The earliest known settlements in China were farming villages along the banks of the Yangtze River and China’s other major river, the Huang He (Yellow River). Over time, agricultural success helped village populations grow, and the villages grew into states, or organized political territories. The rulers of the strongest states were able to expand the territories over which they ruled. Control of the kingdoms passed from generation to generation in powerful ruling families, known as dynasties. Periods of China’s ancient history are named after the dynasties.
The Shang dynasty began in about 1766 bc and lasted until about The Chou dynasty (1122 bc to 256 bc) followed, changing the way China was governed. Chou rulers permitted warriors to own land if they promised to fight for their ruler in war.
The Qin dynasty began in 221 bc, when Qin Shihuangdi came to power. He was China’s first emperor and controlled a much larger area than the previous dynasties. He began building the Great Wall, to protect China from invaders.
During the Han dynasty (206 bc to 220 ad), about two-thirds of China’s LEFT: The city of Suzhou lies along the Grand Canal, built during the Sui dynasty (581 AD to 618 AD), to connect the Huang He and the Yangtze River.
During the first week of May, slaves removed any grass growing among the sprouts with a hoe and flooded the field again (point flow). After a few days, they slowly drained the field, exposing the top half of each plant. The water was left at this level until the plant was able to stand on its own (long flow). Slaves then drained the field completely and removed any weeds. China Metro Map Again, after approximately three weeks, usually by end of June or the beginning of July, they flooded the field once again, gradually adding more water until the plants were completely submerged (lay-by flow). They then kept the field flooded for the next two months. Rice planted during the first week of April was usually ready to be harvested by the first week of September. In September, slaves drained the field and cut the rice with large sickles called rice hooks. They then laid the rice on the ground and allowed it to dry overnight. The next day the rice was shipped by flatboat to the threshing yard.
China Metro Map Photo Gallery