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Lesson 3.

3- India and China





Early Civilization in India

a. Between 3000 and 1500 BC, the valleys of the Indus River supported a civilization
known as the Harappan or Indus Civilization.
It stretched from the Himalaya to the coat of the Arabian Sea.
1. After flooding, changes in climate, and invaders
the Indus Valley civ. was brought to an end.
b. In 1500 BC Indo-European nomads known as the Aryans trekked across the Hindu
Kush mountain ranges and conquered the Harappans. They created a new Indian society based on their
culture and institutions.
The Aryans excelled at warfare and btw. 1500 and 1000 BC, they
advanced eastward from the Indus Valley, to the Ganges River. Later they went southward, to the
Deccan Plateau.
1. They extended their control throughout Indias
c. The Aryans influenced a social system with class divisions, and social institutions.
Caste System- a set of rigid social categories that determined a
persons occupation and economical potential, but also his position in society. There were 5 castes.
1. The Brahmans, or priestly class were at the top
of the social scale. The 2nd caste was the Kshatriyas, or warriors. The 3rd ranked caste
was the Vaisyas, or commoners. They usually were merchants.
2. The next lowest caste were the Sudras. They
were most of the pop. and were peasants, artisans, or manual laborists. They has limited
rights. The lowest caste was the Untouchable. They were not considered human and
were given menial work. They were 5 percent of the pop.
a. Hinduism had its origins in the Aryans beliefs who settled in India after 1500 BC.
The Vedas were a collection of hymns and religious ceremonies
passed through Aryan priests.
Early Hindus believed that there was a god called Brahman, who
was the single force in the universe.
1. It was the atman, or duty of the indv. to seek the
god. Doing so caused you to merge w/ Brahman after death.
b. By the 6th cen. BC, the idea of reincarnation, or the belief that an indv. soul is reborn in
a dif. form after death, appeared in Hinduism.
Karma became an important factor, b/c someones actions in 1 life
affect their caste in their next life.
1. Reincarnation justified the strict caste system and
gave hope to the poor to climb the ladder. Yoga was used to be one w/ Brahman.
Ord. Indians couldnt relate to this ideal and need a concrete form of
1. So, the Hindu religion came to have many
humanlike gods and goddesses.
a. In the 6th century, Buddhism appeared in n. India and became a rival of Hinduism
Buddhism was created by Siddhartha Gautama, who was born in
563 BC, and is known as the enlightened one. He gained thousands of followers in his lifetime.
1. He denied the reality of the material world and
believed it lead to things like poverty and pain. Once someone let go of physical
possession, bodhi, or wisdom would then lead to Nirvana, or ultimate reality. He
preached the Eightfold Path and the 4 Noble Truths.
2. He believed in reincarnation, but not the caste
New Empires in India
a. Most of the time btw. 325 BC and AD 500, India was a land of many states, but 2 major
empires created large and unified Indian states.




The Mauryan Empire in n. India lasted from 324 to 183 BC. This
empire flourished under Ashoka, who ruled from 169 until 232 BC.
1. He propelled Buddhism, and sent missionaries to
China, and other parts of Asia.
Under Ashoka, trade networks expanded. The most imp. was the Silk
Road. It started in Changan, China and stretched to Mesopotamia, about 4,000 miles. Goods were
exchanged at a port called Antioch.
1. Luxury goods were traded from the West to the
East, which were shipped to Greece and Rome.
After Ashokas death in 232 BC, the empire declined, and fell in 183
BC. A new empire, the Gupta Empire, flourished from AD 320 to the late 6th cen. until the
invasion of the Huns.
Early Chinese Civilizations
a. Under the Shang Dynasty (1750 to 1045 BC), china developed gvt, writing, and adv.
bronze skills.
The Chinese thought they could comm. w/ supernatural forces for
help in worldly affairs.
1. They inscribed things on oracle bones, which is
now a valuable info. source.
b. During the Zhou Dynasty (1045 to 256 BC), China evolved politically
They claimed to rule China b/c they possessed the Mandate of
Heaven. The Zhou believed that Heaven kept order in the universe through a Zhou king.The M of
H also stated that a ruler had to follow the Dao, or the Way, which meant the king had to please
to gods, but if king was not a good ruler, he had the right to be overthrown.
1. The Mandate of Heaven is closely tied to
dynastic cycles.
c. After the Zhou fell, there was 200 yrs. of civil war. The Qin Dynasty arose, and was
founded by Qin Shihuangdi.
His main focus was on a group of nomads in the Gobi, who were
called Xiongnu and raided China.
1. He created the Great Wall of China to keep the
invaders away.
d. The Han Dynasty (202 BC to AD 220), saw great pop. growth in China and its empire
The Family in Ancient China
a. The heart of Chinas ideas on family was the idea of filial piety, which refers to the duty
of the family to subordinate their needs and desires to the male head of the family.
In China, men worked in the fields, were warriors, scholars, and govt.
officials. Women raised children and worked in the home.
The Importance of Confucius
a. Confucius was a philosopher who lived in 6th century BC. Confucianism was the study
of the system of Confucian ideas, and important part of Chinese history. He believed that humans should act
in harmony and follow the Dao. His view of the Dao included duty and humanity
The concept of duty meant that you had to subordinate personal
interests to those of the community.
1. The 5 Constant Relationships: parent and child,
husband and wife, older sibling and younger sibling. old friend and young friend, and
ruler and subject.
2. Believed that a ruler should set a good example,
and society will prosper.
Humanity in the Dao consists of a sense of empathy and compassion
for others