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Western Zhou

Period of strong central government in ancient Zhou dynasty China / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Western Zhou (Chinese: 西周; pinyin: Xīzhōu; c.1045 BC[1] – 771 BC) was a period of Chinese history, approximately first half of the Zhou dynasty, before the period of the Eastern Zhou. It began when King Wu of Zhou overthrew the Shang dynasty at the Battle of Muye and ended when Quanrong pastoralists sacked its capital Haojing and killed King You of Zhou in 771 BC.

States of the Western Zhou dynasty
Bronze pot, 3rd Year of King Yì (896 BCE), Western Zhou Dynasty. Fufeng County, Shaanxi Province. Baoji Zhouyuan Museum

The Western Zhou early state[lower-alpha 1] was ascendant for about seventy-five years and then slowly lost power. The former Shang lands were divided into hereditary fiefs which became increasingly independent of the king. In 771 BC, the Zhou court was driven out of the Wei River valley; afterwards real power was in the hands of the king's nominal vassals. "Western" describes the geographical situation of the Zhou royal capitals, clustered near present-day Xi'an.

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