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The history of the Ancient world

The natural conditions of Ancient China. In Southeast Asia, cut off from the world by high mountains, lies the Great plain of China. In ancient times it was covered with dense forests. On the vast expanses of China plain there are two of the greatest rivers of Asia — the Yangtze and the yellow river. The soil along the banks of these rivers are so soft that they can handle even the simplest tools, made of wood or bone. Therefore, agriculture has spread here already in ancient times.

The most fertile land in the yellow river valley. Here there were the most ancient in China human settlements. But this river in the rainy season it often overflows and floods all around. Also it happens that because of the softness of the soil when the spill washes away the banks and changed the channel. The river has washed away human settlements and crops. Not by chance in China the yellow river is called “Wandering river”, “River of a thousand disasters”.

Farming people in China. The main occupation of the population of Ancient China was agriculture. Initially we cultivated the land with the hoe, but eventually it was replaced by the plow. Grew wheat, barley, but the most common crop was rice.For the Chinese it is still the most important staple food. Was cultivated by the Chinese and is another species, unknown in ancient times anywhere else, tea. China has also developed gardening, the breeding of horses, cows, pigs.

Another important occupation of the population was the manufacture of silk — translucent fabric. Was of it, pulling the thinnest of threads from the cocoons of silkworm caterpillars. Silk was not only in China but also outside it. Method of manufacture was kept in strict secret. The possession brought huge profits to the Chinese, and gradually, silk became the most important goods, which were exported from the country. Road that linked China with countries in Asia and Europe, has received the name “Great silk road”.

Locate on a map of the valley of the yellow river and the Yangtze. Why do you think, despite the dangerous nature of the yellow river, the settlement of people in China originated in the valley of this river?

In the VII—VI centuries BC in China learned how to handle iron. This helped boost the economy. With iron axes, people cleared the valley of the yellow river and the Yangtze river from the dense forest and opened them. The appearance of plough with iron ploughshare gave the ability to handle hard soil of the steppe, lying outside the river valleys.

Remember, when people learned how to handle iron. Calculate how much later it was widely spread in China. What do you think this could have implications for the economy of China?

The emergence of the state. The first States in China emerged in the early second Millennium BC In the middle of the first Millennium BC there were already a dozen States. Their rulers fought among themselves. In the end the rulers of the Qin state managed to create a strong army and to subdue opponents. Years of war ended with the unification of the country under the rule of the Qin ruler. In 221 BC, he proclaimed his state the Qin Empire and took the name Qin Shi Huang, which means “first Emperor of Qin”.

Qin Shi Huang imposed harsh laws, levied the population of large taxes. For the slightest offence or disobedience of man could turn into a public servant. Slaves were all his immediate family. Slaves were sent to the most hard work — to dig canals, to build walls.

To avoid uprisings, Qin Shi Huang ordered to relocate nobles of conquered States to his capital, where they are installed constant surveillance. A huge Empire was divided into areas. At the head of each Emperor put the Viceroy — official of high rank. He collected taxes, kept order. Different areas of the Empire were connected by roads. Cared Qin Shi Huang and the construction of irrigation canals and dams. He brought one for the whole Empire measures of weight and length, single money. This has facilitated the occupation of trade and contributed to its prosperity.

The struggle with Northern nomads. Qin Shi Huang had to wage a bitter struggle with the Huns (Xiongnu), who lived North of China. They were warlike nomadic tribes, who plundered Chinese cities, uvodivshey in the slavery of people. The Emperor assembled a great army and defeated the troops of nomads. He managed to push the boundaries of the Empire further North.

To protect the new frontier, Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of powerful fortifications. For 10 years the hands of two million people was built the Great wall of China — a colossal structure of brick and granite blocks. Its height reached 10 meters and the width was such that the top on it could drive the chariot. The length of the wall was almost 4 thousand kilometers, and all along its length, every few hundred meters, stood a powerful guard towers. But the Emperor was not enough troops for the defense of the country, and the Northern nomads continued their predatory raids.

The Han Empire. The invasion of the Huns and the construction of the great wall of China undermined the strength of the state. The Treasury of the Empire was exhausted, the construction has killed tens of thousands of people. In the country Mature discontent. When in 210 BC, Qin Shi Huang died, the country’s unrest began. The Qin Empire survived its founder by only a year and collapsed after a popular uprising. The rebels have abolished all the laws of Qin and freed tens of thousands of public servants.

In one of the areas of the Empire — Han at the head of a detachment of rebels had a simple village elder Liu Bang. After the victory he became the ruler of this area. Gradually Liu Bang conquered all of China. Thus arose a new state of the Han Empire, which lasted until the IV century ad

To summarize

At the beginning of the II Millennium BC in China appeared the first state. In 221 BC, the Qin emerged the Empire, and after the fall of the Han Empire.

Beginning of the II Millennium BC the emergence of the state in China.

221 BCE Unification of China under the rule of Qin Shi Huang and the formation of the Qin Empire.