The Zhou Dynasty:  1050 - 400 B.C.

Map of China under rule of the Zhou Dynasty

Location:  The Zhou Dynasty was originally located to the west of the Shang dynasty but after the defeat of the Shang, the borders were extended as far south as the Chang Jiang River and east to the Yellow Sea.


Advancements and Achievements:

- origin of Chinese philosophy developed to deal with political and social changes (Confucianism,Daoism,Legalism)
- compass invented sometime between 480 - 221 B.C.
- kite - the oldest type of aircraft was invented during the 4th or 5th century
- established a system of feudalism which gave land in exchange for loyalty, military support, and other services
- lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history
- developed China's first projects involving hydraulic engineering
- perfection of bronze casting
- use of gold and silver inlays in objects
- use of iron in developing iron casting for tools and weapons was introduced
- developed technology for irrigation, drainage, waterways, canals, dikes, and dams
- used dyed yarns and materials like silk and linen
- produced glass
- refined the calendar
- studied and recorded astronomy and astronomical events
- created the first geographical maps
- discovered magnetism
- advancements in mathematics, including basic arithmetic, fractions, geometry, trigonometry, and calculations
- use of fertilizers and pesticides

Significant Achievement:  Development of Chinese Philosophies

  The most significant achievement of the Zhou Dynasty was the development of the Chinese philosophies, including Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism.  This occurred during late 500 and early 400 B.C.  The Chinese philosophers emerged during a period in the Zhou Dynasty when there was political anarchy and social turmoil.  The philosophers were men with their learning and ideas for reuniting the empire and restoring order to society.  Confucianism was the idea that people should behave ethically and have great respect and commitment  for their families.  This would result in a better society.  Daoism was the belief in the dao "way" that creates the world and how things should live.  If people follow the Dao, they would live in peace and find contentment.  Legalism believed that people were evil by nature and needed strict rules and punishment to control their conduct.

Zhou Dynasty vase with glass inlays

Zhou Dynasty jade pendant