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China, a History

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Bee Cha
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« on: August 12, 2007, 06:45:21 am »

The Xia Dynasty (Chinese: 夏朝; Pinyin: xià cháo; Wade-Giles: hsia-ch'ao), ca. 2070 BC–1600 BC,[1] of China is the first dynasty to be described in the Records of the Grand Historian and unofficial Bamboo Annals, which record the names of seventeen kings over fourteen generations lasted 431 or 471 years. The dynasty was preceded by the legendary Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, and followed by the Shang Dynasty.

According to the official history, the Xia Dynasty was founded when Shun abdicated the throne in favor of his minister Yu, whom Shun viewed as the perfect civil servant. Instead of passing power to the person deemed most capable of rulership, Yu passed power to his son, Qi, setting the precedence for dynastic rule. The Xia Dynasty thus began a period of family or clan control.

The Skeptical school of early Chinese history (yigupai) in the twenties, started by Gu Jiegang, was the first to seriously question within China the traditional story of its early history: “the later the time, the longer the legendary period of earlier history... early Chinese history is a tale told and retold for generations, during which new elements were added to the front end”[2] Yun Kuen Lee's criticism of nationalist sentiment in developing an explanation of Three Dynasties chronology focuses on the dichotomy of evidence provided by archaeological versus historical research, in particular the claim that the archaeological Erlitou Culture is also the historical Xia Dynasty. “How to fuse the archaeological dates with historical dates is a challenge to all chronological studies of early civilization.”

According to traditional Chinese proponents of the Dynastic cycle, it was during this period that Chinese civilization developed a benign civilian government and harsh punishment for legal transgressions. From this the earliest forms of Chinese legal codes came into being.

Jie, the last ruler, was said to be a corrupt king. He was overthrown by Tang, the leader of Shang people from the east.

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