The Zhou: China’s Longest Dynasty According to legend, the last of the Shang rulers was a wicked tyrant, and many Chinese turned against him. In 1045 B.C., rebels led by an aristocrat named Wu Wang overthrew the Shang government and declared a new dynasty called the Zhou (JOH). Zhou kings ruled much the same as Shang rulers had. Take a moment to remember- how DID the Shang kings rule? Soon the Zhou kingdom was larger than the Shang had been. This was a huge area to keep under control, so the Zhou kings appointed loyal aristocrats to govern each of the territories for him. These positons were hereditary. The Zhou people continued to believe their rulers represented them before the gods. They continued to expect their rulers to carry out religious ceremonies to please the gods. And the Zhou kings claimed that they ruled China because they had the………………. ………………………………………………………………………… “Mandate of Heaven” The “Mandate of Heaven” is the belief that the Chinese king’s right to rule came from the gods. The Mandate stated the idea that the gods chose a wise and good person to rule. The person chosen by the gods would govern honestly and well. (This Mandate was used as a reason the Zhou defeated the Shang. The Zhou rebels claimed that the Shang weren’t doing the job the gods wanted them to, so the gods let them lose!) The Mandate of Heaven changed what the Zhou people expected from their king: THE KING MUST RULE BY THE PROPER WAY (DAO). HIS DUTY WAS TO HONOR AND PLEASE THE GODS. IF THERE WAS A NATURAL DISASTER OR A BAD HARVEST, THAT MEANT THE KING HAD FAILED AND HE COULD BE REPLACED. Achievements of the Zhou Dynasty Development of new irrigation systems which led to growing more crops than ever before Development of the saddle and stirrup; the Zhou warriors could ride around the battlefield while throwing spears or shooting crossbows Development of iron which was used in weaponry and farm tools Expansion of trade; pieces of Chinese silk have been found in central Asia and as far away as Greece Over time (here we go again) the aristocrats who ruled the territories of the Zhou kingdom grew more powerful. They ignored their king’s command and took control of their own territories. The aristocrats began to fight one another for power. These wars began in the 400s B.C. and went on for nearly 200 years. Because each aristocrat formed his own state, this time in China’s history is called the “Period of the Warring States.” Farmers were often forced to become soldiers for the aristocrats they served. They were armed with swords, spears, and crossbows, and eventually began to ride horses. The wars fought at this time would result in a new dynasty. Review • 1. Who was the aristocrat that led the rebels to overthrow the Shang government? • 2. How long did the Zhou rule China? • 3. Why did the Zhou kings divide their kingdom into smaller territories? • 4. Explain the Mandate of Heaven and how it changed what the Zhou people expected from their king. • 5. Name 3 achievements of the Zhou Dynasty. • 6. Describe the fall of the Zhou Dynasty.