Humanities › History & Culture Shang Dynasty Share Flipboard Email Print Bronze kuei (food vessel) from the Shang Dynasty. DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI / Getty Images History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Asia Figures & Events Ancient Languages Greece Egypt Rome Mythology & Religion American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated October 03, 2019 The Shang dynasty is thought to have lasted from c. 1600 to c.1100 BCE. It is also called the Yin Dynasty (or Shang-Yin). Tang the Great founded the dynasty. King Zhou was its final ruler. The Shang kings were linked to the rulers of the areas around who paid tribute and provided soldiers for military operations. The Shang kings had some bureaucracy with the highest offices presumed filled by close friends and family of the king. Records of major events were kept. Shang Population The Shang probably had about 13.5 million people, according to Duan Chang-Qun et al. It was centered on the North China Plain northward to modern Shangdong and Hebei provinces and westward through the modern Henan province. Population pressures led to multiple migrations and the capitals moved, too, until settling in Yin (Anyang, Henan) in the 14th century. "Relocation of Civilization Centers in Ancient China: Environmental Factors," by Duan Chang-Qun, Gan Xue-Chun, Jeanny Wang and Paul K. Chien. Ambio, Vol. 27, No. 7 (Nov., 1998), pp. 572-575.Shang dynasty. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 25, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9067119China Knowledge"The Shang of Ancient China," by L. M. Young. Current Anthropology, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Jun., 1982), pp. 311-314. Start of the Shang Dynasty Tang the Great defeated the last, evil king of the Xia Dynasty, sending him into exile. The Shang changed their capital numerous times because of environmental problems, hostile neighbors, or because they were a semi-nomadic people used to moving. Shang Dynasty Kings Da Yi (Tang the Great)Tai DingWai BingZhong RenTai JiaWo DingTai GengXiao JiaYong JiTai WuLü JiZhong DingWai RenHedan JiaZu YiZu XinWo JiaZu DingNan GengYang JiaPan GengXiao XinXiao YiWu DingZu JiZu GengZu JiaLin XinGeng DingWu YiWen DingDi YiDi Xin (Zhou) Shang Accomplishments Earliest glazed pottery, evidence of a potter's wheel, industrialized bronze casting used for rituals, wine, and food, as well as weapons and tools, advanced jade carving, determined the year was 365 1/4 days, made reports on diseases, first appearance of Chinese script, oracle bones, Steppe-like war chariots. Remains have been found of palace foundations, burials, and rammed earth fortifications. Fall of the Shang Dynasty The cycle of the founding of a dynasty by a great king and ending a dynasty with the ousting of an evil king continued with the Shang Dynasty. The final, tyrannical king of the Shang is commonly called King Zhou. He killed his own son, tortured and murdered his ministers and was overly influenced by his concubine. The Zhou army defeated the last king of the Shang, whom they called the Yin, at the Battle of Muye. The Yin King immolated himself. Sources "The Shang-Yin Dynasty and the An-Yang Finds" W. Perceval Yetts The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland No. 3 (Jul., 1933), pp. 657-685"Urbanism and the King in Ancient China" K. C. Chang World Archaeology Vol. 6, No. 1, Political Systems (Jun., 1974), pp. 1-14China. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 25, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-71625."Shang Divination and Metaphysics," by David N. Keightley. Philosophy East and West, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Oct., 1988), pp. 367-397.