Ancient China, 2100 B.C – 221 B.C.
Episode #1 of the course “Most Advanced Ancient Civilizations”
Ancient China was one of the longest-lasting civilizations in the world, and it traces back over 4,000 years. It is well-known for creating the Great Wall, which kept outside invaders like the Mongols at bay. The Great Wall might be one of the major reasons that this civilization lasted so long—the Wall is over 5,000 miles long and covers most of the northern border of China.
The ancient Chinese man Cai Lun invented paper using fish net, bark, and cloth, which helped develop and spread the civilization. Before this, they had used bones, shells, and bamboo as writing surfaces. In fact, China was one of the first countries to use paper money. They also invented a printing technique that used removable, reusable clay type. Because the Chinese language was so complicated, this didn’t have a huge effect on the printing industry, but it did set the stage for later removable type. Gunpowder was first developed by the ancient Chinese as well (apparently it was invented by accident while alchemists were attempting to make an elixir of immortality). The early compass also originated in early China, and Europe only gained this technology when the Chinese introduced it to them.
Ancient China is also responsible for the development of silk. They had farms of silk worms and wove the threads together to create this extremely valuable fabric. Silk production was a well-kept secret in China for over 1000 years, and it became a precious commodity that increased trade and productivity for this ancient civilization. China was also well-known for its rice production, particularly in the south.
Ancient China had at least three different religions: Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Each has a unique focus, but they all seem to emphasize peace and respect.
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