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Dynasties in Chinese history, or Chinese dynasties, were
hereditary Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of traits Trait may refer to: * Phenotypic trait in biology, which involve genes and characteristics of organisms * Trait (computer programming), a model for str ...
monarchical regimes that ruled over China during much of
its history
its history
. From the inauguration of dynastic rule by
Yu the Great Yu the Great (大禹) (c. 2123–2025 BC) was a legendary king in History of China#Ancient China, ancient China who was famed for his introduction of flood control, his establishment of the Xia dynasty which inaugurated dynastic rule in China, an ...
in circa 2070 BC to the
abdication Abdication is the act of formally relinquishing monarchical authority. Abdications have played various roles in the succession procedures of monarchies. While some cultures have viewed abdication as an extreme abandonment of duty, in other societi ...
of the
Xuantong Emperor Puyi (; 7 February 1906 – 17 October 1967) was the last Emperor of China as the eleventh and final List of emperors of the Qing dynasty, Qing dynasty ruler. Becoming the Xuantong Emperor at age two but forced to abdicate on 12 February 1912 ...
on 12 February 1912 in the wake of the
Xinhai Revolution The 1911 Revolution, also known as the Chinese Revolution or the Xinhai Revolution, ended China's last imperial dynasty, the Manchu-led Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese hi ...
, China was ruled by a series of successive
dynasties A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). Th ...
. Dynasties of China were not limited to those established by ethnic
Han Han may refer to: Ethnic groups * Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on ...
—the dominant Chinese ethnic group—and its predecessor, the
Huaxia ''Huaxia'' is a historical concept representing the Chinese nation and civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and s ...
tribal confederation, but also included those founded by non-Han peoples. Dividing Chinese history into periods ruled by dynasties is a convenient method of
periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Institute for the Study of the Ancient Wo ...
. Accordingly, a dynasty may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, as well as to describe events, trends, personalities, artistic compositions, and artifacts of that period. For example, porcelain made during the
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; ) are an East Asian ethnic group nativ ...

Ming dynasty
may be referred to as "Ming porcelain". The word "dynasty" is usually omitted when making such adjectival references. The longest-reigning orthodox dynasty of China was the
Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscript ...
, ruling for a total length of 789 years, albeit it is divided into the
Western Zhou The Western Zhou ( zh, c=, p=Xīzhōu; c. 1045 BC – 771 BC) was the first half of the Zhou dynasty of ancient China. It began when King Wu of Zhou King Wu of Zhou () was the first king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the ...
and the
Eastern Zhou The Eastern Zhou (; zh, c=, p=Dōngzhōu; 770–256 BC) was the second half of the Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ) was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynas ...
in
Chinese historiography Chinese historiography is the study of the techniques and sources used by historians to develop the recorded history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. ...
, and its power was drastically reduced during the latter part of its rule. The largest orthodox Chinese dynasty in terms of territorial size was either the Yuan dynasty or the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
, depending on the historical source. Chinese dynasties often referred to themselves as "" (; "Celestial Dynasty" or "Heavenly Dynasty"). As a form of respect and subordination, Chinese tributary states referred to Chinese dynasties as "" (; "Celestial Dynasty of the Lofty State") or "" (; "Celestial Dynasty of the Great State").


Terminology

In the Chinese language, the character "" () originally meant "morning" and "today". Politically, the word is taken to refer to the regime of the incumbent
ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure distances or draw straight lines. Variants Rulers have long been made f ...
. The following is a list of terms associated with the concept of dynasty in Chinese historiography: * (): a dynasty * (): an era corresponding to the rule of a dynasty * (): while technically referring to royal dynasties, this term is often inaccurately applied to all dynasties, including those whose rulers held non-royal
titles A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may be inserted between the firs ...
such as
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), m ...
* (): generally used for imperial dynasties


History


Start of dynastic rule

As the founder of China's first orthodox dynasty, the
Xia dynasty The Xia dynasty is the first dynasty in traditional Chinese historiography. According to tradition, the Xia dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great, after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors, gave the throne to him. In the tra ...
,
Yu the Great Yu the Great (大禹) (c. 2123–2025 BC) was a legendary king in History of China#Ancient China, ancient China who was famed for his introduction of flood control, his establishment of the Xia dynasty which inaugurated dynastic rule in China, an ...
is conventionally regarded as the inaugurator of dynastic rule in China. In the Chinese dynastic system, sovereign rulers theoretically possessed absolute power and private ownership of the realm, even though in practice their actual power was dependent on numerous factors. By tradition, the Chinese throne was inherited exclusively by members of the male line, but there were numerous cases whereby the
consort kin {{unreferenced, date=January 2008 The consort kin – written in the Sinosphere as 外戚 (waiqi) is the Sinospheric kin or a group related to an empress dowager Empress dowager (also dowager empress or empress mother) () is the English lan ...
s came to possess ''de facto'' power at the expense of the monarchs. This concept, known as (; "
All under Heaven ''Tianxia'' () is a Chinese term for an ancient Chinese cultural concept that denoted either the entire geographical world or the metaphysical realm of mortals, and later became associated with political sovereignty. In ancient China ...
belongs to the ruling family"), was in contrast to the pre-Xia notion of (; "All under Heaven belongs to the public") whereby leadership succession was non-hereditary.


Dynastic transition

The rise and fall of dynasties is a prominent feature of Chinese history. Some scholars have attempted to explain this phenomenon by attributing the success and failure of dynasties to the morality of the rulers, while others have focused on the tangible aspects of monarchical rule. This method of explanation has come to be known as the dynastic cycle. Dynastic transitions (; ) in the history of China occurred primarily through two ways: military conquest and usurpation. The supersession of the
Liao dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an imperial dynasty of China that existed between 916 and 1125, ruled by the Yelü ...
by the Jin dynasty was achieved following a series of successful military campaigns, as was the later unification of
China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Manchu people, Manchu-led Qing dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China pr ...

China proper
under the Yuan dynasty; on the other hand, the transition from the
Eastern Han The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), ...
to the
Cao Wei Wei (Hanzi Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write other East-Asian languages, and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system ...
, as well as from the
Southern Qi The Southern Qi ( or ) (479–502) also known as Xiao Qi() was the second of the Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589, following the tumultuous era of t ...
to the
Liang dynasty The Liang dynasty () (502–557), also known as the Southern Liang (), was the third of the Southern Dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589, following the tumultuou ...
, were cases of usurpation. Oftentimes,
usurper A usurper is an illegitimate or controversial claimant to power, often but not always in a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMo ...
s would seek to portray their predecessors as having relinquished the throne willingly—a process called (; "voluntary abdicating and passing the throne")—as a means to legitimize their rule. One might incorrectly infer from viewing that transitions between dynasties occurred abruptly and roughly. Rather, new dynasties were often established before the complete overthrow of an existing regime. For example, AD 1644 is frequently cited as the year in which the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
succeeded the
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; ) are an East Asian ethnic group nativ ...

Ming dynasty
in possessing the
Mandate of Heaven The Mandate of Heaven () is a Chinese political philosophy that was used in ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsAztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of cont ...
. However, the Qing dynasty was officially proclaimed in AD 1636 by the through renaming the Later Jin established in AD 1616, while the Ming imperial family would rule the
Southern Ming The Southern Ming (), officially the Great Ming (), was a series of dynastic rump states ruled by the Zhu clan in southern China following the Ming dynasty's collapse in 1644. The Ming dynasty ended when Shun forces led by Li Zicheng captu ...

Southern Ming
until AD 1662. The Ming loyalist
Kingdom of Tungning The Kingdom of Tungning () or Kingdom of Formosa was a government that ruled part of southwestern Formosa (Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, Peopl ...

Kingdom of Tungning
based in Taiwan continued to oppose the Qing until AD 1683. Meanwhile, other factions also fought for control over China during the Ming–Qing transition, most notably the Shun and the Xi dynasties proclaimed by
Li Zicheng Li Zicheng (22 September 1606 – 1645), born Li Hongji, also known by the nickname, "Dashing King", was a Chinese peasant rebel leader who overthrew the Ming dynasty#REDIRECT Ming dynasty {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{R from ...
and
Zhang Xianzhong Zhang Xianzhong (张献忠 or Chang Hsien-chung, 18 September 1606 to 2 January 1647), nicknamed ''Yellow Tiger'', was a leader of a peasant revolt from Yan'an Yan'an (; ) is a prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.j ...
respectively. This change of ruling houses was a convoluted and prolonged affair, and the Qing took almost two decades to extend their rule over the entirety of China proper. Similarly, during the earlier Sui–Tang transition, numerous regimes established by rebel forces vied for control and legitimacy as the power of the ruling
Sui dynasty The Sui dynasty (, ) was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China of pivotal significance. The Sui unified the Northern and Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earli ...
weakened. Autonomous regimes that existed during this period of upheaval included, but not limited to, Wei (; by ), Qin (; by
Xue Ju Xue Ju () (died 618), formally Emperor Wu (武皇帝, "Martial"), was the founding emperor of a short-lived state of Qin at the end of the History of China, Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty, whose state was eventually destroyed by the Tang Dynasty. He ...
), Qi (; by Gao Tancheng), Xu (; by
Yuwen Huaji Yuwen Huaji (; died 619) was a general of the Chinese Sui Dynasty who, in 618, led a coup against and murdered Emperor Yang of Sui. He subsequently declared Emperor Yang's nephew Yang Hao (Sui dynasty), Yang Hao emperor and led Emperor Yang's elit ...
), Liang (; by Shen Faxing), Liang (; by
Liang Shidu Liang Shidu (梁師都) (died June 3, 628) was an agrarian leader who rebelled against the rule of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty The Sui dynasty (, ) was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China of pivotal significance. The Sui unified the ...
), Xia (; by
Dou Jiande Dou Jiande (; 573 – August 3, 621) was a leader of the agrarian rebels who rose against the rule of Emperor Yang of Sui near the end of the History of China, Chinese Sui dynasty. Generally considered the kindest and most able of the agrarian r ...
), Zheng (; by
Wang Shichong Wang Shichong (王世充; 567–621), courtesy name Xingman (行滿), was a general of Sui dynasty who deposed Sui's last emperor Yang Tong and briefly ruled as the emperor of a succeeding state of Zheng. He first became prominent during the reign ...
), Chu (; by Zhu Can), Chu (; by Lin Shihong), Wu (; by
Li Zitong Li Zitong (died 622 CE) was an agrarian leader who claimed the title of emperor in the aftermaths of the death of Emperor Yang of Sui, Emperor Yang of Sui dynasty, Sui at the hands of the general Yuwen Huaji in 618. After Yuwen vacated the city ...
), Yan (; by
Gao Kaidao Gao Kaidao (高開道) (died 624), at one point known as Li Kaidao (李開道), was an agrarian rebel leader who rose against Sui Dynasty The Sui dynasty (, ) was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China of pivotal significance. The Sui unifie ...
), and Song (; by
Fu Gongshi Fu Gongshi (輔公祏; died 624) was an agrarian rebel leader who served as Du Fuwei's lieutenant during the disintegration of the History of China, Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty, who later followed Du in submitting to Tang Dynasty. In 623, while D ...
). The
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
that superseded the Sui launched a decade-long military campaign to reunify China proper. Frequently, remnants and descendants of previous dynasties were either purged or granted
noble titles Traditional rank amongst European royalty Royalty may refer to: * Kingship * Royal family, the immediate family of a king or queen regnant, and sometimes his or her extended family * Royalty payment for use of such things as intellectual proper ...
in accordance with the (; "two crownings, three respects") system. The latter served as a means for the reigning dynasty to claim legitimate succession from earlier dynasties. For example, the
Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei ((東)魏孝靜帝) (524–552), personal name Yuan Shanjian (元善見), was the only emperor of the Eastern Wei The Eastern Wei (;Emperor Wenxuan of Northern Qi Emperor Wenxuan of (Northern) Qi ((北)齊文宣帝) (526–559), personal name Gao Yang (高洋, Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a syste ...
following the latter's deposition of the former. Similarly, Chai Yong, a nephew of the
Emperor Shizong of Later Zhou Chai Rong () (27 October 921 – 27 July 959) or Guo Rong (), also known by his temple name Temple names are posthumous titles that were given to East Asian cultural sphere, Sinospheric monarchs. The practice of honoring monarchs with temple na ...
, was conferred the title "Duke of Chongyi" by the
Emperor Renzong of Song Emperor Renzong of Song (30 May 1010 – 30 April 1063, Chinese calendar: 14 April 1010 (the 3rd year of Dazhongxiangfu, ) - 29 March 1063 (the 8th year of Jiayou, )), personal name Zhao Zhen, was the fourth emperor of the Song dynasty of Chin ...
; other descendants of the
Later Zhou The Later Zhou (; ) was the last in a succession of five dynasties that controlled most of northern China during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which lasted from 907 to 960 and bridged the gap between the Tang Dynasty The T ...

Later Zhou
ruling family came to inherit the noble title thereafter. According to Chinese historiographical tradition, each new dynasty would compose the history of the preceding dynasty, culminating in the ''
Twenty-Four Histories The ''Twenty-Four Histories'' (), also known as the ''Orthodox Histories'' (), are the Chinese official historical books covering a period from 3000 BC to the Ming dynasty in the 17th century. The Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the ...
''. This tradition was maintained even after the Xinhai Revolution overthrew the Qing dynasty in favor of the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and No ...
. However, the attempt by the Republicans to draft the history of the Qing was disrupted by the
Chinese Civil War The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist government, government of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) lastin ...
, which resulted in the political division of China into the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billion ...
on
mainland China Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, China mainland, or the Mainland Area of the Republic of China is the geopolitics, geopolitical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since Proclamation of ...

mainland China
and the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and No ...

Republic of China
on
Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. The main islan ...

Taiwan
.


End of dynastic rule

Dynastic rule in China collapsed in AD 1912 when the Republic of China superseded the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
following the success of the Xinhai Revolution. While there were attempts after the Xinhai Revolution to reinstate dynastic rule in China, they were unsuccessful at consolidating their rule and gaining political legitimacy. During the Xinhai Revolution, there were numerous proposals advocating for the replacement of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty by a new dynasty of Han ethnicity. Kong Lingyi (), the Duke of Yansheng and a 76th-generation descendant of
Confucius } Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; ) was a Chinese philosopher Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), d ...
, was identified as a potential candidate for Chinese emperorship by
Liang Qichao Liang Qichao (23 February 1873 – 19 January 1929) was a Chinese social and political activist, journalist, and intellectual who lived during the late Qing dynasty and the early Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China. His thought ha ...
. Meanwhile, gentry in
Anhui Anhui (; formerly romanized as Anhwei) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational ent ...
and
Hebei Hebei (; Postal romanization, alternately Hopeh) is a coastal Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, and is part of the North China region. The modern province was established in 1911 as Zhili, Chihli Province ...
supported a restoration of the
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; ) are an East Asian ethnic group nativ ...

Ming dynasty
under Zhu Yuxun (), the
Marquis of Extended Grace Marquis of Extended Grace was a title held by a descendant of the imperial family of the Ming dynasty#REDIRECT Ming dynasty {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{R from other capitalisation ... (1368–1644) during the subsequent Qing ...
. Both suggestions were ultimately rejected. The
Empire of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentioned as the twenty-first Shang king by the same. Ancient histo ...
(AD 1915–1916) proclaimed by
Yuan Shikai Yuan Shikai (; 16 September 1859 – 6 June 1916) was a Chinese military and government official who rose to power during the late Qing dynasty, becoming the Emperor of the Empire of China (1915–1916). He tried to save the dynasty with a numb ...

Yuan Shikai
sparked the
National Protection War The National Protection War (), also known as the anti-Monarchy War, was a civil war that took place in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies b ...
, resulting in the premature collapse of the regime 101 days later. The
Manchu Restoration The Manchu Restoration or Dingsi Restoration (), also known as Zhang Xun Restoration (), or Xuantong Restoration (), was an attempt to restore the Chinese monarchy by General Zhang Xun, whose army seized Beijing Beijing ( ), Chinese po ...
(AD 1917) was an unsuccessful attempt at reviving the Qing dynasty, lasting merely 11 days. Similarly, the
Manchukuo Manchukuo, officially the State of Manchuria prior to 1934 and the Empire of (Great) Manchuria after 1934, was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan in Northeast China and Inner Mongolia from 1932 until 1945. It was founded as a republic in 193 ...
(AD 1932–1945; monarchy since AD 1934), a puppet state of the
Empire of Japan The was a historical nation-state A nation state is a state in which a great majority shares the same culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, ...

Empire of Japan
during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great ...
with limited diplomatic recognition, is not regarded as a legitimate regime. Ergo, historians usually consider the abdication of the
Xuantong Emperor Puyi (; 7 February 1906 – 17 October 1967) was the last Emperor of China as the eleventh and final List of emperors of the Qing dynasty, Qing dynasty ruler. Becoming the Xuantong Emperor at age two but forced to abdicate on 12 February 1912 ...
on 12 February 1912 as the end of the Chinese dynastic system. Dynastic rule in China lasted almost four millennia.


Political legitimacy

China was politically divided during multiple periods in its history, with different regions ruled by different dynasties. These dynasties effectively functioned as separate states with their own
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil law (common law), civil, Cr ...
and political institutions. Political division existed during the
Three Kingdoms The Three Kingdoms () from 220 to 280 AD was the tripartite division of China among the states of Wei, Shu Shu may refer to: China * Sichuan, China, officially abbreviated as Shu (蜀) * Shu (state) (conquered by Qin in 316 BC), an ancie ...

Three Kingdoms
, the
Sixteen Kingdoms The Sixteen Kingdoms (), less commonly the Sixteen States, was a chaotic period in Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), durin ...
, the
Northern and Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding ...
, and the
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang d ...
periods, among others. Relations between Chinese dynasties during periods of division often revolved around
political legitimacy In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thoughts, political behavior, and as ...
, which was derived from the doctrine of the
Mandate of Heaven The Mandate of Heaven () is a Chinese political philosophy that was used in ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsAztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of cont ...
. Dynasties ruled by ethnic Han would proclaim rival dynasties founded by other ethnicities as illegitimate, usually justified based on the concept of
Hua–Yi distinction The distinction between ''Huá'' and ''Yí'' ( zh, t=, p=Huá Yí zhī biàn), also known as Sino–barbarian dichotomy, is an ancient Chinese concept that differentiated a culturally defined "China" (called Huá, Huaxia ''Huaxia'' is a histor ...
. On the other hand, many dynasties of non-Han origin saw themselves as the legitimate dynasty of China and often sought to portray themselves as the true inheritor of
Chinese culture Chinese culture () is one of the world's oldest cultures, originating thousands of years ago. The culture prevails across a large geographical region in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's large ...
and history. Traditionally, only regimes deemed as "legitimate" or "orthodox" (; ) are termed (; "dynasty"); "illegitimate" or "unorthodox" regimes are referred to as (; usually translated as either "state" or "kingdom"), even if these regimes were dynastic in nature. The issue of political legitimacy pertaining to some of these dynasties remains contentious in modern academia. Such legitimacy dispute existed during the following periods: * Three Kingdoms ** The
Cao Wei Wei (Hanzi Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write other East-Asian languages, and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system ...
, the
Shu Han Han (漢; 221–263), known in historiography as Shu Han (蜀漢; often shortened to Shu; ) or Ji Han (季漢) to disambiguate from the preceding Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty ...
, and the
Eastern Wu Wu (222–280), commonly known as Dong Wu (Eastern Wu) or Sun Wu, was one of the three major states that competed for supremacy over China in the Three Kingdoms period (220–280). It previously existed from 220–222 as a vassal kingdom nomina ...
considered themselves legitimate while simultaneously denounced the rivaling claims of others ** The
Emperor Xian of Han Emperor Xian of Han (2 April 181 – 21 April 234), personal name Liu Xie (劉協), courtesy name Bohe, was the 14th and last Emperor of China, emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty in China. He reigned from 28 September 189 until 11 December 220. ...
abdicated in favor of the Emperor Wen of Cao Wei, hence the Cao Wei directly succeeded the
Eastern Han The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), ...
in the
timeline of Chinese history __NOTOC__ This is a timeline of Chinese history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in China and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of China The earliest ...

timeline of Chinese history
** The
Western Jin Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
accepted the Cao Wei as the legitimate dynasty of the Three Kingdoms period and claimed succession from it ** The
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
viewed the Cao Wei as the legitimate dynasty during this period, whereas the
Southern Song The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kuan ...
scholar
Zhu Xi Zhu Xi (; ; October 18, 1130 – April 23, 1200), also known by his courtesy name Yuanhui (or Zhonghui), and self-titled Hui'an, was a Chinese calligrapher, historian, philosopher, politician, and writer of the Song dynasty The Song dynast ...

Zhu Xi
proposed treating the Shu Han as legitimate *
Eastern Jin Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, wit ...
and Sixteen Kingdoms ** The Eastern Jin proclaimed itself to be legitimate ** Several of the Sixteen Kingdoms such as the
Han Zhao The Han Zhao (; 304–329 AD), or Former Zhao (), was a Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty of Southern Xiongnu origin during Sixteen Kingdoms period of Chinese history coeval with the Sima clan's Jin dynasty (266–420), Jin dynasty. In Chinese ...
, the
Later Zhao The Later Zhao (; 319–351) was a dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press 200 ...
, and the
Former Qin The Former Qin, also called Fu Qin (苻秦) (351–394) was a dynastic state of the Sixteen Kingdoms The Sixteen Kingdoms (), less commonly the Sixteen States, was a chaotic period in Chinese history The earliest known written recor ...
also claimed legitimacy * Northern and Southern dynasties ** All dynasties during this period saw themselves as the legitimate representative of China; the
Northern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding ...
referred to their southern counterparts as "" (; "island dwelling barbarians"), while the
Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589, following the tumultuous era of the Sixteen Kingdoms and the Five Barbarians, Wu Hu states. It is sometimes considered as the latter pa ...
called their northern neighbors "" (; "barbarians with braids") * Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms ** Having directly succeeded the Tang dynasty, the
Later LiangLater Liang may refer to the following states in Chinese history: * Later Liang (Sixteen Kingdoms) (後涼; 386–403), one of the Sixteen Kingdoms * Western Liang (555–587) The Liang (555–587), known in historiography as the Western Liang () ...
considered itself to be a legitimate dynasty ** The
Later Tang Tang, known in history as Later Tang, was a short-lived imperial dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n.''" Oxford University Press Oxford University Press ...

Later Tang
regarded itself as the restorer of the earlier Tang dynasty and rejected the legitimacy of its predecessor, the Later Liang ** The Later Jin accepted the Later Tang as a legitimate regime ** The
Southern Tang Southern Tang () was a state in Southern China that existed during Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which proclaimed itself to be the successor of the former Tang Dynasty. The capital was located at Nanjing Nanjing ( ), Postal Map R ...
was, for a period of time, considered the legitimate dynasty during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period ** Modern historiography generally considers the
Five Dynasties The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly succeeded one another in the Central Plain, and more than a dozen concurrent states were e ...
, as opposed to the contemporary
Ten Kingdoms The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang d ...
, to be legitimate *
Liao dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an imperial dynasty of China that existed between 916 and 1125, ruled by the Yelü ...
,
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties a ...
, and Jin dynasty ** Following the conquest of the Later Jin, the Liao dynasty claimed legitimacy and succession from it ** Both the
Northern Song The Northern Song (北宋; 4 February 960 – 20 March 1127) is an era during the Song dynasty, Song Dynasty. It came to an end when its capital city, the city of Kaifeng, was conquered by enemies from the north. Later, the provisional capital of ...
and Southern Song considered themselves to be the legitimate Chinese dynasty ** The Jin dynasty challenged the Song's claim of legitimacy ** The succeeding Yuan dynasty recognized all three in addition to the
Western Liao The Qara Khitai or Kara Khitai (alternatively known as "Black Khitan" or "Black Cathay", mn, Хар Хятан; 1124–1218), also known as the Western Liao (), officially the Great Liao (), was a sinicized Sinicization, sinofication, sinifi ...
as legitimate Chinese dynasties, culminating in the composition of the ''
History of Liao The ''History of Liao'', or ''Liao Shi'' (''Liáo Shǐ''), is a Chinese historical book compiled officially by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), under the direction of the historian Toqto'a (Tuotuo), and finalized in 1344.Xu Elina-Qian, ...
'', the '' History of Song'', and the ''
History of Jin The ''History of Jin'' (''Jin Shi'') is a Chinese historical text, one of the '' Twenty Four Histories'', which details the history of the Jin dynasty founded by the Jurchens in northern China. It was compiled by the Yuan dynasty historian and ...
''Brook, Walt van Praag & Boltjes (2018). p. 52. *
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; ) are an East Asian ethnic group nativ ...

Ming dynasty
and
Northern Yuan The Northern Yuan () was a dynastic regime ruled by the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; ) are an East Asian ethnic group native to Mongolia Mongolia (, Mongolian language, Mongolian: , Mongolian ...

Northern Yuan
** The Ming dynasty recognized the preceding Yuan dynasty as a legitimate Chinese dynasty, but asserted that it had succeeded the Mandate of Heaven from the Yuan, thus considering the Northern Yuan as illegitimate ** Northern Yuan rulers maintained the dynastic name "Great Yuan" and claimed Chinese titles continuously until AD 1388 or AD 1402; Chinese titles were restored on several occasions thereafter for brief periods ** The Mongol historian Rashipunsug argued that the Northern Yuan had succeeded the legitimacy from the Yuan dynasty; the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
, which later defeated and annexed the Northern Yuan, inherited this legitimacy, thus rendering the Ming as illegitimateBrook, Walt van Praag & Boltjes (2018). p. 54. * Qing dynasty and
Southern Ming The Southern Ming (), officially the Great Ming (), was a series of dynastic rump states ruled by the Zhu clan in southern China following the Ming dynasty's collapse in 1644. The Ming dynasty ended when Shun forces led by Li Zicheng captu ...

Southern Ming
** The Qing dynasty recognized the preceding Ming dynasty as legitimate, but asserted that it had succeeded the Mandate of Heaven from the Ming, thus refuting the claimed legitimacy of the Southern Ming ** The Southern Ming continued to claim legitimacy until its eventual defeat by the Qing ** The Ming loyalist
Kingdom of Tungning The Kingdom of Tungning () or Kingdom of Formosa was a government that ruled part of southwestern Formosa (Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, Peopl ...

Kingdom of Tungning
in Taiwan denounced the Qing dynasty as illegitimate ** The
Joseon dynasty The Joseon dynasty (also transcribed as Chosŏn or Chosun, ko, 대조선국; 大朝鮮國, ) was a Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, an ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * Korean cultur ...
of Korea and the Later Lê dynasty of Vietnam had at various times considered the Southern Ming, instead of the Qing dynasty, as legitimate ** The
Tokugawa shogunate The Tokugawa shogunate (, Japanese 徳川幕府 ''Tokugawa bakufu''), also known as the , was the military government {{Systems of government Military dictatorships A military government is generally any government A government is the ...

Tokugawa shogunate
of Japan did not accept the legitimacy of the Qing dynasty and instead saw itself as the rightful representative of (; "China"); this narrative served as the basis of Japanese texts such as ''Chūchō Jijitsu'' and ''Kai Hentai'' Traditionally, periods of disunity often resulted in heated debates among officials and historians over which prior dynasties could and should be considered orthodox, given that it was politically imperative for a dynasty to present itself as being linked in an unbroken lineage of moral and political authority back to ancient times. However, the Northern Song statesman
Ouyang Xiu Ouyang Xiu (1007 – 1072), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere The East ...

Ouyang Xiu
propounded that such orthodoxy existed in a state of limbo during fragmented periods and was restored after political unification was achieved. From this perspective, the Song dynasty possessed legitimacy by virtue of its ability to end the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period despite not having succeeded the orthodoxy from the
Later Zhou The Later Zhou (; ) was the last in a succession of five dynasties that controlled most of northern China during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which lasted from 907 to 960 and bridged the gap between the Tang Dynasty The T ...

Later Zhou
. Similarly, Ouyang considered the concept of orthodoxy to be in oblivion during the Three Kingdoms, the Sixteen Kingdoms, and the Northern and Southern dynasties periods. As most Chinese historiographical sources uphold the idea of unilineal dynastic succession, only one dynasty could be considered orthodox at any given time. Most modern sources consider the legitimate line of succession to be as follows: These historical legitimacy disputes are similar to the modern competing claims of legitimacy by the People's Republic of China based in
Beijing Beijing ( ; ; ), Chinese postal romanization, alternatively romanized as Peking ( ), is the Capital city, capital of the People's Republic of China. It is the world's List of national capitals by population, most populous national capital ci ...
and the Republic of China based in
Taipei Taipei (), officially Taipei City, is the capital and a special municipality of Taiwan (officially the Republic of China, ROC). Located in Regions of Taiwan, Northern Taiwan, Taipei City is an enclave of the municipality of New Taipei City t ...

Taipei
. Both regimes formally adhere to the
One-China policy The "One-China policy" is a policy asserting that there is only one sovereign state under the name China, as opposed to the idea that there are two states, the People's Republic of China China, officially the People's Republic of China ...
and claim to be the sole legitimate representative of the whole of China.


Agnatic lineages

There were several groups of Chinese dynasties that were ruled by families with patrilineal relations, yet due to various reasons these regimes are considered to be separate dynasties and given distinct retroactive names for historiographical purpose. Such conditions as differences in their official dynastic title and fundamental changes having occurred to their rule would create the need for nomenclatural distinction, despite these dynasties sharing common ancestral origins. Additionally, numerous other dynasties claimed descent from earlier dynasties as a calculated political move to obtain or enhance their legitimacy, even if such claims were unfounded. The agnatic relations of the following groups of Chinese dynasties are typically recognized by historians: *
Western Zhou The Western Zhou ( zh, c=, p=Xīzhōu; c. 1045 BC – 771 BC) was the first half of the Zhou dynasty of ancient China. It began when King Wu of Zhou King Wu of Zhou () was the first king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the ...
and
Eastern Zhou The Eastern Zhou (; zh, c=, p=Dōngzhōu; 770–256 BC) was the second half of the Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ) was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynas ...
** The Western Zhou and the Eastern Zhou are collectively known as the
Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscript ...
** The founder of the Eastern Zhou, the
King Ping of Zhou King Ping of Zhou (; died 720 BC), personal name Ji Yijiu, was the thirteenth king of the Chinese Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ) was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as ...
, was a son of the last Western Zhou ruler, the
King You of Zhou King You of Zhou (; 795–771 BC), personal name Ji Gongsheng, was the twelfth king of the Chinese Zhou dynasty and the last of Western Zhou Dynasty. He reigned from 781 to 771 BC. History In 780 BC, a major earthquake hit Guanzhong. A Fortune-t ...
*
Western Han#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...
,
Eastern Han The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), ...
,
Shu Han Han (漢; 221–263), known in historiography as Shu Han (蜀漢; often shortened to Shu; ) or Ji Han (季漢) to disambiguate from the preceding Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty ...
, and
Liu Song The Liu Song dynasty (420–479 CE; ), also known as Former Song (前宋) or Southern Song (南朝宋), was the first of the four Southern Dynasties in China, succeeding the Eastern Jin and followed by the Southern Qi. The dynasty was founded b ...
** The Western Han and the Eastern Han are collectively known as the
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
** The first emperor of the Eastern Han, the
Emperor Guangwu of Han Emperor Guangwu (15 January 5 BC – 29 March AD 57), born Liu Xiu (), courtesy name Wenshu, was an emperor of China, emperor of the Chinese Han dynasty, restorer of the dynasty in AD 25 and thus founder of the Later Han or Eastern Han (the res ...
, was a ninth-generation descendant of the Western Han founder, the
Emperor Gao of Han Emperor Gaozu of Han (256 – 1 June 195 BC), born Liu Bang () with courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the ...

Emperor Gao of Han
; he was also a seventh-generation descendant of the sixth Western Han monarch, the
Emperor Jing of Han Emperor Jing of Han (188 BC – 9 March 141 BC), personal name Liu Qi (劉啟), was the sixth emperor of China, emperor of the Chinese Han dynasty from 157 to 141 BC. His reign saw the limiting of the power of the feudal kings/princes which resul ...
** The founder of the Shu Han, the , was also descended from the Emperor Jing of Han ** The ''
Book of Song The ''Book of Song'' (''Sòng Shū'') is a historical text of the Liu Song Dynasty of the Southern Dynasties of history of China, China. It covers history from 420 to 479, and is one of the Twenty-Four Histories, a traditional collection of hist ...
'' states that the first Liu Song ruler, the
Emperor Wu of Liu Song Emperor Wu of (Liu) Song (()宋武帝; 363–422), personal name Liu Yu (), courtesy name Dexing (), nickname Jinu (), was a statesman and strategist of ancient China, and the founding emperor of the Chinese dynasty Liu Song The Liu Song dyna ...
, was a male-line descendant of a younger brother of the Emperor Gao of Han, the Liu Jiao (prince), Prince Yuan of Chu *
Western Jin Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
and
Eastern Jin Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, wit ...
** The Western Jin and the Eastern Jin are collectively known as the Jin dynasty (266–420), Jin dynasty ** The Eastern Jin founder, the Emperor Yuan of Jin, was a great-grandson of the Western Jin progenitor, the Sima Yi, Emperor Xuan of Jin; he was also a grandson of the Sima Zhou, Prince Wu of Langya and a son of the Prince Gong of Langya *
Han Zhao The Han Zhao (; 304–329 AD), or Former Zhao (), was a Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty of Southern Xiongnu origin during Sixteen Kingdoms period of Chinese history coeval with the Sima clan's Jin dynasty (266–420), Jin dynasty. In Chinese ...
and Xia (Sixteen Kingdoms), Hu Xia ** The Han Zhao founder, the Liu Yuan (Han Zhao), Emperor Guangwen of Han Zhao, and the Hu Xia founder, the Helian Bobo, Emperor Wulie of Hu Xia, were descended from Qiangqu, Liu Qiangqu and Liu Qubei respectively; according to the ''History of the Northern Dynasties'', Liu Qiangqu and Liu Qibei were brothers * Former Yan, Later Yan, and Southern Yan ** The founder of the Later Yan, the Murong Chui, Emperor Chengwu of Later Yan, was a son of the Former Yan founder, the Murong Huang, Emperor Wenming of Former Yan ** The first monarch of the Southern Yan, the Murong De, Emperor Xianwu of Southern Yan, was also a son of the Emperor Wenming of Former Yan * Western Liang (Sixteen Kingdoms), Western Liang and
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
** The founder of the Tang dynasty, the Emperor Gaozu of Tang, was a seventh-generation descendant of the Western Liang founder, the Li Gao, Prince Wuzhao of Western Liang * Northern Wei, Eastern Wei, and Western Wei ** The only ruler of the Eastern Wei, the
Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei ((東)魏孝靜帝) (524–552), personal name Yuan Shanjian (元善見), was the only emperor of the Eastern Wei The Eastern Wei (;Southern Qi The Southern Qi ( or ) (479–502) also known as Xiao Qi() was the second of the Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589, following the tumultuous era of t ...
and
Liang dynasty The Liang dynasty () (502–557), also known as the Southern Liang (), was the third of the Southern Dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589, following the tumultuou ...
** The founder of the Liang dynasty, the Emperor Wu of Liang, was a son of the Emperor Wen of Liang who was a distant cousin of the Southern Qi founder, the Emperor Gao of Southern Qi * Later Han (Five Dynasties), Later Han and Northern Han ** The first ruler of the Northern Han, the Liu Chong, Emperor Shizu of Northern Han, was a younger brother of the Later Han founder, the Liu Zhiyuan, Emperor Gaozu of Later Han *
Liao dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an imperial dynasty of China that existed between 916 and 1125, ruled by the Yelü ...
and
Western Liao The Qara Khitai or Kara Khitai (alternatively known as "Black Khitan" or "Black Cathay", mn, Хар Хятан; 1124–1218), also known as the Western Liao (), officially the Great Liao (), was a sinicized Sinicization, sinofication, sinifi ...
** The Western Liao founder, the Yelü Dashi, Emperor Dezong of Western Liao, was an eighth-generation descendant of the first emperor of the Liao dynasty, the Abaoji, Emperor Taizu of Liao *
Northern Song The Northern Song (北宋; 4 February 960 – 20 March 1127) is an era during the Song dynasty, Song Dynasty. It came to an end when its capital city, the city of Kaifeng, was conquered by enemies from the north. Later, the provisional capital of ...
and
Southern Song The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kuan ...
** The Northern Song and the Southern Song are collectively known as the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties a ...
** The first ruler of the Southern Song, the Emperor Gaozong of Song, was a son of the eighth Northern Song monarch, the Emperor Huizong of Song; he was also a younger brother of the last Northern Song emperor, the Emperor Qinzong, Emperor Qinzong of Song * Yuan dynasty and
Northern Yuan The Northern Yuan () was a dynastic regime ruled by the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; ) are an East Asian ethnic group native to Mongolia Mongolia (, Mongolian language, Mongolian: , Mongolian ...

Northern Yuan
** The Toghon Temür, Emperor Huizong of Yuan was both the last emperor of the Yuan dynasty and the first ruler of the Northern Yuan *
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; ) are an East Asian ethnic group nativ ...

Ming dynasty
and
Southern Ming The Southern Ming (), officially the Great Ming (), was a series of dynastic rump states ruled by the Zhu clan in southern China following the Ming dynasty's collapse in 1644. The Ming dynasty ended when Shun forces led by Li Zicheng captu ...

Southern Ming
** The Southern Ming founder, the Zhu Yousong, Hongguang Emperor, was a grandson of the 14th emperor of the Ming dynasty, the Wanli Emperor * Later Jin and
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
** The was both the last Later Jin khan and the first emperor of the Qing dynasty


Classification


Central Plain dynasties

The Zhongyuan, Central Plain is a vast area on the lower reaches of the Yellow River which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization. "Central Plain dynasties" (; ) refer to dynasties of China that had their Historical capitals of China, capital cities situated within the Central Plain. This term could refer to dynasties of both Han and non-Han ethnic origins.


Unified dynasties

"Unified dynasties" (; ) refer to dynasties of China, regardless of their ethnic origin, that achieved the unification of China proper. "China proper" is a region generally regarded as the traditional heartland of the Han people, and is not equivalent to the term "China". Imperial dynasties that had attained the unification of China proper may be known as the "Chinese Empire" or the "Empire of China" (; ). The concept of "great unity" or "grand unification" (; ) was first mentioned in the ''Gongyang Zhuan, Gongyang Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals'' that was supposedly authored by the Qi (state), Qi scholar Gongyang Gao. Other prominent figures like Confucius and Mencius also elaborated on this concept in their respective works. Historians typically consider the following dynasties to have unified China proper: the Qin dynasty, the
Western Han#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...
, the Xin dynasty, the
Eastern Han The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), ...
, the
Western Jin Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
, the
Sui dynasty The Sui dynasty (, ) was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China of pivotal significance. The Sui unified the Northern and Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earli ...
, the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
, the Zhou dynasty (690–705), Wu Zhou, the
Northern Song The Northern Song (北宋; 4 February 960 – 20 March 1127) is an era during the Song dynasty, Song Dynasty. It came to an end when its capital city, the city of Kaifeng, was conquered by enemies from the north. Later, the provisional capital of ...
, the Yuan dynasty, the
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; ) are an East Asian ethnic group nativ ...

Ming dynasty
, and the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
. The status of the Northern Song as a unified dynasty is disputed among historians as the Sixteen Prefectures, Sixteen Prefectures of Yan and Yun were partially administered by the contemporaneous
Liao dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an imperial dynasty of China that existed between 916 and 1125, ruled by the Yelü ...
while the Western Xia exercised partial control over Hetao; the Northern Song, in this sense, did not truly achieve the unification of China proper.


Conquest dynasties

"Conquest dynasties" (; ) refer to dynasties of China founded by non-Han peoples that ruled parts or all of China proper. This term was first coined by the historian and sinologist Karl August Wittfogel and remains a source of controversy among scholars who believe that Chinese history should be analyzed and understood from a multiethnic and multicultural perspective. For instance, the Northern Wei and the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
, established by the Xianbei and Manchu ethnicities respectively, are considered conquest dynasties of China.


Naming convention


Official nomenclature

It was customary for Chinese monarchs to adopt an official name for the realm, known as the (; "name of the state"), upon the establishment of a dynasty.Wilkinson (2000). pp. 13–14. During the rule of a dynasty, its functioned as the formal name of the state, both internally and for diplomatic purposes. The formal name of Chinese dynasties was usually derived from one of the following sources: * The name of the ruling tribe or tribal confederation ** e.g., the
Xia dynasty The Xia dynasty is the first dynasty in traditional Chinese historiography. According to tradition, the Xia dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great, after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors, gave the throne to him. In the tra ...
took its name from its ruling class, the Xia tribal confederation * The noble title held by the dynastic founder prior to the founding of the dynasty ** e.g., the Emperor Wu of Chen adopted the dynastic name "Chen" from his pre-imperial title "Prince of Chen" upon the establishment of the Chen dynasty * The name of a historical state that occupied the same geographical location as the new dynasty ** e.g., the Former Yan was officially named "Yan" based on the ancient Yan (state), State of Yan located in the same region * The name of a previous dynasty from which the new dynasty claimed descent or succession from, even if such familial link was questionable ** e.g., the Guo Wei, Emperor Taizu of Later Zhou officially proclaimed the
Later Zhou The Later Zhou (; ) was the last in a succession of five dynasties that controlled most of northern China during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which lasted from 907 to 960 and bridged the gap between the Tang Dynasty The T ...

Later Zhou
with the official title "Zhou" as he claimed ancestry from Guo Shu, a royal of the
Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscript ...
* A term with auspicious or other significant connotations ** e.g., the Yuan dynasty was officially the "Great Yuan", a name derived from a clause in the ''I Ching, Classic of Changes'', "" (; "Great is the Heavenly and Primal") There were instances whereby the official name was changed during the reign of a dynasty. For example, the dynasty known retroactively as Southern Han initially used the name "Yue", only to be renamed to "Han" subsequently. The official title of several dynasties bore the character "" (; "great"). In ''Yongzhuang Xiaopin'' by the Ming dynasty, Ming historian Zhu Guozhen (Ming dynasty), Zhu Guozhen, it was claimed that the first dynasty to do so was the Yuan dynasty. However, several sources like the ''History of Liao'' and the ''History of Jin'' compiled by the Yuan historian Toqto'a (Yuan dynasty), Toqto'a revealed that the official dynastic name of some earlier dynasties such as the Liao dynasty, Liao and the Jin dynasty (1115–1234), Jin also contained the character "". It was also common for officials, subjects, or tributary states of a particular dynasty to include the term "" (or an equivalent term in other languages) when referring to this dynasty as a form of respect, even if the official dynastic name did not include it. For instance, ''Nihon Shoki, The Chronicles of Japan'' referred to the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
as "" (; "Great Tang") despite its dynastic name being simply "Tang". While all dynasties of China sought to associate their respective realm with (; "Central State"; usually translated as "Middle Kingdom" or "China" in English texts), none of these regimes officially used the term as their dynastic name. Although the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
explicitly identified their state with and employed ""—and its Manchu language, Manchu equivalent "''Dulimbai Gurun''" ()—in official capacity in numerous international treaties beginning with the Treaty of Nerchinsk dated AD 1689, its dynastic name had remained the "Great Qing". "", which has become nearly synonymous with "China" in modern times, is a concept with geographical, political, and cultural connotations. The adoption of , as well as the importance assigned to it, had promulgated within the East Asian cultural sphere, Sinosphere. Notably, rulers of List of Vietnamese dynasties, Vietnam and Korea also declared for their respective realm.


Retroactive nomenclature

In Chinese historiography, historians generally do not refer to dynasties directly by their official name. Instead, historiographical names, which were most commonly derived from their official name, are used. For instance, the
Sui dynasty The Sui dynasty (, ) was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China of pivotal significance. The Sui unified the Northern and Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earli ...
is known as such because its formal name was "Sui". Likewise, the Jin dynasty was officially the "Great Jin". When more than one dynasty shared the same Chinese characters, Chinese character(s) as their formal name, as was common in Chinese history, prefixes are retroactively applied to dynastic names by historians in order to distinguish between these similarly-named regimes. Frequently used prefixes include: * Cardinal direction ** "Northern" (; ): e.g., Northern Qi,
Northern Yuan The Northern Yuan () was a dynastic regime ruled by the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; ) are an East Asian ethnic group native to Mongolia Mongolia (, Mongolian language, Mongolian: , Mongolian ...

Northern Yuan
** "Southern" (; ): e.g., Southern Yan,
Southern Tang Southern Tang () was a state in Southern China that existed during Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which proclaimed itself to be the successor of the former Tang Dynasty. The capital was located at Nanjing Nanjing ( ), Postal Map R ...
** "Eastern" (; ): e.g.,
Eastern Jin Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, wit ...
, Eastern Wei ** "Western" (; ): e.g., Western Liang (Sixteen Kingdoms), Western Liang,
Western Liao The Qara Khitai or Kara Khitai (alternatively known as "Black Khitan" or "Black Cathay", mn, Хар Хятан; 1124–1218), also known as the Western Liao (), officially the Great Liao (), was a sinicized Sinicization, sinofication, sinifi ...
* Sequence ** "Former" (; ): e.g.,
Former Qin The Former Qin, also called Fu Qin (苻秦) (351–394) was a dynastic state of the Sixteen Kingdoms The Sixteen Kingdoms (), less commonly the Sixteen States, was a chaotic period in Chinese history The earliest known written recor ...
, Former Shu ** "Later" (; ): e.g.,
Later Zhao The Later Zhao (; 319–351) was a dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press 200 ...
, Later Han (Five Dynasties), Later Han * Surname of the ruling family ** e.g., Zhou dynasty (690–705), Wu Zhou, Ma Chu * Other types of prefixes ** e.g.,
Shu Han Han (漢; 221–263), known in historiography as Shu Han (蜀漢; often shortened to Shu; ) or Ji Han (季漢) to disambiguate from the preceding Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty ...
(the prefix "Shu" is a reference to the realm's geographical location at Sichuan), Xia (Sixteen Kingdoms), Hu Xia (the prefix "Hu", meaning "Barbarian#China, barbarian", refers to the dynasty's Xiongnu origin) A dynasty could be referred to by more than one retroactive name in Chinese historiography, albeit some are more widely used than others. For instance, the
Western Han#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...
is also known as the "Former Han", and the Yang Wu is also called the "Southern Wu". Scholars usually make a historiographical distinction for dynasties whose rule were interrupted. For example, the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties a ...
is divided into the
Northern Song The Northern Song (北宋; 4 February 960 – 20 March 1127) is an era during the Song dynasty, Song Dynasty. It came to an end when its capital city, the city of Kaifeng, was conquered by enemies from the north. Later, the provisional capital of ...
and the
Southern Song The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kuan ...
, with the Jingkang incident, Jingkang Incident as the dividing line; the original "Song" founded by the Emperor Taizu of Song was therefore differentiated from the "Song" restored under the Emperor Gaozong of Song. In such cases, the regime had collapsed, only to be re-established; a nomenclatural distinction between the original regime and the new regime is thus necessary for historiographical purpose. Major exceptions to this historiographical practice include the Western Qin and the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
, which were interrupted by the Later Qin and the Zhou dynasty (690–705), Wu Zhou respectively. In Chinese sources, the term "dynasty" (; ) is usually omitted when referencing dynasties that have prefixes in their historiographical names. Such a practice is sometimes adopted in English usage, even though the inclusion of the word "dynasty" is also widely seen in English scholarly writings. For example, the Northern Zhou is also sometimes referred to as the "Northern Zhou dynasty". Often, scholars would refer to a specific Chinese dynasty by adding the word "China" after the dynastic name. For instance, "Tang China" refers to the Chinese state under the rule of the Tang dynasty and the corresponding historical era.


Territorial extent

While the earliest orthodox Chinese dynasties were established along the Yellow River and the Yangtze, Yangtze River in China proper, numerous Chinese dynasties later Chinese expansionism, expanded beyond the region to encompass other territorial domains.Tanner (2009). p. 167. At various points in time, Chinese dynasties exercised control over China proper (including Hainan, Macau, and Hong Kong), Taiwan, Manchuria (both Northeast China, Inner Manchuria and Outer Manchuria), Sakhalin, Mongolian Plateau, Mongolia (both Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia), Vietnam under Chinese rule, Vietnam,Lockard (2020). p. 262. Tibet, East Turkestan, Xinjiang, as well as parts of Central Asia, the Korea, Korean Peninsula, Afghanistan,Hsu (2012). p. 268. and Siberia. Territorially, the largest orthodox Chinese dynasty was either the Yuan dynasty or the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
, depending on the historical source. This discrepancy can be mainly attributed to the ambiguous northern border of the Yuan realm: whereas some sources describe the Yuan border as located to the immediate north of the northern shore of Lake Baikal, others posit that the Yuan dynasty reached as far north as the Arctic Ocean, Arctic coast. In contrast, the borders of the Qing dynasty were demarcated and reinforced through a series of international treaties, and thus were more well-defined. Apart from exerting direct control over the Chinese realm, various dynasties of China also maintained hegemony over other states and tribes through the Tributary system of China, Chinese tributary system. The Chinese tributary system first emerged during the
Western Han#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...
and lasted until the 19th century AD when the Sinocentrism, Sinocentric order broke down. The modern territorial claims of both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China are inherited from the lands once held by the Qing dynasty at the time of its collapse.Tanner (2009). p. 419.


List of major Chinese dynasties

This list includes only the major dynasties of China that are typically found in simplified forms of Chinese historical timelines. This list is neither comprehensive nor representative of Chinese history as a whole.


Timelines


Timeline of major historical periods


Timeline of major regimes

ImageSize = width:1600 height:auto barincrement:15 PlotArea = top:10 bottom:30 right:210 left:20 AlignBars = early DateFormat = yyyy Period = from:-2500 till:2000 TimeAxis = orientation:horizontal ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:200 start:-2500 Colors = id:canvas value:rgb(0.97,0.97,0.97) id:PD value:rgb(1,0.2,0.6) id:DY value:rgb(1,0.6,0.2) id:ND value:rgb(0,0.6,0) Backgroundcolors = canvas:canvas BarData = barset:Regimes PlotData= width:5 align:left fontsize:S shift:(5,-4) anchor:till barset:Regimes from: -2500 till: -2070 color:PD text:"Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors (before 2070 BC)" from: -2070 till: -1600 color:DY text:"Xia dynasty, Xia (2070–1600 BC)" from: -1600 till: -1046 color:DY text:"Shang dynasty, Shang (1600–1046 BC)" from: -1046 till: -771 color:DY text:"Western Zhou, W. Zhou (1046–771 BC)" from: -770 till: -256 color:DY text:"Eastern Zhou, E. Zhou (770–256 BC)" from: -221 till: -207 color:DY text:"Qin dynasty, Qin (221–207 BC)" from: -202 till: 9 color:DY text:"Han dynasty#Western Han, W. Han (202 BC–AD 9)" from: 9 till: 23 color:DY text:"Xin dynasty, Xin (AD 9–23)" from: 25 till: 220 color:DY text:"Han dynasty#Eastern Han, E. Han (AD 25–220)" from: 220 till: 266 color:DY text:"
Cao Wei Wei (Hanzi Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write other East-Asian languages, and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system ...
(AD 220–266)" from: 221 till: 263 color:DY text:"
Shu Han Han (漢; 221–263), known in historiography as Shu Han (蜀漢; often shortened to Shu; ) or Ji Han (季漢) to disambiguate from the preceding Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty ...
(AD 221–263)" from: 222 till: 280 color:DY text:"Eastern Wu, E. Wu (AD 222–280)" from: 266 till: 316 color:DY text:"Jin dynasty (266–420), W. Jin (AD 266–316)" from: 304 till: 329 color:DY text:"
Han Zhao The Han Zhao (; 304–329 AD), or Former Zhao (), was a Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty of Southern Xiongnu origin during Sixteen Kingdoms period of Chinese history coeval with the Sima clan's Jin dynasty (266–420), Jin dynasty. In Chinese ...
(AD 304–329)" from: 304 till: 347 color:DY text:"Cheng Han (AD 304–347)" from: 317 till: 420 color:DY text:"Jin dynasty (266–420)#Eastern Jin, E. Jin (AD 317–420)" from: 319 till: 351 color:DY text:"Later Zhao, L. Zhao (AD 319–351)" from: 320 till: 376 color:DY text:"Former Liang, F. Liang (AD 320–376)" from: 337 till: 370 color:DY text:"Former Yan, F. Yan (AD 337–370)" from: 351 till: 394 color:DY text:"Former Qin, F. Qin (AD 351–394)" from: 384 till: 409 color:DY text:"Later Yan, L. Yan (AD 384–409)" from: 384 till: 417 color:DY text:"Later Qin, L. Qin (AD 384–417)" from: 385 till: 400 color:DY text:"Western Qin, W. Qin (pre-interregnum; AD 385–400)" from: 386 till: 403 color:DY text:"Later Liang (Sixteen Kingdoms), L. Liang (AD 386–403)" from: 386 till: 535 color:DY text:"Northern Wei, N. Wei (AD 386–535)" from: 397 till: 414 color:DY text:"Southern Liang (Sixteen Kingdoms), S. Liang (AD 397–414)" from: 397 till: 439 color:DY text:"Northern Liang, N. Liang (AD 397–439)" from: 398 till: 410 color:DY text:"Southern Yan, S. Yan (AD 398–410)" from: 400 till: 421 color:DY text:"Western Liang (Sixteen Kingdoms), W. Liang (AD 400–421)" from: 407 till: 431 color:DY text:"Xia (Sixteen Kingdoms), Hu Xia (AD 407–431)" from: 407 till: 436 color:DY text:"Northern Yan, N. Yan (AD 407–436)" from: 409 till: 431 color:DY text:"Western Qin, W. Qin (restored; AD 409–431)" from: 420 till: 479 color:DY text:"
Liu Song The Liu Song dynasty (420–479 CE; ), also known as Former Song (前宋) or Southern Song (南朝宋), was the first of the four Southern Dynasties in China, succeeding the Eastern Jin and followed by the Southern Qi. The dynasty was founded b ...
(AD 420–479)" from: 479 till: 502 color:DY text:"Southern Qi, S. Qi (AD 479–502)" from: 502 till: 557 color:DY text:"Liang dynasty, Liang (AD 502–557)" from: 534 till: 550 color:DY text:"Eastern Wei, E. Wei (AD 534–550)" from: 535 till: 557 color:DY text:"Western Wei, W. Wei (AD 535–557)" from: 550 till: 577 color:DY text:"Northern Qi, N. Qi (AD 550–577)" from: 557 till: 581 color:DY text:"Northern Zhou, N. Zhou (AD 557–581)" from: 557 till: 589 color:DY text:"Chen dynasty, Chen (AD 557–589)" from: 581 till: 619 color:DY text:"Sui dynasty, Sui (AD 581–619)" from: 618 till: 690 color:DY text:"Tang dynasty, Tang (pre-interregnum; AD 618–690)" from: 690 till: 705 color:DY text:"Zhou dynasty (690–705), Wu Zhou (AD 690–705)" from: 705 till: 907 color:DY text:"Tang dynasty, Tang (restored; AD 705–907)" from: 907 till: 923 color:DY text:"Later Liang (Five Dynasties), L. Liang (AD 907–923)" from: 907 till: 925 color:DY text:"Former Shu, F. Shu (AD 907–925)" from: 907 till: 937 color:DY text:"Yang Wu (AD 907–937)" from: 907 till: 951 color:DY text:"Ma Chu (AD 907–951)" from: 907 till: 978 color:DY text:"Wuyue (AD 907–978)" from: 909 till: 945 color:DY text:"Min Kingdom, Min (AD 909–945)" from: 916 till: 1125 color:DY text:"Liao dynasty, Liao (AD 916–1125)" from: 917 till: 971 color:DY text:"Southern Han, S. Han (AD 917–971)" from: 923 till: 937 color:DY text:"Later Tang, L. Tang (AD 923–937)" from: 924 till: 963 color:DY text:"Jingnan (AD 924–963)" from: 934 till: 965 color:DY text:"Later Shu, L. Shu (AD 934–965)" from: 936 till: 947 color:DY text:"Later Jin (Five Dynasties), L. Jin (AD 936–947)" from: 937 till: 976 color:DY text:"Southern Tang, S. Tang (AD 937–976)" from: 947 till: 951 color:DY text:"Later Han (Five Dynasties), L. Han (AD 947–951)" from: 951 till: 960 color:DY text:"Later Zhou, L. Zhou (AD 951–960)" from: 951 till: 979 color:DY text:"Northern Han, N. Han (AD 951–979)" from: 960 till: 1127 color:DY text:"Northern Song Dynasty, N. Song (AD 960–1127)" from: 1038 till: 1227 color:DY text:"Western Xia, W. Xia (AD 1038–1227)" from: 1115 till: 1234 color:DY text:"Jin dynasty (1115–1234), Jin (AD 1115–1234)" from: 1124 till: 1218 color:DY text:"Qara Khitai, W. Liao (AD 1124–1218)" from: 1127 till: 1279 color:DY text:"Song dynasty#Southern Song, 1127–1279, S. Song (AD 1127–1279)" from: 1271 till: 1368 color:DY text:"Yuan dynasty, Yuan (AD 1271–1368)" from: 1368 till: 1635 color:DY text:"Northern Yuan, N. Yuan (AD 1368–1635)" from: 1368 till: 1644 color:DY text:"Ming dynasty, Ming (AD 1368–1644)" from: 1616 till: 1636 color:DY text:"Later Jin (1616–1636), L. Jin (AD 1616–1636)" from: 1636 till: 1912 color:DY text:"Qing dynasty, Qing (AD 1636–1912)" from: 1644 till: 1662 color:DY text:"Southern Ming, S. Ming (AD 1644–1662)" from: 1912 till: 2000 color:ND text:"Taiwan, R.O. China (AD 1912–present)" from: 1931 till: 1937 color:ND text:"Chinese Soviet Republic, S.R. China (AD 1931–1937)" from: 1949 till: 2000 color:ND text:"China, P.R. China (AD 1949–present)" barset:skip


See also

* 1911 Revolution * Ancient Chinese states * Chinese expansionism *
Chinese historiography Chinese historiography is the study of the techniques and sources used by historians to develop the recorded history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. ...
* Chinese sovereign * Conquest dynasty * Dragon Throne * Dynastic cycle * East Asian cultural sphere * Eighteen Kingdoms * Emperor at home, king abroad * Emperor of China * Family tree of Chinese monarchs (ancient) * Family tree of Chinese monarchs (early) * Family tree of Chinese monarchs (late) * Family tree of Chinese monarchs (middle) * Family tree of Chinese monarchs (Warring States period) * ''Fanzhen'' * ''Fengjian'' * Golden ages of China * Historical capitals of China * ''Jiedushi'' * Jimi system * List of Chinese monarchs * List of Confucian states and dynasties * List of recipients of tribute from China * List of tributary states of China *
Mandate of Heaven The Mandate of Heaven () is a Chinese political philosophy that was used in ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsAztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of cont ...
* Monarchy of China * Names of China * ''Pax Sinica'' * Six Dynasties * Succession to the Chinese throne * Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors * ''Tianxia'' * Timeline of Chinese history * Tributary system of China * ''Tusi'' * ''
Twenty-Four Histories The ''Twenty-Four Histories'' (), also known as the ''Orthodox Histories'' (), are the Chinese official historical books covering a period from 3000 BC to the Ming dynasty in the 17th century. The Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the ...
'' * Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project * ''Zhonghua minzu''


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* China Handbook Editorial Committee, ''China Handbook Series: History'' (trans., Dun J. Li), Beijing, 1982, pp. 188–189; and Shao Chang Lee, "China Cultural Development" (wall chart), East Lansing, 1984. * Specifically Section A.2 "Dynasties", in this and earlier editions, which includes subsections on "Naming the Dynasties", "Sets of Dynasties", "The Dynastic Cycle", "Legitimate Succession", "Grade School History" (the effect on common understanding of China's history).


External links

* Columbia University
''The Dynasties Song''
* Tan Qixiang
''The Historical Atlas of China''
{{authority control Dynasties in Chinese history, History of Imperial China, History of China Lists of dynasties, Chinese Royalty-related lists