How well do you know China’s history? This fascinating country, known in the past by various mythological names, such as the “Middle Kingdom” or “The Dragon Who Rises”, is home to one of the earliest civilizations on Earth. It has an incredibly rich history, stretched over millennia.
Some of the flagship events in China’s history are well-known for even the most uninformed, such as the fact that gunpowder was invented by the Chinese, or that the Great Wall was built to keep Mongol warriors away.
Certainly, to find out the most interesting details of the Chinese past you have to “dig up”. To help you in this effort, we present some curiosities in China’s history that you probably did not know.
1 China was the first country to use paper money
Banknote in China
Few know that the Chinese were the first to start using paper as a form of currency. As early as 618, at the beginning of the Tan dynasty, which was to lead China for 300 years, paper money was invented as a reaction to an economic crisis.
The Treasury had a desperate need for a metal coin, but this was rare because of the conflicts that cost a lot of money. Then the officials allowed people to use credit notes as payment, and these notes became the precursors of paper money.
2 The first and last European Asian colony was in China
Jiajing the emperor on his imperial boat
Here’s a very interesting thing in China’s history. When thinking about the Chinese city of Macao, people imagine large casinos and extravagant parties. Few know that here was the first and last colony in Asia that was bought by Portugal in 1557 and was returned to China in 1999.
3 Ordinary men were forbidden to look at the Emperor
Pu Yi (1906 – 1967), the twelfth and last emperor of the Qing Dynasty
The Forbidden City of Beijing infused the imagination of millions of people around the world, representing the imperial decadence of the past and the superb Chinese art created over the millennia.
One thing may be less known is the cruelty of one of the most famous Chinese dynasties, the Qing dynasty, who drove China from 1420 to 1912.
Throughout the existence of the Forbidden City, ordinary people were forbidden to look at this place and, more than anything, were forbidden to look at the Emperor. Those who watched him were executed immediately.
In China there are the archaic fossils of our distant relatives
The man of Pekin (Homo erectus), reconstituted by Elisabeth Daynès
Few people know that in China there are some of the oldest fossils known by Homo Erectus, the closest relative of modern people. A collection of fossils known as the “Peking Man” was discovered in 1923 near Beijing.
Later, it was discovered that the fossils had over 700,000 years, far exceeding the age of other bones in Europe.
China’s history is a rich and varied tapestry covering the peak of civilization and the period of the most primitive of modern people, which is why this country is so interesting to study, whatever your points of interest.