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Xia Dynasty


Lung Shan Ceremonial Stemmed Cup. Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Lung Shan Ceremonial Stemmed Cup. Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Paul Gill

Dates of the Xia Dynasty:

The Xia dynasty is thought to have run from the end of the third millennium B.C. to the middle of the second. The period of the Xia Dynasty is sometimes equated with Erlitou or Longshan cultures. Records of the Grand Historian and Bamboo Annals mention the Xia Dynasty.

Xia Population:

The Xia under King Yu probably had about 13.5 million people, according to Duan Chang-Qun et al.
  • "Relocation of Civilization Centers in Ancient China: Environmental Factors," by Duan Chang-Qun, Gan Xue-Chun, Jeanny Wang and Paul K. Chien. Ambio, Vol. 27, No. 7 (Nov., 1998), pp. 572-575.

Xia Accomplishments:

The Xia dynasty was the first to irrigate, produce cast bronze and a strong army. It used oracle bones and had a calendar. Xi Zhong is credited in legend with inventing a wheeled vehicle. He used a compass, square and rule. King Yu was the first king to be succeeded by his son instead of a man chosen for his virtue. This made the Xia the first Chinese dynasty.
  • Evolution of International Statistical Standards Via Life Cycle of Products and Services, by Michele Boulanger, Mark Johnson, Christophe Perruchet and Poul Thyregod International Statistical Review / Revue Internationale de Statistique © 1999

Start of the Xia Dynasty:

The Xia dynasty is thought to have been founded by Yu the Great, who was born in 2059 and considered a descendant of the Yellow Emperor. His capital was at Yang City. Yu is a semi-mythical figure who spent 13 years stopping the great flood and brought irrigation to the Yellow River Valley. Yu was the ideal hero and ruler, ascribed a mythical dragon birth. He became god of the soil.
  • "Yu" A Dictionary of World Mythology. Arthur Cotterell. Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • "Yu" A Dictionary of Asian Mythology. David Leeming. Oxford University Press, 2001

The 17 Xia Dynasty Kings:

  • Yu
  • Qi
  • Tai Kang
  • Zhong Kang
  • Xiang
  • Xiao Kang
  • Zhu
  • Huai
  • Mang
  • Xie
  • Bu Xiang
  • Jiong
  • Jin
  • Kong Jia
  • Gao
  • Fa
  • Jie

Fall of the Xia Dynasty:

The fall of the Xia is blamed on its last king, Jie, who is said to have fallen in love with an evil, beautiful woman and become a tyrant. The people rose up in rebellion under the leadership of Zi Lü, the Tang Emperor and founder of the Shang Dynasty.

Other Sources:

  • "War and Politics in Ancient China, 2700 B.C. to 722 B.C.: Measurement and Comparative Analysis," by Claudio Cioffi-Revilla and David Lai. The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 39, No. 3 (Sep., 1995), pp. 467-494.
  • "Radiocarbon Dating and the Prehistoric Archaeology of China," by An Zhimin. World Archaeology, Vol. 23, No. 2, Chronologies (Oct., 1991), pp. 193-200.
  • "Xia" A Dictionary of World History. Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Xia dynasty. (2009). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved March 24, 2009, from Encyclopedia Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9041275

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