Hsia (shēä) [key], semilegendary first dynasty of China, which ruled, according to traditional dates, from c.2205 B.C. to c.1766 B.C. or, according to some modern scholars, from c.1994 B.C. to c.1523 B.C. This dynasty is said to have been founded by Yu, the culture hero of China who built canals to control floods and then divided the reclaimed land. Scanty archaeological remains suggest that the people had domestic animals, wheat and millet, the potter's wheel, bronze weapons, and war chariots. The Hsia dynasty was succeeded by the Shang, the first historic dynasty of China.

See L. Chi, Beginnings of Chinese Civilization (1957); Chang Kwang-chi, Archaeology of Ancient China (rev. and enl. ed. 1968).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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