Learn more about Xia Dynasty
|History of China|
|3 Sovereigns & 5 Emperors|
|Spring & Autumn||Eastern Zhou|
The Xia Dynasty (Chinese: 夏朝; pinyin: xià cháo; Wade-Giles: hsia-ch'ao), ca. 2205 BC–1766 BC, is the first dynasty to be described in Chinese historical records, which record the names of seventeen kings over fourteen generations. The legendary Three August Ones and Five Emperors are said to have preceded this dynasty, which was followed by the Shang Dynasty.
 Legendary history
According to the official history, the Xia dynasty was founded when Shun abdicated the throne in favor of his minister Yu, whom Shun viewed as the perfect civil servant. Instead of passing power to the person deemed most capable of rulership, Yu passed power to his son, Qi, setting the precedence for dynastic rule. The Xia Dynasty thus began a period of family or clan control.
It was during this period that Chinese civilization developed a ruling structure that employed both a benign civilian government and harsh punishment for legal transgressions. From this the earliest forms of Chinese legal codes came into being.
 Archaelogical records
Unlike the later Shang dynasty, no direct archeological evidence exists to confirm the existence of a Xia dynasty. Archaeologists have uncovered urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs that point to the possible existence of the Xia dynasty at locations cited in ancient Chinese historical texts. Most Chinese archaeologists identify the Erlitou culture as the site of the Xia dynasty, while most Western archaeologists remain unconvinced of the connection between the Erlitou culture and the Xia Dynasty. In 1959, a site located in the city of Yanshi was excavated containing large palaces that some Chinese archaeologists have attributed as capital of the Xia Dynasty, though Western archaeologists are reluctant to make this claim on the grounds that no written records exist to confirm the name of the dynasty and its sovereigns. Radiocarbon dating places the site at ca. 2100 to 1800 BC, providing physical evidence of the existence of a state contemporaneous with and possibly equivalent to the Xia Dynasty as described in Chinese historical works. <ref>Fairbank, John K. China: A New History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992, page 35.</ref> At a minimum, the archeological discoveries marked an evolutionary stage between the late neolithic cultures and the typical Chinese urban civilization of the Shang dynasty. Agricultural technology improved drastically with the invention of wine making and improvements in horse herding, and carriages were used.
 Sovereigns of the Xia dynasty
|Posthumous Names (Shi Hao 諡號)1|
|01||45||禹||Yǔ||also Yu the Great (大禹; dà yǔ)|
|13||21||廑||Jǐn||Guoyu: jìn, putonghua: jǐn|
|17||52||桀||Jié||also Lu Gui (履癸 lǚ guǐ)|
|1 The reign name is sometimes preceded by the name of the dynasty, Xia (夏), for example Xia Yu (夏禹).|
|2 Possible length of reign, in years.|
 See also
- Deady, Kathleen W. and Dubois, Muriel L., Ancient China. Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2004.
 External links
de:Xia-Dynastie es:Dinastía Xia eo:Dinastio Xia fr:Dynastie Xia ko:하나라 id:Dinasti Xia it:Dinastia Xia lt:Sia dinastija nl:Xia-dynastie ja:夏 (三代) no:Xia-dynastiet pl:Dynastia Xia pt:Dinastia Xia ru:Династия Ся fi:Xia-dynastia sv:Xiadynastin vi:Nhà Hạ tr:Xia Hanedanı zh-yue:夏朝 zh:夏朝