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History and Culture of The Xia Dynasty

Categories: CultureHistory

The first prehistoric dynasty is said to be Xia, from about the twenty-first to the sixteenth century B.C. Xia-dynasty was founded by the Si-clan, who were descendants of the clan’s foundation father, Yu. Because of the lack of written sources, historians have still not gained a correct idea of how the people lived at that time. According to the later tradition, Yu spent thirteen years to dig out channels and maintain dikes. When emperor Shun died, the officials disagreed with the imperial decision of letting Shun’s son inherit the throne.

They wanted Yu instead, who after his death was followed by his son. It was Yu who founded the first imperial dynasty in China.

Until scientific excavations were made at early bronze-age sites at Anyang, Henan Province, in 1928, it was difficult to separate myth from reality in regard to the Xia. But since then, and especially in the 1960s and 1970s, archaeologists have uncovered urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs that point to the existence of Xia civilization in the same locations cited in ancient Chinese historical texts.

At minimum, the Xia period marked an evolutionary stage between the late neolithic cultures and the typical Chinese urban civilization of the Shang dynasty. Xia was conquered by Tang, and a new era had begun, the Shang-dynasty was founded.

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Stunning Capital of Xia Dynasty Unearthed

Chinese archaeologists recently found a large-scale building foundation in Erlitou Ruins of Yanshi, central China’s Henan Province, which belongs to the later period of Xia Dynasty.

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The discovery, the first of its kind in China, again excited the archaeological field after the heated discussion on the division of Xia and Shang dynasties . “The site causes great concern because it was founded at the key moment when the Xia Dynasty (c. 2100 BC – c. 1600 BC) was replaced by the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BC – c. 1100 BC),” said Dr. Xu Hong, head of the Erlitou Archaeological Team under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “Was it built by people of the Xia or the Shang? Further excavation will help find the final resolution and provide new materials for periodization of the two dynasties.”

Erlitou Ruins, a new mystery

The Erlitou Ruins were discovered by Chinese scholars in their field research of Xia culture. In the following 40 years’ outdoor excavation, they obtained rich relics and references. As a result, the Erlitou Ruins were confirmed as the ruins of an important capital existing between the Xia and Shang dynasties. The first-hand information and scientific materials laid a solid foundation for the research of Xia culture. Meanwhile, since its discovery, disputes about it have never ended.

Situated in the central area of the Xia Dynasty as shown in historical records chronologized as in the Xia Dynasty, the Erlitou Ruins naturally became a key site in the exploration of the Xia culture as well as the division between Xia and Shang dynasties. The question remaining is whether it is a Xia-dynasty capital or the Shang capital Xibo. Disputes also center on the nature of the Erlitou culture. Some think it featured Xia culture in early period and Shang culture in later period, while others believe it was of pure Xia culture.

After the periodization of the Xia, Shang and Zhou (c. 1100 BC – 221 BC) was completed, more and more experts tended to believe Erlitou was a site of Xia ruins and it once served as the capital during the dynasty’s middle and later periods. “This means people can almost touch the pulse of China’s first dynasty. I say ‘almost’ because many mysteries about the Erlitou Ruins remain unsolved,” Dr. Xu Hong said. “We’ve got only an outline of the information it has provided, such as the internal layout, evolution process, culture, social life, organizational structure and ethnics, of this capital.”

“The final solution to the mysteries of Erlitou culture and Xia culture still depends on more historical witnesses, such as the creation of characters,” Xu said. “With further investigation, excavation and research on the Erlitou Ruins, people will better understand the significance of the ruins in exploring the source of Chinese culture, Chinese early civilization and formation of state.”

Palace complex: the earliest ever found

Under the No.2 site of Erlitou Ruins, which is the foundation of a large-scale palace complex, archaeologists recently discovered a new site of rammed earth, which indicates an earlier, larger and more complicated structure once existed there. It pushes the age of China earliest palace complex back 100 years. According to Dr. Xu Hong, the site, encoded No.3, should belong to early-period Erlitou culture. To date, it has been confirmed that the structure was about 150 meters long, and its major body comprises at least three courtyards.

Before the discovery, archaeologists believed the No.1 and No.2 sites of Erlitou were the earliest large-scale palaces in China, leading to the conclusion that the early period palace was simple in structure and usually had one gate and one courtyard. The excavation of No.3 site, however, made them change minds.

The Erlitou Ruins, dating back 3,850-3,550 years, were found in 1959. As early as in 1978, archaeologists had noticed large-scale rammed earth under the No.2 palace site and decided to explore its scale, structure and date. In recent years, the Erlitou Archaeological Team has focused their field work on early buildings of Erlitou and its relationship with later buildings. Since autumn 2001, more than 3,000 square meters have been excavated. The result is the discovery of the more complicated No.3 and No.5 palace sites, which sit side by side, one in the east, the other in the west. Under the passageway between them, there is a 100-meter-long wooden-structured drainage culvert.

In the middle and south courtyards of No.3 site, archaeologists also found rows of medium-sized tombs, of which five have been cleaned up. All of the tombs are paved with cinnabar and traces of coffins can still be seen. Burial articles unearthed include bronze, jade, lacquer and white pottery ware as well as glazed pottery inlayed with turquoise and artifacts made from seashells. Many items, such as white pottery in shape of wide-rimmed bamboo hat, jade ornament looking like a bird’s head, large vessel inlayed with turquoise and ornament composed of nearly 100 gear-like holed clams, had never been seen before. The discovery of the tombs with so many aristocrats is of great significance to the study of the nature of No.3 site and the burial ceremonies of the Erlitou culture.

Basic structure of Erlitou made clear

In the past half a century, Chinese archaeologists have dedicated themselves to seeking relics of the Xia Dynasty and their work centers on western Henan Province. Historical records show the western part of Henan Province was the central area for activities in the Xia Dynasty. In 1959, historian Xu Xusheng found the large ruins of Erlitou in Yanshi of western Henan Province. Since then, three generations of archaeologists have conducted more than 40 excavations.

Research proves this was the largest living community in China and even in East Asia in the first half of c. 2000 BC. It boasted the earliest palace building group of China, earliest bronze sacrificial vessel group and earliest bronze smelting workshop. It is the earliest capital city which can be confirmed to date.

Dr. Xu Hong, head of the Erlitou Archaeological Team under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, stresses the academic significance of the work: it helps better understand the nature of Erlitou Ruins as a capital, the emergence of city, and the early form of state.

The palaces in the Erlitou Ruins had three avenues: the one in the east was nearly 700 meters long, the other two in the north and south were over 300 meters each, with a distance of 400 meters between them. Also, several paths were discovered in the palace area. Between No.1 and No.2 sites, large areas of earth, hundreds square meters of pebble and some rammed-earth foundations were found.

The latest exploration and excavation show the palace ruins were distributed in a northwest-southeast trend along the ancient Yiluo River. The longest distance from east to west was 2,400 meters, and that from north to south, 1,900 meters. The northern part of it had been damaged by the Luohe River, with only a three-square-kilometer area left. The most important part was the highland in the southeast, with palace foundation ruins, bronze smelting workshop ruins and medium-sized tombs. The western part of it was relatively low and used to be common residential areas. On the edge of the eastern part a ditch extending 500 meters intermittently was found. It was believed to be a ditch providing earth for construction or pottery making in the past. Also, it formed the eastern border of the palace.

Background: Journey into the Xia Dynasty

Erlitou is a common village on the northern bank of the Luohe River, Henan Province. Few has known it was the location of the capital of China’s first dynasty, Xia between c.1900 BC to c. 1600 BC. It witnessed the prosperity of the Xia and the transmission from the Xia to the Shang. However, the memory about the Chinese nation seemed to dim from people’s mind and some even doubted if there had been such a brilliance.

In the 20th century, the discovery of inscriptions on tortoise shells or animal bones and excavation of the Yin Ruins of Anyang proved the existence of the Shang Dynasty. This greatly encouraged Chinese scholars, who hoped to restore the real appearance of the Xia Dynasty by seeking relevant relics.

Since Erlitou was discovered by Xu Xusheng and his archaeological team in 1959, Chinese archaeologists have entered a new stage in the exploration of the Xia culture. The continuous excavation brought to light ruins of large-scale palace foundations, large-scale bronze smelting workshop, pottery making and bone article workshops as well as buildings related to religious sacrifice, 400 tombs, sets of bronze and jade sacrificial vessels. All these have proven Erlitou was the earliest capital ever founded in China.

Along with new discoveries, the disputes over Xia culture and the division of the Xia and Shang dynasties have heated up again, attracting both domestic and overseas scholars. The periodization of the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties greatly promoted the study of Xia culture. The initial building of the Shang city in Yanshi has been confirmed as a boundary mark between the Xia and Shang dynasties, and Erlitou Ruins, a capital of the Xia Dynasty. More and more scholars begin to accept the view that the mainstay of Erlitou culture was Xia culture.

Now the exploration on the source of Chinese civilization and Xia culture is still going on. Dr. Xu Hong, as well as other scholars devoted to this study, is fully confident of the future: “The discovery of the Yin Ruins astounded the world in the 20th century. We believe the Erlitou Ruins will lead the study of Chinese ancient civilization to a new stage in the 21st century.”

The first prehistoric dynasty is said to be Xia, from about the twenty-first to the sixteenth century BC. Until scientific excavations were made at early bronze-age sites at Anyang, Henan Province, in 1928, it was difficult to seperate myth from reality in regard to the Xia. But since then, and especially in the 1960s and 1970s, archaeologists have uncovered urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs that point to the existence of Xia civilization in the same locations cited in ancient Chinese historical texts. At minimum, the Xia period marked an evolutionary stage between the late neolithic cultures and the typical Chinese urban civilization of the Shang Dynasty. The Xia Dynasty is traditionallly supposed to have begun with the reign of Yu the Great and ended with the fall of Jie,lasting for more than 400 years, from approximately the 21st century BC to a little earlier to the 16th century BC. THere were altogether seventeen kings in fourteen generations. According to an ancient version of history, however, it was not Yu, but his son Qi, who founded the dynasty.

Towards the end of the Xia Dynasty, social contradictions and confict grew sharper. Tradition has it that in the 16th century BC, the last ruler of Xia, Jie, abused his power and increased oppression. He exhausted the resources of the people to build palaces and pavilions for himself. The people were also forced to go to war. Filled with hatred for Jie, the people could no longer put up with his despotic rule and fled in large numbers. Even his court officials cursed him and wished his death, although that might mean that they themselves would perish.

The origin of Xia Dynasty — The Great Yu and the terrible Flood Shang Tang sezed this opportunity. took a revolt and finally overthrew the Xia Dynasty and founded the house known as the Shang Dynasty. Legend has it that some four or five thousand years ago there occurred once in the Yellow River valley a terrible flood which washed away whole villages with their houses and inundated large areas of cropland. Many people lost their lives in the flood and those who were fortunate enough to survive were forced to abandon their homes and go and live on hillsides or migrate to places far, far away.

At that time, the leader of the confederation of tribes was a man named Yao who at once summoned together the chieftains of all the tribes to discuss how to get the flood under control. At the meeting, a man named Gun was elected by unanimous vote to take charge of the fight against the flood.

Under Gun’s leadership, the people spent nine long years building dams and dykes to stop the flow of the rivers. All the efforts however ended only in more disastrous floods. It happened more than once that no sooner was a dam or dyke built than it was destroyed by flood which carried sands and mud downstream until the mouth of the Yellow River was choked up and the afflicted areas became larger and larger while the number of victims increased.

By this time Yao himself was getting very old and so he yielded his place to one named Shun who attached great importance to flood control and went to the work sites for a personal inspection. When he found that Gun had failed in his mission, he first had him incarcerated on Feather Hill and then killed. After that he gave orders that Gun’s son Yu should carry on the work of fighting the flood.

There have been many mythical stories about Yu’s birth. One is that three years after Gun was killed, his dead body still showed no signs of putrefaction and when someone cut it open, out bounded the boy Yu. Another has it that Yu’s mother gave birth to him after eating a kind of wild fruit. Anyway, in ancient times everyone seemed to believe that Yu was the son of a god, an ingenious, capable and peerless hero. It was barely four days after he got married when Yu received Shun’s order. Determined to have the flood under control and remove the menace to the people, he left his wife behind and set off for the work site.

Yu first made a study of the causes that had led to his father’s failure. Then he made a careful survey of the afflicted areas and asked for advice from experienced workers. Knowing that water tends to flow from higher to lower regions, he abandoned Gun’s method of building dams and dykes to stop the flow of waters. Instead he led his men in digging ditches and canals to divert the flood and also in dredging the river channels so as to provide outlets for the floods into the sea. In those days there was a high mountain, Mount Longmen, in the upper reaches of the Yellow River that blocked the way of the river. When the turbulent waters reached the mountain, it overflowed the banks, causing floods in the vicinity. In order to cut a canal into the mountain, Yu turned himself into a bear and stole into the mountains to do the digging. He also enlisted the help of Ying Long, Huang Di’s brave warrior. Eventually, he succeeded in cutting a canal through Mount Longmen and thus made it possible for the floods to flow by way of this canal and the dredged rivers into the sea.

Rain or shine, Yu worked in the midst of his men, digging and taking earth away all through the four seasons of a year. His face became sun-burnt and his body spare and thin. Even the hair on his calves was worn away. But he was so dedicated that it was said that he had three times refrained from entering the door of his home when he was passing by. One story has it that he happened to be passing the door when his wife was giving birth to his son Qi. He heard the baby crying, but in order to get the flood under control as early as he could he turned away from his door.

Thus after thirteen long years of continuous efforts, Yu and his men succeeded in dredging all the rivers, big and small, and in doing away with the evil of flood. Those who had gone to live on hillsides or had migrated to remote places now came back to their native places. Under Yu’s leadership, they tilled the land and planted crops and developed agricultural production. As a result, people were beginning to lead a good life.

Yu was held in great reverence by all the tribes who now addressed him as Yu the Great. Shun was convinced that Yu had both fine qualities and great competence and so recommended him as his successor. After the death of Shun, Yu became the head of the tribal confederation. Later his own son Qi set himself as the successor and it was Qi that set up the first slave-owning state in Chinese history – the Xia Dynasty.

Xia Dynasty 2100 BC – 1700 BC

According to legend, the Chinese people originated in the Huang He (Yellow River) valley created by the god, Pan Ku. There is little archaeological evidence of this, although remains of Homo Erectus dating back 460,000 years have been found near Beijing. Several villages and farms from about 10,000 BC have been found by archaeologists in northern China. Although little is known about the Xia Dynasty, the Xia are assumed to be descended from the Huang He people. Until recently the dynasty was thought of as mythical but archaeological evidence has now proved its existence. In about 3000 BC the Lungshan people emerged and were the first people of the Xia Dynasty. They made silk, fine pottery and bricks baked in ovens to build their homes. They learned how to control floods and irrigate fields and had great engineering skills. There are no written records although it is assumed that they had a writing system of some sort.

This first hereditary dynasty lasted some 400 years and tradition says it ended when a Xia ruler started mistreating the people and was overthrown. The Xia Dynasty is portrayed as the tutorial missions in Emperor. In prehistoric ancient China several nomadic families joined together and settled along the fertile banks of the Wei River. The settlement of Banpo starts very small requiring only the basics of life but, as the years pass, the settlement prospers and they establish farms together with the manufacture of luxuries such as beautiful ceramics. Later still, explorers go out from the town to search for other communities and a new town is established on the plains of Erlitou and rudimentary trade between cities is started.

At last the silk-worm and the beautiful fabric that can be made from it are discovered. As with most societies, war threatens and copper is mined to make weapons and arm soldiers. Taxes have to be levied with the tax collectors using wooden ledgers for record keeping. Finally the tutorials (and Xia Dynasty) end with victory in battle.

The establishment of the Xia Dynasty (21st – 17th century BC) is an important milestone in the history of Chinese civilization and marks the end of the Primitive Society and the beginning of the Class Society. It is the first dynasty in Chinese history, and lasted nearly 500 years including the reigns of 17 emperors. It is thought that most of the Xia people probably inhabited the western area of Henan Province and southern Shanxi Province.

Political History

It is Yu the Great who first set up the dynasty under the Abdication System (choosing the leader according to their ability). After he died, his son Qi broke up this system and made himself the Xia emperor. From that time onwards, the Abdication System gave way to the Hereditary System.

Following the system of hereditary, 15 offspring of Qi succeeded him after his death. Among them, emperors like Shaokang, and Huai made great contributions to the development of Chinese society. However, there were also many tyrannical emperors during this period such as Taikang, Kongjia, and Jie.

Economy and Crafts

During this dynasty, many achievements were made. People lived mainly through agriculture using tools made of stone or bone. The Jade ware at that time was quite delicate and bronze vessels were well smelted. Craftwork made of bronze embedded with jade also appeared. Commodity exchanges developed. A calendar system was devised which used both lunar and solar movements.


Xia ended under the reign of Jie, a very notorious tyrannical emperor in Chinese history. After he succeeded to the throne, he lived an extravagant life day and night without any thought for his country or its people. In addition, he killed the patriotic ministers who presented him with good advice. All of his actions enraged the people so much that at last they rose up under the leadership of Tang (the chief of the Shang tribe and latter set up Shang Dynasty (17th – 11th century BC) and overthrew Xia.

The realm of China has been well renowned for its sundry and unique culture – that is why a lot of researchers, students, and tourists became very much fascinated with the historical background and roots of this culture. For decades, Chinese history and culture have undergone huge tons of changes – from the places, food, clothing, political beliefs, spiritual choices, attitude of people, structure of buildings and residences, government types, arts, and others alike. All of the alleged factors have undergone change and innovation throughout the point in time, living massive impact on its people. To better acquire an understanding of the up-to-date transformation in the ethnicity and traditions of China, it is better to be aware of the roots of modernization where innovation and colossal amendment took place.

According to unswerving sources, there are proof and substantiation that the immense variations on the Chinese history and culture was distinguished and took consign during the Xia Dynasty, roughly around 2100 B.C. to 1600 B.C. The Xia Dynasty lasted for nearly 500 years and during those long years, a lot of modification has been made doable under diverse leaders from one generation to another. All through those years, the nation of China has been under the leadership of 17 different emperors that has left a lot of remarkable changes in the country’s culture.

The Origins and Development of the Xia Dynasty

First, it is important to go through the origin of the Xia Dynasty – where did it all start? There are a lot of different versions and story lines on the subject of the roots of the Xia Dynasty but regardless of those speculations, lone factor will remain the same, and that is Xia was the very first established dynasty system in China. Long before, the Xia Dynasty had been established through battles between two tribes that had long existed – the two battling tribes are the Xia tribe and Chiyou’s tribe.

The Patriarch of the Xia Tribe

The Xia tribe was noted to progressively develop and took place during the time of Zhuanxu, who is well acknowledged as one of the five great emperors of China. According to classical research, reviews and historical texts, a lot of evidences have proved that Yu the Great, which is the first leader of China during the Xia Dynasty was the grandson of Zhuanxu. Other classical facts and historical rites profess that Xia is a member of the fifth generation of Zhuanxu. Whether of the alleged facts are true or not, the only fact that will remain the same is that the first conqueror and leader of China’s Xia Dynasty originated from the Zhuanxu, evidently making it possible that the Xia clan was mainly the descendants of the great emperor.

Areas of Habitation and the Abdication System

The development of the Xia Dynasty served as a very significant part of the Chinese history and culture since during those periods the development has marked the end of the Primitive civilization and highlighted the beginning of the class and more modernized society. Most people during the Xia Dynasty period localized in the western area of the province of Henan and some also inhabited the northern and southern part of the province of Shanxi. During the earlier times of Xia Dynasty, the approach in selecting the right leader was first set up by Yu the Great, who made the Abdication System the way of choosing the right leader. The Abdication System is an approach where a leader is chosen according to their advanced ability and competence.

Gun’s Mission to Stop the Flooding at the Yellow River

Throughout the Xia Dynasty, the main problem that Yu the Great had to deal with was the flooding of the Yellow River. Long before the time of Gun, known as the earliest member of the Xia clan and also the father of Yu the Great, Gun and other tribe members attempted to solve the problems of flooding. Gun was appointed by Yao to stop the flooding of the Yellow river; Yao ordered the establishment and construction of large line of defense and blockade that would stop the flooding and destruction of their farm or field crops. The attempt of Yu’s father to build a defense and effective barrier to prevent and control the flood lasted for nine long years, but in the end they still failed to attain their goal since the flood became stronger and more uncontrollable. That failure has lead to the order of execution of Yu the Great’s father Gun, who was ordered by Shun the succeeding leader of the throne.

Gun’s Execution and Yu’s Mission

Gun was ordered to be executed on the mountain located between the Donghai countries – because of his father’s failure to solve the flooding, Yu the Great was motivated to continue his father’s attempt to stop the flooding of the Yellow River. Since Yu the Great was highly trusted by Shun, he was then assigned to continue his father’s work – the method and technique of Yu greatly differ from his father’s approach. As you can recall, the method used by Gun was to build a blockade that will redirect the path of the water to stop the flood but since it is a failure, Yu the Great tried a whole lot of different approach. The first step that Yu considered was to acquire help from other tribes. What he did was unite people coming from the different tribes and ordered them to lend him a hand in solving their flooding problems by effectively building canals in all the major rivers around China, which will redirect the water into its way to the sea, consequently preventing it from flooding their farms.

Yu’s Dedication to Stopping the Yellow River Floods

Yu the great has dedicated 13 years of his life in order to complete his mission and during those 13 years, he did not go home to see his family. It was said that throughout that 13 years he only passed by looking at his house without going inside and talking to his family. He was very much dedicated and highly motivated, he was an epitome of strength and intelligence may be that is the reason why all his hard work eventually paid off, and his technique was successful in leading the water directly into the sea, thus preventing the flood.

Mission Accomplished: Prosperity Ensues

The prevention of the flood eventually lead to the affluence and growth of the farm crops that was usually destroyed by the flood and this growth has lead to the strengthening of the Xia tribe, making Yu the leader of other surrounding tribes. Then eventually after several years, Shun abdicated his throne to Yu since Shun himself is getting old and needs to pass the throne and authority to a competent leader – he then chose Yu to succeed on his position. And that was noted as the first year of Yu’s leadership and also the birth of the Xia Dynasty. After several years of leadership, Yu was ought to pass the throne to a worthy leader but instead of choosing according to the competence and ability Yu chose to give the throne to his son Qi; that act marked the start of the Hereditary System in selecting a leader and began the era of clan leadership style of governing.

The throne was continuously passed to sons of the kings, from generation to generation until the time of Jie took place. Jie was the last ruler of the Xia dynasty he was perceived as a corrupt leader, which lead to the rebellion of the people against his leadership that eventually lead him to be overthrown by Tang who started the Shang Dynasty.

Xia Dynasty Technology and Innovation

Other changes that were noted from the period of Xia Dynasty was subsequent, the use of stone tools like the hand axe, they also made use of fire in perfecting the stone tools that they created. Agriculture was also improved during the Xia period and pasturing was started. Irrigation technology was also greatly improved, the production of dried and earthen goods also took place, the use of ships and vehicles arose, the use of varnish became common practice. Silk production and weaving also took place during the Xia dynasty as well as drilling and carving technology. But the most recognized innovation during this period was the creation of the calendar based on two different patterns, the use of jade, bronze vessels, and bronze casting also became popular at this era.

XIA Dynasty Religion Government Geography Economy Society First Chinese Dynasty Marked the transition between primitive society and class society. First began with an abdiction system Choosing leader by ability. After Yu the great died, his son Qi changed to the hereditary system choosing the leader by the bloodline. The Xia Dynasty had no written records so at times they are considered myth. There society was based on slavery. Their culture was very into astronomy. They were among the first to chart constellations and supernovas. Most of the Xia was learned from ancient records from other civilizations because the Xia themeselves had no form of writing. Some of these records include the Bamboo Annals and the Records of the Grand Historian. They were believed to be Aryans who migrated into the area and they were able to take down the locals and conquer it. There are credited for discovering silk and an early lunar calendar. In the beginning they believed in natural religion.

This included shamans, spirits, and cremation of the dead bodies. With time the larger population became Buddhist. Tangut monks translated many sutras to the Xia language. After the 11th century the Xia went into Lamaism Thats another form of Buddhism. Smaller religion present was Chinese Daoism. They were very family oriented, they honored their family. Most of the myths about the Xia had godlike leaders or gods included in them. They had a large amount of cattle herds that they used to make a lot of woolen products. They depended on their resources. For example fishermen depend on fish. They had no trade with others because they were involved in so much war. Had frontier market to supply their own country. Made coins to buy within their country. Made tools and weapons out of stone, bone, and wood. In the time of Yu the Great there were many floods that destroyed the crops and home of the people. Due to excessive floods, Yu built canals leading to the river and the sea.

The canals also helped with agriculture when they began farming. There were a total of 17 emperors The first one was Xiayu, who was in power for 45 years The Xia was based on slavery The leader that ended the Xia dynasty was named Jie he was a tyrant. Jie was in charge for 52 years They lived next to the yellow riverbend. The Xia were very good fishers. The Xia had descended from a wide-spread Yellow River valley Neolithic culture known as the Longshan culture. There is only some written records of this. The Xia dynasty lasted 500 years. On a warm spring day, in Xia times, some children went out in the fields to play. In those days, if you had a problem you went to see the local wise woman. In this village, the wise woman’s name was Loawnu. Alarmed at what they saw in the fields, the children ran up the hill to Loawnu’s house. “Loawnu,” they shouted. “The sky is falling down!” Loawnu smiled at the children. “Don’t be worried. Find all the pieces of sky that have fallen, and bring them to me. I’ll sew them together again in time for the festival.” The spring festival was nearing. This was a time when the young people gathered from many villages to meet one another and to find husbands and wives.

The children’s village had been honored this year as the meeting village. It would be a horrible time for the sky to fall down. The village would be disgraced! Off the children ran to pick up the pieces. But some were missing! “Loawnu!” cried the children, as they tore up the hill, breathing heavily. Loawnu only smiled. The next day, the children ran outside and looked up. The sky looked as it always looked on a warm spring day, clean and fresh and blue. They were so happy. That night, they were amazed! The sky had always been dark at night. That night, it was filled with light! Loawnu had patched the missing pieces of sky with bright twinkling light! How beautiful! How clever! We shall have the happiest spring festival in all the land! How lucky we are to know Loawnu! All the village agreed. From the canals that Yu built, he was praised and was made him the leader of the Xia Dynasty Archeologists found bronze implements and tombs proving that the Xia dynasty lived through 2100- 1800 BC.

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