• We returned from our holiday last Wednesday and I just wanted to say a big thank you for organising our tours in Beijing last week.
  • Thank you for making possible an enjoyable trip for us. We learnt about Shanghai’s people, history and culture.
  • I am writing to you to thank you very much for our wonderful trip to Xian. The tour that you organised was fantastic.
China History

China’s History

As a nation, China is incredibly proud of its 5,000 years of history. Whether or not this figure is exact, there is no doubt that Chinese history stretches back several thousand years, encompassing revolutions, the rise of an empire, and the birth of civilization.

Going way back into prehistory, China was inhabited over a million years ago by Homo erectus – the predecessor of modern man. Archaeological digs at Xihoudu in Shanxi Province have unearthed evidence that proves early man was making fire, and the discovery of Peking Man in 1923 near Beijing was one of the most important finds of the 20th century. It was during the Neolithic age starting in 10,000 BCE. that civilization began to grow along the Yellow River.

The first of China’s ancient dynasties was the semi-mythical Xia, which is thought to have begun around 4,200 years ago. Next came the lengthy Shang Dynasty with its 31 rulers, followed by the Zhou era, the Spring and Autumn Period, and the Warring States Period.

The great imperial dynasties that made China into one of the world’s biggest and strongest countries began with the Qin (221 BCE - 206 BCE), during which the Great Wall was begun. The  Early Han (206 BCE - 9 AD) saw the flourishing of Confucian philosophy, while Tang (618 - 907) was a time of great creative and cultural development. It was during the Yuan Dynasty (1279 - 1368) that Beijing became China’s capital. The Great Wall was finally completed during the Ming (1368 – 1644), but imperial power was weakening due to rebellion in-fighting, and pressure from the West. The Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1912) was to be China’s last.

Decades of unrest came to a head in 1911, when revolutionaries brought an end to the Chinese empire. Political visionaries Sun Yat-sen and Yuan Shikai led the nation to independence from the Qing powers, leading to several decades of civil war. After a long struggle between the nationalist Kuomintang party and Mao Zedong’s radical communists, the Communist Party rose to power, creating the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The nationalists fled to Taiwan, which is known as the Republic of China to this day, despite reunification.

During Chairman Mao’s time in power, China underwent many changes to its economy and social structure. Later leaders like Deng Xiaoping pushed for further progress, ushering in economic reforms. This led to a boom in international trade, and China is now on its way to becoming the world’s leading super-power.