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The establishment of the Xia Dynasty (21st - 17th century BC) is an important milestone in the history of Chinese civilization and marks the end of the Primitive Society and the beginning of the Class Society. It is the first dynasty in Chinese history, and lasted nearly 500 years including the reigns of 17 emperors.

It is thought that most of the Xia people probably inhabited the western area of Henan Province and southern Shanxi Province.

 Political History

It is Yu the Great who first set up the dynasty under the Abdication System (choosing the leader according to their ability). After he died, his son Qi broke up this system and made himself the Xia emperor. From that time onwards, the Abdication System gave way to the Hereditary System.

Following the system of hereditary, 15 offspring of Qi succeeded him after his death. Among them, emperors like Shaokang, and Huai made great contributions to the development of Chinese society. However, there were also many tyrannical emperors during this period such as Taikang, Kongjia, and Jie.

 
Economy and Crafts

During this dynasty, many achievements were made. People lived mainly through agriculture using tools made of stone or bone. The Jade ware at that time was quite delicate and bronze vessels were well smelted. Craftwork made of bronze embedded with jade also appeared. Commodity exchanges developed. A calendar system was devised which used both lunar and solar movements.

 
Decline

Xia ended under the reign of Jie, a very notorious tyrannical emperor in Chinese history. After he succeeded to the throne, he lived an extravagant life day and night without any thought for his country or its people. In addition, he killed the patriotic ministers who presented him with good advice. All of his actions enraged the people so much that at last they rose up under the leadership of Tang (the chief of the Shang tribe and latter set up Shang Dynasty (17th - 11th century BC) and overthrew Xia.

 Emperors

Order
Name
Notes
Reign
Time
(years)
1
Xiayu Also called Dayu; Family name: Si; Given name: Wenming; The great-great-grandson of Huangdi. Known for solving the flood problem for the people.
45
2
Qi son of Xiayu; He broke up the Abdication System and set the Hereditary System.
29
3
Taikang son of Qi
29
4
Zhongkang younger brother of Taikang
13
5
Xiang son of Zhongkang
28
6
Shaokang posthumous child of Xiang
21
7
Zhu son of Shaokang
17
8
Huai son of Zhu
44
9
Mang son of Huai
18
10
Xie son of Mang
21
11
Bujiang son of Xie
59
12
Jiong younger brother of Bujiang
21
13
Jin son of Jiong
21
14
Kongjia son of Bujiang
31
15
Gao son of Kongjia
11
16
Fa son of Gao
11
17
Jie son of Fa; the tyrannical emperor that ended the Xia Dynasty
52