63. Classical China

63 DAYS. 1,512 HOURS. 90,720 MINUTES.

Classical China laid the foundations for arguably the single most important civilization in the history of the planet. Any stereotypical ideas you have about the way China is from borders, language, writing, technology, empires, rulers, etc. come from this era. From the point where the region was first unified under the legalist Qin Shi Huangdi to the fall of the Han empire, what we know as China today took shape.

Western schools often overlook the importance of Han China (instead focusing on Greece and Rome). Don't fall into this trap. According to the AP, Europe cannot be more than 20% of the exam. In my opinion, China should garner your attention more than any other culture over the span of history. So... pay attention.

Grandaddy of them all China.  I know China can be intimidating.  It’s on the other side of the planet, different beliefs, different culture, different writing.  But, for AP World History; there is no better place to spend your time studying/reviewing.  China may seem to be overshadowed by the West in recent history.  However, for the majority of human history, it’s the other way around.  China “begins” in the Classical era.  So, let’s look at Classical China.


You may have heard of the song to help you memorize the Chinese Dynasties:

Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han

Shang, Zhou, QIn, Han

Sui, Tang, Song

Sui, Tang, Song

Yuan, Ming, Qing, Republic

Yuan, Ming, Qing, Republic

Mao Zedong

Deng Xioping


The classical portion of this song deals mainly with the Qin & Han (Zhou as well, but they were not nearly as centralized as the Qin & Han).  CLICK HERE for my page devoted to these societies.

Here are what the AP expects you to specifically know about China:

BELIEF SYSTEMS: Both Daoism & Confucianism sprang up during the 6th century BCE.  They will impact China going forward.  Look them over.

ANCESTOR VENERATION: Worship of Ancestors plays a huge role in China.  It is also done in the Americas as well as Africa.  But, when I think of Ancestor Veneration, I think of China.

BUREAUCRACY: Civil Service Exam.  Can’t stress this enough.  It is a major difference from the rest of the planet, is developed here, and will be around for centuries!

TRADE ROUTES: Don’t forget about the Silk Road!

Posted on March 14, 2019 .