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The History of China

A journey through the 5000 years of history documented by one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations. For all the episodes for free, as well as additional content, please subscribe and/or visit http://thehistoryofchina.wordpress.com . See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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Warning: This podcast is a series podcast

This means episodes are recommended to be heard in order from the very start. Here's the 10 best episodes of the series anyway though!

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#1 - Origins 1: The Mythical Origins Of The Middle Kingdom

In episode 1, we begin with an introduction to this podcast, followed by a brief overview of what we’ve come to know about early human migration and settlement in the region that will eventually become China. Finally, we’ll delve into the mythological origin story that purports to tell of the three divine Sovereigns who would create and then rule over the Han people. I’m very excited to be getting this journey underway! Once again welcome, and thank you for listening. UPDATE: As of 08/28/2016, this episode has been completely rebooted from the ground-up. Enjoy!Transcript Available (paywalled): TranscriptDonate to Help the Show!: https://www.patreon.com/thehistoryofchina See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


25 Nov 2013

Rank #1

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#8 - Shang 3: The Shang Vanquished

This episode we chronicle the decline and eventual fall of the once-glorious Shang Dynasty to the same vices and evils that spelled doom for the Xia centuries ago. In the West, a powerful new clan calling itself the Zhou has risen to power, eventually with an eye to make right what the final Shang Kings have twisted so horribly wrong. Along the way, we'll colonize the Japanese islands and raise a minor Chinese prince to the King of Korea. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


29 Dec 2013

Rank #2

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#159 - Mongol 1: The Blood Clot

High in the wildlands of the Khentii Mountains, a tribe of hunters and scavengers comes into possession of a young and captured bride. Ripped out of her old life, she and the family her new husband create at the edge of the world will have to find a way to survive.Time Period Covered:ca. 1158~1170 CE See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


17 Feb 2019

Rank #3

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#178 - Yuan 3: Divine Wind

The armies of Great Yuan sweep across the east, destroying and conquering all who would stand against them. Goryeo Korea eventually sees the writing on the wall and cuts a deal with the Great Khan. Khubilai will then turn his sights out over the waters of the Pacific, to the Land of the Rising Sun... and send its monarch a friend request.Time Period Covered:ca. 1257-1275 CEMajor Historical Figures:Yuan Dynasty:Khubilai, Great Khan of Mongolia, Emperor of YuanPrincess Hutulun JielimishiZhao Liangbi, Yuan Emissary to JapanGoryeo Korea:Choi Ui, Warlord of Korea [d. 1257]King Wonjong [r. 1260-1274]Im Yon, Warlord [d. ca. 1271]Pan Pu, Yuan Emissary to JapanKamakura Japan:Hojo Tokimune, Regent of the Shogun (Shikken, de facto ruler of Japan)Shoni Sukeyoshi, Magistrate of Chikuzen City See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


5 Nov 2019

Rank #4

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#162 - Mongol 4: The Great Khan

Temujin Khan crushes his enemies, sees them driven before him, and hears the lamentations of their women!!!Time Period Covered:ca. 1202-1206 CEMajor Historical Figures:Borjigin/Mongol:Temujin (Genghis Khan)Khasar, Temujin's BrotherBörte - Temujin's 1st WifeYesugen - Temujin's 2nd WifeYesui - Temujin's 3rd WifeJochi, Temujin's first son(?)Jirkho’adai (Jebe the Arrow)KhubilaiJelmeSubedeiJadaran:Jamukha (Gurkhan) - Temujin's anda/nemesisKereyid:To'oril (Ong Khan)Senggum, Ong's sonCha'ur Beki, Ong's daughterNaiman:Tayang KhanQueen Gürbesu, Tayang's Wife/StepmotherWorks Cited:Allsen, Thomas (1994). “The Rise of the Mongolian Empire and Mongolian Rule in North China” in The Cambridge History of China, Vol. 6: Alien Regimes and Border States.Kahn, Paul (tr.) (2005). The Secret History of the Mongols: The Origin of Chingis Khan.Onon, Urgunge (2001). The Secret History of the Mongols: The Life and Times of Chingghis Khan. Ostrowski, Donald (2002). Muscovy and the Mongols: Cross-Cultural Influences on the Steppe Frontier, 1304-1589.Pelliot, Paul (1959). Notes on Marco Polo, Vol. 1.Weatherford, Jack (2005). Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Weatherford, Jack (2017). Genghis Khan and the Quest for God. Weatherford, Jack (2011). The Secret History of the Mongol Queens. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


16 Mar 2019

Rank #5

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#6 - Shang 1: Them Bones, Them Bones, Them Oracle Bones

We take a "time out" from our forward-marching chronology to examine the evidence we have of the Shang state, and how we came to know what we know about his period. Mostly, it's about what we can learn from reading divine messages off of dragon bones. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


13 Dec 2013

Rank #6

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#82 - Tang 1: The Tiger's Trap

The Duke of Tang had taken control of China’s primary capital at Chang’an, and is now in position to seize the throne for himself. But even that momentous shift will only mark the beginning of the struggle to reclaim imperial authority and unite China under his single banner. For there are other claimants to the throne, and powerful warlords who have their own designs for China. But it will be in the cauldron of chaos that is the North Plains of the Yellow River that the new Tang Dynasty will truly be put to the test – will it remain a mere regional player in a multi-polar struggle, or does it have what it takes to reforge the nation into its united whole?Period Covered:617-621 CEMajor Historical Figures:Tang:Li Yuan, Duke of Tang (Emperor Gaozu) [566-635CE]Prince Li ShiminSui:Emperor Yang [d. 617]Emperor Gong [r. 617-619]General Yuwen Huaji [d.]Gansu/Qin:Xue Zhu (Emperor/Warlord of Qin) [d. 618]Xue Rengao [d. 618]Zheng:General Wang Shichong (Emperor/Commandant of Luoyang) [d. 621]Xia:Dou Jiande (Prince of Xia) [d. 621]Li Mi Rebel Faction:Commander Li Mi [d. 619] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


20 Nov 2015

Rank #7

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#167 - S. Song 10: ...Is My Enemy's Enemy, No More, No Less

With enemies on all sides, and the Mongol sledgehammer poised to strike its crushing blow against them, the Jin Dynasty seeks an out by plunging southward, only to find that the Song defenses have become the anvil on which they rest. Exhausted, they’ll seek peace at any cost… but will it be enough to save the tatters of their empire?Time Period Covered:1217-1225 CEMajor Historical Figures:Song:Emperor Ningzong (Zhao Kuo) [r. 1194-1224]Emperor Lizong (Zhao Yun) [r. 1224-1264]Empress Yang [1162-1232]Chancellor Shi Miyuan [1164-1233]Crown Prince Zhao Xun [1194-1220]Prince Zhao Hong [1207-1225]General Zhao FangAn Bing, Commandant of SichuanJin:Emperor Xuanzong (Wudubu/Wanyan Xun) [r. 1213-1224]Emperor Aizong (Ningjiasu/ Wanyan Shouxu) [r.1224-1234]Mongol:Genghis Khan (Temüjin) [r. 1206-1227]General Mukhali [1170-1223] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


2 Jun 2019

Rank #8

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#133 - N. Song 1: The Coup at Chen Bridge

The Duke of Song Circuit and Grand Marshal of the armies of Later Zhou is dispatched by the 6-year-old emperor and his mom to the northeast to investigate and drive out a reported incursion by the Khitan Liao and their Northern Han allies. But he won’t make it very far at all before the nature of his mission changes dramatically…Time Period Covered:960-962 CE Major Historical Figures:Emperor Gong of Later Zhou (Guo Zongxun) [r. 959-960, d. 973]Zhao Kuangyin (Emperor Taizu of Song) [r. 960-976]Zhao Kuangyi (Guangyi) [939-997]Zhao Pu (922-992)Governor Li Yün of Luzhou [d. 960]Governor Li Chengjin of Yanzgzhou [d. 960] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


19 Nov 2017

Rank #9

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#174 - Yuan 1: In Xanadu Did Kubla Khan...

You know it’s hard out there for a prince. The fourth sons of a fourth son, Khubilai of the Borjigin will grow up little recognized, and bound for a life of little more than comfortable obscurity. But between his mother’s machinations, his wife’s guidance, his own skills… and a healthy smattering of good fortune, he’ll find himself suddenly thrust into the spotlight and tasked with overseeing the conquest of the Mongols’ oldest foe.Time Period Covered:1215-1259 CEMajor Historical Figures:Mongol:Tolui [c. 1191-1232] – 4th son of Genghis Khan, Khubilai’s fatherSorkhokhtani Beki [c. 1190-1252] – Khubilai’s mother, Nestorian ChristianMöngke Khaghan [1209-1259] – Tolui’s eldest son, 4th Great Khan of the MongolsKhubilai, Ilkhan of the Left [1215-1289] – favored grandson of GenghisHulagu, Ilkhan of the Right [1218-1265] – 3rd son of Tolui and SorkhokhtaniAriq Böke [1219-1266] – youngest son of Tolui, Otchigin “Hearthkeeper”Chabi Khatun [1225-1281] – Khubilai’s 2nd wife & only love, Tibetan BuddhistNorth China:Minister Yao ShuLiu Bingzhong, Buddhist Monk, Adviser & Architect of Kaiping/Shangdu cityThe Phagspa Lama [1235-1280]Dali Kingdom:King Duan Xingzhi [r. 1251-1254, 1256-1260 (as Maharaja)]Prime Minister Gao Taixiang [d. 1253]Major Sources:Atwood, Christopher P. Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire.Broadbridge, Anne F. Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire.Clements, Jonathan. A Brief History of Khubilai Khan: Lord of Xanadu, Founder of the Yuan.May, Timothy (ed.). The Mongol Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia, vol. 1.McLynn, Frank. Genghis Khan: His Conquests, His Empire, His Legacy.Rossabi, Morris. “The Reign of Khubilai Khan” in The Cambridge History of China, v. 6: Alien Regimes and Border States, 907-1368.Weatherford, Jack. The Secret History of the Mongol Queens. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


22 Sep 2019

Rank #10

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Bonus 4.1 - Mongol 8.1: Subotai & Jebe's Excellent Adventure

In the course of their pursuit of the fleeing Khwarazmian Amir, Genghis Khan's two top commanders have reached the shores of the Caspian Sea, and heard some of the strangest tales about what - and who - lay beyond. When the Great Khan gives his go-ahead to scout it out, they'll launch a three-year trek that will remake the world in their bloody image.Time Period Covered:1220-1221 CE See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


4 Jul 2019

Rank #11

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#160 - Mongol 2: The Black Sable

In spite of difficulties, Ho'elun and her family endeavor to persevere. Temüjin discovers the power of friendship, and the clarity of purpose that comes with true love <3. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


25 Feb 2019

Rank #12

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#172 - S. Song 14: The Tightening Noose

Mongolia is gripped in a civil war of its own, meaning the Song Empire has a chance to breathe. But with the immediate threat allayed for now, other problems become apparent. And when the new Great Khan, Khubilai, returns his attention to the land south of the Yangtze, China will find out whether it was a decade well spent in preparation for the coming assault, on one utterly squandered.Time Period Covered:1259-1275 CEMajor Historical Figures:Song Empire:Emperor Lizong (Zhao Yun) [r. 1221-1264]Emperor Duzong (Zhao Qi) [r. 1264 -1274]Grand Empress Dowager Xie [1210-1283]Chancellor Jia Sidao [1213-1275]Mongolia:Möngke [1209-1259]Khubilai [1215-1294]Ariq Böke [1219-1264]General Aju [1227-1287] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


24 Aug 2019

Rank #13

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#124 - 5D10K 1: Live By the Sword...

Zhu Wen has proclaimed the dissolution of the Tang and the formation of Later Liang, with him as its Emperor Taizu... but there are more than a few people ready, willing, and able to object rather strongly to that claim... See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


9 Jun 2017

Rank #14

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#143 - N. Song 10: Inertia, Inaction, Insurrection

Emperor Renzong of Song continues to twiddle his thumbs. Confucianism get a much-needed adrenaline shot to the arm via Daoism. Zhuang superpatriot Nong Zhigao declares simultaneous war on China and Vietnam in the name of his people's liberation.Time Period Covered:1043-1054 CE See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


15 Jun 2018

Rank #15

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#55 - 16K 8: No Country For Old Yan

The Xianbei Tuoba Clan from the northwest fills the power-vacuum left by the collapse of Former QIn, and will soon add much of Later Yan to its conquests. But its rulers will be sorely tempted by the trappings of power, and as we all know in this tumultuous period, indulgence is a swift path to downfall. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


19 Feb 2015

Rank #16

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#77 - Sui 1: Internal Affairs

Emperor Wen of Sui is potentially the most important monarch you've never heard of. For him, militarily reuniting China wasn't his legacy - it was his prelude. Both pre- and post-reunification, we explore the internal facets of his truly impressive reign today: his origins, personality, outlook, confidantes, the existential problems he inherited from the Period of Disunion, and the novel, world-changing solutions he'd craft to ensure China's reunification would be factual, rather than just rhetorical.Time Period Covered:581-600 CEMajor FiguresYang Jing (Emperor Wen of Sui)[r. 581-604]Empress Dugu QieluoGao JiangYang SuSu WeiLi DelinArthur F. Wright, Chaffee and Twitchett (ed.) The Cambridge History of China, Vol. 3 (1979) See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


8 Oct 2015

Rank #17

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#142 - N. Song 9: Dithering the War Away

Emperor Renzong of Song isn't exactly... into the whole "rule" thing. He'd much rather wile away his days talking about Confucian philosophy, writing calligraphy, and making love to his concubines. But he'll be forced to uneasily embody the might of Song China when the Tangut state of Western Xia declares its independence, triggering a massive conflict on the borderlands.Time Period Covered:1033-1044 CEMajor Historical Figures:Song:Emperor RenzongChancellor Li YijianFan Zhongyan, Commander of Yanan CircuitXi Xia:Li Yuanhao (Weiming Nangxiao), Emperor of Xia See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


20 May 2018

Rank #18

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#163 - S. Song 6: Filial Impiety

Back in Song China, we have a tale of two emperors: one who is devoted utterly to his father, and the other who's...well... not.Time Period Covered:1165-1194 CEMajor Historical Figures:Retired Emperor Gaozong [r. 1127-1162, as retired emperor 1162-1187]Emperor Xiaozong [r. 1162-1189, as retired emperor 1189-1194]Emperor Guangzong [r. 1189-1194]Empress Dowager Wu [1115-1197]Empress Li [1144-1200] See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


31 Mar 2019

Rank #19

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#169 - S. Song 12: Instant Regret

Just off of the heady victory over the Jin Dynasty with their new BFFs, the Mongols, a first-in-a-century visit to the Imperial Tombs gives the Song court a brilliant idea - what if we just took them back without asking? What's the worst that could happen?Time Period Covered: 1234-1241 CEMajor Historical Figures:Song Dynasty:Emperor LizongChancellor Zheng QingzhiChancellor Shi Miyuan [d. 1233]General Zhao KuiGeneral Quan ZicaiMongol Khanate:Ögedei KhaghanTöregene KhatunPrince KhödanPrince KhöchuAmbassador Wang Qi See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


14 Jul 2019

Rank #20