History of China (with censuses)


There are traditionally four historical capitals of China

  1. In the West, Chang'an also known as Zongzhou, Xianyang and modern day Xian during the years 1045BC - 907AD.
  2. In the East, Luoyang, also known as Chengzhou and Dongdu ("eastern capital"), during much of the same period
  3. In the South, Nanjing ("southern capital") became known as Jianye in 229AD, and as Jiankang in 317AD, when it was made the Capital of the Jin Dynasty, the first time a Chinese dynastic capital moved to southern China. The city was razed to the ground by the Sui Dynasty in 589AD who subsequently made Luoyang their capital. In 1368, the first emperor of the Ming dynasty renamed the city Yingtian, rebuilt it and made it the dynastic capital, up until 1421 when the capital was relocated to the north, to Beijing.
  4. In the North, Beijing ("northern capital") was given that name by the Ming Dynasty in 1403. Originally known as Ji, about 1000BC, it has had numerous names.

    During the Liao dynasty (907AD-1125AD) it was Liao Nanjing during the years it was their southern capital (1012-1122).

    After Kublai Khan (Genghis Khan's grandson) defeated the Song Dynasty at the Battle of Yamen (Hong Kong) in 1279, Beijing has ruled over China much of the time ever since.

Main Body showing individual Dynasties along with their Census-taking
based on www.thoughtco.com plus links to Wikipedia.

Censuses were taken as a rule by ancient rulers beginning in the Zhou Dynasty, but what the rulers were counting is somewhat in doubt. Some censuses refer to the number of persons as "mouths" and the number of households as "doors." But, conflicting figures are given for the same dates and it's possible that the numbers refer not to the total population, but taxpayers, or people who were available for either military or corvιe (enforced) labor duties.

Xia Dynasty 2070–1600 BC

The Xia dynasty is the first known dynasty in China, but even its existence is doubted by some scholars in China and elsewhere. The first census was said by Han dynasty historians to have been taken by Yu the Great in about 2000 BC, with a total of 13,553,923 people or possibly households. Probably Han Dynasty propaganda.

Shang Dynasty 1600–1100 BC

No surviving censuses.

Zhou Dynasty 1027–221 BC

Censuses became normal instruments of public administration, and several rulers ordered them at regular intervals, but the statistics are somewhat in doubt

Qin Dynasty 221–206 BC

The Qin Dynasty was the first time China was unified under a centralized government. With the ending of wars, iron implements, farming techniques, and irrigation were developed. No surviving censuses.

Han Dynasty 206 BC–220 AD

About 2 AD, population censuses in China became statistically useful for the entire united mainland.

Six Dynasties (Period of Disunity) 220–589 AD

Liu Sung State, 464 AD, 5.3 million persons, 900,000 households

Sui Dynasty 581–618 AD

606 AD: persons per household 5.2, 46,019,956 persons, 8,907,536 households

Tang Dynasty 618–907 AD

Five Dynasties 907–960 AD

After the fall of the Tang dynasty, China was split into several states and consistent population data for the entire county is not available.

Song Dynasty 960–1279 AD

Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty 1271–1368 AD

Ming Dynasty 1368–1644 AD

Manchu-led Qing Dynasty 1655–1911 AD

In 1740, the Qing dynasty emperor ordered that population statistics be compiled annually, a system known as "pao-chia," which required each household to keep a tablet by their door with a list of all the members of the household. Later those tablets were kept in regional offices.

Succeeded by the Republic of China (1912-1949) a time of short-lived leaders and civil war, followed by the People's Republic of China in 1949. The country's population has exploded since 1949 from about 555 million to 1.4 billion.

** End of Report

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