To better understand what caused each dynasty's collapse, this timeline better outlines the chain of events:
1600BC – 220 AD (Emergence of China to the downfall of the Han Dynasty)
1600 BC – Emergence of historical China along the Yellow River
1532 - Battle of Ming Chiao – The Shao dynasty is defeated
by the Shang Dynasty and its 70 chariots.
1523-1027 – Dominance of the Shang Dynasty – Operating
from their capital at Anyang, this dynasty rapidly expanded through a series of conquests.
1057 – Battle of Mu Yu – Wu Wang, the “Martial King”
of the Chou, a semi barbaric people from the south, defeat the Shang through the effective use of over 300 chariots.
1027 – Rise of the Chou dynasty
1025 - Wu Wang dies and Chou Kung is proclaimed regent for 7 years
until Wu’s son is old enough to assume leadership of the kingdom. Chou Kung succeeds in solidifying the Chou territories
by suppressing a series of Shang revolts.
1000 – c 900 Chou expansion – Driving eastward towards
the Sea of China, and north towards Manchurian border the Chou become the dominant power in the region for the next two centuries.
823 – King Hsuan of Wester Ch’u defeats the Chou with over
800 – 600 – Chou dynasty slowly disintegrates and falls
prey to strong nobles. During this time some 140 warlords were beginning to fracture the Chou. However, out of
this number, only seven were dominant: Ch’I, Chin, Ch’in, Wu, Yueh, Sung , and Ch’u.
600 –500 – Fall of the Chou Dynasty – As conflicts
and friction between the nobles became more intense, the Chou were divided amongst three major powers The Ch’in
in the NW, the Ch’u between the Yellow and Yangtze rivers, and the Wu, located along the coast.
519 – 506 – Pivotal war between the Wu and Ch’u –
King He Lu of Wu (513-494) raises the first peasant conscript army and asks General Sun Wu (Sun Tzu or “Honorable Sun”)
to lead this force against Ch’u
506 Battle of Bai Ju – After traveling up the Hwai river, Sun
Tzu was assaulted by two Ch’u armies. Seeing that the opposition had a numerical and terrain advantage,
Sun Tzu feigned a retreat, only to turn and attack the Ch’u once their forces were somewhat scattered and on open ground.
After this decisive victory, the Wu pursued Ch’u to Ying, the capital of the Ch’u Empire and crushed them.
King Shao of Ch’u fled to Chin and asked for asylum.
475 – 221 - Era of Warring States – During this period
armored infantry (spearmen, crossbowmen, swordsmen, and pikemen) controlled the battlefield. However, towards the end
of this period, heavy cavalry was to dominate the art of war.
473 - Wu overthrown by Yueh
453 – Fall of the Chin Dynasty – although the Chin was
divided between the Wei, Chao, and Han, it was the Ch’in and Ch’u states that rose as the dominant military powers
354- 353 – War between Wei and Han – Wei army invaded Han.
Han, facing elimination by a superior force, called upon Ch’I for assistance. Ch’I dispatches army led by
General T’ien Chi to attack the Wei capital. T’ien’s principal advisor was Sun Ping (see above).
The Wei army, commanded by General P’ang Chuan, rushed back to defend capital.
353 - Battle of Ma Ling – When Sun Ping discovered With the arrival
of P’ang Chuan’s forces, Sun Ping intentionally ordered a hasty retreat to give the Wei the impression that the
Ch’I fled in panic. Sun Ping then placed 10k crossbowmen in ambush. When the Wei army pursued what they
felt was a broken enemy, Sun Ping’s forces surrounded them and almost entirely eliminated the forces of P’ang
342 – 341 – War between Wei and Ch’ao – After
recovering from the debacle of Ma Ling, the Wei invaded the Ch’ao and besieged its capital. As was the case a
decade prior, the Ch’ao called upon the Ch’I for assistance and Sun Ping advanced on Wei’s capital.
341 – Battle of Guai Ling – As the Wei rushed back to its
capital, Sun Ping ambushed them in precisely the same manner as at Ma Ling.
320 – Cavalry appears in China – Cavalry became a dominant
arm of an army for the first time under King Wu Ling of Ch’ao.
315-223 – Ch’u versus Ch’in
280 – Ch’in defeats Wei –
260 – Battle of Ch’an P’ing – The last of Chou
defearted by King Chao Zhao of Ch’in.
249 - King Chao Zhao of Ch’in
slowly assimilates the Chou holdings end of Chou Dynasty.
247-210 – Reign of Cheng, Ruler of Ch’in – One of
the greatest generals in Chinese history. Developed a powerful shock cavalry, developed after years of experiences fighting
the Mongolian nomads of Yueh Chih and Hsiung-nu.
228-221 – Cheng conquers the kingdoms of Ch’ao, Han, Wei,
Yen, and Ch’I.
221 – 210 – Ch’in Dynasty – With Cheng’s
complete dominance of all principalities, he declares himself Emperor of China with the title of Shih Huang Ti. The
Ch’in Dynasty, although short lived, not only gave its name to the nation, but also developed a system of government
which was to last for 2100 years.
221 – Emperor Shih Huang Ti
orderes the construction of the Great Wall of China. Although it had been constructed intermittently over several centuries, it was the Emperor’s command which unified
the entire system. Within 10 years, the walls stretched from Linzhao (in the eastern part of today's Gansu Province)
in the west to Liaodong (in today's Jilin Province) in the east. The wall not only served as a defence in the north but also
symbolized the power of the emperor.
221-214 – Under the command
of the Emperor’s generals Ming T’ien and Chao T’o, the Ch’in dynasty conquers regions south of the
Yangtze river and Northern Korea.
210 – Emperor Shih Huang Ti
dies; inept son Hu Hai assumes the throne.
207 – Hu Hai is murdered, setting
off a series of power struggles between Hsiang Yu of Ch’u and Liu Pang, a popular revolutionary leader.
202 – Liu Pang defeats Ch’u
and takes the name Kao Tsu. The Han Empire is born.
201 – Invasion of the Mongols
(Hsiung-nu) – Under Mo Du, the barbarian Mongols pierce the Great Wall with an army of over 300,000 men.
200 – Kau Tsu defeated soundly
by the Hsiung-nu.