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How was mainland of China formed? View evolution of territory from Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties to Qin dynasty from map

There are many names for mainland China, such as "Huaxia", "Inland" and "Handi". From Qin Dynasty to Qing Dynasty, only dynasties occupying this area can be referred to as "China", and main realization of unification of this area can be considered as a single dynasty. How was territory of China formed from unification of Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties to Qin dynasty?

1. From Yanhuang to Xia Dynasty: The Initial Founding of China

About 3000 BC China gradually moved to era of patrilineal clans, and main tribes began to unite in tribal unions in order to expand their territory. In upper reaches of Huang He basin, two leaders of Yandi and Huangdi tribes appeared. Emperor Yan is a representative of an agricultural tribe, they descended from ancient Qiang people in upper Hehuang, and later turned into farmers in Weihe River basin. The Yellow Emperor also came from ancient Qiang people, but they lived mainly on Loess Plateau and were mainly engaged in nomadic agriculture, they were closely related to later Di and Rong. There are large numbers of Yi people in Huaibei and Shandong Peninsula. They used birds as their totems and once created brilliant Dawenkou culture.

Shortly after, Emperor Yang and Emperor Huang joined forces to fight Yi tribe and finally defeated Chi Yu, so Dongyi and Yanhuang began to merge, laying foundation of Chinese nation. However, since cultural level of Yanhuang was not as high as that of Dongyi, after unification of Dongyi culture, Longshan culture instead conquered middle reaches of Yellow River.

The newly emerged Huaxia tribe continued to apply renunciation system, and leaders of Yanhuang and Dongyi took turns acting as military leaders of tribe - king. Soon, Huaxia tribe began to expand to south, and a war broke out in Jianghan region with Miaoman tribe. During war, royal power expanded even further, and a dynasty was about to be born.

About 2000 B.C. e. The first Xia Dynasty was founded in China. The "Xia" in "Huaxia" comes from Xia Dynasty. In fact, Xia Dynasty was formed as a result of unification of Yanhuang and Dongyi tribes. However, because Xia Houqi implemented abdication system, Dongyi tribe was not happy, so two tribes fought again. The leader of Dongyi tribe once won. He Hanyun ascended throne alone after another. However, Shaokang later restored Xia dynasty, allowing Xia dynasty to continue. At end of Xia Dynasty, Xia Dynasty continued to fight against Dongyi, forcing "Nine Barbarians" to surrender and expanding Xia Dynasty's sphere of influence east to East China Sea.

Territory and Sphere of Influence of Xia Dynasty

In beginning, Xia Dynasty was mainly limited to Yiluo River region, mainly located in northern Henan and southern Shanxi. Various ancient Chinese documents describe territory of Xia Dynasty. Wu Qi's Biography Historical Record says: "The residence of Xia Jie, Zuo Heji, You Taihua, Yike is in south, and Yangchang (Mount Taihang Pass) is in north. "Warring States Politics · Wei Ce" writes "Ike is south of it" as "Yi and Luo are south of it". "Guoyu Zhouyu" says "Xiluo was exhausted and Xia died". The Four Years of Zuo Zhuan Dinggong states that Tang Shu was "in Xia Xu, inspired by Xia Zheng, and bordering on Rong Su" and Tang was in southern Shanxi.

The capital of Xia Dynasty was not fixed. There were Yangcheng (Dengfeng, Henan), Anyi (Xia County, Shanxi), Taikang, Zhenxun (Gong County, Henan), Shaokang, Yuan (Jiyuan County, Henan) and other places. It is based on Yiluo River. It is very likely that it is located in Luoyang area. Luoyang has been known as "middle of world" since ancient times, so during Three Dynasties, it was called "China", which means central city, and ancient country refers to capital.

In 1960, archaeologists discovered Erlitou site in Luoyang area and found palace building. It may have been site of Xia Dynasty capital, but no inscriptions have been found, so it cannot be concluded that this is site of Xia capital.

After surrender of "Nine Barbarians", territory of Xia Dynasty retreated east to Shandong region. In history, important feudal states of Xia dynasty also arose at junction of Jiangsu, Shandong and Henan, for example, state of Xu was subordinated to Zhomu, son of Dongyi Boyi, who was located in Huai River region. Shang Jun, son of Shun, chief of Dongyi tribe, lived in Yu State located in Yucheng, Shangqiu, Henan.

Second, Shang and Zhou dynasties: from point to area

About 1522 BC Shang tribe from northeast and Dongyi tribe destroyed Xia dynasty, and Xia Jie fled to Chaohu area. "Warring States Politics Wei Politics" describes scale of Shang Dynasty as "the kingdom of Yin and Zhou, Zuomengmen, Yuzhangfu, Daihe in front, mountains behind", "Historical Records" also said, "Zuomengmen, right Taihang, Changshan is in north, and great river flows in south.” This area is main area of ​​the Shang Dynasty, which is probably located in North China Plain.

The Shang Dynasty had a large sphere of influence. According to archaeological finds, people have discovered ruins of Guzhu kingdom in area from Lulong, Hebei, to Chaoyang, Liaoning. In Guanzhong area, people also discovered cultural relics from Shang Dynasty. The Shang Sun Ying Wu Songbook says, “There used to be Chengtang, since time of Bishi Qiang no one dared to come to enjoy it. , no one dared to come to king, They say that it is a common thing. At that time peopleThe Zhou migrated to Zhongdi area to avoid a sharp clash with Shang Dynasty.

In south, sphere of influence of Shang Dynasty reached Jianghan region. The "New Book of Tang: Five Chapters of Prime Minister's Genealogy" records that "Wu Ding's descendant was entrusted to Quan", this state of Quan is located in Danyang, Hubei Province. Later, cultural monuments and tombs of Shang Dynasty were discovered in Hubei. In north, after conquest of Wuding, sphere of influence of Shang dynasty expanded to north of Shanxi.

The Shang Dynasty waged large-scale wars against surrounding tribes, which led to a rapid increase in number of slaves in country. Among slaves of Shang Dynasty, Qiang people were last. The Shang Dynasty people collectively called Xia and Rongdi people in Qiang west. In later period, Dongyi in east also began to oppose rule of Shang dynasty, so Shang dynasty again fought against Dongyi in east, which provided an opportunity for rise of Zhou dynasty.

It can be seen that rule of Shang Dynasty was ethnically oppressive, so it was eventually attacked by all ethnic groups. However, conquest of Shang Dynasty led to rapid spread of oracle bone inscriptions in Yellow River basin. Even Zhou people later adopted oracle bone inscriptions, so that oracle bone inscriptions gradually became a common language, which is of great importance in history.

The Zhou people claimed to be descendants of Xia people. During rise of Shang Dynasty, Zhou people fled to Zhongdi and gave up farming for a while. Later, when situation stabilized, Zhou people migrated to upper reaches of Weihe River and continued to develop agriculture. Based on names of Zhou people, it can be concluded that they are descendants of Yan and Huang. The Zhou people are a tribe formed as a result of marriage of Ji and Jiang.

Map of Yugong Kyushu (geography of Warring States)

At end of Shang Dynasty, Shang Dynasty was busy conquering Dongyi, so they did not have time to look west to Zhou people, and they tasked Zhou people to gain power, so Zhou people took opportunity to develop in west, annexing many small countries in Guanzhong, Shaanxi and western Henan, its national power gradually surpassed that of Shang Dynasty. Eventually, King Wu of Zhou united various small countries in west to launch a decisive battle against Shang Dynasty, and Shang Dynasty was destroyed in one battle.

After destruction of Shang Dynasty, Western Zhou Dynasty completely inherited territory of Shang Dynasty. To control vast eastern region, Zhou entrusted children and heroes of royal family with east. After suppression of Sanjian Rebellion, Duke of Zhou built Eastern Capital at Luoyang and deployed troops, making Luoyang center of control for East. In middle of Western Zhou dynasty, a large-scale war broke out between Zhou dynasty and countries of Chu and Xu to south.

Map of Western Zhou Dynasty

After long reigns of Shang Dynasty and Western Zhou Dynasty, two main tribes of Yanhuang and Dongyi basically achieved integration, and concept of Huaxia began to emerge. During Western Zhou Dynasty, all feudal vassals called themselves "Xia", collectively referred to as "Zhu Xia". The Xia culture spread in Yellow River basin and Huaxia identity gradually emerged.

Three, Spring and Autumn and Warring States: Huaxia personality laid foundation for great unification

During Western Zhou Dynasty, although Huaxia countries spread throughout Yellow River basin, they were not united into one whole. For example, there are still a large number of Rong and Di people in vicinity of Luoyang, and economically backward Yi people also live on border of state of Qi. The situation changed in spring and autumn.

In 771 BC. The Western Zhou dynasty fell, and world plunged into chaos. During this time, Beidi, Xirong, and Nanman (Chu) continued to invade Huaxia countries. Xing and Wei were captured by Beidi, Zheng and Jin were also invaded by Beidi, and Xirong rampaged in Guanzhong area, threatening Luoyang and Shanrong Then threatened Yan state: "Rong forced Xia, from east of Longshan Mountain, and Yi and Luo, there often Rong ". The state of Chu in south continued to annex "Hanyang Zhuji" and once attacked state of Zheng. The scene at the time was: "Nanyi and Beidi cross each other, and China is like a thread".

Situation during early spring and autumn

Under such conditions, countries of Qi and Jin consistently fought for hegemony under slogan of "respect for king and fight against barbarians", saving Chinese civilization. Subsequently, countries began to annex Rong and Di lands. The State of Qi helped State of Yan to defeat Shan Rong and expand lands of State of Yan; The Qin state defeated Kuan Rong and regained Guanzhong; The eastern part of peninsula was recommended, and Layi was annexed. . After these expansions, Huaxia kingdoms gradually became a single entity.

In south, Chu, Wu and Yue were barbarians at first, but in order to participate in struggle for hegemony in Central Plains, they also began to learn a lot from culture of Zhou Dynasty and system of China, and finally understood Huaxia. For example, State of Chu at first called itself a barbarian, but later became State of China. Thus, Chinese culture spread from Yellow River basin to Yangtze River basin.

In Warring States period, seven heroes of Warring States period had a new discussion. Qin continued to annex Xirong, Yikurun, and Xiqiang and even destroyed Bashu in southwest, Chu annexed Yue lands, Zhao moved north to Hetao Plain, and Yang moved east to Liaodong. Thus, scale of Chinese civilization has expanded even more.

At same time, with advancement of county system, internal integration of countries is being carried out. The Zhongdi barbarians, who lived in different countries in past, gradually adopted Chinese culture, carried out national integration, and became part of Chinese nation. From Spring and Autumn period to Warring States period, main ethnic groups integrated into Huaxia people were Layi, Rongdi, Jingman, Bashu, Wuyue, and so on. The great fusion of nationalities laid foundation for great unification of Qin and Han dynasties later.

In 221 B.C. Qin Shihuang unified six kingdoms. After that, Qin Shi Huang sent troops to conquer Xiongnu in north and conquer Baiyue in south, entering Henan territory and Pearl River basin, so that Jundi and Baiyue peoples were mainly included in territory. However, Qin dynasty did not last long, and these newly united peoples did not yet have new names. However, large-scale immigration of Qin Dynasty to Pearl River Basin hastened integration of Baiyue people into Chinese civilization and set stage for later Han Dynasty to rule South Vietnam.

The territory of Qin Dynasty

Ever since Emperor Qin unified China, area of ​​mainland China has basically been established. From Qin Dynasty to Northern Song Dynasty and even later Ming Dynasty, China's territory was mostly within this range. During his period of power, he could rule western regions from Hexi Corridor and northeast from Liaodong. It can be seen that integration of nationalities during Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods had a profound effect on history.

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