Ancient Times and Xia Dynasty
According to the Outlines of Chinese History by Beijing University Press, Modern Homo sapiens remains appeared in China about 40,000 years ago. Jiangxi province in southeast China is the first place in the world to domesticate rice around 12,000 years ago. About 6,000--7,000 years ago, larger regional cultures began to emerge. 4,500 years ago China was divided into three major regions in terms of cultural characteristics: the northeast (the north China plain) controlled by Gongsun clan, the Yangzi valley controlled by Nine Li clan, the northwest controlled by Shenrong clan. Shenrong clan and Nine Li clan were long settled agricultural societies, Gongsun clan were less sophisticated nomads and militarily stronger. The climate was much warmer then, and China's Yellow River valley was an ideal place for settlement: it was warm and fertile but not too hot or too humid. With the rapid population growth, more and more conflicts could be seen in this area.
At that time, the leader in north China plain was Gongsun Xuanyuan, in northwest China was the Red Emperor, in south China was Ciyou. First, Gongsun Xuanyuan defeated the Red emperor through three large scale wars fought in Banquan (in Hebei province) then formed a coalition with him. After that Gongsun defeated Ciyou in a decisive battle fought in Zhuolu (near Banquan) which involved several hundred thousand troops. Gongsun captured and beheaded Ciyou and drove southerners back into the Yangzi valley, this began a 2,000-year-long assimilation and southward movement of ancient south Asians in south China who were ancestors of contemporary Viets, Malays, Thais and Burmese.
After the battle of Zhuolu Gongsun Xuanyuan became the ruler of the Yellow River valley and was honored as the Yellow Emperor by Chinese people. To this day, Chinese people still claim themselves to be the children of the Yellow and Red Emperor. The Yellow Emperor had 25 sons, 14 of them inherited his family name. After the Yellow Emperor died, his great-grandson Zhuanxu inherited the throne, after Zhuanxu died, another great-grandson of the Yellow Emperor called Diku inherited the throne. After Diku died, his son Yao inherited the throne. Yao ordered a commoner named Sun to inherit his regime because he thought his own son lacked the qualities to be a good ruler. Due to the same consideration, Sun gave his power to Yu (a grandson of Zhuanxu) rather than his own son. Yu chose a tribal chief named Yi in east China to be his successor when he was about to die. But after Yu died, Chinese princes crowned Yu's son Qi and deposed Yi. Qi killed Yi and established the Xia dynasty (about 2100--1500 BC), the first dynasty in Chinese history and a totalitarian, hereditary state.
Xia state was an inland country surrounded by various minor princedoms of similar cultures and barbarian tribes. It centered on middle and north Henan province and south Shanxi province. Although its immediate territory was by no means of significance, it had a large sphere of influence. Xia state was seen as a central state, its kings were addressed as 'Son of Heaven', surrounding princedoms and barbarian tribes were supposed to pay tribute to it. This political framework was carried on to the end of Western Zhou Dynasty in 771 BC. The bulk of Xia people were yeomen, they were obliged to contribute one tenth of their produce as tax. An average household farmed 8 acres of land. Farming tools were mostly made of stone and bone, occasionally wood, bronze was used in the military and religious ceremonies.
According to Shi ji by ancient Chinese historian-Shima Qian, The family name of Xia kings was 'Si', they were the descendants of the Yellow Emperor. At that time Chinese aristocrats often changed their family names, yet commoners did not have them. The king had 'one hundred officials' and 'six ministers'. There were officials in charge of administration, ceremonies, planting, herding, cooking, chariots, and so on. The 'six ministers' were in charge of the army. The Xia state had a regular army, laws and prisons. When Qi's son Taikang took the throne, he indulged in hunting and ignored state affairs. An east tribal chief named Yi drove Taikang out and took the power. After many years, Shaokang, Taikang's younger brother Zhongkang's grandson, united pro-Xia tribes to restore Xia state; this event was called 'Restoration of Shaokang' in history. The 17th and the last king of Xia dynasty Jie was a notorious tyrant who bullied his officials and built many new palaces. He was defeated and exiled by Tang, the leader of Shang people in the east, thus ended 471-year-long Xia history. Tang established Shang dynasty, he kept former Xia officials' posts and treated Xia people equally. Jie's son Chunwei escaped north to the Hunnish tribes with his father's concubines, servants and herds. Chunwei was the first Hunnish khan recorded in history.