Xia Dynasty

Xia Dynasty is the first unified major power with a slave-owning system in Chinese history.
According to the legend, Yu the Great won people’s trust because he conquered floods and tamed rivers in the 21st century B.C. He was later chosen as chief of his clan. Since Yu was titled in a place called Xia. His clan was thus name. After Yu’s death, the hereditary dynasty established by Qi who is Yu's son is known as the Xia Dynasty, which was the first dynasty which was a slave-owning society in China. In ancient time, this was considered to be the beginning of a system of whereby the ruler "takes all under heaven as his family possession". However, Sima Qian and many later historians regard the reign of Yu as the beginning of the Xia Dynasty. From Yü the Great to Jie (the last king of the Xia), there were altogether 17 kings making up 14 generations. The Xia Dynasty lasted more than 400 years.

The establishment of the Xia Dynasty meant that primitive society had ended and slave society began. Having become king, Qi invited other tribal chiefs to a feast so that they would acknowledge his power. But one tribe named Youhu strongly opposed to Qi's breaking of the abdication tradition and so refused to attend the feast. Qi then sent his armies to Gan as punishment. The Youhu was defeated and destroyed. Qi's victory in this battle helped consolidating his newly acquired political power.

While a new system usually builds on what has gone before it, a new government often lacks the necessary experience to get started. The government, despite using private ownership as its base, could not avoid internal conflict and power struggle because of the tendency of exploitation, pillage and extravagance. After Qi's death, his five sons fought for the kingship. After Taikang succeeded to the throne, he paid no attention to state affairs, but indulged himself in drinking and women. Hou Yi, chief of the Youqiong tribe, then seized power. When Hou Yi was murdered by Hanzhuo, an official, Shaokang (the grandson of Taikang's brother) fled to the Youyu tribe. With the help of this tribe, Shaokang collected the former Xia armies, fought against Hanzhuo, defeated him and won back the government. Thus he restored the Xia Dynasty. These events are later known as "Taikang's loss of the kingdom", "Hou Yi's taking over the Xia" and "Shaokang's restoration of the Xia".

As the late Xia king ignored state affairs, outside aggression grew frequent and social conflicts became increasingly bitter. Tradition has it that Jie, after coming to the throne, kept abusing his power and oppressing the people. He did nothing but exhaust the coffers to build palaces and pavilions for his personal use. He drank with his mistress all day and night, entirely ignoring the miserable life of the people. The people cursed him by pointing to the sun. Jie also imprisoned and killed those who gave him admonition. Other tribes also turned against him. When Jie was completely alone and helpless, Tang of the Shang, a small state, took the opportunity to revolt, "under the Mandate of Heaven", and succeeded in overthrowing Jie, bringing the fall of the once powerful Xia Dynasty which lasted for more than four hundred years.

Because the records about the Xia Dynasty are very few, many people once doubted the existence of the Xia Dynasty. But according of "the Records of the History of the Xia", we knew the records of lineage of Xia dynasty are as clear as the lineage of Shang Dynasty. The oracle-bone inscriptions which were inscribed on the tortoise shells and animal bones from the Shang Dynasty unearthed from Yinxu, Henan province, the lineage of Xia Dynasty were found. Hope we can find more site of the Xia, and rich the historical data of the Xia Dynasty.
 
Economy and social life

The site of late Xia’s palace are scattered amongst the Erlitou relics in Yanshi, Heman province, The construction was built on a grand rammed-earth platform. It's a square with a length jof 108 meters from east to west and a width of 100 meters from south to north. The state institution of the Xia was relatively simple. The king was the highest ruler of the state. Xishi and Heshi were assigned to in charge of observing celestial bodies, and the four seasons. Agriculture was very important. The Xia people lived on the loess plains of the Yellow River formed by alluvial deposits. Therefore, they began to use primitive wooden and stone tools in cultivation, they knew how to digchannels for irrigation and how to irrigate the earth by wells. With of a brewing industry, there was an oversupply of foodstuff and this led to the development of a brewing industrt. It became a fashion for the Xia people to drink wines.
 
Science and technology

At this time, the Chinese had already invented cars, astronomy and the calendar.
In this period Xishi and Heshi were assigned to be in charge of observing celestial bodies and the four seasons. Xishi and Heshi worked out a calendar called "Xia Xiao Zheng", which divided the year into 12 months. They also recorded the monthly configuration and movement of the stars, appropriate farming activities in different living stated of plants and animals in different months.

As regards to the production of pottery, stoneware and bronze there were also achievements in the Xia dynasty. Bronze metallurgy was a newly developed industry and the techniques were fairly advanced. There are more than 20 kinds of signs inscribed on the wares unearthed from the Erlitou and Dawemkou cultural relics. These signs already represented the forms of strokes of Chinese characters.
Musical instruments of the Xia Dynasty like stone chime bells, pottery holed wind instrument and pottery bells were also excavated.

The xia Dynasty, the first dynasty that emerged in China 4,000 years ago, was founded by Qi, son of Great Yu who conquered floods and tamed rivers. The Xia dyansty, which was a slave-owning society, was overthrown by warriors commanded by Shang Tang, the founder of the Shang Dynasty(16th century BC-11th century BC) During which the slave-owning system developed with the growth of farm and handicraft production.

Xia Dynasty is the first unified major power with a slave-owning system in Chinese history.

According to the legend, Yu the Great won people's trust because he conquered floods and tamed rivers in the 21st century B.C. He was later chosen as chief of his clan. Since Yu was titled in a place called Xia. His clan was thus name. After Yu's death, the hereditary dynasty established by Qi who is Yu's son is known as the Xia Dynasty, which was the first dynasty which was a slave-owning society in China. In ancient time, this was considered to be the beginning of a system of whereby the ruler "takes all under heaven as his family possession". However, Sima Qian and many later historians regard the reign of Yu as the beginning of the Xia Dynasty. From Yu the Great to Jie(the last king of the Xia), there were altogether 17 kings making up 14 generations. The Xia Dynasty lasted more than 400 years.

 

The establishment of the Xia Dynasty meant that primitive society had ended and slave society began. Having become king, Qi invited other tribal chiefs to a feast so that they would acknowledge his power. But one tribe named Youhu strongly opposed to Qi's breaking of the abdication tradition and so refused to attend the feast. Qi then sent his armies to Gan as punishment. The Youhu was defeated and destroyed. Qi's victory in this battle helped consolidating his newly acquired political power.

 

While a new system usually builds on what has gone before it, a new government often lacks the necessary experience to get started. The government, despite using private ownership as its base, could not avoid internal conflict and power struggle because of the tendency of exploitation, pillage and extravagance. After Qi's death, his five sons fought for the kingship. After Taikang succeeded to the throne, he paid no attention to state affairs, but indulged himself in drinking and women. Hou Yi, chief of the Youqiong tribe, then seized power. When Hou Yi was murdered by Hanzhuo, an official, Shaokang (the grandson of Taikang's brother) fled to the Youyu tribe. With the help of this tribe, Shaokang collected the former Xia armies, fought against Hanzhuo, defeated him and won back the government. Thus he restored the Xia Dynasty. These events are later known as "Taikang's loss of the kingdom", "Hou Yi's taking over the Xia" and "Shaokang's restoration of the Xia".

 

As the late Xia king ignored state affairs, outside aggression grew frequent and social conflicts became increasingly bitter. Tradition has it that Jie, after coming to the throne, kept abusing his power and oppressing the people. He did nothing but exhaust the coffers to build palaces and pavilions for his personal use. He drank with his mistress all day and night, entirely ignoring the miserable life of the people. The people cursed him by pointing to the sun. Jie also imprisoned and killed those who gave him admonition. Other tribes also turned against him. When Jie was completely alone and helpless, Tang of the Shang, a small state, took the opportunity to revolt, "under the Mandate of Heaven", and succeeded in overthrowing Jie, bringing the fall of the once powerful Xia Dynasty which lasted for more than four hundred years.

 

Because the records about the Xia Dynasty are very few, many people once doubted the existence of the Xia Dynasty. But according of "the Records of the History of the Xia", we knew the records of lineage of Xia dynasty are as clear as the lineage of Shang Dynasty. The oracle-bone inscriptions which were inscribed on the tortoise shells and animal bones from the Shang Dynasty unearthed from Yinxu, Henan province, the lineage of Xia Dynasty were found. Hope we can find more site of the Xia, and rich the historical data of the Xia Dynasty.

Economy and social life

The site of late Xia's palace are scattered amongst the Erlitou relics in Yanshi, Heman province, The construction was built on a grand rammed-earth platform. It's a square with a length jof 108 meters from east to west and a width of 100 meters from south to north. The state institution of the Xia was relatively simple. The king was the highest ruler of the state. Xishi and Heshi were assigned to in charge of observing celestial bodies,and the four seasons. Agriculture was very important. The Xia people lived on the loess plains of the Yellow River formed by alluvial deposits. Therefore, they began to use primitive wooden and stone tools in cultivation, they knew how to digchannels for irrigation and how to irrigate the earth by wells. With of a brewing industry, there was an oversupply of foodstuff and this led to the development of a brewing industrt. It became a fashion for the Xia peo[le to drink wines.

Science and technology

At this time, the Chinese had already invented cars, astronomy and the calendar.

In this period Xishi and Heshi were assigned to be in charge of observing celestial bodies and the four seasons. Xishi and Heshi worked out a calendar called "Xia Xiao Zheng", which divided the year into 12 months. They also recorded the monthly configuration and movement of the stars, appropriate farming activities in different living stated of plants and animals in different months.

 As regards to the production of pottery, stoneware and bronze there were also achievements in the Xia dynasty. Bronze metallurgy was a newly developed industry and the techniques were fairly advanced. There are more than 20 kinds of signs inscribed on the wares unearthed from the Erlitou and Dawemkou cultural relics. These signs already represented the forms of strokes of Chinese characters.

 Musical instruments of the Xia Dynasty like stone chime bells, pottery holed wind instrument and pottery bells were also excavated.