of "Hongwu".
1371Haijin (maritime trade ban)
1373Emperor Hongwu bans the Imperial examinations in favor of a recommendation system.The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees is rebuilt.
1375Latest possible date for the writing of the Huolongjing treatise on gunpowder weapons, as its co-editor Liu Ji dies on May 16.
1380Hongwu abolishes the Chancellery of China, taking over direct responsibility of the Three Departments and Six Ministries, although the later Grand Secretariat would aid the emperor in managing the state.
1381The Ming Dynasty annexes land from the Kingdom of Dali, in present-day Yunnan and Guizhou, spurring a Chinese migration of hundreds of thousands.
1382The Jinyi Wei, a secret police organization, is established.
1384Imperial examinations are reinstated by Hongwu, but he had the chief examiner executed on charges of corruption.
1397The Ming Code of Law is completed, yet drawing much of its clauses from the earlier Tang Code of 653.
1402Yongle EmperorYongle takes the throne after a three-year long civil war with his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor.
1405The overseas voyages of admiral Zheng He begin, sailing around Southeast Asia, throughout the Indian Ocean, and as far as East Africa to reestablish tributary relations of foreign countries with China.Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is completed.
1406Construction of the Forbidden City begins, as well as new Beijing city fortifications
1407Fourth Chinese domination of Vietnam, although Chinese troops were pushed out two decades later by Lê Lợi of the Lê Dynasty.Deshin Shekpa, the fifth Karmapa of Tibet, visits the court of Yongle.
1408The massive Yongle Encyclopedia is completed.
1415Restoration work on the Grand Canal is completed.
1420After 13 years of a massive construction project for a new capital and Forbidden City, the Yongle Emperor declares Beijing the new capital, while Nanjing is demoted.Ming Dynasty Tombs are built.
1427Xuande EmperorFamous painter Shen Zhou is born.
1431The Lê Dynasty of Vietnam is recognized by the Ming court as a tribute state.
1443Zhengtong EmperorThe Zhihua Temple is built.
1446The Precious Belt Bridge is rebuilt.
1449Jingtai EmperorTumu Crisis; the Zhengtong Emperor is captured by the Mongols after losing the battle and is released a year later
1457Tianshun EmperorZhu Qizhen (former Zhengtong Emperor) seizes power from the Jingtai Emperor in a palace coup and begins his second reign as the "Tianshun Emperor".
1461Rebellion of Cao Qin
1464Chenghua EmperorThe Miao people and Yao people of Guangxi rebel against Ming authority; a combined Ming force of 190,000 (including 1,000 Mongols) crushes the rebellion within two years.
1473Zhenjue Temple is completed.
1488Hongzhi EmperorThe Korean official Choe Bu shipwrecks along Zhejiang coast of China. Travels the entire length of the Grand Canal to repatriate back to Joseon Korea. He later wrote a famous book on his travels, which was printed in both Korea and Japan in the latter half of the 16th century.
1516Zhengde EmperorFirst Portuguese contact by Jorge Álvares in Macau, followed up by Rafael Perestrello in Guangzhou.
1517Fernão Pires de Andrade and Tomé Pires are sent as ambassadors to China by Manuel I of Portugal; they land at Guangzhou.
1521Jiajing EmperorEvents, such as the Portuguese conquest of Malacca, lead to the rejection of the Portuguese embassy and the new Jiajing Emperor calling upon the Portuguese to return power of Malacca to the loyal Ming vassal Mahmud Shah; Chinese and Portuguese ships fight at Tuen Mun, but relations are eventually smoothed out later by Leonel de Sousa and others determined to repair the reputation that the Portuguese initially won in China.
1529Death of philosopher Wang Yangming
1530Around this time, mechanical engineer Zhou Shuxue improves Zhan Xiyuan's 14th century sand-driven mechanical clock by adding a fourth large gear wheel, revising gear teeth ratios, and widening the orifice which collected sand in Zhan's clock, since Zhou complained that the device clogged up too often. Although lacking the essential escapement mechanism of earlier Chinese clocks, this sand-driven clock of Zhan and Zhou featured a stationary dial face over which a pointer circulated by mechanical timing.
1549Portuguese ships make continuous annual trade stops to Shangchuan Island from now on.
1550Altan Khan breaches the Great Wall, besieges Beijing, and burns down its suburbs after looting it.
1553Outer City of Beijing to the south is completed, which brought the overall size of the city to 4 by 4½ miles.
1556Shaanxi Earthquake. 850,000 casualties
1557The Portuguese establish permanent settlement in Macau.
1558Ming forces led by Qi Jiguang defeat Japanese pirates at Cengang.
1567Longqing EmperorHaijin laws are formally repealed; government allows private foreign maritime trade, although the state had conducted all foreign trade during the ban.
1573Wanli EmperorAfter the Spanish establish a permanent base at Manila in the Philippines, their American-mined silver trade with China trumps the Portuguese-Japanese silver trade.
1574Qin Liangyu, a later female military officer of Miao heritage, is born.
1576Pagoda of Cishou Temple is built.
1577Wanshou Temple is built.
1581Grand Secretary Zhang Juzheng implements the Single Whip Reform, allowing the land tax to be paid entirely in silver due to inflated paper currency and widespread counterfeit coinage.
1582Jesuits begin mission work in ChinaFirst reference is made about the publishing of private newspapers in Beijing.
1584Abraham Ortelius, in his atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, is the first known European to feature an illustration of the Chinese invention known as the 'sailing carriage', essentially a wheelbarrow with a ship's mast and a sail.
1587Physician and pharmacologist Li Shizhen publishes the Bencao Gangmu, detailing the use of over 1,800 medicinal drugs.
1590Wu Cheng'en writes Journey to the West.
1592When Japan invades Korea in the Imjin War, Ming China aids Korea with troops and supplies.
1593Siege of Pyongyang
1597Siege of Ulsan
1598Battle of SacheonBattle of Noryang; the theatrical drama The Peony Pavilion, written by playwright Tang Xianzu, is performed at the Pavilion of Prince Teng.
1602From this year until 1682, the Dutch East India Company ships some six million Chinese porcelain items to Europe.
1604Donglin movement
1607The Greek mathematical treatise Euclid's Elements is translated into Chinese by Xu Guangqi, Sabatino de Ursis, and Matteo Ricci.
1609Sancai Tuhui encyclopedia is published.
1610Plum in the Golden Vase is published.
1615The Chinese dictionary Zihui is compiled by Mei Yingzuo.
1616Nurhaci found the Later Jin Dynasty (later renamed to Qing Dynasty) in ManchuriaThe Nanjing Religious Incident begins in this year, when all foreign Jesuits were expelled from the Ming court and the astronomy bureau; this was a temporary triumph of traditionalist Confucian officials who rejected Western science in favor of Chinese science; by 1622 this policy was reversed, and the astronomy burea was once again staffed by European Jesuits and Chinese supportive of Western science.
1619Battle of SarhuChinese philosopher Wang Fuzhi is born.
1624Tianqi EmperorHeadquartered in Jakarta, the Dutch East India Company establishes Dutch rule of Taiwan.
1626Johann Adam Schall von Bell writes the first treatise on the telescope into the Chinese language.Jesuit Nicolas Trigault writes the Xiru Ermu Zi, establishing the first system of Chinese Romanization.
1627Chongzhen EmperorFirst Manchu invasion of Korea; downfall of eunuch Wei Zhongxian, who ruled as a virtual dictator for seven years; Zhang Zilie publishes the Chinese dictionary Zhengzitong.Polish Jesuit Michał Boym first introduces the heliocentric model of the Solar System into Chinese astronomy.
1628Battle of Ningyuan
1632By this time, the Manchus have conquered much of Inner Mongolia.
1634Chongzhen Emperor acquires the telescope of the late Johann Schreck.
1635Liu Tong adds his preface to the Dijing Jingwulue, a Chinese prose classic.
1637Second Manchu invasion of KoreaSong Yingxing publishes the Tiangong Kaiwu encyclopedia; due to his scholarly and encyclopedic achievements, scientist and sinologist Joseph Needham calls him the "Diderot of China".
1638The Beijing Gazette switches its production method from woodblock printing to movable type printing in this year.
1639The Nongzheng Quanshu agricultural treatise of Xu Guangqi is published.Painter Chen Hongshou travels to Beijing and earns instant acclaim by the court.
1641Death of Xu Xiake, whose published travel diary of some 404,000 Chinese characters includes notes on regional geography, climate, and mineralogy.
1642Kaifeng floodWith new additional Han Chinese banners, the full Eight Banners of the Manchu Qing Dynasty are established.
1644Battle of Shanhai Pass; the Chongzhen Emperor hangs himself from the Guilty Chinese Scholartree, after hearing that rebels under Li Zicheng breached the gates of BeijingMing general Wu Sangui and the Manchu prince Dorgon occupy Beijing; soon after, the Shunzhi Emperor is proclaimed ruler of China under the Qing Dynasty.

Shun Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
1644Li Zicheng

Qing Dynasty

DateEmperorEventsOther people/events
1644Shunzhi EmperorThe Qing Dynasty is established in China.
1652The 5th Dalai Lama of Tibet visits the court of Shunzhi in Beijing.
1659Jesuits Martino Martini and Ferdinand Verbiest arrive in China, the former for the second time.
1661On the death of the Shunzhi Emperor, his confidant Johann Adam Schall von Bell is thrown into prison, eventually released, but dies shortly after.
1662Kangxi EmperorThe Siege of Fort Zeelandia ends with the Dutch East India Company's surrender of Taiwan to Koxinga.
1674Revolt of the Three Feudatories
1682Belgian Jesuit Antoine Thomas arrives in China.
1683Battle of Penghu, surrender of the Kingdom of Tungning
1689Treaty of Nerchinsk with Russia
1690Death of Yun Shouping, a painter who was considered one of the "Six Masters" of the Qing era.
1698Lugou Bridge is reconstructed.
1705Papal legate Charles-Thomas Maillard De Tournon arrives in China.
1700Thirteen Factories
1711British East India Company establishes a trading post in GuangzhouThe Peiwen Yunfu rime dictionary is completed.
1716Publication of the Kangxi Dictionary
1720In opposition to the Dzungars, Qing troops conquer and occupy Lhasa in Tibet.
1721In a culmination of the Chinese Rites controversy, the Kangxi Emperor delivers a decree banning Christian preaching in China in response to a papal bull by Pope Clement XI.
1725Yongzheng EmperorThe Gujin Tushu Jicheng encyclopedia is completed.
1732Death of Jiang Tingxi, a painter, calligrapher, and encyclopedist
1750Qianlong EmperorFrench Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot is sent to China.
1755Ten Great CampaignsPuning Temple is built in commemoration of the defeat of the Dzungars.
1760Initiation of the Canton System.
1771Putuo Zongcheng Temple is completed.
1774The Wenjin Chamber is built.
1780Fragrant Hills Pagoda is built.
1782Imperial collection of Four encyclopedia is completed.
1791Dream of the Red Chamber is published.
1793Anglo-Chinese relations and the Macartney Embassy; Lord Macartney, the first British envoy to Beijing, is hosted by Qianlong's confidant Heshen.
1796Jiaqing EmperorWhite Lotus Rebellion
1807Robert Morrison, first Protestant missionary arrives
1820Daoguang Emperor
1823Publication of the Bible in Chinese
1839First Opium War
1842First of the Unequal Treaties,
Treaty of Nanjing
1844Wei Yuan publishes his Illustrated Treatise on the Maritime Kingdoms, a gazetteer inspired by the desire to learn more of the West and the threat it posed to Qing China.Treaty of Wanghia between the Qing Empire and the United States, with the first United States Ambassador to China.
1850Ten Tigers of Canton
1851Xianfeng EmperorTaiping RebellionJintian Uprising
1855Third Pandemic of Bubonic plaguePunti–Hakka Clan Wars
1856Second Opium War
1858Battle of SanheTreaty of Aigun,
Treaty of Tianjin
1860Burning of Old Summer palaceBeijing Convention
1861Following the Convention of Peking, Prince Gong establishes the Zongli Yamen (Foreign Office).
1862Tongzhi EmperorDungan revoltThe Tongwen Guan, or School of Combined Learning, is established to teach Chinese students Western languages.
1864After fighting the Taiping rebels for four years, the Ever Victorious Army is disbanded; it was the first Chinese army that employed a European officer corps and as well as tactics, strategy, and techniques.
1868Yangzhou riotEnd of the Nien Rebellion
1870Tianjin Massacre
1871The famous general Li Hongzhang is appointed to the position of Viceroy of Zhili, an office he would hold until 1895, serving again in the same post from 1900 to 1901, until replaced by Yuan Shikai.
1873End of the Panthay Rebellion
1876Guangxu EmperorAfter the murder of Augustus Raymond Margary in the 'Margary Affair', the Chefoo Convention is held to resolve the issue but turns into an excuse for the British to press for additional concessions.
1884Sino-French War
1885Battle of Fuzhou
1891Founding of Shanghai Sharebrokers Association
1894First Sino-Japanese War

(Battle of Pungdo,
Battle of Seonghwan,
Battle of Pyongyang,
Battle of Yalu River,
Battle of Jiuliancheng,
Battle of Lushunkou,
Battle of Weihaiwei,
Battle of Yingkou)
1895Treaty of Shimonoseki
1898Hundred Days' ReformCoup led by Empress Dowager Cixi
1900Boxer Rebellion
1901Boxer Protocol
1910Xuantong EmperorHuanghuagang Uprising
1911Xinhai RevolutionWuchang Uprising

Modern China

Republic of China

DateHead of StateEventsOther people/events
1912Sun Yat-senXinhai RevolutionFoundation of Kuomintang 
1913Four big families of the Republic of China
1915Yuan ShikaiEmpire of China

New Culture Movement
National Protection War

Japan's Twenty-One Demands

Chen Duxiu starts New Youth
1916(various leaders)Warlord era begins
1919May Fourth MovementTreaty of Versailles
1920Push for written vernacular Chinese 
1921Foundation of Communist Party of ChinaThe True Story of Ah Q
1923Radio Corporation of China
1924First United Front
1926Northern Expedition
1927Nanchang Uprising

Chinese Civil War
Kuomintang-Communist split
1928Zhang ZuolinNanjing decadeJinan Incident
1930Chiang Kai-shekEncirclement Campaign against Northeastern Jiangxi Soviet
1931Chinese Soviet Republic

1931 China floods
Invasion of Manchuria

Mukden Incident
1932Lin SenImperial Japanese colonialism in Manchukuo

Pacification of Manchukuo
January 28 Incident

Defense of Harbin
1934Long MarchNew Life Movement
1935December 9th MovementFirst Encirclement Campaign against Hubei–Henan–Shaanxi Soviet
1936Xi'an IncidentJapan establishes the Mengjiang
1937Second Sino-Japanese War

(Marco Polo Bridge Incident,
Battle of Shanghai,
Battle of Pingxingguan,
Battle of Nanjing,
Battle of Tai'erzhuang,
Battle of Changsha 1939,
Hundred Regiments Offensive,
Battle of Changsha 1941,
Battle of Changsha 1942,
Battle of Changsha 1944)
Nanking Massacre

Second United Front
1938Bombing of Chongqing
1941Yan'an Rectification Movement
1943Cairo Declaration
1944Chiang Kai-shek
1945Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, World War II ends

The Nationalist government become one of the founding members of the United Nations

The Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Northeast China
1947228 Incident 
1948Liaoshen Campaign, Pingjin Campaign and Huaihai Campaign


People's Republic of China (Mainland China)
Republic of China (Taiwan)
Paramount LeaderEventsOther people/eventsPresidentEventsOther people/events
1949Mao Zedong

(Mao Zedong Thought)
Founding of the People's Republic of ChinaLi Tsung-jenKuomintang retreats to Taiwan AreaWhite Terror
1950Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River, Landing Operation on Hainan IslandKorean War

Canidrome massacre
Chiang Kai-shek
1951Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet
1952Three-anti/five-anti campaigns
1953Five Year Plan
1956Hundred Flowers campaign
1957Anti-Rightist MovementAsian Flu
1958Great Leap Forward
1959Great sparrow campaign causes famine

Three Years of Natural Disasters begins
Tibetan uprising
1960Sino-Soviet split
1962Sino-Indian War
1964Destruction of Four Olds

State Council pushed for Simplified Chinese character in the mainland
First PRC atomic bomb detonation, 596 nuclear testTaiwan continues the use of Traditional Chinese characters
1965Project National Glory
1966Cultural Revolution

Three-Self Patriotic Movement

Down to the Countryside Movement
The Little Red BookChinese Cultural Renaissance
1968Deng Pufang handicap incident
1969Zhenbao Island Sino-Soviet border conflictBeijing Subway
1970Long March rocket, first satellite launch
1971Henry Kissinger visits BeijingUN resolution 2758, PRC replace ROC as UN representative
1972Shanghai Communiqué

Richard Nixon visits China
1974Battle of the Paracel Islands
1975Four ModernizationsYen Chia-kan
1976Hua Guofeng

(Two Whatevers)
Tiananmen incident following the death of Zhou Enlai

The Great Tangshan earthquake

Death of Mao Zedong
1977Beijing Spring
1978Deng Xiaoping

(Deng Xiaoping Theory)
Chinese economic reformsDemocracy Wall MovementChiang Ching-kuo
1979One-child policy

Four cardinal principles

Sino-American relations
Border-war with VietnamTaiwan Relations Act passed by United States CongressKaohsiung Incident
1980Special Economic ZonesTrial of
Gang of Four
1984Margaret Thatcher in China, signs Sino-British Joint Declaration
1987Lifting of Martial Law
1988Lee Teng-hui
1989Tiananmen Square protestsPRC declares Martial law on Lhasa, TibetCheng Nan-jung self-immolation
1990Wild Lily student movement
1991First McDonald's restaurant in BeijingDemocratic Progressive Party
Taiwanese Independence
1992Jiang Zemin

(Three Represents)
1992 Consensus
1996Karamay fire incidentThird Taiwan Strait Crisis
1997Hong Kong handover, becomes a Special Administrative RegionDeath of Deng Xiaoping
1998Great Firewall of ChinaBanning of China Democracy Party
1999Macau handover

NATO bombing of embassy
Falun Gong banned by the PRC governmentResolution on Taiwan's Future
2000The PRC passes Japan as the country with which the USA has the largest trade deficitChen Shui-bianDDP ended Kuomintang rule in the 2000 ROC electionFour Noes and One Without
2001Tiananmen Square self-immolation incident

Accession to World Trade Organization
Hainan Island incident
2002Accession to World Trade Organization
2003SARS outbreakShenzhou 5, PRC's first manned space missionSARS outbreak
2004Hu Jintao

(Scientific Development Concept)
Jiang Zemin retires from his post as Chairman of the Central Military Commission3-19 shooting incident
2005Anti-Secession lawJilin Chemical plant explosions

Anti-Japanese history revisionism
Pan-Blue visit
2006Structural work finished in the Three Gorges DamRenaming of "Chiang Kai-shek Airport" to "Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport"
2007Head of SFDA Zheng Xiaoyu executed

Chang'e 1 of Lunar Exploration Program
Chinese slave scandal

Reincarnation application
Renaming "Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall" to "National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall"
20082008 Summer Olympics/2008 Summer Paralympics

Hangzhou Bay Bridge opens

Shenzhou 7 first spacewalk
Early winter storms

Tibetan unrest

Sichuan earthquake

Milk scandal
Ma Ying-jeouCross-strait charter

1025 demonstration

Second Chen-Chiang summit

Wild Strawberry student movement
Lien Chen & Hu Jintao at APEC Peru
2009Urumqi riots

60th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China
Typhoon Morakot
20102010 Yushu earthquake

2010 Shanghai World Expo
2011Protests of Wukan100th Anniversary of the Republic of China


  1. ^ Xiaohong, et al. (2002).
  2. ^ a b c Huang et al. (2002).

See also

By sources

By era

By individual categories


External links