Dynasties of China 2070 BCE – 1912

Dynasties of China Forbidden Palace

This timeline gives a chronology of Dynasties of China

2070 BCE – 1600 BCE
Xia Dynasty
Founded by Yu the Great of Xia
1600 BCE – 1046 BCE
Shang Dynasty
Founded by Tang of Shang
1046 BCE – 256 BCE
Zhou Dynasty
Founded by Wu of Zhou
The Zhou Dynasty was sub-divided:
Western Zhou (1046 BCE – 771 BCE) founded by Wu of Zhou
Eastern Zhou (770 BCE – 256 BCE) founded by Ping of Zhou who moved the court to the East
256 BCE 221 BCE
Warring States
After the fall of the Zhou Dynasty the states of China were at war.
221 – 206 BCE
Qin Dynasty
Founded by Qin Shi Huang after conquering and united the seven warring states. He built a terracotta army to protect him when he died.
206 BCE – 202 BCE
Eighteen Kingdoms
The Qin Dynasty collapsed and military leader, Xiang Yu, organised China into eighteen kingdoms.
202 BCE – 9 CE and 25 CE – 220 CE
Han Dynasty
Founded by Liu Bang
This first period is known as the Western Han.
9 CE – 23 CE
Xin Dynasty
Founded by Wang Mang of Han
Wang Mang took control following the death of Liu Ying. In 23 CE Liu Xiu took control, killed Wang Mang and reinstated the Han Dynasty with a court in the East.
25 CE – 220 CE
Han Dynasty
Founded by Liu Bang
This second period of the Han Dynasty is known as the Eastern Han.
Three Kingdoms
220 – 280
This 60 year period saw China ruled by three Kingdoms: Cao Wei, Shu Han and Eastern Wu.
266 – 420
Jin Dynasty
Founded by Sima Yan
The period was split between the Western Jin 266 – 316 and the Eastern Jin 317 – 420. In 266 Sima Yan took control of the Cao Wei Kingdom. The dynasty ended when Jin Gongdi allowed Liu Yu to take control. Liu Yu then founded the Song dynasty in the South.
420 – 589
Northern and Southern Dynasties
During this period Northern and Southern China were ruled separately. The North was ruled by the Wei, Qi and Zhou while the South was ruled by the Song, Qi, Liang and Chen.
581 – 618
Sui Dynasty
Founded by Yang Jian
China was unified under the leadership of Yang Jian who established the Sui Dynasty. He ordered sections of the Great Wall enlarged and repaired for defence. The dynasty fell after Emperor Yangdi failed to secure the capital against rebel attack.
618 – 907
Tang Dynasty
Founded by Li Yuan
The Tang dynasty saw the economy of China grow considerably. In 858 flooding killed tens of thousands of peasants leading to dissatisfaction and rebellion. In 907 the Tang dynasty fell to the Liang.
907 – 960
Five Dynasties
For 53 years China was subject to continual political change as leaders of five dynasties – Liang, Tang, Jin, Han and Zhou – ruled in quick succession.
916 – 1125
Liao Dynasty
Founded by Liao Taizu
Liao Taizu was a tribal leader who unified the Qidan tribes and established a kingdom. The dynasty fell after the Tianzuo Di was captured by an army of the Jin dynasty.
960 – 1276
Song Dynasty
Founded by Taizu of Song
The Song Dynasty is subdivided into the Northern Song 960 – 1127 and the Southern Song 1127 – 1276. In 1100 China’s population reached 100 million. After being defeated by the Jin Dynasty, the Song moved south to Huangzhou. The dynasty was defeated conquered by Kublai Khan.
1115 – 1234
Jin Dynasty
Founded by Wanyan Aguda
Aguda was the chieftan of the Wanyan tribe. The Jin dynasty was in constant conflict with the Song dynasty. The dynasty fell after Jin Modi, also known as Wanyan Chenglin, was killed by the Yuan army.
1271 – 1368
Yuan Dynasty
Founded by Kublai Khan
Italian explorer Marco Polo lived at the court of Kublai Khan and founded the Silk Road trade route between Europe and China. Khan’s sons were unable to hold the Empire together and the Dynasty was defeated by Zhu Yuanzhang.
1368 – 1644
Ming Dynasty
Founded by Zhu Yuanzhang
The Great Wall of China was built during this period. Peking (Beijing) became the home of the Emperor. The Dynasty ended when Emperor Chongzhen committed suicide.
1644 – 1912
Qing Dynasty
Founded by Aisin Gioro
In 1912 the Xuantong Emperor, Puyi, was forced to abdicate by the leaders of the Chinese Revolution.


Published Mar 15, 2020 @ 4:50 pm – Updated – Mar 15, 2020 @ 5:33 pm

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Dynasties of China 2070 BCE – 1912. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/dynasties-of-china. Last accessed April 9th, 2020