It’s impossible to ignore China when talking about pretty much anything.
There’s a lot of fear around trade wars with China and China’s growing global economic power. “Will China topple the US???”
China now controls major strategic reserves of lithium and other rare earth minerals essential to our #4IR future. China is now an agricultural force. China is establishing itself as the authority on trade with Europe. China’s middle class is growing quickly and China is producing billionaires like grains of rice. China, China, China.
“From people to commodities to people as commodities, China is a political and economic powerhouse.” —@BrianDColwell
From my experience I can say for sure that the Chinese take a long-term view on relationships and activity. I’ve trained with some of the top Chinese Martial Arts Masters in the world, including Chen Zhenglei, Zhu Tiancai, Frank Primicias, Jesse Tsao, and others. Chinese culture runs deep, but I’ve found it to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
The Chinese love to share their culture with others interested in learning about and bringing part of China into their lives.
The purpose of this post is not to discuss China’s current geopolitical state of affairs, or even investing in China (I know… weird for me). Instead, the purpose is to explore China’s amazing history with the hopes that this long-term view might open insights into future opportunities and dispel some of the fear surrounding long-term relationships with China. China is cool! There are plenty of travel bloggers you can follow who will show and write all about what China and various other countries are about. This can be a great way to learn about the culture of a country before you visit them. I think Travel World notes is worth taking a look at, they offer general travel tips to keep you safe, as well as offering you hotel and attraction reviews!
Please enjoy the following, and no means complete, lists…
Let’s get started! Time for me to hit you with some knowledge!
Things you might not know about China’s history:
- China is considered to be the oldest civilization with some historians marking 6000 BC as the beginning of the Chinese civilization.
- Peking Man, a skull fossil discovered in 1927 AD near Beijing, lived in China between 700,000 to 200,000 years ago.
- Yuanmou Man, whose remains were found in Yuanmou in 1965 AD, inhabited the land 1.7 million years ago.
- The name `China’ comes from the Sanskrit Cina (derived from the name of the Chinese Qin Dynasty, pronounced `Chin’) which was translated as `Cin’ by the Persians and seems to have become popularized through trade along the Silk Road from China to the rest of the world.
- Banpo Village, near Xi’an, was discovered in 1953 AD. Banpo is a Neolithic village which was inhabited between 4500 and 3750 BC and comprises 45 houses with floors sunk into the ground for greater stability. A trench encircling the village provided both protection from attack and drainage while man-made caves dug underground were used to store food. The design of the village, and the artifacts discovered there (such as pottery and tools), argue for a very advanced culture at the time it was constructed.
- China has the oldest calendar in the world. This lunar calendar has twelve zodiac signs and takes sixty years to complete.
- The first known Chinese calendar was called the Oracle Bone Calendar, dating back to 1200 BC.
- China has the world’s longest used written language.
- Chinese history is divided into dynasties, each of which marks the period when a line of emperors ruled.
- The first period in ancient China was the Neolithic Period, followed by the Xia Dynasty, the Shang Dynasty, the Zhou Dynasty, and Western Zhou. The last time period considered to be included in the Ancient China time-period was Eastern Zhou. Imperial China followed Ancient China beginning with the Qin Dynasty.
- The Chinese harvested rice as early as 5000 BC.
- According to a Chinese legend, silk was discovered circa 3000 BC by Lady Xi Ling Sui. When a silk worm cocoon dropped into her hot tea, fine threads from the cocoon untangled in the hot water and silk was born.
- The Romans knew China as Serica, which means Land of Silk. The Chinese strongly kept the secrets of silk making.
- Developed about 5,000 years ago, the earliest chopsticks were used for cooking, not eating.
- Ice cream was invented in China around 2000 BC.
- Much of China’s modern beliefs and philosophies are based on the teachings of a government official who lived nearly 3,000 years ago – Kongfuzi, also known as Confucius.
- The Chinese invented kites around 3,000 years ago. They were used to frighten enemies in battle. It was thought that they would bring bad luck if they were purposely let go.
- Ancient China was a land of invention. For centuries, China was much more advanced than most other countries in science and technology, astronomy and math.
- The Chinese were using the decimal system around two thousand years before the first known use in European mathematics. Also, the Chinese were the first to use a place for zero.
- The Xia Dynasty ruled from the 21st to 17th century BC. Its founder was Yu the Great.
- The Shang Dynasty ruled from the 17th century BC to 1046 BC. They ruled a lot of the area along the Yellow River. Its founder was Tang.
- The Zhou Dynasty ruled from 1046 to 256 BC. This was the longest ruling dynasty in China’s history.
- The Western Zhou, the first part of the Zhou Dynasty ruled from 1046 to 771 BC. Its founder was King Wu.
- The Eastern Zhou, the second part of the Zhou Dynasty ruled from 770 to 256 BC.
- Under the Zhou, culture flourished and civilization spread. Writing was codified and iron metallurgy became increasingly sophisticated. The greatest and best known Chinese philosophers and poets, Confucius, Mencius, Mo Ti (Mot Zu), Lao-Tzu, Tao Chien, and the military strategist Sun-Tzu, all come from the Zhou period in China and the time of the Hundred Schools of Thought.
- Many historians think that soccer began in China around 1000 BC.
- In ancient China, tickling was a form of torture performed on nobility because the recovery was quick and no marks were left.
- The Chinese invented toilet paper, and it was for emperors only.
- Chinese invented and first used the crossbow.
- The chariot was introduced to China under the Shang Dynasty.
- The Chinese were the first in the world to use chemical and gas weapons, two thousand years before Europe.
- Tea was discovered by the Chinese emperor Shennong when a tea leaf fell into his boiling water.
- The Chinese were the first in the world to use stirrups.
- Paper money was invented in China.
- The Great Wall of China was built during the Chang Dynasty. The Emperor at the time was Tsu.
- The Chinese “great inventions:” paper, the magnetic compass, printing, tea porcelain, silk and gunpowder.
- It was Chinese astronomers who first spotted Halley’s Comet, in 240 BC.
- The first Chinese empire was the Qin dynasty, which began in 221 B.C.
- The custom of tying feet, also called golden lilies, which were seen as a very sexual thing, started among the female performers and members of the Chinese court during the Song dynasty.
- The wealthy used to grow the nails of their little fingers very long, which was a sign of their rank. In order to protect their nails, they often wore gold and silver nail guards.
- The Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) is considered the `golden age’ of Chinese civilization.
- In the Tang dynasty, those with an education had to greet and say goodbye to each other in poetic verse.
- China’s Grand Canal is the world’s longest and oldest canal.
- The great enemy of the Chinese were the Mongols, who lived to the north. The Mongols conquered China, for a time, establishing the Yuan Dynasty.
- The oldest piece of paper in the world was found in China.
- Chinese paper was so long lasting that it was sometimes used for clothing and even as body armor.
- Two major rivers played a role in Ancient China: the Yellow River and the Yangtze River. The Yangtze is the third longest river in the world and is considered to be the ‘cradle’ of Chinese civilization.
- 7th-century Emperor Tang of Shang had 94 ‘ice men’ who made him ice-cream.
- It took around 37 years to make the Terracotta Army, a set of around 8,000 clay soldiers built in Xi’an to guard an Emperor’s tomb. Each soldier has distinct facial features.
- In 130 AD, Zhang Heng invented the first instrument for monitoring earthquakes, and it could detect and indicate the direction of the earthquake.
- Buddhism first came to China along the Silk Road around 500 AD.
- A civil servant, Su Song, built the first mechanical clock between 1088 and 1092 AD.
- The Chinese were the first to invent the waterwheel to harness water.
- China was the first country in the world to use an iron plow.
- The Chinese were first to discover that blood circulates throughout the body and that the heart pumps the blood.
- Suspension bridges were invented in China before they were known in the West.
- Porcelain originated in China. It is a very specific kind of ceramic that is produced using the highest temperatures of a kiln.
- The Chinese invented the hot air balloon.
- The name `China’ does not appear in print in the west until 1516 AD in Barbosa’s journals narrating his travels in the east.
- China is also called the Flowery Kingdom, and many of the country’s flowers and fruits, such as the orchid and orange, are now being grown all over the world.
- The last Chinese emperor was overthrown in 1912, at which point China became a republic. (for a brief period).
- The last emperor of China, Puyi, became ruler when he was only 3 years old.
- The national anthem of China is called “Yiyonggjun Jinxingqu,” which means March of the Volunteers, and was written in 1935 by the poet Tian Han and composed by the artist Nie Er, honoring those who went to the front in battle with the Japanese invaders in northeast China in the 1930s.
- Throughout the century, the name of the capital of China has changed. It has been known as Dadu, Yanjing, and Beiping. Peking or Beijing means “Northern Capital”.
- During the first half of the 20th century, Shanghai was the only city in the world to accept Jews that were escaping the Holocaust without an entry visa.
- China’s national banner was adopted in 1949 and was first flown in Tiananmen Square, which is the world’s biggest public gathering place, on October 1, 1949, the day when the People’s Republic of China was established.
- In 1974, farmers digging in the Shaanxi Province discovered the tomb of Qin (259-210 BC), the first emperor who formed China.
- In 2003, China became the third country to successfully send a person to space.
- A devastating earthquake hit Sichuan province in May 2008, leaving some 87,000 people dead or missing, injuring hundreds of thousands, and causing millions of people to lose their homes.
- In 2010 a 2,400-year-old pot of soup was unearthed in Xi’an, China.
- Fortune cookies are not actually a traditional Chinese custom. They were invented by an employee in the Key Heong noodle factory in San Francisco.
- More people speak Mandarin, a Chinese Dialect, as their first language than any other language in the world.
- The Chinese word for civilization (wen) is pronounced the same as the word for pattern, script, or calligraphy.
- China has 60% of the world’s mushroom varieties.
- The word ‘ketchup’ may come from a Chinese word for pickled-fish sauce.
- Half of all pigs on earth live in China.
- China is the most populous nation on Earth.
- One-third of China’s land area is made up of mountains.
- The summit of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, marks the border between China and Nepal.
- The Great Wall of China is the largest man-made structure in the world, extending 8,850 km (5,500 miles).
- Cricket battling is a popular form of entertainment in China, and many Chinese people keep crickets as pets.
- Stamp collecting is the number one hobby in China.
- The world’s best pencil graphite, which was yellow, was from China. In China, the color yellow is connected with royalty, so American pencil producers began painting their pencils yellow to show they contained high-quality Chinese graphite.
- The mortar used to bind the Great Wall’s stones was made with sticky rice.
- Reincarnation is forbidden in China… you must have government permission.
- China has a dwarf theme park known as Kingdom of the Little People.
- There are roughly 2 times as many Chinese kids using tobacco daily as there are people living in Ireland.
- The Chinese have their own Bigfoot, Yeren, or “wild man,” who is rumored to live in the mountainous forested regions of the Hubei Province.
- Traditionally, Chinese babies wear kaidangku, or open-crotch pants, instead of diapers.
- All of China’s railways lines put together could loop around the earth twice.
- In China, the thirteenth floor is usually left out from hotels, buildings, and vehicle licence plates, and the number four is not used in phone numbers.
- The world’s biggest mall is located in China, and it’s 99% empty.
- In China, over 35 million people still live in caves.
- There are more Christians living in China than in Italy and the Vatican City combined, even though 80% of Italians are Christian and only 5.1% of Chinese are.
- The sunrise in parts of China can be as late as 10 AM because the country joined its five time zones into a single one.
- Table tennis is China’s national sport.
- One in every five people in the world is Chinese.