2205-1766 BCE: China - The Hsia Dynasty unfolds during this period, however, no archeological evidence to date has confirmed this.

1766 BCE: China - The Shang Dynasty, according to tradition, the second dynasty in ancient China, begins. It florishes on the banks of the Yellow River around 1400 and ends around 1027. The Shang Dynasty is known for its use of bronze containers, oracle bones, and human sacrifice, a practice that ends shortly after the collapse of the dynasty.

1384 BCE: China - P'an Keng founds the city of Anyang. By this time, a mature culture including both writing and art has developed.

1027 BCE: China - The last Shang ruler, Chou Hsin, is conquered by Wu-wang, and the Chou Dynasty begins. Ending in 221 BCE, it lasts longer than any other dynasty in China. It is typically divided into three periods: the Western Chou period (1027- 771), the Ch'un Ch'iu period (722-481), and the Warring States period (481-221).

771 BCE: China - The Chou Dynasty faces difficulty when its leader, King Yu, alienates the noble class who refuse to answer his call for help against invading barbarians. King Yu is killed and the nobles install a new leader. The capital is moved eastward to Loyang, thus ending the "Western Chou" period.

722 BCE: China - : The Ch'un Ch'iu period begins. This period is characterized by a deteriorization of a feudal system and a collapse of central authority. It ends in 481.

600-500 BCE: China - Lao-tzu, author of The Tao Te Ching and founder of Taoism, lives around this time. He encourages people to live simply and according to nature.

551 BCE: China - K'ung Fu-tzu (Confucius), author of The Analects, is born. Among other things, Confucius teaches the importance of centralized authority and filial piety. Like Aristotle, he belives the state to be a natural institution. Confucius dies around 479.

481 BCE: China - The Warring States period begins. The states of Ch'in and Ch'u emerge as the primary competitors in this struggle to found an empire in China. During this period, a four-tiered class structure emerges consisting of the lesser nobility (including scholars), the peasant farmers, the artisans, and the merchants, with the merchants holding the lowest position in society. Known also as the period of the Hundred Schools of Thought, this era sees the emergence of several schools of political philosophy, including the four main schools: Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism and Legalism. The Warring States period ends in 221.

479 BCE: China - The philosopher Mo-tzu, founder of Mohism, is born. He teaches a message of universal love and compassion for the common plight of ordinary people. He dies around 438.

373 BCE: China - The Confucianist Meng-tzu (Mencius) is born. He departs from Confucius by positing a theory of just rebellion against immoral rulers. He dies in 288.

350-338 BCE: China - Shang Yang rules the Ch'in Dynasty. He operates against the assumptions of a theory of absolute aggression justified by the "School of Law."

320 BCE: China - The philosopher Hsun-tzu, founder of Legalism, is born. A heterodox Confucianist, he believes strongly in moral education and repudiates any belief in a spiritual realm and believes that human beings are evil by nature. He dies around 235.

316 BCE: China - The Ch'in conquer Shu and Pa (modern-day Szechuan) giving them a serious advantage over the Ch'u.

246 BCE: China - The Ch'in complete the Chengkuo canal connecting the Ching and Lo rivers, thereby creating a key agricultural, and therefore economic, area in western Szechuan. Around the same year, the last Chou ruler is deposed.

221 BCE: China - The Ch'in emerge as victors at the end of the "Warring States" period. Prince Cheng names himself as the first Ch'in emperor and engages in a process of unifying China under a central bureaucracy. The Ch'in Dynasty ends in 207, lasting for only 14 years.

214 BCE: China - The building of the Great Wall of China begins. It is designed to keep out a destitute and starving people, the nomadic Hsiung Nu.

207-195 BCE: China - Han Kao-tzu (Liu Ping), a man of humble origins, is the first ruler of the Former Han Dynasty, which lasts until 9 CE.

156-141 BCE: China - Han Ching-ti rules the Han Dynasty. In 154 he rewrites the laws of inheritance, making all sons co-heirs of their father's estate.

145 BCE: China - The historian Ssu-ma Ch'ien, author of the Records of the Historian, is born. Though he includes social and economic considerations in his history, he surprisingly mentions nothing of Han Wu Ti and his administration. He is eventually castrated by Wu Ti after writing an apology on behalf of the Hsiung Nu. (See 214 above.) He dies around 90.

141-87 BCE: China - Han Wu-Ti is emperor of the Han Dynasty.

124 BCE: China - The Imperial University is founded.

120 BCE: China - Wu Ti relagates the salt and iron industries to the state. Around 98, he does the same for the production of alcohol.

9 CE: China - Wang Mang usurps the power of the Han Dynasty and institutes the interim Hsin Dynasty, which lasts until 23.

24 CE: China - The Later Han Dynasty begins with the rule of Han Kuang-wu (23-58 CE). It lasts until 220 CE.

50-70 CE: China - Buddhism arrives in China around this time.

184 CE: China - The Rebellion of the Yellow Turbans, a Taoist initiative directed against the tyrranical Later Han Dynasty, does substantial damage to Han power. The poet Ts'ao Ts'ao rises in power, leaving his son as the first Wei Emperor in 220.

221 CE: China - The period of the Three Kingdoms begins, during which China is split into three separate kingdoms: the Shu (221- 264), the Wei (220-265), and the Wu (220-280).

265 CE: China - The Western Chin Dynasty begins when the Wei Kingdom absorbs the Shu, and then, later, the Wu (280). It lasts until 316, after a period of civil tension added by the enlistment of barbarian forces leads to internal decay. A condition of unrest unfolds for the next two hundred years as remnants of the old empire fight againt invading barbarians.