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The Xia dynasty (Chinese: 夏朝; pinyin: Xiàcháo; Wade–Giles: Hsia4-ch‘ao2) is the first dynasty in traditional Chinese historiography. According to tradition, the Xia dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great, after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors, gave the throne to him. In traditional historiography, the Xia was later succeeded by the Shang dynasty.
|c. 2070 BC (according to Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project)–c. 1600 BC|
|Yu the Great (First and former)|
|Jie of Xia (Last)|
|c. 2070 BC (according to Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project)|
|c. 1600 BC|
|Today part of||China|
|Part of a series on the|
|History of China|
There are no contemporaneous records of the Xia, who are not mentioned in the oldest Chinese texts, since the earliest oracle bone inscriptions date from the late Shang period (13th century BC). The earliest mentions occur in the oldest chapters of the Book of Documents, which report speeches from the early Western Zhou period and are accepted by most scholars as dating from that time. The speeches justify the Zhou conquest of the Shang as the passing of the Mandate of Heaven and liken it to the succession of the Xia by the Shang. That political philosophy was promoted by the Confucian school in the Eastern Zhou period. The succession of dynasties was incorporated into the Bamboo Annals and the Records of the Grand Historian and became the official position of imperial historiography and ideology. Some scholars consider the Xia dynasty legendary or at least unsubstantiated, but others identify it with the archaeological Erlitou culture.
According to the traditional chronology, based upon calculations by Liu Xin, the Xia ruled between 2205 and 1766 BC. According to the chronology based on the "current text" Bamboo Annals, it ruled between 1989 and 1558 BC. Comparing the same text with dates of five-planet conjunctions, David Pankenier, supported by David Nivison, proposed dates of 1953 and 1555 BC. The Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project, commissioned by the Chinese government in 1996, concluded that the Xia existed between 2070 and 1600 BC.