China is one of the greatest civilizations in the world. Unlike other similar civilizations of past eras, such as ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, or the civilizations of the Indus Valley, China’s civilization is not only ancient but also continuous. Whereas the monuments of other great civilizations are now in ruins; their peoples were scattered or colonized by newcomers, their languages were dead or forgotten; Chinese language, culture and people survived thousands of years until today. Because of this, China represents the oldest surviving civilization in the world.
Astonishingly, in the last 5,000 years of recorded human history, the achievements of Chinese civilization have been unmatched for more than 2,000 years. During this period, China led the world in astronomy, chemistry, medicine, agriculture, metallurgy, art, and warfare. It has the largest population, wealthiest treasury, largest navy, most advanced technology, strongest military and largest efficiently planned city. China is not only the center of world trade, but also the center of foreign tribute that cannot match its strength.
Despite this rare status in world history, public knowledge of Chinese history is scant. Many people in Western culture can name more than one Roman emperor, but how many can name a Chinese emperor? We think the emperor of China is equally important.
This is an excerpt from the book “The History of China” by History Brought Alive
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