The Shang Dynasty Timeline
Timeline Description: From about 1766 BC to about 1046 BC, the Shang Dynasty was a stronghold of Chinese power, innovation, and culture. It was considered the first historically documented ruling family of China.

Date Event
2400 BC Longshan people use bronze (About 2400 BC).

The Longshan people of China were known to work with bronze to make tools and weapons around this time.
2000 BC Xia dynasty rules (About 2000 BC).

Although there is no written record for this group, the Xia dynasty is believed to rule in the Yellow River area of northeast China. Chinese traditions begin here.
1766 BC Tang takes control (About 1766 BC).

Legend has it that Tang overthrows the existing Xia family leader and begins to rule in the Yellow River area.
1766 BC Tang sets up a capital (About 1766 BC).

Shang Tang sets up his capital in Bo. The Shang will move the capital five times. Unlike the last Xia ruler, Tang rules his people well.
1737 BC The family line continues (Around 1737 BC).

Tang rules for about 29 years. His son succeeds him.
1700 BC Start of the middle Bronze Age (About 1700 BC to about 1500 BC).

Although the exact time is not known, the Shang Dynasty ushers in the use of bronze into the area. Weapons, tools, and religious vessels are made. Even chariots are used in warfare.
1700 BC Religious practices (About 1700 BC to about 1000 BC).

Oracle bones are carved with characters to ask a question of the gods. The bones are poked with a heated metal rod, causing cracks to form. The king can interpret the cracks to get his answer. These characters are China's earliest form of writing.
1700 BC Innovations (Between 1700 BC to 1000 BC).

Not only is the Shang dynasty known for its use of bronze, but they also create looms to make silk cloth, build palaces, and have walled towns.
1300 BC Pan Geng rules (About 1300 BC).

Some 400 years after King Tang begins the dynasty, King Pan Geng rules. Because of many enemies, he moves the capital to Yin, which is modern day Anyang.
1200 BC Wuding rules (About 1200 BC).

King Wuding brings the dynasty to its peak. He is the 22nd ruler.
1200 BC Lady Hao dies (About 1200 BC).

Lady Hao, a wife of King Wuding, dies. She is buried in a tomb filled with worldly treasures that she can use in the afterlife.
1200 BC Bronze still used widely (About 1200 BC).

Among the objects placed in Lady Hao's tomb were many bronze pieces. The items included armor, pots, musical instruments, weapons, and stoves.
1200 BC Conditions decline (Between 1200 BC and 1046 BC).

The rulers after Wuding can't hold the people together and the dynasty begins to decline.
1046 BC The slaves revolt (About 1046 BC).

Cruelty and high taxes cause the slaves to revolt and to join forces with the Chou people of West China.
1046 BC Di Xin is overthrown (About 1046 BC).

Di Xin, the last Shang ruler, is overthrown by WuWang of the Chou family. The Chou dynasty begins to reign. The Shang Dynasty brought cultural advancement to the Chinese people, but their failure to rule wisely eventually brought about their own destruction.