Xia Dynasty

2200 - 1766 BCE

A relic of the Xia dynasty.
The center of the Xia dynasty is that gray spot in China. We hung out in the Yellow River valley. Good times, good times.


Peoples Republic of China


Some form of writing may have existed during this dynasty, but it didn't really take off around our parts until the Shang dynasty, the one that followed ours. However, legend credits Yu, the founder of the Xia dynasty, with establishing flood-control projects that worked pretty well. Also, cities were founded and bronze metallurgy (mostly for tools and weapons) was developed. We had palaces and pottery workshops, too. We probably made it to some long-distance trade routes, and we had some watercraft with sails and oars that let us fish and trade.


The earliest palace ever found in China, in Erlitou.

For awhile, some historians didn't even think we existed, but excavations have certainly showed them that, uh, yeah, we did. However, we're still a pretty mysterious group, as those excavations are still only really just getting under way. The evidence does show, though, that we may have been one of the first institutions to organize social life in China on a grand scale. The city of Erlitou might have been our capital, as it was a pretty sweet city in relation to others in the area. Politicians of our dynasty really worked for the recognition of authorities and the formality of politics. We had a large network of political allies, and some royal and noble families, as well. The rulers of the Xia dynasty probably controlled people in the middle Yellow River Valley by firstly controlling local leaders.


As far as those excavations go, not much has really turned up with religion. Since neither the succeeding Shang nor Zhou dynasties had much going on with religion either, except for the mandate of heaven highlighting a deserving individual as the ruling successor, we probably weren't all that into religion.


2200 BCE
Legend has it that the last emperor supposedly abdicated the throne to our sage-king Yu. We have to say, he's been doing a pretty good job so far. He's managed to help us with our flood-control problems, and he's really establishing what you might call an organized society. We've got politics and a social life. It's pretty cool.
1813 BCE
Some of us were hanging out in Erlitou today. It might be our capital city. Who knows? Anyway, we were checking the palaces out, which had some pretty big contrasts to the average houses, but that's how things roll, we guess. We visited those pottery workshops next, also nice, seeing as how we're basically watching the foundations of society develop. Huge. Before we went back home, we saw the bronze foundry. Yay adequate tools and weaponry!
1766 BCE
Boo adequate tools and weaponry. :( Tang, the legendary founder of the Shang dynasty, most likely used said adequate tools and weaponry to displace Jie, the legendary last ruler of the Xia dynasty. Granted, Jie was wicked corrupt and oppressive and whatnot, but still, it would have been nice for us to, you know, continue to exist. Sigh. Hopefully they'll pick up from where we left off and keep developing social systems and everything. Maybe it won't be so bad.

The Wall

Oh yeah? Well why don't you go eat some chicken? You're going to need the bones so you can attack me with them and give me small bruises. Or maybe you could write a short story about how the Xia got freakin' owned by the Shang. Oh yeah...YOU DON'T HAVE A WRITING SYSTEM! You must have hired a Shang scribe to write out that message on my wall, because otherwise it just wouldn't have happened. Talk about laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame. That and the fact that being the first known dynasty supposedly makes you the best. The first is NOT always the best. Just look at us and you'll know what I mean...

Much Love,
The Shang Dynasty
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Bentley, Jerry H., and Herbert F. Ziegler. Traditions & Encounters. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2006
"History of Ancient China: Xia Dynasty." March 9, 2007. TravelChinaGuide.com. <http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/history/xia/>.

Photo Credits
Relic - http://images.china.cn/images1/200612/378598.jpg
Map - http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/china/images/xiamap.gif
Palace - http://english.cri.cn/mmsource/image/2005-1-6/erlitou.gif