25 Interesting Facts about Ancient China

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1Shi Huangdi

After the death of the first Chinese emperor, Shi Huangdi, his second oldest son forged a letter in the emperor's name, stating that the eldest son is to commit suicide and the second oldest son would become emperor. That plan worked.


2. Emperor Xiaowu of Ancient China was murdered by his consort when he joked with her, "Based on your age, you should yield your position. I want someone younger." She didn't think it was funny and murdered him in his sleep. She was only 30 years old when this occurred.


3. Emperor Houfei of the Liu Song dynasty was deposed by one of his generals after he was so intrigued by the size of said general's belly that he had a target painted on it and fired blunt arrows at it.


4. Great Wall of China was first built by China's shortest dynasty, Qin, which lasted only 15 years. The Qin Emperor built the Terracotta Army for his tomb and buried workers alive to keep it secret. He died from drinking mercury, which he believed was an elixir of immortality.


5. Yu the Great was a legendary ruler in ancient China famed for his introduction of flood control, inaugurating dynastic rule in China by establishing the Xia Dynasty. Yu was regarded as an ideal ruler and kind philosopher-king by the ancient Chinese.


6Su Hui

A 4th-century Chinese poet named Su Hui wrote a poem in the form of a twenty-nine by twenty-nine character grid. Each line can be read forward or backward, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. This arrangement allows for 2,848 different readings.


7. There is an Iron Pagoda built that was built in 1049 by the Chinese Song dynasty. It has experienced 38 earthquakes, six floods, and many other disasters, but it remains intact after almost 1000 years.


8. Wu Zetian, the only reigning Empress of China was the wife of two different Emperors, who eventually usurped the throne and ruled through brutal use of murder, betrayal, and secret police forces.


9. In ancient China, doctors could receive fees only if their patient was cured. If it deteriorated, they would have to pay the patient.


10. During the Qing Dynasty in China, Emperor Qianlong was able to cancel taxes four times during his reign because the imperial treasury was so full.


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11Liu Bang

Liu Bang, the founder of China's Han Dynasty, had such contempt for Confucian scholars in his early years that whenever he saw one wearing the school's distinctive hat, he'd snatch the hat off their head and piss in it.


12. During the Tang Dynasty (around 600-900 A.D.), Pekingese dogs were purposely bred to fit into the sleeves of the aristocrats as hidden weapons for self-defense.


13. Xiang Yu the night before attacking the Qin dynasty burnt all his own boats and cooking equipment so his troops had no other option but to fight till victory or perish.


14. In Ancient China people used to drink panda urine if they accidentally swallowed a needle.


15. In 1642 the Chinese Ming Dynasty tried to break a rebel siege of Kaifeng by blowing dikes on the Yellow River. The flood destroyed not only the rebels but also Kaifeng, killing 300,000 people.


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16Tang Dynasty dancers

A Tang Dynasty general once sent lewdly dressed girls to perform an obscene dance in order to distract the opposing army. While they were watching he attacked them from behind with his cavalry, killing 500 soldiers that day.


17. When the famous Chinese Female Warrior of the Shang Dynasty Fu Hao (Queen Consort of King Wu Ding) was buried in 1046 B.C.E., sixteen human sacrifices were made and 16 bodies inhumed alongside the corpse of Fu Hao.


18. The Southern Song Dynasty would take monkeys, clothe them in straw, dip them in oil, light them on fire, and then release them in enemy camps.


19. The Hongzhi Emperor, who reigned over China from 1487 to 1506, was the only ruler in Chinese history to have married only one woman.


20. In 1851, Hong Xiuquan, claiming to be the brother of Jesus Christ, staged a rebellion and captured South China from the Qing dynasty.


21Cannabis burial

An ancient burial in China contained 13 cannabis plants arranged in a shroud around the body. Archaeologists believe it is evidence that cannabis consumption was popular thousands of years ago.


22. King Jie, the last ruler of Ancient China's Xia Dynasty, is said to have made an alcohol lake for his wine-loving concubine Mo Xi. They then held massive and gleeful orgies of sex and death on the wine lake.


23. One of the Jin Dynasty Emperors (Wanyan Liang) was so disastrous that after being assassinated, he was posthumously demoted to a prince, and later demoted to a commoner.


24. The Jiaqing Emperor refused the Vietnamese ruler Gia Long's request to change his country's name to Nam Việt. He changed the name instead to Việt Nam.


25. Several kingdoms in China during the Zhou dynasty used knives as a currency rather than coins.

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