5

Science in China

5.1 Early History

The Chinese, from the very early times, were fastidious about keeping written records. Thus, the documented history of China extends continuously to nearly 1600 BC, to the times of the Shang dynasty along the yellow River. Excavations have shown that they used bronze, fine pottery, and horse-drawn chariots.

The Empires came into existence with Wu Wang, who killed the last of the Shangs and set up the Chou dynasty around 1100 BC. The 6th to the 3rd centuries BC, are often called the period of the warring states. However, it also seems to have been a period of intense intellectual activity, promoting science as well as philosophy. Both Confucius (ca. 551–479 BC) and Lao Tsu (ca. 666 BC) lived at the beginning ...

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