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China has 5000 years of history, the US only 250.

Discussion in 'World History' started by Lord Chambers, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Lord Chambers

    Lord Chambers Emperor

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    "China has 5000 years of history, the US only 250."

    The above lesson is conveyed in Chinese schools and echoed throughout Chinese media. It is seen as absurd by non-Chinese, who realize firstly that China cannot have 5000 years of history because Chinese script is predated by Cuneiform by around 1300 years, but secondly if the US only has 250 years of history because that's the age of its current political system, that would give China only 50 years of history.

    With regards to the age of the current political system, which current country could make the longest claim of historical legacy? Which current country has the most distant revolution or change of political leadership?

    My guess would be the United Kingdom because I recall that it's parliment has essentially remained the instrument of government since the 18th century. I'm pretty foggy regarding this, so I submit to the actual knowledge of someone who is better informed.

    And if not the UK, then which other countries have had long, stable, governments over the people in their boundries? I'm tempted to write off most of the world since most of the world was colonized and gained independance relatively recently.
     
  2. Knight-Dragon

    Knight-Dragon Unhidden Dragon Retired Moderator

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    The Chinese imperial system lasted for a goodly 2200 years or so (officially), with some changes. Even discounting the periods of rebellions, chaos, or changing of dynasties, it is still a largish number.
     
  3. GenMarshall

    GenMarshall High Elven Ghost Agent

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    To be honest, other than England, I don't know any other nations that would have that lengthy legacy.

    Egypt has it's break points after being conquered and the later on declared it's independence.
     
  4. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

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    Off hand, I can't think of too many nations with a relatively continuous history as long as China's.

    While 5000 years is something of an exageration, there is no exaggeration in marking China as at least 2200 years old - the concept of the State of China was born win the Qin empire (from which the name China is in fact derived), and hasn,t really ever stopped existing since.

    Comparatively, the concept of the United States of America - that is, the English colonies of America becoming independent and a nation in their own right - is much more recent - 250 years is about right.

    Can't think of too many nations I would put at the 2200 marks. Civilizations, yes - Indian civilization is certainly that old - but Chinesse civilization goes back much further than 2200 year. States, however...nope. The first steps of most European states were circa the dark or middle ages, and even THAT is hard to claim for some European nations (Italy, for one, has very little relation with the medieval "kingdom of Italy"). The old states that co-existed with Qin China aren't around anymore : today's Arabic egypt cannot claim descent from the Hellenized egypt of the era ; the Roman line of history effectively died out with the Byzantine empire in 1453 ; while Greek civilization is ancient indeed, the concept of a single Greek state/nation is pretty much a byproduct of Ottoman occupation (same with the British and India - Indian civilization is incredibly old, but it remained a splintered civilization)
     
  5. aaglo

    aaglo Furioso!

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    How about the history of Japan? When was the time of the first emperor of Japan?

    Also, Sweden & Denmark are quite old monarchies too. The flag of Denmark is the oldest flag still in use. San Marino claims to be the oldest constitutional republic in the world (it was found on the 3rd of September 301).
     
  6. Yoda Power

    Yoda Power ✫✫✫✫✫✫✫

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    I think the claim can be true if you look at the history of the people. The Chinese people does have a very long history, while the history of the American people really only starts 250-300 years ago.

    Yes sure there were Indians before, but how much do they make up of the total population? Not much.
     
  7. Lord Chambers

    Lord Chambers Emperor

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    Sorry, this discussion is interesting but I wasn't clear enough. I wasn't asking which current country happened to have a long period of time when a past government ruled over a country of the same name. I was curious with regards to the age of the current political system, which current country has the longest historical legacy? In other words, which government, still in existance, is the oldest?
     
  8. BCLG100

    BCLG100 Music Master

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    England probably.
     
  9. aaglo

    aaglo Furioso!

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    San Marino then, dating from 3rd of September 301.
     
  10. Yoda Power

    Yoda Power ✫✫✫✫✫✫✫

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    But it seemed you just assumed that the Chinese were talking about the political system, not that they actually did it.
     
  11. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

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    That's how I read it too - that you were assuming (mistakenly) that China necessarily referred to political systems, when in fact that doesn't seem to be what they were referring to at all.

    Yeah, if you look at political systems, San Marino seems to have one of the better claims.

    Although I wouldn't discount China entirely - the good old Chinese continuity (ie, it doesn't matter what changes you make in China ; things will ALWAYS tend to go back to more or less the same equilibrium, with only minor changes) is very much alive and kicking, and post-Deng Xiaoping China is pretty much back to the heydays of the Imperial system in all but name...
     
  12. Princeps

    Princeps More bombs than God

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    How much history due the current living Chinese have?
     
  13. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

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    What do you mean?
     
  14. The Yankee

    The Yankee The New Yawker Retired Moderator

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Jimmu

    Even if you give or take a bunch of centuries, it should be fairly old.
     
  15. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

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    Jimmu is widely regarded as mythical, though - the first non-legendary ones came around in the 4th, 5th century AD.

    I mean, if we regard mythological emperors, then China *does* hit the 5000 years mark, as their first legendary emperor reportedly reigned from 2852 BC.
     
  16. Civfan333

    Civfan333 full metal alchemist

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    Ha, I would not call their supposed 5000 year existence continous. Their dynasties kept being overthrown and they were taken over by the mongols. Plus, they had a easy time defending their land The tallest mountain range in the world to the south, ocean to the east, so they had an easy time lasting for a long time......etc.
     
  17. cybrxkhan

    cybrxkhan Asian Xwedodah

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    culturally perhaps 5000 years is an exaggeration, but not as much as one would think. i would place China's existence as a civilization to perhaps about 4000 years, 3500 years being the most conservative. thats still a whooping lot for a culture.

    politically, the concept of a unified China has been established for 2200 years. thats a lot too.
     
  18. EnlightenmentHK

    EnlightenmentHK Emperor

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    Not sure if it qualifies, but the concept of a unified Persia has been around for about 2500 years and a distinctively Persian culture maintained for most of the entirety of that period. Its not as good of an example as China, since it spent much longer periods of its history incorporated or conquered by other empires. Its culture is distinct and has never been fully assimilated, but it is the product of ALOT more outside mingling and diffusion than Chinese culture is. But if you are looking for other notable examples, I'd put them up.

    And the Maurya's built a pretty good template for the concept of a united India, but since the vast majority of India's history is that of separate, often mutually hostile smaller kingdoms, I doubt that'd qualify.
     
  19. GenMarshall

    GenMarshall High Elven Ghost Agent

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    What if the Roman Empire never fell? :mischief:
     
  20. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

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    I disagree, CivFan. Yes, if you define continuous as absolutely unbroken line, there were interruptions during civil wars, but most of those civil wars - even the protracted ones - had to do with who should be at the top of the Imperial system (and China), not with changing the system and nation altogether.

    Even the Mongol invasion eventually wound up just being another change in who was at the top of the system - the system itself remained essentially the same.

    (And, IMO, it still exists today, just with the Communist party replacing the Imperial court. Otherwise, they're running the country in essentially the same way China has been run for most of the past 2200 years. There was an Interruption from around 1949-1980-ish, but from Deng onward, it's back to the same old again)

    CivGeneral - well, if Rome never fell it would claim 2700-odd years of continuous national existence. How old their political system would be would roughly depend on what sort of political system they were running ; assuming an Imperial system, 2000-ish years (or arguably less, since the roman imperial system had some pretty deep changes at various times after its inception).

    EnlightenmentHK - I had completely forgotten Persia/Iran; excellent point there.
     

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