The West Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC –771BC)
After defeating the Shang, King Wu founded the Zhou Dynasty, making
Haojing (near today’s Xian) as capital. Historians call this period
Western Zhou Dynasty
Like the Shang kings, the Zhou kings worshipped their ancestors,
but they also worshipped Heaven. The Zhou Kings were called "the
Son of Heaven." They alleged they were mandated by heaven to
rule the people.
In order to reassure and pacify the people of Shang and consolidate
the new regime, the Western Zhou introduced a feudal system to distribute
both land and the people on it to nobles, meritorious ministers
and generals. Thus many vassal states were found. These vassal states
had to comply with the orders issued by Zhou Kings, provide an army
for the Zhou Kings, and pay tributes to Zhou Kings.
Zhou Etiquette was formed to stipulate the norms of etiquette in
the social life. Epigraphy on bronze ware widely appeared to record
the events in social life.
The Western Zhou made a further achievement in social economy. Slaves
were popularly exploited in farming. Bronze industry was well developed
to enhance the productivity. Market became flourished where silk,
weapons, cattle as well as slaves were traded.
The Zhou kings maintained control over their vassals for more than
two centuries. With the development of vassal states, the tie between
them and Zhou Kings became loose. King You's neglect of duty finally
led to the fall of the dynasty. In 771 BC when several of the vassal
states rebelled, the army of the Quanrong ethnic group took its
chance, captured Haojing and killed King You. The Western Zhou Dynasty