Empire of China

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Empire of China at the time of the Qing Dynasty , 1820

The Chinese Empire was founded in 221 BC. Founded by Emperor Qin Shihuangdi . He formed it from several kingdoms which he had gradually conquered. In its long history, the empire split up into numerous partial states several times and was reunified three times: in 280 by the Jin dynasty , in 589 by the Sui dynasty and in 1279 by the Mongolian Yuan dynasty .

The empire existed (with interruptions) for 2132 years until the proclamation of the Chinese republic by Sun Yat-sen on January 1, 1912; the last emperor Aisin Gioro Puyi abdicated on February 12, 1912. Yuan Shikai , the first President of the Republic of China, made himself "Emperor of China" in 1915. This “Kaiserreich”, which was abolished in 1916, and later restoration attempts are of little historical significance.

The partly mythical rulers of the early days (see Chinese mythology ) have gone down in history and are sometimes referred to as “ primordial emperors ”, especially in Western representations ( Chinese partly as huang ,, partly as di ,). 1 In the narrower historical sense, they were not emperors ( huangdi ,皇帝). The rulers of the pre-imperial Zhou dynasty are considered kings ( wang ,).

Traditional chronology of the ruling dynasties

There have been different dynasties in Chinese history . The partly mythological "dynasties" before the emergence of China as a unitary state - i.e. before the establishment of the Chinese Empire - were:

dynasty 中文 Pinyin Period of time Ruler
The three exalted ones and the five great emperors 三皇 五帝 Sān Huáng Wǔ Dì ? -2184 BC Chr. Ruler list
Xia Dynasty 夏朝 Xìa Cháo approx. 2200–1800 BC Chr. Ruler list
Shang dynasty 商朝 Shang Chao approx. 1500–1100 BC Chr. Ruler list
Zhou Dynasty 周朝 Zhou Cháo 1122 / 1045-770 BC BC Western Zhou dynasty Ruler list
770-256 BC Chr. Eastern Zhou Dynasty Ruler list
Time of spring and autumn annals 春秋 时代 Chūnqiū Shídài 722-481 BC Chr. -
Warring States Period 戰國 時代 Zhànguó Shídài 475-221 BC Chr. -

The dynasties of the Chinese Empire that began in 221 BC BC was founded by the ruler of the then Kingdom of Qin (秦國) and for the first time united the whole empire, were:

dynasty 中文 Pinyin Period of time Ruler
Qin Dynasty 秦朝 Qin Cháo 221-207 BC Chr. Ruler list
Han dynasty 漢朝 Hàn Cháo 206 BC BC – 9 AD (First Reign) Ruler list
23 AD – 220 AD (Second Reign)
Xin Dynasty 新 朝 Xin Cháo 9-23 ( Interregnum ) Ruler list
Three Kingdoms Era 三國 Sān Guo 220-280 List of rulers 2
Jin Dynasty 晉朝 Jìn Cháo 265-420 Ruler list
Sixteen realms 十六 國 Shíliù Guó 304-439 List of rulers 3
Southern and Northern Dynasties 南北朝 Nán Běi Cháo 420-581 List of rulers 4
Sui dynasty 隋朝 Suí Cháo 581-618 Ruler list
Tang Dynasty 唐朝 Táng Cháo 618-907 Ruler list
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms 五代 十 國 Wǔdài Shíguó 907-979 Ruler list
Liao Dynasty 遼朝 Liáo Cháo 916-1125 Ruler list
Song Dynasty 宋朝 Sing Cháo 960-1279 Ruler list
Jin Dynasty 金朝 Jīn Cháo 1125-1234 Ruler list
Western Xia Dynasty 西夏 Xī Xià 1038-1227 Ruler list
Yuan Dynasty 元朝 Yuán Cháo 1279-1368 Ruler list
Ming Dynasty 明朝 Míng Cháo 1368-1644 Ruler list
Qing Dynasty 清朝 Qīng Cháo 1644-1912 Ruler list

Restoration attempts

General Zhang Xun tried to reestablish the monarchy in Beijing in 1917

In the first half of the 20th century there were several attempts to restore the monarchy in China:


  • Timothy Brook (Ed.): History of Imperial China. 6 vols.Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.)
    • Mark Lewis: The Early Chinese Empires. 2007.
    • Mark Lewis: China between Empires. The Northern and Southern Dynasties. 2009.
    • Mark Lewis: China's Cosmopolitan Empire. The Tang Dynasty. 2009.
    • Dieter Kuhn: The Age of Confucian Rule. The Song Transformation of China. 2009.
    • Timothy Brook: The Troubled Empire. China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. 2010.
    • William T. Rowe: China's Last Empire. The Great Qing. 2012.
  • Jacques Gernet : The Chinese World. The history of China from the beginning to the present day . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1988, ISBN 3-518-38005-2 .
  • Rainer Hoffmann, Qiuhua Hu: China. Its history from the beginning to the end of the imperial era . Freiburg 2007.
  • Herbert Franke , Rolf Wedding slip : The Chinese Empire (= Fischer World History . Volume 19). Fischer paperback, Frankfurt am Main 1968.
  • Charles Hucker: Official Titles in Imperial China. Stanford 1985.
  • Frederick W. Mote: Imperial China 900–1800. HUP, Cambridge (Mass.) 1999 (several NDe).

1Compare article三皇 五帝- Chinese Wikipedia
2 Rulers in the Three Kingdoms Period:
3 See individual lists in the Articles on the Sixteen Dynasties:
4th See individual lists in the articles on the southern ...

... and northern dynasties:

See also

Web links

Commons : Empire of China  - collection of images

Coordinates: 32 °  N , 115 °  E