BRIEF HISTORY OF CHINA
 WHEN we study the history of England, we read of rulers of the House of Plantagenet, of the House of Tudor, etc.
Such a family of kings is called a dynasty. In many accounts of European nations only the history of the
dynasty, or of the reigning family, is given, and little or no attention is paid to the history of the people.
It is the same with the history of China. In their long, long records of the past they mention twenty-six
The writers of Chinese history tell us that the Emperor Fuh-hi (foo-hee) was living in the time of Noah. They
state that much progress in civilization was made under his two successors—Shin-nung (shin-noong), that
is, "the Husbandman," and Hwang-ti (hwhahng-tee), or the "Yellow Emperor." New inventions increased the
comfort of the people. Of Yau and the Deluge we have read in the last chapter. Until Yu, of whom I have told
you, became Emperor, each ruler had always selected his successor; but from that time on it was the son who
succeeded, although, if there were more sons than one, it was not necessarily the oldest. The Emperor retained
the right to appoint as his successor any one of his sons.
The first Emperor of the Shang family (B.C. 1760-1198) is said to have worshiped God under
the name of Shang-ti
 (shahng-tee), or Supreme Ruler. When no rain fell for seven years, he prayed earnestly, saying: "Do not on
account of any neglect of mine, who am but a single individual, destroy the lives of the people!" When his
prayer was ended rain began to fall plentifully.
The worship of images or idols began under Wu-yih (woo-yee), the twenty-fifth Emperor (B.C. 1198).
He is spoken of as one of the most wicked of all China's rulers. The "History Made Easy," one of the
Chinese books, tells us that he ordered images of clay to be made in the shape of human beings, and had them
called gods. He grew tired of them, however, and cast them aside. Then he had leather bags made, filled with
blood, which he threw up in the air. He shot at them with arrows, and when the blood was pouring down, he
shouted: "I have killed the gods!" The people soon grew very tired of such a madman, and another dynasty
succeeded to the throne.
The Tsin dynasty, from which probably we have the name of China, existed only three years under the Emperor
Chi hwang-ti (chee hwahng-tee),which means "First Emperor." His father had made war upon the last of the Chau
family, and compelled him to kneel in the dust at his feet.
This First Emperor made his capital at Hien-yang (heen-yahng), on the River Hwai (hwie), where he built a
great palace from the spoils of all the captive kings who had submitted to him, and he ordered that all the
treasures of their palaces should he brought to him. He visited various parts of the empire, built public
buildings, ordered canals and roads to be constructed, and drove the Huns back into Mongolia. It was he who
continued that Great Wall, extending from the sea to the desert, a distance of 1,250 miles.
 This Wan-li Chang (wahn-lee chahng), or Myriad Mile Wall, as the Chinese call it, was constructed to keep out
the Huns and other nomadic tribes (B.C. 220).
THE GREAT WALL
This Emperor was very vain. He desired to be thought the first emperor the country ever had, and ordered that
every book in China should be burned. This order was carried out, and all the historical records of the
country, as well as the works of Confucius and Mencius, went up in flames. There is, however, no doubt that
several copies of their works were saved.
The Tsin dynasty did not last long. Chi's successor was defeated by Liu Pang (leeo pahng), who, under the name
 of Kautsu (kah-oot-soo), was the founder of the Han dynasty. The Chinese say that their modern history
commences at this time. The capital of China under the Han dynasty was first in Shen-si (shen-see), but later
at Loh-yang in the province of Ho-nan.
When Ming ti (ming tee) was emperor, some learned men were sent to India (A.D. 65), where
they studied the religion of Buddha. From that time Buddhism spread in China, but became so steeped in
superstition that nothing but the form remains. Ming and his successor, Chang, extended the empire westward as
far as the Caspian Sea. The Chinese had intercourse with the Romans. They say of Rome: "Everything precious
and admirable in all other countries comes from this land. Gold and silver money is coined there; ten of
silver are worth one of gold. Their merchants trade by sea with Persia and India, and gain ten for one in
their traffic. They are simple and honest, and never have two prices for their goods; grain is sold among them
very cheap, and large sums of money are employed in trade."
The Tang (tahng) dynasty occupied the throne 287 years (A.D. 618-905), during which time
China was probably the most civilized country in the world. Li Chi-min (lee chee-min), the son of the founder,
was one of the best emperors of China. He was known for his goodness and wisdom, his temperance, refined
taste, and love of art. The capital of the empire was again removed to Sien-gan (see-en-gahn), in Shen-si. It
was he who established schools, and began the system of examinations for officers ( A.D.627). He ordered all the writings of Confucius and Mencius to be collected, and commanded that the memory of
 should be honored by special ceremonies. A code of laws was also prepared by his order.
Theodosius, the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, sent an envoy to Sien-gan, bearing presents of emeralds
and rubies. It was at this time that the first Christian missionaries entered China. The Emperor Tai-tsung
(tietsoong) listened to them with interest, and ordered a temple to be built for them. He also had some of
their sacred books translated into Chinese (A.D. 643).
After a reign of tweny-three years, Tai-tsung died, and was succeeded by his son Kau-tsung (kah-oh tsoong).
Under him the conquest of Korea, commenced by his father, was completed. It was, however, not he who ruled,
but a woman named Wu Tsih-tien (woo tsee-teen). She obtained such power over him, that the real Empress was
first degraded and afterwards put to death, when this woman took her place. After her husband's death she
ruled in her own name. She extended the limits of the empire, but did not hesitate to murder anyone opposing
her, not even her own sons. At last, when she was very old, one of her sons—Chung-tsung
(choong-tsoong)—entered into a conspiracy against her and confined her within her own apartments. Here
she died at the age of eighty-one. Her reign is given as an instance of the evil of allowing women to meddle
with the government.
From A.D. 1127-1280 the empire was attacked by the Mongols. About 1245 Li-tsung (lee-tsoong)
calling in the help of Kublai Khan (kooblie khahn), his son, Ti Ping (tee ping), drowned himself. The Mongols,
now in possession of Northern China, lost no time in invading the south. Kublai founded the Yuen (yoo-en)
 built the Grand Canal. The Mongols, however, were expelled in 1368, and the Ming or Bright dynasty succeeded.
MARBLE ARCH, MING TOMBS.
The son of the founder, Yung-loh (yoong-loh) removed the capital to Peking from Nanking, where his father had
lived. He was also the author of the code of laws which is still supposed to be in force in China. It was
during this dynasty that the Portuguese and Jesuits came into China. In the year 1618 Tien-ming (teen-ming), a
Manchu prince, declared war against the Ming. He died in 1627, but left his army in command of his son,
Tien-tsung (teen-tsoong). At this time the empire was disturbed by insurrections, and one of the rebels
attacked Peking, whereupon
 the last of the Ming hanged himself (1643). While different rebels were claiming the throne, the Manchu
Tien-tsung marched upon the capital, and declared himself emperor. He died the following year, and his son
Shun-chi (shoon-chee) is considered as the first emperor of the present Manchu, Tsing, or Pure dynasty.
The Manchu introduced the fashion of shaving the head and wearing the queue. Kang hi (kahng hee), his
successor, reigned sixty-one years. It is said of him "that he was tireless in his duty to the government,
careful to select none but honest and able officers, liberal toward others, but with simple tastes for
himself, and eager to promote the happiness of the people by the steady execution of the laws, and by watching
over the conduct of the high officers."
His grandson Kien-lung (keen-loong) proved worthy of his grandfather. He also reigned sixty years. It was he
who subdued Thibet. He received embassies from the Russians, Dutch, and English, so that China became better
known in Europe. The Chinese were confirmed in their theory that theirs is the Middle Kingdom, and that all
other kings and emperors must acknowledge an older brother in their Tien-tsz', and as such do homage to him.
Tribute was never expected. Kien-lung died in 1799, having given the throne in 1796 to his fifth son, Kia-King
(kee-ah king), who reigned twenty-five years.
Kia-King was succeeded by Tau Kwang (tah-oh kwahng) in 1821. His reign was a constant succession of wars and
insurrections, and is remarkable because for the first time in its long existence China was involved in a war
with Europeans. This war and its results are too important for brief mention and will be treated in another
 Tau Kwang was the sixth emperor of the Manchu, or Tsing dynasty. He was the second son of Kia-King, and was
born in 1781, hence he was forty years old when he succeeded his father. As a man, he was fitted for times of
peace, but was unable to meet or overcome the difficulties which filled his reign.
Each emperor, upon ascending the throne, assumes a certain name by which, not he, but the period of his reign,
shall be known. Thus, Tau Kwang means Glory of Reason. The family name is Gioro (gee-oh-roh), from their
ancestor Aisin Gioro (i-sin). The word Tsing, or Purity, denotes that the dynasty shall be known by the purity
of its justice. It is the same with other dynasties: Ming, the Illustrious; Yuen, the Original, etc. The
present dynasty is also mentioned as the Ta Tsing (tah tsing). Ta is a prefix meaning Great.