General Introduction to Spring and Autumn Period

Heilongjiang Province Mapwas a period in Chinese history, which roughly corresponds to the first half of the Eastern Zhou dynasty (from the second half of the 8th century BC to the first half of the 5th century BC). Its name comes from the Spring and Autumn Annals, a chronicle of the state of Lu between 722 BC and 479 BC, which tradition associates with Confucius. The period itself lasted between 770 BC and 476 BC. During the Spring and Autumn period, China was ruled by a feudal system.


The Zhou Dynasty kings held nominal power, but only directly ruled over a small Royal Demesne, revolving around their capital (modern-day Luoyang). They granted fiefdoms over the rest of China to several hundred hereditary nobles . These were descendants of members of the Zhou clan, close associates of the founders of the dynasty, or local potentates. The most important feudal princes (known later as the twelve princes) met during regular conferences, where important matters, such as military expeditions against foreign groups or offending nobles were decided. During these conferences, one prince was sometimes declared hegemon and given leadership over the armies of all the feudal states.


Begining of Eastern Zhou

After the Zhou capital was sacked by western barbarian tribes, crown prince Ji Yijiu (姬宜臼) fled to the east. During the flight from the western capital to the east, the king relied on the nearby lords of Qi (齊), Zheng (鄭) and Jin (晉) for protection from barbarians and rebellious lords. He moved the Zhou capital from Zongzhou (Hao) to Chengzhou (Luoyang) in the Yellow River valley. The fleeing Zhou elite did not have strong footholds in the eastern territories; even the crown prince's coronation had to be supported by those states to be successful. With the Zhou domain greatly reduced, i.e. to Luoyang and nearby areas, the court could no longer support six groups of standing troops (六軍, liù jūn). Subsequent Zhou kings had to request help from neighbouring powerful states for protection from raids and for resolution of internal power struggles. The Zhou court would never regain its original authority; instead, it was relegated to being merely a figurehead of the feudal states. Though the king de jure retained the Mandate of Heaven, de facto the title held no real power.


Rise of the hegemonies

The first nobility to help the Zhou kings was the Duke Zhuang of Zheng (鄭庄公) (r. 743 BC-701 BC). He was the first to establish the hegemonical system (bà 霸), which was intended to retain the old proto-feudal system. Traditional historians justified the new system as a means of protecting weaker civilized states and the Zhou royalty from the intruding "barbarian" tribes. Located in the south, north, east and west, the barbarian tribes were, respectively, the Man, Yi, Rong and Di. Urbanisation during the Spring and Autumn period. The newly powerful states were more eager to maintain aristocratic privileges over the traditional ideology of supporting the weak ruling entity during times of unrest (匡扶社稷 kuāng fú shè jì), which was to be widely propagated during imperial China to consolidate power into the ruling family.

Interstate relations

During the period a complex system of interstate relations developed. It was partially structured upon the Western Zhou system of feudalism, but elements of realpolitik were emerging. A collection of interstate customary norms and values, which can perhaps be loosely termed international law, was also evident. As the operational and cultural areas of states expanded and intersected, diplomatic encounters increased.

List of important figures

Bureaucrats or Officers Guan Zhong (管仲), statesman and advisor of Duke Huan of Qi and regarded by some modern scholars as the first Legalist. Baili Xi (百里奚), famous prime minister of Qin.


Bo Pi, (伯噽)the corrupted bureaucrat under King Helü and played important diplomatic role of Wu-Yue relations. Wen Zhong 文種 and Fan Li 范蠡, the two advisors and partisans of King Goujian of his rally against Wu. Zi Chan, (子產)leader of self-strengthening movements in Zheng Influential scholars Confucius(孔子), leading figure in Confucianism Laozi (老子)or Lao tse, teacher of Daoism Mozi, known as Motse (墨子 Mò Zǐ) or "Mocius" (also "Micius") to Western scholars, founder of Mohism Historians Confucius(孔子), the editor of Spring and Autumn Annals (春秋) Engineers Mozi(墨子) Lu Ban(鲁班) Smelters Ou Ye Zi(歐冶子), literally means Ou the smelter and mentor of the couple Gan Jiang and Mo Ye Entrepreneurs and Commercial personnel Fan Li(范蠡) Generals, military leaders and authors Rang Ju, (穰苴)elder contemporary and possibly mentor of Sun Tzu, (孫子)the author of The Art of War Assassins Yao Li, (要离)sent by King Helü to kill Qing Ji(庆忌). Zhuan Zhu,(专渚) sent by He Lu to kill his cousin King Liao Mo Xie See also: Hundred Schools of Thought


List of Important Events

770 B.C. - the nobility of the Zhou realm supported King Píng of Zhou (周平王) as the new king of the Zhou Dynasty. King Píng moved the capital to Luòyì (雒邑). The era of Eastern Zhou, or Spring Autumn, began. King Píng appointed the son of the nobility Yíng Qí (贏其) to the northwestern part of the Zhou realm. He was named Duke Xiāng of Qin (秦襄公). The kingdom of Qin (秦) was born.


763 B.C. - Duke Zhuang of Zheng (郑庄公) attacked and destroyed the barbarian kingdom of hú (胡國). Duke Zhuang relied on his famous officer Zhài Zhòng (祭仲).


750 B.C. - Duke Wén of Jin (晉文侯), Jī Chóu (姬仇), attacked and destroyed the kingdom of Yú Chén Zhou (余臣周) 704 B.C. - Duke of Chǔ (楚), Mǐ Xióng Tōng (羋熊通), saw the weakened power of the King of Zhou as an opportunity to break free from being a tributary state of the Zhou Dynasty and claimed the title of king himself. He announced the kingdom of Chǔ (楚國) and called himself King Wu of Chu (楚武王).


701 B.C. - Duke Zhuang of Zheng (鄭莊公) died. His son Jī Hū (姬忽) succeeded the title of Duke and was known as Duke Zhāo of Zheng (鄭昭公). Because Lady Yōng (雍氏) of Song (宋國) was married to Duke Zhuang of Zheng and had a son named Ji Tū (姬突), the King of Song thought that he could extend influence in Zheng by helping to support a new ruler who had relations with Song. Zhài Zhòng (祭仲), who had the respect and influence in the state of Zheng, was lured and captured by Song and was forced to support Jī Tū as the successor to the throne


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