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Xia Dynasty

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The Xia Dynasty (21st - 17th century BC) was the first dynasty in Chinese history, which lasted nearly 500 years including the reigns of 17 emperors. It marked the end of the Primitive Society and the beginning of the Class Society. It is said that the civilization was superior to that of the Longshan Culture. However, up to now there is still no written evidence verifying the existence of the Xia Dynasty (the earliest written records were of the Shang Dynasty). No archaeological evidence was found of it until 1959 in the city of Yanshi, most likely a capital of the Xia Dynasty. It is said that most of the people during the dynasty probably inhabited the western area of Henan Province and southern Shanxi Province.

The founder father of the Xia Dynasty was believed to be Great Yu, also called Dayu or Xiayu. In Chinese history he was known for solving the flood problem for the people. His father, named Gun, was a leader of the tribe good at water control. During the governance of Yao and Shun (the first and second emperors of China under the abdication system), Gun united with Gonggong Tribe to fight against Yao and Shun for the throne but was in vain. Later Great Yu succeeded his father's position of water control. The Legend went that he left home four days after marriage. For 13 years he led people fighting floods without going home when passing by three times. Finally he succeeded in controlling the flood and became the tribe leader.

After that the Great Yu built his army, constructed city and established criminal law, all of which had made full preparation for the establishment of the Xia Dynasty. However, the first emperor of the Xia Dynasty was King Qi, son of the Great Yu. His succession to the throne broke up the Abdication System and set up the Hereditary System. From then on, there were 15 offspring successively inherited the throne and became the king of Xia Dynasty.

During that period, people lived mainly through agriculture using tools made of stone or bone. A social progress of that time is that the commodity exchanges developed. Meanwhile, a calendar system was devised which used both lunar and solar movements. As for the handicraft making, the Jade ware at that time was quite delicate and bronze vessels were well smelted. In addition, craftwork made of bronze embedded with jade also appeared. 

The Xia Dynasty ended under the reign of Jie, a very notorious tyrannical king in Chinese history.

After he succeeded to the throne, he lived an extravagant life day and night without any thought for his country or its people. He killed the patriotic ministers who presented him with good advice. All of his actions enraged the people so much that at last they rose up under the leadership of Tang, the chief of the Shang tribe and latter set up Shang Dynasty (16th - 11th century BC) and overthrew the Xia Dynasty.

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