1. Modern humans first came to China from Central Asia or India about 50,000 BC. They were Stone Age people, who lived in caves with their dogs and wore fur and leather. They hunted and gathered their food.
2. Around 4000 BC, these people were starting to farm rice and raise chicken and sheep. Around 3000 BC, they were using pottery and living in houses. Soon afterward, they learned from Central Asian people how to use horses to pull chariots on wheels. By 2000 BC, Chinese people had entered the Bronze Age and had begun to use writing.
3. About 1800 BC, the Shang Dynasty conquered most of China and ruled it under one Emperor. From this point on, Chinese history is measured in dynasties. A dynasty is one family of related rulers.
4. Chinese civilization began along the Yangtze River and grew into one of the world's most powerful societies. What makes the civilization unique in world history is its ability to continue through over 4,000 years to the present century.
5. The ancient Chinese invented many things we use today, including paper, silk, matches, wheelbarrows, gunpowder, the decimal system, the waterwheel, the sundial, astronomy, porcelain china, lacquer paint, pottery wheel, fireworks, paper money, the compass, the seismograph, tangrams, medicines, dominoes, jump rope, kites, tea ceremony, folding umbrella, ink, calligraphy, animal harness, playing cards, printing, the abacus, wallpaper, the crossbow, and ice cream.
6. China is very old. Its written history goes back 3,500 years.
7. The Republic of China succeeded the Ch'ing Dynasty. It ruled mainland China from 1912 to 1949 and has ruled Taiwan (along with several islands of Fujian) since 1945.
8. The People's Republic of China was proclaimed in the aftermath of the Communist Party's triumph in the Chinese Civil War by Mao Zedong on October 1, 1949.
9. In the early years of the People's Republic, religious belief or practice was often discouraged because it was regarded by the government as backwards and superstitious. Some Communist leaders had been critical of religious institutions. During the Cultural Revolution, religion was condemned as feudalistic and thousands of religious buildings were looted and destroyed. These feelings began to relax in th 1970s, with the end of the Cultural Revolution. The 1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China guarantees freedom of religion with a number of restrictions.
10. China's Great Wall is the world's longest architectural structure and is widely renowned as one of the seven great wonders of the world. The wall stretches 6,700 kilometers (4,163 miles) from the Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu Province to the Shanhaiguan Pass in Hebei Province. It took over 2,000 years to build. The Great Wall has been restored and lengthened time and time again. The later walls have annexes such as castles, watch towers and beacon towers. The wall that we see today is primarily the result of a restoration that took place during the Ming Dynasty. The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure that can be seen from outer space.