The Shang Dynasty started on 1700 B.C.E. The location was in the Huang He Valley. The location of their capital city was in Anyang, a city in China. When they constructed new royal houses, they made human sacrifices. They also made human sacrifices as a part of the Shang burials. They also believed in the afterlife. They put many important items near tombs to help them survive in the afterlife.
A powerful king lead the government. The power of the king was preserved because he set up smaller kingdoms led by his family. The king depended on a strong army to keep his kingdom together. They made weapons of bronze. The Shang army was one of the first to discover bronze. The army was made of footed soldiers, archers, men on horses, and men on elephants and in chariots.
Nobles were the highest in the social class, they fought in the army. Nobles lived a life of luxury. Artisans were made up of potters, stonemasons, and bronze/jade crafters. Traders were merchants. The currency they used was cowrie shells. Farmers grew food. They planted crops with simple wooden tools. In their life, they planted food and made sacrifices.
This religion centered on ancestor worship. They believed that their ancestors had the power to harm or help the living. Oracle bones were made of bone or a shell heated to help seek advice. They tell us valuable information about the past life.
Early Shang writing contained only pictographs. An example is (Good=Woman+Child). Writing united all of ancient China. Art was important back then. Artisans were very skilled with bronze. Shang Artifacts show that they were very skilled in art and war. Some examples are beautiful vessels and objects/pictures. Jade is a very hard stone. Jade represents more superiority. Bronze was a very important technology. They made arrowheads, spearheads, axe heads, and helmets.
The dynasty collapsed because of constant warfare. It weakened the military. The dynasty ended in 1045 B.C.E. Then, the Zhou dynasty attacked them because of their weak military and took over.