Shang Dynasty facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
|16th century BC–c. 1046 BC|
This map depicts various advanced, stratified societies that existed during the period of the Shang state.
|Capital||Yin (near modern Anyang)|
|Common languages||Old Chinese|
|Religion||Chinese folk religion|
|Historical era||Bronze Age|
|16th century BC|
• Zhou conquest
|c. 1046 BC|
|1122 BC est.||1,250,000 km2 (480,000 sq mi)|
|Today part of||China|
|"Shang" in oracle bone script (top left), bronze script (top right), seal script (bottom left), and modern regular (bottom right) Chinese characters|
|Alternative Chinese name|
|Literal meaning||Yīn era|
|History of China|
|Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC|
|Xia dynasty c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC|
|Shang dynasty c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC|
|Zhou dynasty c. 1046 – 256 BC|
|Spring and Autumn|
|Qin dynasty 221–206 BC|
|Han dynasty 206 BC – 220 AD|
|Three Kingdoms 220–280|
|Wei, Shu and Wu|
|Jin dynasty 265–420|
|Eastern Jin||Sixteen Kingdoms|
|Southern and Northern Dynasties
|Sui dynasty 581–618|
|Tang dynasty 618–907|
|(Wu Zhou interregnum 690–705)|
|Five Dynasties and
|Northern Song||W. Xia|
|Yuan dynasty 1271–1368|
|Ming dynasty 1368–1644|
|Qing dynasty 1644–1911|
|Republic of China 1912–1949|
China on Taiwan
The Shang dynasty (Chinese: 商朝; pinyin: Shāngcháo), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (Chinese: 殷代; pinyin: Yīndài), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the Lower Yellow River Valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the semi-mythical Xia dynasty and followed by the Zhou dynasty. The classic account of the Shang comes from texts such as the Book of Documents, Bamboo Annals and Records of the Grand Historian.
The Shang ruled from 1766 to 1122 BC, but according to the chronology based upon the "current text" of Bamboo Annals, they ruled from 1556 to 1046 BC. The state-sponsored Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project dated them from c. 1600 to 1046 BC based on the carbon 14 dates of the Erligang site.
The Shang dynasty is the earliest dynasty of traditional Chinese history firmly supported by archaeological evidence. Excavation at the Ruins of Yin (near modern-day Anyang), which has been identified as the last Shang capital, uncovered eleven major royal tombs and the foundations of palaces and ritual sites, containing weapons of war and remains from both animal and human sacrifices. Tens of thousands of bronze, jade, stone, bone, and ceramic artifacts have been found.
The Anyang site has yielded the earliest known body of Chinese writing, mostly divinations inscribed on oracle bones – turtle shells, ox scapulae, or other bones. More than 20,000 were discovered in the initial scientific excavations during the 1920s and 1930s, and over four times as many have been found since. The inscriptions provide critical insight into many topics from the politics, economy, and religious practices to the art and medicine of this early stage of Chinese civilization.
Shang Zhou, the last king, killed himself after his army was defeated by the Zhou people. Legends say that his army betrayed him by joining the Zhou rebels in a decisive battle.
|01||29||King Tang of Shang of China|
|02||02||Da Ding of Shang|
|03||32||King Bu Bing of Shang of China|
|13||09||He Dan Jia|
|19||07||King Yang Jia|
|21||29||Xiao Xin of Shang|
|22||21||Xiao Yi of Shang|
|24||12||Geng of Shang|
Images for kids
A bronze axe of the Shang dynasty
Shang Dynasty Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.