The fourth Civ of the Week is China. China is one of the few remaining countries in the world today that began to flourish economically and culturally during the ancient era of human civilization. Over the course of China's 4,000 year history, it has endured barbarian invaders (the Mongols), socio-political turbulence (Communism), and the threat of technological obsolescence (the Game Boy), yet it remains unique for its continuity and perseverance.
Historians believe that the first true Chinese dynasty was the Xia (c. 2200 BC) The Xia were followed by the Shang, who were first Chinese people to develop an alphabet. For 700 years the Shang reigned over China, until about 1100 B.C. when the Zhou came to power. The Zhou were the first of many Chinese dynasties to suffer barbarian invasions, but they also produced some great minds, namely Confucius and Lao-zi, whom you might know better as the author of the ancient world's best-selling "Tao-te Ching".
Things got ugly for a few hundred years during the "Spring and Autumn" and "Warring States" periods. During this period, a brilliant military strategist named Sun-tzu jotted down some notes on tactics and strategy which came to be known as "The Art of War".
About this time, one of the Chinese emperors noticed that there were a series of walls built in different places, and thought it might be a good idea to connect them. Enter the "Great Wall" of China. Started as a series of smaller walls as early as the 7th century BC, the Great Wall is the single largest construction project ever undertaken by man. The project was more or less "finished" during the Ming dynasty of the 14th century (you know them for their vases), however, much of the foundation for the Great Wall was built during the time of China's first emperor, Qin (or Ch'in) Shihuangdi.
The chaos of the "Warring States" period came to an end when Qin reunited China in 221 BC. During Qin's short but productive reign, the first great palace for the Chinese emperor was built. Qin also developed a rigid, authoritarian bureaucracy to help manage the sprawling Chinese empire, which would be used for nearly 2,000 years. Ironically, Qin's nasty habit of executing soldiers who showed up late for work would get the better of him, and this set the stage for the famous Han dynasty to come to power in 206 BC, followed by the famous "Three Kingdoms" period and a few subsequent dynasties.
About 618 AD, the T'ang dynasty came to power, extending China's borders into what are now Siberia, Korea, and Vietnam. The T'ang were followed by the Sung dynasties (960 - 1279), who are probably best known for losing China to Genghis Khan and his Mongol raiders in the 12th century. The Mongols occupied China for about 100 years, until their militaristic ways caught up with them and they were unseated by Chinese rebels in 1368. The Ming dynasty followed, as did the the Qing (Manchu) dynasty in 1644. This last dynasty of China was marked by (among other things) opium wars, strong isolationists policies, rampant corruption, and what must have seemed like a "rebellion-of-the-month" club.
By the end of the Qing dynasty, Chinese Imperialism had outstayed its welcome, and the Chinese people welcomed the Nationalist movement, which, with the aid of the Soviets and a fledgling group of Chinese Communists, began to take China back from the band of warlords who had installed themselves in the North. This cooperation between the Nationalists and Communists was a short-lived one, however. In 1933, Chang Kai-shek led the famous "Northern Expedition", which ended in a massacre of Chinese Communists at Shanghai. Among those who managed to escape the massacre was a young communist named Mao Tse-Tung. Over the next year, Mao led the Communists on a brutal march to escape the Nationalists that ended in the northwest of China. This journey would come to be known as "the Long March", and established Mao as the leader of the Chinese Communists. Fourteen years and one World War later, Mao declared the creation of the People's Republic of China. In 1966, Mao started the disastrous "Cultural Revolution", a ten-year assault on "all traditional values" and "bourgeois things" which ultimately left the country in disarray, economically, politically and socially. After Mao's death in 1976, Mao's former rival, Deng Xiaopeng took over and began work on economic reforms that would see China once again return as a world power.
In Civilization III, the Chinese are considered a Militaristic and Industrious civilization, therefore, they start with Warrior Code and Masonry, and have significant bonuses to military and building activities. See the developer update on Civ-specific abilities for more on these bonuses.
China leads the world in terms of horse population, having nearly 11 million horses within its borders. Once the discovery of the stirrup made its way to China, heavy cavalry soon followed. As the Chinese found out first-hand when the Mongols invaded in the 12th century, it is better to have heavy calvary than to be attacked by them.
The Rider is an upgraded version of the Knight. Like the knight, it requires both iron and horses to build, but it has bonuses to its defense and movement ratings, which makes it an extremely valuable siege unit as well as a defender. Its upgraded movement rate makes quick strikes possible and allows the Chinese to keep a smaller standing defense, since units can quickly move to bolster positions of weakness.
|| Attack || Defense || Move |