History of China

Today we’re going to present the oldest civilization on earth, a land founded on extraordinary customs and traditions, a country that is home to the greatest population on the plant – China. China is the fastest growing country on earth. 1.3bln people, a nation that is set to become the world’s next super power. It is now predicted that the Chinese economy will become the largest in the world in little more than 20 years. It’s been estimated that in 30 years we will need another planet earth to satisfy China’s ever growing up appetite for rough materials. But for all these extraordinary explosion for industry China still rests on traditions that thousands of years old.

China is one of the world’s four ancient civilizations. The written history of China can be said to date back to the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) over 3,000 years ago. Among the important themes that characterize Chinese history is the pattern of dynastic rise and fall. In 221 BC Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor, ended rivalry among the independent principalities in the Warring States Period and established the first centralized, unified, multi-ethnic state in Chinese history under the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC). He standardized the script, currencies, and weights and measures, established the system of prefectures and countries, and began the construction of the world-renowned Great Wall. A few years later there was established the strong Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220).

During that time agriculture, handicrafts and commerce were well developed. The Han regime reached the period of its greatest prosperity: the emperor conquered the the Xiongnu nomads and sent as envoy to the Western Regions and in the process pioneered the route known as the Silk Road from the Han through Xinjiang and to Europe. The Han regime existed for a total of 426 years. It was followed by the Three Kingdoms Period (220-265) of Wei, Shu and Wu. In 1206, Genqhis Khan unified all the tribes in Mongolia and founded the Mongol Khanate. Later his grandson conquered the Central Plain and made Dadu ( today’s Beijing) the capital.

During the Song and Yuan dynasties, handicraft industry and domestic and foreign trade boomed. Many merchants and travelers came from abroad. Marco Polo came from Venice and traveled extensively in China, later describing the country’s prosperity in his Travels. The “four great inventions” of the Chinese people in ancient times – paper making, printing, the compass and gunpowder – were further developed in the Song and Yuan dynasties, and introduced foreign during this time. In the late Ming Dynasty, the Manchus in northeast China grew in strength.

Later there was founded the Qing Dynasty (1661-1911). By the end of Qing long Emperor’s long reign, China ruled more than 1/3 за the world’s population and had the largest economy in the world. By area of extent, it was one of the largest empires ever in history. China was reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country since the first Opium War in 1840. The Revolution of 1911, a bourgeois-democratic revolution led by Sun Yat-sen, ended the rule of the Qing Dynasty. The monarchical system was discarded with the founding of the provisional government of the Republic of China.

The Revolution of 1911 is of great significance in modern Chinese history. But the fruits of victory were soon compromised by the concessions on the part of the Chinese bourgeoisie, and the country entered a period of domination by the Northern Warlords headed by Yaun Shikai. The people lived in and abyss of misery in the period. Since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China has entered a new stage of prosperity. During these years major political developments were made. The party and government administration were centralized. In 1953 delegates were elected for the First National People’s Congress which became China’s legislature.

The congress met in 1954 and made the state constitution and Mao was elected as chairman of the People’s Republic. Mao made various policies one after another to turn China into an ideal socialist nation. Mao attempted to level up commerce and industry in China to the level of advanced nations with promoting Great Leap Forward in 1958. He indeed believed China could accomplish it: “We will get ahead of GB in15 years.”

He speed up production of iron and used peasants dissolved farming and implement iron. Within a year all Chinese villages had been reformed into working communities. As a result of it China found itself in an economic crisis-starvation. The political movements incited by the government resulted in widespread famine and many deaths. After a brief non-violent power struggle Deng Xiaoping was made supreme leader in 1978. He immediately shifted the government’s focus onto economic reform. His slogan was ‘Seek Truth From Facts’. His influence within the Party led the country to significant economic reforms.

Economic reforms introducing capitalist market principles were carried out in two stages. The first stage, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, involved the decollectivization of agriculture, the opening up of the country to foreign investment, and permission for entrepreneurs to start up businesses.

The second stage of reform, in the late 1980s and 1990s, involved the privatization andcontracting out of much state-owned industry and the lifting of price controls, protectionist policies, and regulations, although state monopolies in sectors such as banking and petroleum remained. The private sector grew remarkably, accounting for as much as 70 percent of China GDP by 2005 a figure larger in comparison to many Western nations.

China's economy became the second largest after the United States. China’s economy was very strong during the Asian Financial Crisis and continued to grow at the start of the 21st century. Foreign policies continued to prosper and China’s support for the war on terror made it closer to United States. Economic developments continued to rise for China and they were able to host the 2008 Summer Olympics which showcased their current growth and development and proving that the country is one of the most powerful countries currently.