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Enlightenment Age in History of China

June 06, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 264

The Enlightenment Age refers to the period preceded by the Prehistoric Age and followed by the Xia dynasty (2070 B.C.-1600 B.C.) in Chinese history, when the earliest Chinese civilization took into form in the Yellow River area of Central China. The history in the Enlightenment Age was closely related to the ancient fairy tales, of which two most well-known ones were the Creation of the World by Pan Gu and the Creation of Men by Goddess Nvwa, and the tales have been passed down to the later generations from mouth to mouth and have had a great influence on the traditional Chinese culture.

The legendary Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors were the semi-mythological clan-rulers and the outstanding culture heroes before the Xia dynasty. It's generally considered that the Three Sovereigns are Sui Ren, Fu Xi, Yan Di and the Five Emperors refer to Huang Di, Zhuan Xu, Di Ku, Yao and Shun. Yan Di had a fierce battle with Chiyou tribe for territory, and he was wounded in the battle and asked Huang Di for help. Huang Di won the decisive victory over Chiyou tribe in the battle of Zhuolu (present Hebei Province) by allying the other clan-leaders. In the following years, a conflict between Huang Di and Yan Di broke out, and the former defeated the later in the battle of Banquan and unified the other tribes.

The son and grandson of Huang Di, Zhuan Xu and Di Ku, remained as leaders of the tribe successively, followed by Yao (the Son of Di Ku), who was a wise leader and established the Abdicating System (non-hereditary imperial succession), so Shun was chosen as Yao's successor. It was said that the deluge spread without restriction during the reign of Shun, and Gun (father of Yu the Great) led the people to fight it under Shun's order, resulting in failure. Shun sentenced Gun to death and cut his head off in anger, and Yu (son of Gun) was chosen to fight the deluge. Instead of blocking the water with soil (as Gun did), Yu tamed the deluge eventually through diverting the river into the sea step by step, and he was chosen as the leader of the tribe by Shun for his great contribution to all the people, so the later generations call him Yu the Great to show respect toward him.

Qi (the son of Yu) killed the clan-leader appointed by Yu and abolished the Abdicating System after the death of Yu the Great, claiming himself the governor of the tribe and establishing the first hereditary dynasty - the Xia dynasty, which is also first slavery dynasty in Chinese history and followed by the Shang dynasty (1600 B.C.-1046 B.C.).

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