Ancient China Essay

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Unit: Ancient China (1) Aim: How did the early civilization emerge in China? Key Vocabulary: • ethnocentrism: the belief that one own group or culture is better than others • ancestor: a person from whom one is descended • oracle: an obscure message given by a priest at a shrine Outline: I. The Geography of China A. Natural barriers isolated ancient China from all other civilizations. 1. East: The Pacific Ocean 2. West: The Plateau of Tibet and the Taklimakan Desert 3. Southwest: the Himalayas 4. North: the Gobi Desert B. China’s first civilization developed along river valleys. 1. The Yellow River (the Huang He) 2. The Yangtze (the Chang Jiang) 3. The heartland of China is the North China Plain. II. Impacts of Geography A. The Yellow River’s floods were disastrous. (“the River of Sorrow”) B. Early Chinese had little contact with outside peoples because of geographic isolation, so they believed that China was the center of the world. (ethnocentrism) C. Mountains and deserts did not completely protect China from invasions. III. The First Dynasty in China: Shang A. Around 2,000 B.C., the first dynasty was built in northern China: the Shang Dynasty (1700-1027 B.C.) B. The Chinese believed in many gods, and also worshiped the spirits of ancestors. 1. Ancestors had the power to bring good fortune or disaster to family members. 2. Chinese paid respect to the father’s ancestors and made sacrifices. C. The use of oracle bones was the earliest evidence of Chinese writing. 1. Priests wrote the questions for gods on animal bones or turtle shells. 2. Priests interpreted the cracks for answers from gods. D. Artisans made objects with bronze, jade, or ivory. Unit: Ancient China (2) Aim: How did major philosophies begin to develop in the Zhou Dynasty? Key Vocabulary: • Mandate of Heaven: divine approval of the ruler •

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