Why is China called one of the world's oldest civilizations when China didn't exst as a kingdom before 221BC?




Doyle Drake

That might be a wrong question. According to knowledge I know from the video game” Crusader Kings”, China had established its first empire dynasty Qin at the year of 221BC. Before that, countless kingdoms had already rised and fallen in China for over thousand years.






The culture that formed the basis of what makes the union/original tribe of what is China and Chinese civilization began with the father of Chinese civilization himself: Gongsun Xuanyuan, 2698 BC-2598 BC:





Eugenio Orlandi

According to historical sources and archeological evidence the oldest civilizations flourished in Egypt and in Mesopotamia more than 5,000 years ago. According to historical sources and archeological evidence the Chinese civilization is at least one thousand years younger compared to Egypt and Sumer. It is also true that the Egyptian and the Sumerian civilizations have disappeared but some of their achievements still survive in the civilizations that replaced both of them. If it is true that China was unified only in 221 BC it is also true that in 221 BC there was a political unification of pre-exsting very similar civilizations flourished in the area of today China a bit less than two millennia before. A civilization (the Yellow River civilization) is a broader concept compared to a state entity (China under Qin Shi Huang Di). If we speak of the oldest still exsting civilization, may be China has to share the record with the Indus Valley civilization.






let's see about other old civilizations.

they barely get a continuous inherited, which in Chinese, I called “传承”. (The only culture that I think have this like China do, is Iranian. This is just my personal opinion.)

But China, as a great power in East Asia, rule and rule and rule it's territory in past Thousands years. That, is obviously a continuously inherit. At least in my point of view.








China is considered one of the oldest civilizations as it has one of the oldest cultures in the world1. According to ancient historical texts such as the Book of Documents (early chapters, 11th century BC), the Bamboo Chronicles (ca. 296 BC), and the Records of the Grand Historian (ca. 91 BC), China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization2. The name "Chinese" comes from Sanskrit China (derived from the name of the Chinese Qin Dynasty, pronounced "Chin") translated as "Chin" by the Persians and apparently popularized through trade along the Silk Road.





Anson Chen

China is known as one of the world's oldest civilizations primarily due to its long history and cultural heritage. Although China was not a unified kingdom before 221 BC and instead consisted of various feudal states, its civilization can be traced back thousands of years.

China possesses abundant archaeological sites, historical records, cultural traditions, and technological innovations, providing evidence of its ancient civilization. The ancient Chinese historical records, such as "Records of the Grand Historian" and "Zizhi Tongjian," offer detailed accounts of China's political, social, economic, and cultural development since ancient times.



The uniqueness and enduring influence of ancient Chinese culture also contribute to its recognition as an ancient civilization. Chinese philosophy, literature, art, architectural styles, and system of governance have had profound impacts on the world. For instance, Confucianism has greatly influenced the values and behavioral norms of Chinese society and has spread to neighboring regions.

Furthermore, China's significant technological innovations serve as important markers of its ancient civilization. Ancient China invented many important technologies, including papermaking, gunpowder, the compass, and printing, which have had far-reaching effects on the world.

In summary, despite not being a unified kingdom before 221 BC, China's extensive history, rich cultural traditions, and significant technological innovations have positioned it as one of the world's oldest civilizations.







Freddy Feng

China is often referred to as one of the world's oldest civilizations because the Chinese civilization has a continuous history that spans over 5,000 years. The Chinese people have a rich cultural heritage that has evolved, and many of their cultural and technological innovations have had a significant impact on world history.

While China did not exst as a unified kingdom before the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE), some several earlier states and cultures exsted in the region, such as the ia, Shang, and Zhou Dynasties. These early states laid the foundation for the development of Chinese culture and language.

In addition, the Chinese civilization has been characterized by its long-standing traditions, such as Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, which have influenced Chinese society for thousands of years. These traditions have helped to shape the values, beliefs, and practices of the Chinese people, and have contributed to the unique cultural identity of China.

Overall, the term "oldest civilization" is often used to refer to the long and rich history of Chinese culture and society, which has had a lasting impact on the world.








Noel Lorenzana

Perhaps the Chinese kingdom was not consolidated until 221 BC but the people of various tribes were there. The DNA was there and still is. If we Americans continue being divided the way we are now, the American empire will collapse on itself from within, as all empires thru history have, and China may very well be the next hegemon. India is also in the running.





Yuyu Law

This question seems to be quite misleading... You seem to be confusing the concepts of political power and culture. Generally speaking, "China" has different meanings in different contexts. When you refer to politics, "China" today refers to the "People's Republic of China," while when you refer to ancient China, you are referring to the dynasties and culture that have continued to evolve on the land of China. What's more important is that even over 4,000 years ago, "China" was characterized by bloodline, culture, beliefs, lifestyle habits, willpower, and moral norms that have continued to this day in China. I can't understand why this would be a problem for you. This concept and logic can be extended to what we commonly refer to as the "Chinese nation," which does not only represent the Han people, nor does it represent people with Chinese nationality, but rather refers to people who have evolved from Chinese culture and still adhere to Chinese culture today.





Timothy Ellis Author

Sorry, what?

Civilization in China goes back to 4000BC and further.

Kingdoms come and go.

You can’t judge a civilization by individual kingdoms.

China has had a LOT of them.









Frances Henderson

You seem to presume a “kingdom” is necessary for a society to develop. A civilization is far more important and defining to a culture. The Chinese were an advanced culture and social organization long before they became a kingdom. The Chinese were writing about their history by 1250 BC. They were led by the Shang Dynasty from 1600 BC and had a long history of prosperity, war, and extraordinary inventions along the way. They are certainly one of the most ancient and advanced cultures in prehistory. With or without a kingdom, that is, if you don’t recognize a dynasty as a kingdom.





HEX Agon

Chinese civization starts around 4000 years ago as a culture, and it is probaly the only civilization maintained by the same ethnicity uninterrupted. All others are Indo-Europeanized or Arabized.





Thomas Loy

Would it help if it said, “The civilization that we now call China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations. It has varied in size and has had many forms of government over the millennia.”





Epstein Lance

Exsting as a kingdom and exsting as a civilisation are two different things. Civilisation predates kingdoms in every part of the world.





Snake's Knowledge

With more than four thousand years of recorded history, China is the world's oldest continuous civilization. The largest country in Asia, China stretches from the continent's eastern seaboard to the borders of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakstan in the west.






220 BC was the first unification of seven states to become one China.

But you’re ignoring the time before it.

A country’s history isn’t just determined by name but culture, writing, tradition and etc. You’re discounting all of that, which isn’t the norm.







Sandra Derendy

The real question is “how old is Chinese stream of consciousness”, not when a particular kingdom began. To solve this puzzle, you have to look at archaeology.


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