Throughout most of China’s history it was ruled by powerful families called dynasties. The first dynasty was the Shang and the last was the Qing. Ancient China also boasts the longest lasting empire in history. It began with the Qin dynasty and the first emperor Qin who united all of China under one rule in 221 BC.
It was the imperial palace and the political heart of China during the Ming and Qing dynasties.. (1368 – 1911). Why is it called the “Forbidden City”? In the past, commoners were prohibited from entering the Forbidden City without permission and only imperial families and invited high officials could enter.
China’s historical civilization dates from at least 1200 B.C.; from the 3rd century B.C. and for the next two millennia, China alternated between periods of unity and disunity under a succession of imperial dynasties. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Chinese Communist Party under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China’s sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, MAO’s successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically but political controls remain tight. Since the early 1990s, China has increased its global outreach and participation in international organizations.