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Ancient China Dynasties


Ancient China was ruled by different dynasties, where an emperor would be in power. A ‘dynasty’ is a ruling family, where power would pass from father to son as time went on.

Some dynasties were in power for hundreds of years, until a new family took power to start a new dynasty. Each dynasty usually gave its name to the era during which they ruled.

For instance, the earliest recorded dynasty to rule Ancient China was the Shang Dynasty, which held power between 1600 BC and 1046 BC.

The Zhou Dynasty then reigned for around 800 years after this from 1046 BC until 221 BC, before the Qin Dynasty took over.

The Qin Dynasty only ruled for a brief time from 221 BC to 206 BC, but they were the first to establish a Chinese Empire which started dominating neighbouring countries.

As a result, the Han Dynasty that came next and which ruled from 206 BC to AD 220 was one of the most powerful of all the Chinese dynasties.

Although this is considered the end of Ancient China, there were many more dynasties after this, counting thirteen in total before the last emperor was overthrown in 1912.