Chinese Civilization Quiz

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

During which dynasty was the concept of the Mandate of Heaven used to legitimize rule?

What was the title created by Qin Shi Huang that marked the beginning of imperial China?

Which period saw the rise of rival kingdoms in China?

Which dynasty standardized many aspects of society and kept exhaustive records on the population?

Which dynasty saw the first use of gunpowder in battlefields by the Song army?

Which dynasty was the first conquest dynasty in Chinese history to rule the entire China proper as an ethnic minority?

Which dynasty saw the growth of private industry, urbanization, and foreign trade?

Which dynasty doubled the territory controlled by the Ming?

Which rebellion was a Christian religious movement that controlled roughly a third of China proper and was ultimately crushed by local armies?


Account of Past Events in Chinese Civilization


  • Homo erectus arrived in China between 1.3 and 1.8 million years ago.
  • Paleolithic remains of Homo erectus subspecies have been found in China.
  • The oldest known human remains are Yuanmou Man (c. 1.7 Ma) and Peking Man (c. 700,000-400,000 BP).
  • Evidence of fire use by Homo erectus occurred between 1-1.8 million years BP.
  • The earliest modern humans have been dated to China at 120,000-80,000 BP.
  • Agriculture in China developed gradually, beginning about 10,000 years ago.
  • The earliest evidence of cultivated rice was carbon-dated to 8,000 years ago.
  • The cultures of the middle and late Neolithic are known as the Yangshao culture and the Longshan culture.
  • Bronze artifacts have been found at the Majiayao culture site (between 3100 and 2700 BC).

Ancient China

  • The Xia dynasty (c. 2070-1600 BC) is generally considered mythical by Western scholars.

  • The Shang dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BC) is confirmed by archaeological evidence, including oracle bones and bronzes.

  • The Zhou dynasty (1046-256 BC) invoked the concept of the Mandate of Heaven to legitimize their rule.

  • The Zhou alliance gradually expanded eastward into Shandong, southeastward into the Huai River valley, and southward into the Yangtze River valley.

  • The Spring and Autumn period (722-481 BC) saw the development of bureaucratic systems that laid the foundation for the imperial system of government.

  • The Warring States period (475-221 BC) saw the emergence of rival kingdoms.

  • Qin Shi Huang conquered the various warring states and created the title of "emperor" of the Qin, marking the beginning of imperial China.Chinese civilization from the Eastern Zhou to the Northern and Southern Dynasties

  • The Eastern Zhou period began with the defeat of King You in the Battle of Mount Li by rebel states and Quanrong barbarians, leading to the establishment of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods.

  • The Warring States period saw the rise of the state of Qin, which eventually conquered and unified the other six regional powers, leading to the establishment of the Qin dynasty in 221 BC.

  • The Qin dynasty was a centralized bureaucratic monarchy that standardized many aspects of society and kept exhaustive records on the population. It was characterized by Legalism and patronage of Confucianism.

  • The Han dynasty was founded in 206 BC by Liu Bang, who consolidated the foundation of China as a unified state under a central imperial bureaucracy. It was a golden age in Chinese history, marked by stability, prosperity, and advances in art, culture, and science.

  • Emperor Wu brought the empire to its zenith through military campaigns against the Xiongnu Empire and the annexation of various small kingdoms far beyond the Yangtze River Valley. He also extended patronage to Confucianism and strengthened the fiscal structure of the dynasty with government monopolies.

  • After Emperor Wu, the Han dynasty slipped into gradual stagnation and decline, culminating in the usurpation of Wang Mang and the establishment of the short-lived Xin dynasty in AD 9.

  • Emperor Guangwu reinstated the Han dynasty in AD 25, initiating the Eastern Han dynasty, which saw the reclamation of former glories of the dynasty and brilliant military and cultural achievements.

  • The Three Kingdoms period followed the Yellow Turban Rebellion and was characterized by a gradual decentralization of the state and an increase in the power of great families.

  • The Jin dynasty overthrew the Wei and later unified the country in 280, but this union was short-lived.

  • Northern China fragmented into a series of independent states known as the Sixteen Kingdoms, most of which were founded by Xiongnu, Xianbei, Jie, Di, and Qiang rulers, while southern China was ruled by the Eastern Jin, Liu Song, Southern Qi, Liang, and Chen dynasties.

  • The Northern and Southern dynasties saw parallel regimes ruling the northern and southern halves of the country, with Buddhism spreading throughout the land.

  • The Northern Wei eventually split into the Eastern and Western Wei, which then became the Northern Qi and Northern Zhou, and most Xianbei people adopted Han surnames, leading to complete assimilation into the Han.

  • The Northern and Southern dynasties period ended with the reunification of the country under the Sui dynasty in 589.Overview of Chinese Dynasties

  • The Sui dynasty (581-618) reunified China and implemented new institutions, including imperial examinations and standardized coinage.

  • The Tang dynasty (618-907) was a golden age of Chinese civilization, with significant developments in culture, art, literature, and technology. The dynasty had a centralized bureaucracy and implemented the "equal-field system" for land ownership.

  • The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907-960) was a time of political disunity between the Tang and the Song. The Song dynasty was established in 960 and reunified most of China proper.

  • The Song dynasty (960-1279) was a high point of classical Chinese civilization, with a sophisticated economy, population growth, and advancements in science and technology. Gunpowder was first used in battlefields by the Song army. The dynasty ended with the Mongol conquest.

  • The Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) was the first conquest dynasty in Chinese history to rule the entire China proper as an ethnic minority. The dynasty was established by Kublai Khan and had its capital in Khanbaliq (modern-day Beijing).Imperial China: A Brief Overview

  • The Mongol-led Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) controlled much of Asia and facilitated the flow of people, trade, and cultural exchange. The dynasty was the first to use paper currency and saw the rise of foreign settlements in China.

  • The Ming dynasty (1368-1644) was founded by Zhu Yuanzhang and saw the growth of private industry, urbanization, and foreign trade. The dynasty intervened in the Japanese invasions of Korea and saw the rise of the Manchu tribes in the north, which later became the Qing dynasty.

  • The Qing dynasty (1644-1912) was the last imperial dynasty in China and doubled the territory controlled by the Ming. The dynasty was characterized by the enforcement of the queue order, conquests in Central Asia, and the suppression of rebellions. The dynasty was internally restive and externally threatened by western powers, leading to military defeats and unequal treaties.

  • The Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864) was a Christian religious movement that swept from the south and controlled roughly a third of China proper. The rebellion was ultimately crushed by local armies, but at a cost of millions of lives.

  • The fall of the Qing dynasty saw the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912.


Test your knowledge of Chinese civilization with this informative quiz! From the prehistoric era to the establishment of the Republic of China, this quiz will cover the important events and dynasties that shaped Chinese history. See how well you know the Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasties, learn about the golden age of the Tang dynasty, and discover the impact of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. Challenge yourself and see if you can get a perfect score!

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