The greater part of the country is mountainous. Its principal ranges are the Tien Shan, the Kunlun chain, and the Trans-Himalaya. In the southwest is Tibet, which China annexed in 1950. The Gobi Desert lies to the north. China proper consists of three great river systems: the Yellow River (Huang He), 2,109 mi (5,464 km) long; the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), the third-longest river in the world at 2,432 mi (6,300 km); and the Pearl River (Zhu Jiang), 848 mi (2,197 km) long.
The earliest recorded human settlements in what is today called China were discovered in the Huang He basin and date from about 5000 B.C. During the Shang dynasty (1500–1000 B.C. ), the precursor of modern China’s ideographic writing system developed, allowing the emerging feudal states of the era to achieve an advanced stage of civilization, rivaling in sophistication any society found at the time in Europe, the Middle East, or the Americas. It was following this initial flourishing of civilization, in a period known as the Chou dynasty (1122–249 B.C. ), that Lao-tse, Confucius, Mo Ti, and Mencius laid the foundation of Chinese philosophical thought.
The feudal states, often at war with one another, were first united under Emperor Ch’in Shih Huang Ti, during whose reign (246–210 B.C. ) work was begun on the Great Wall of China, a monumental bulwark against invasion from the West. Although the Great Wall symbolized China’s desire to protect itself from the outside world, under the Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220), the civilization conducted extensive commercial trading with the West.
I. GREAT WALL OF CHINA. The biggest man made structure ever built, is the Great Wall Of China. The Great Wall Of China is a wall that was built during the Chin dynasty. The Emperor during the Qin dynasty, Qin Shihuangdi, gave the order to build the wall. Parts of the enormous structure date back to the 4 th century BC. , but the earliest major work on the wall came during the Ch " in Dynasty, ...
In the T’ang dynasty (618–907)—often called the golden age of Chinese history—painting, sculpture, and poetry flourished, and woodblock printing, which enabled the mass production of books, made its earliest known appearance. The Mings, last of the native rulers (1368–1644), overthrew the Mongol, or Yuan, dynasty (1271–1368) established by Kublai Khan. The Mings in turn were overthrown in 1644 by invaders from the north, the Manchus.
China is a united multi-ethnic nation of 56 ethnic groups. The majority of the population is of the Han ethnic group. Mandarin (Putonghua, based on Beijing dialect) is the standard spoken language in China. There are Cantonese, Shanghanese, Minnan, Hakka, Hokkien, and minority languages. The standard written language is Chinese. People of Hong Kong and Macau are mostly Cantonese speakers.
From 1949, the Communist Chinese Government simplified some Chinese characters in the hope of reducing the illiteracy within China. Therefore, simplified fonts of Chinese are used in mainland China while the traditional fonts are commonly used in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
e.g. Chinese characters for ‘meeting’: