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The word dynasty means, quite simply, a succession of rulers from the same family. Chinese historians have traditionally used the names of dynasties—a dynasty is a family of kings or emperors—as a way of tracing their history.
Chinese dynasties, were hereditary monarchical regimes that ruled over China from its inauguration in c. 2070 BC to the abdication of its last emperor in 1912. Overall, China was ruled by a series of 13 successive dynasties.
The Xia dynasty (c. 2070-1600 BC) was the first Chinese dynasty, founded by the legendary Yu the Great. Very little is known about the Xia period. By tradition, the Chinese throne was inherited exclusively by members of the male line.
The rise and fall of dynasties is a prominent feature of Chinese history. Dynastic transitions occurred through two ways: military conquest and usurpation
The Qing dynasty was the last imperial dynasty in China, succeeded by the Republic of China in 1912, following the success of the Xinhai Revolution. Dynastic rule in China lasted almost four millennia.
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