China: History

  1. 221 BC

    Most of China becomes united for the first time under King Ying Zheng.

  2. 960

    The Song Dynasty begins and lasts until 1279. It is a period of cultural and intellectual growth.

  3. 1271

    Mongols conquer China and rule until 1368. Beijing becomes the capital.

  4. 1842

    After losing the First Opium War, China cedes Hong Kong to the British, and Western countries are given special commercial privileges.

  5. 1899

    The Boxer Rebellion begins in Northern China as an anti-foreigner movement and aims to re-establish traditional rule.

  6. 1911

    A military revolt leads to the end of the Qing monarchy and the formation of a republic.

  7. 1949

    The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) conquers most of the country, forcing the Kuomintang (KMT) to move to Taiwan, where the KMT establishes a provisional government called the Republic of China.

  8. 1949

    Mao Zedong, leader of the CCP, proclaims the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

  9. 1958

    Mao announces a new economic program, the “Great Leap Forward,” where agriculture is collectivized and industrial factories are increased. The program completely fails and is abandoned after two years, as a massive famine sweeps across the country.

  10. 1966

    Mao introduces a new movement, the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”, which leads to a decade of instability and upheaval with the leaders in China.

  11. 1979

    The government introduces a one-child policy to try to slow population growth.

  12. 1980s

    Under Deng’s leadership, China becomes more open to foreign countries in economic and social policies. In 1986 China’s “Open-door policy” allows for foreign investment and the development of a private sector.

  13. 1989

    Large scale demonstrations are held throughout China, most notably in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Mostly made up of students and intellectuals, the protesters called for continued economic and political reform.

  14. 1989

    Stock markets open in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

  15. 1997

    Hong Kong returns to Chinese control, and it is allowed to keep its own economic and political systems.

  16. 2001

    China joins the World Trade Organization.

  17. 2004

    China signs a trade agreement with 10 southeast Asian countries.

  18. 2006

    The controversial Three Gorges Dam project is completed. It is the world’s largest hydropower project.

  19. 2006

    A China-African summit is held in Beijing. Over $2 billion worth of business deals are signed.

  20. 2008

    China introduces a $586 billion stimulus package to combat the effects of a slowing global economy.

  21. 2011

    China overtakes Japan as the world’s second-largest economy.


BBC News