In the five centuries from 2600BC to 2100BC, legend has it that Huang2di4, Zhuan1xu1, Di4ku4, Yao2, and Shun4 ruled consecutively. Subsequently, Yu3 founded the Xia4 dynasty. Around 1700BC, Tang1 defeated Xia4 and established the Shang1 dynasty in its place.
Six hundred years later, Shang1 was defeated by Zhou1wu3wang2, the first king of the Zhou1 dynasty. This dynasty lasted the longest among all others in the history of the land, but from 770BC onwards, Zhou1's kings gradually lost control of the nation. Wars between small states were frequent and finally resulted in a merger into seven larger states. This period was also known as Chun1qiu1 and Zhan4guo2. In 256BC, Qin2shi3huang2di4 unified all seven states and became the first emperor of the land. However, his dynasty, Qin2, was short-lived.
In 206BC Han4gao1di4 established the four-hundred-year Han4 dynasty. It was called Xi1han4 before AD25 and Dong1han4 after AD25. In AD220 Dong1han4 disintegrated into three kingdoms, Wei4, Shu3han4 and Wu2. This period is known as the San1guo2 era. The country was unified again into Xi1jin4 by Jin4wu3di4 in AD265. But the Jin4 dynasty did not exist in a peaceful era. People who lived in the north invaded frequently and threw the land into chaos. From AD317, Dong1jin4, the second half of Jin4, only controlled the southern part of the country; the new residents in the north were called Shi2liu4guo2. The north was finally unified by the Bei3wei4 dynasty, marking the starting of the Nan2bei3chao2 era, when there were always at least two central governments existing simultaneously, one in the south and one in the north. In AD534 Bei3wei4 was split into Dong1wei4 and Xi1wei4, which were later replaced by Bei3qi2 and Bei3zhou1, respectively. In the south, Dong1jin4 was consecutively replaced by Song4 in AD420, Qi2 in AD479, Liang2 in AD502, and Chen2 in AD557.
After nearly three centuries of separation, the country was unified again in AD581 by Sui2wen2di4. However, his Sui2 dynasty was also short-lived. In AD618 Tang2gao1zu3 established the Tang2 dynasty, which was one of the strongest and most illustrious dynasties in history. However, in the late Tang2 period, the nation was separated again. Five short dynasties controlled the central part of the country in turn: Hou4liang2 in AD907, Hou4tang2 in AD923, Hou4jin4 in AD936, Hou4han4 in AD947, and Hou4zhou1 in AD951, but none of them unified the entire nation. It was Song4tai4zu3's Song4 dynasty established in AD960 that completed the unification. Remarkably, the Song4 dynasty had been in long-standing conflict with its northern neighbors: Liao2 since AD907 and Jin1 since AD1115. In AD1279, the Song4 dynasty (called Bei3song4) lost control of its northern dominion and was called Nan2song4 thereafter. Genghis Khan's Yuan2 dynasty established in AD1206 was so strong that it defeated all the other states, including Nan2song4 in AD1279, to assume control over the land.
The Yuan2 dynasty, however, did not survive long before it was overthrown by Ming2tai4zu3's military. The Ming2 dynasty lasted from AD1368 to AD1644. Another northern neighbor, Qing1, arose in AD1616. Established by Qing1tai4zu3, the Qing1 dynasty ruled the nation for hundreds of years.
A revolution occurred in AD1911, after which the nation was called the Republic of China. Another revolution occurred in AD1949, after which the nation was called the People's Republic of China.