Time: 1027 B.C.-221B.C.
Location of Capital:Hao, near the city of Xian, Shannxi Province
Emperors: Twelve kings for eleven dynasties
Replaced by:Spring and Autumn Period
In 770 BCE, the Zhou kings lost control of the territories they had delegated to their lords. These territories, along with non-Chinese forces, rebelled and defeated the original Zhou capital. The Zhou then formed a new capital farther East. From this new capital, the Zhou forfeited their political and military control over their territories.
The territories now were larger and more powerful than the original Zhou kingdom. Even though the Zhou were not in control, they still thought they were appointed by the heavans and continued to be the ceremonial lords of the kingdoms. During this time, there was great economic growth, even among the constant warfare between the territories. It was also during this time that China entered its Iron Age.
The Iron Age brought iron-tipped oxdrawn plows and improved irrigation techniques which increased the agricultural yield which in turn increased the population. With the increase in population came greater wealth, and people started to become merchants and traders. With the explosion of the merchant and trader class, the improvement of communication was inevitable. The improvement came in the form of expanding the horseback communication system. This increase in the economic situation allowed the rulers to control more and more territories. Communication was far better than before, and a ruler could have a larger empire and still be kept up to date on situations that may arise.
The territories that were located at the edges of the Zhou empire expanded into non-Chinese countries. Upon expanding, the kingdoms of the Zhou became more diversified and these kingdoms selectively chose the aspects of the newly acquired culture to assimilate into their own. One such aspect was the mounted cavalry. Before, all the Chinese fighting was by foot soldiers. By the 6th century, seven powerful states arose from the former Zhou territories. With the Zhou dynasty's decline and the rise of power of the former territories, the situation in China became unstable. Then, by the late 5th century, the Zhou dynasty fell into a state of interstate anarchy, this period was known as the Period of the Warring States.