Zhou China c. 1046 BCE–221 BCE


Map Code: Ax01837

The Zhou overthrew the Shang and founded their dynasty with the justification of the Mandate of Heaven, the notion that China should be governed by one, worthy ruler. The early years (1046–771 BCE) are known as the Western Zhou period, with the capital at Haojing and a solidification of power achieved through a structure of feudal states led by local lords. In 771 BCE, rebellious lords attacked Haojing and a new capital was established at Luoyang, with the king’s son as Zhou ruler. This later period (770–221 BCE) is known as the Eastern Zhou and was marked by disorder and unrest. Fighting between feudal lords led to a time called the Spring and Autumn Period, resulting in just seven states. The Warring States era followed, with the partitioning of Jin and further inter-state battles and feuds within ruling-class families. Soon, all states declared their kingship, meaning further decline for the Zhou dynasty. The successful conquests of the Qin states would ultimately lead to the establishment of the Qin dynasty.

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