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Brief Dynastic Chronology of Chinese History

Contested eras are in quotation marks; traditional dates are given in these instances. Click on the audio button to hear the name of the dynasty pronounced in Mandarin (these audio files require QuickTime player, for which a free download can be found at

It is important to note that many dates, particularly for early Chinese history, are still subject to ongoing research and revision, or reflect complex historical situations (such as the coexistence of overlapping states rather than the clear-cut succession of "dynasties.")

Homo sapiens in China 100,000 BCE
Neolithic cultures 10,000-2,000 BCE
"Era of the Five Emperors" ca. 2600-ca. 2200 BCE
"Xia Dynasty"夏 ca. 2100-ca. 1750 BCE (traditional dates) Audio
Shang Dynasty 商 ca. 1766-1045 BCE Audio
Zhou Dynasty 周 1045-256 BCE Audio
  Western Zhou 西周   1121-771 BCE Audio
  Eastern Zhou 東周/东周   770-256 BCE Audio
    Spring and Autumn 春秋     770-476 BCE Audio
    Warring States 戰國/战国     475-221 BCE Audio
Qin Dynasty 秦 248-207 BCE Audio
Han Dynasty 漢/汉 206 BCE-220 CE Audio
  Western Han 東漢/东汉   206 BCE-8 CE Audio
  Wang Mang Interregnum 新(王莽)   9-23 CE Audio
  Eastern Han 西漢/西汉   25-220 CE Audio
Period of Disunity 220-589
  Three Kingdoms 三國/三国 220-280 Audio
Sui Dynasty 隋 581-618 Audio
Tang Dynasty 唐 618-907 Audio
Five Dynasties 五代 907-960 Audio
Song Dynasty 宋 960-1279 Audio
  Northern Song 北宋   960-1127 Audio
  Southern Song 南宋   1127-1279 Audio
  Liao Dynasty 遼/辽   907-1125 Audio
  Jin Dynasty 金   1115-1234 Audio
Yuan Dynasty 元 1206-1367 Audio
Ming Dynasty 明 1368-1644 Audio
Qing Dynasty 清 1644-1911 Audio
Republic of China 中華民國/中华民国 1912-1949/present Audio
People's Republic of China 中華人民共和國/中华人民共和国 1949-present Audio


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China in Boston Culture and History China at BC Travel and Study Abroad
China in Boston Culture and History China at BC Travel and Study Abroad