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Timeline of Chinese Dynasties

Timeline of Chinese Dynasties: Xia, Shang, Western Zhou, Eastern Zhou, Qin, Western Han, Eastern Han, Three Kingdoms Period, Western Jin, Eastern Jin, Five Minority Groups and Sixteen Kingdoms, Southern Dynasty, Northern Dynasty, Sui, Tang, Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms, Northern Song, Southern Song, Liao, Xixia, Jin, Yuan, Ming, and Qing. 




Capital (Modern Area)

Co-existing Kingdoms and Period

2070 - 1600 B.C.

Xia (470 years)

Yu the Great

Anyi (Xiaxian county in Shanxi )

1600 - 1046 B.C.

Shang (554 years)


Bo (Shangqiu, Henan); Yin (in Anyang, Henan)

1046 - 256 B.C

Zhou (790 years)

King Wu Ji Fa

Haojing (Xi’an, Shaanxi)

1014 - 771 B.C

Western Zhou (275 years)

King Wu Ji Fa

Haojing (Xi’an, Shaanxi)

770 - 256 B.C

Eastern Zhou (514 years)

Luoyi (Luoyang)

Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 B.C)

Warring Period (475 - 221 B.C)

221 - 207 B.C

Qin (15 years)

Qin Shi Huang Ying Zheng


206 - 202 B.C

Western Chu (5 years)

Overlord of Western ChuXiang Yu

Pengcheng (Xuzhou, Jiangsu)

202 B.C - 220 A.D

Western Han (202 B.C - 8 A.D, 210 years)

Liu Bang

Chang’an (Xi’an, Shaanxi)

Xin Han (8 - 23 A.D, 16 years)

Wang Mang

Chang’an (Xi’an, Shaanxi)

Xuan Han (23 - 25 A.D, 2 years)

Liu Xuan

Wancheng (Nanyang, Henan); Luoyang; Chang’an (Xian, Shaanxi)

Eastern Han (25 - 220 A.D, 195 years)

Liu Xiu


220 - 280 A.D

Three Kingdoms Period (60 years)

Cao Pi


Kingdom of Wei (220 - 265)

Liu Bei


Kingdom of Shu (221 - 263)

Sun Quan

Jianye (Nanjing, Jiangsu)

Kingdom of Wu (222 - 280)

265 - 420 A.D

Western Jin (265 - 316, 51 years)

Sima Yan


Sixteen Kingdoms of Five Ethnic Groups (304 - 439)

Eastern Jin (317 - 420, 103 years)

Sima Rui

Jiankang (Nanjing, Jiangsu)

420 - 589 A.D

Southern Dynasty (169 years)

Liu Yu

Jiankang (Nanjing, Jiangsu)

Kingdom of Song (420 - 479 )

Xiao Daocheng

Jiankang (Nanjing, Jiangsu)

Kingdom of Qi (479 - 502)

Xiao Yan

Jiankang (Nanjing, Jiangsu)

Kingdom of Liang (502 - 557)

Chen Baxian

Jiankang (Nanjing, Jiangsu)

Kingdom of Chen (557 - 589)

Northern Dynasty (195 years)

Tuoba Gui

Pingcheng (Datong, Shanxi); Luoyang

Northern Wei (386 - 534)

Yuan Shanjian

Yecheng (Handan)

Eastern Wei (534 - 550)

Yuan Baoju

Chang’an (Xi’an, Shaanxi)

Western Wei (535 - 556)

Gao Yang

Yecheng (Handan)

Northern Qi (550 - 577)

Yuwen Jue

Chang’an (Xi’an, Shaanxi)

Northern Zhou (557 - 581)

581 - 618 A.D

Sui (38 years)

Yang Jian

Daxing (Xi’an, Shaanxi)

618 - 907 A.D

Tang (289 years)

Li Yuan

Chang’an (Xi’an, Shaanxi)

902 - 979 A.D

Five Dynasties (53 years)

Zhu Huang

Kaifeng, Henan

Later Liang (907 - 923)

Li Cunmao

Luoyang, Henan

Later Tang (923 - 936)

Shi Jingtang

Kaifeng, Henan

Later Jin (936 - 947)

Liu Hao

Kaifeng, Henan

Later Han (947 - 950)

Guo Wei

Kaifeng, Henan

Later Zhou (951 - 960)

Ten States (902 - 979)

960 - 1279 A.D

Northern Song (960 - 1127, 167 years)

Zhao Kuangyin

Kaifeng, Henan

Qidan (907 - 947)

Liao Dynasty (947 - 1125)

Western Liao (1124 - 1218)

Kingdom of Dali (937 - 1254)

Western Xia (1038 - 1227)

Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234)

Southern Song (1127 - 1279, 152 years)

Zhao Gou

Lin’an (Hangzhou, Zhejiang)

Mongol (1206 - 1272)

1271 - 1368 A.D

Yuan (98 years)

Kublai Khan

Dadu (Beijing)

1368 - 1644 A.D

Ming (277 years)

Zhu Yuanzhang


Northern Yuan (1368 - 1402)

Later Jin (1616 - 1636)

1636 - 1912 A.D

Qing (276 years)

Hong Taiji


Southern Ming (1644 - 1683)

①When the Shang Dynasty was established, the capital was in Bo (current Shangqiu, Henan). In the first 300 years after the Shang dynasty's founding, the domestic turmoils and natural disasters had forced the Shang rulers to move the capital five times. During Pan Geng’s reign, he moved the capital to Yin (present Anyang) and created a rather reviving Shang dynasty. Since then, the capital was settled permanently. Therefore, the Shang dynasty is also regarded as Yin Shang. 

②New Han: In the late Western Han dynasty, the social conflict became so intensified that the Han court believed Wang Mang, a wise and modest royal member, could save the crisis. In December of year 8, Wang Mang established a new dynasty and performed a series of reforms called Wang Mang’s Reform.

③Xuan Han: In 23 A.D, large-scale peasant uprisings broke out, and as a result, the New Han established by Wang Mang, fell apart. Liu Bang’s ninth-generation descendant Liu Xuan established a new dynasty and continued to use the Han as the state title. 

④Five Minority Groups and Sixteen Kingdoms Period refers to the five minority groups in north China and the regimes they established during the time from the late Western Jin dynasty to the Northern Wei Dynasty, unifying northern China. The five minorities refer to Xiongnu, Xianbei, Jie, Di, and Qiang. The Sixteen kingdoms are Former Liang, Later Liang, Southern Liang, Western Liang, Northern Liang, Han (Former Zhao), Later Zhao (Wei), Former Qin, Later Qin, Western Qin, Former Yan, Later Yan, Southern Yan, Northern Yan, Xia, and Cheng (Cheng Han). 

⑤Wu Zetian (624 - 705) ascended the throne in 690, changed the state title from Tang to Zhou, and moved the capital to Luoyang. She is the only empress in Chinese history, and her reign lasted 15 years. After she died in 705, his son resumed the regime and continued to rule under the state title of Tang.

⑥Five Dynasties and Ten States (907 - 979): five dynasties are Later Liang, Later Tang, Later Jin, Later Han, and Later Zhou. Ten states refer to the ten regimes entrenched in south China, including Southern Wu, Former Shu, Wuyue, Machu, Min, Southern Han, Jinnan (Nanping), Later Shu, Southern Tang, and Northern Han. The fact is there were more than ten states at that time. Other nations like Tubo, Bohai State, Liuqiu Kingdom, Gedei Khanate, Chagatai Khanate, Huihu, Tuguhun, and many more existed. In 960, a general named Zho Kuangyin from the Later Zhou dynasty launched a military mutiny at Chenqiao and established the Northern Song dynasty. Since then, five dynasties period ended. In 979, the Northern Song court also defeated the Northern Han state and achieved central China's unification. 

For More Chinese History:

1. Early Dynasties of China - Xia Shang and Zhou Dynasties

2. Ming Dynasty History

3. Qing Dynasty - The Last Dynasty in China

4. Song Dynasty - Facts History and Emperors in Order