Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

Get access

Zhou Dynasty
(567 words)

The Zhou dynasty was by far the longest dynastic period in Chinese history. It began in the mid-11th century BCE with the overthrow of the Shang dynasty (prehistory and protohistory) and ended with the death of the last Zhou king in 256 BCE or with the conquest of the city-state of Zhou (then called Xi Zhou) by the Qin state in 249 BCE. Many works of reference extend it until 222 BCE, when it was succeeded by the Qin dynasty. Long though the dynastic period was, the Zhou kings exercised real power for less than half of it (until ca. 700 BCE). Historians traditionally divid…

Cite this page
Shaughnessy, Edward L., “Zhou Dynasty”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 02 March 2024 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

▲   Back to top   ▲