History of China/Zhou Dynasty

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The Zhou Dynasty (周朝), divided into the earlier Western Zhou (c. 1045 – 771 BC) and the later Eastern Zhou (770–256 BC), was the longest dynasty in Chinese history and laid the foundation for the Chinese civilisation. Being in the pre-imperial period of Chinese history, it was ruled by a king with landed nobles at his command, somewhat similar to European feudalism. The Zhou Dynasty was headed by the Ji (姬) family. While the Western Zhou was relatively stable, the Eastern Zhou was an extremely fractured state where the king held little authority and nobles fought each other. Eastern Zhou was further divided into the Spring and Autumn Period (春秋時期) and the Warring States Period (戰國時期), with the latter being even more turbulent. Despite the chaos, a lot of thinkers came up during this period to push forward their philosophical ideas and political thinking. Such philosophers include Confucius (孔子), Mencius (孟子), Laozi/Laotzu (老子) and Hanfei (韓非) among others. These became hugely influential systems of thinking in later eras.