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Shang Dynasty facts for kids

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Shang (Yin)

商 (殷)
16th century BC–c. 1046 BC
This map depicts various advanced, stratified societies that existed during the period of the Shang state.
This map depicts various advanced, stratified societies that existed during the period of the Shang state.
Status Kingdom
Capital Yin (near modern Anyang)
Common languages Old Chinese
Chinese folk religion
Government Monarchy
Historical era Bronze Age
• Established
16th century BC
• Zhou conquest
c. 1046 BC
1122 BC est. 1,250,000 km2 (480,000 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Xia dynasty
Zhou dynasty
Today part of China
Shang (Chinese characters).svg
"Shang" in oracle bone script (top left), bronze script (top right), seal script (bottom left), and modern regular (bottom right) Chinese characters
Hanyu Pinyin Shāng
Alternative Chinese name
Chinese 殷代
Literal meaning Yīn era
History of China
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
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn
   Warring States
Qin dynasty 221–206 BC
Han dynasty 206 BC – 220 AD
  Western Han
  Xin dynasty
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu and Wu
Jin dynasty 265–420
  Western Jin
  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms
Southern and Northern Dynasties
Sui dynasty 581–618
Tang dynasty 618–907
  (Wu Zhou interregnum 690–705)
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

Liao dynasty
Song dynasty
  Northern Song W. Xia
  Southern Song Jin
Yuan dynasty 1271–1368
Ming dynasty 1368–1644
Qing dynasty 1644–1911
Republic of China 1912–1949
People's Republic
of China

Republic of
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.

CMOC Treasures of Ancient China exhibit - oracle bone inscription
This is an oracle bone. As you can see, it is not actually a bone, it is a rock with important Chinese language carved on it.

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.


Order # of
01 29 King Tang of Shang of China
02 02 Da Ding of Shang
03 32 King Bu Bing of Shang of China
04 04 Zhong Ren
05 12 Tai Jia
06 29 Wo Ding
07 25 Tai Geng
08 17 Xiao Jia
09 12 Yong Ji
10 75 Tai Wu
11 11 Zhong Ding
12 15 Wai Ren
13 09 He Dan Jia
14 19 Zu Yi
15 16 Zu Xin
16 20 Wo Jia
17 32 Zu Ding
18 29 Nan Geng
19 07 King Yang Jia
20 28 Pan Geng
21 29 Xiao Xin of Shang
22 21 Xiao Yi of Shang
23 59 Wu Ding
24 12 Geng of Shang
25 20 Zu Jia
26 06 Lin Xin
27 06 Geng Ding
28 35 Wu Yi
29 11 Wen Ding
30 26 Di Yi
31 30 Di Xin

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