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China: A Basic Timeline

China has a population of 1.3 billion people. It has a rich cultural history, and has at times had rocky relationships with other nations.

May 5 , 2008

This timeline shows some major events in China's long history.

1600 to 1050 B.C.

The Shang Dynasty is the first civilization in China for which there is a written record. It is one of several dynasties that would rule the country. During the Shang Dynasty, the Chinese develop a system of writing.

221 to 206 B.C.

During the Qin Dynasty, construction on the Great Wall of China begins. It is meant to is mark China's boundaries and protect it from invaders.

1271

Marco Polo, an Italian explorer, visits China. He is one of the first Europeans to visit the Asian continent.

1949

China becomes a Communist nation after a 20-year civil war. This ends centuries of dynastic rule. China Is officially renamed the People's Republic of China. Relations with the U.S. are strained.

1966

Leader Mao Zedong begins China's "Cultural Revolution," a 10-year campaign that changes China's politics, economy, and social system.

1972

U.S. President Richard M. Nixon visits China. The visit leads to a U.S.-China agreement to work together to improve relations.

2003

China launches its first spacecraft with people on board.

2008

China prepares to host the Summer Olympics as protesters in Tibet clash with Chinese troops. China faces ongoing criticism.

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