China Legendary Beginnings
Name Transition Zhong Guo, the Mandarin term for China has gone through many changes with its name throughout history. It literally means “middle kingdom” in English, yet even its meaning has also gone through many changes and even caused enormous arguments over time. The term Zhong Guo that was initially used during the Zhuo dynasty only became an official abbreviated name for The People’s Republic of China after the 1911 revolution.
- China is the most populated country in the world.
- Its capital city is Beijing while Shanghai is the country’s largest city.
- This third largest country of the world has maintained a communist form of government for decades though it allows capitalism in some allocated parts.
- It has seven major dialects with Mandarin as the one commonly used.
- The military evolution of China started as early as 1500 BC. It continues to develop and make use of new innovations since the invention of gunpowder and firearms until now.
- Religion is very important to the daily lives of the Chinese people. Buddhism is generally observed along with four other recognized religious sectors, namely; Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism.
Birth of China. Chinese gives importance to the history of their culture stressing that this is the only ancient culture that has managed to live on today. The majority of this ancient Chinese history is in the form of mythology. China is placed on the Timeline of Bible and World History starting in 2300 BC
Chinese mythology, a compilation of cultural history, folktales, and religions is thought to have started around the 12th century BC. It is transferred through generations with the use of oral and written methods. It includes the myths and legends about the creation and on the foundation of the Chinese culture and civilization. This is conserved by the Chinese Han people living in the Shennongjia, Hubei. Their mythology has stories of people and rulers that played a vital role in the foundation and early wars of the people.
Mythological Perspective. The oldest Chinese mythology talked about the “Three August Ones and the Five Emperors”. It gives the story of the three kings and five emperors who utilized their magical powers for the betterment of their nations. And because of their good deeds, they were blessed with long lives and were able to reign peacefully for such a long time. These leaders were the epitome of high morals and compassion, the qualities that should be mirrored by the future kings and emperors. The names of the three king and the five emperors varies in different sources. In one source, the three kings were named Fu Xi, Nu Wa, and Shen Nong Shi. However Nu Wa is often given as one of the five emperors who is also named Huang Di in other sources.
Historical Perspective. Huang Di or Xuan Yuan Shi, unlike the three kings who are all mythical characters, is a real legendary ruler of China. He is the first emperor who reigned before the Xia Dynasty. Ancient Chinese belief stresses that every emperor should be endowed with one of the Five Phases, in which Xuan Yuan got the earth. The earth is represented by the color yellow thus making Xuan Yuan the Yellow Emperor. He was born in You Xiong, the modern day Xin Zheng in He Nan Province and laid to rest in Qiao Shan in Shaan Xi, now standing in the Huang Ling County. He is the husband of the famous Empress Lei Zu, the one who discovered the silk and developed spinning and weaving.
It is believed that the Chinese nation descended from the Yellow Emperor and his brother Emperor Yan Di. People of the two emperors are believed to have embodied the Qijia culture witnessed in the Gansu and Shaan Xi today. Then they were thought to have travelled to the east, and together with the Hua Xia nation, started the cultures in the Central Plain which later on became the foundation of the Chinese civilization.
The Hua Xia nation is said to be the ones responsible for building the Xia Dynasty, the first dynasty of China.
The Ji family, another descendant of the Yellow Emperor built the Zhou Dynasty. During his lifetime, he allegedly developed the use of wells, mortars, bow and arrow, cattle breeding, carts and ships with the aid of his ministers. Tracing the bloodline to the Yellow Emperor is frequently done to become a legitimate leader, a practice done even by the non-Chinese people later on.