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The Shang Dynasty

The Shang Dynasty

Like the Xia Dynasty, the Shang Dynasty was once thought to be only a myth or legend. Unlike the Xia Dynasty, which is still being heavily debated, the Shang Dynasty is now considered by all historians as a true dynasty. Because many historians do not consider the Xia Dynasty a true dynasty, the Shang Dynasty is often called the first true Chinese dynasty.

The Shang Dynasty ruled China from around 1500 B.C. until 1100 B.C. During this 400 year period of history, Chinese tradition states that 30 separate kings ruled from a succession of 7 different capitals. Only a few of these capitals have been located and excavated by archeologists. The last capital from which this dynasty ruled was located in 1899, and was the first Shang Dynasty capital to be found and studied.

One of the most important contributions made during the period that the Shang Dynasty ruled China was the invention of writing. The earliest written records found in China come from this time period.