10 Inventions of Ancient Chinese Civilization That Shaped Human History

10 Inventions of Ancient Chinese Civilization That Shaped Human History

World history is full of countless inventions. Some of these inventions made life easier, albeit for a short time. Others were important enough to profoundly affect human history. Undoubtedly, every civilization has succeeded in leaving a trace of themselves on the world. However, there was such a country that it made inventions that reshaped civilization. Discovered in China thousands of years ago, these innovations have had a significant impact on today’s world. Here are 10 important innovations discovered in Chinese civilization from compass to paper…

1. Compass

B.C. During the Han Dynasty, between 202 and 220 AD, the Chinese frequently used magnetized iron. Over time, these products were used for individual purposes. Ancient compasses evolved as part of the practice of Feng Shui. Finally, in 1000 AD, it was used for navigation on Chinese ships. It was transported to Europe thanks to Arab traders who visited China and learned about the compass.

2. Paper

chinese invention

One of the most important Chinese inventions affecting human history is paper. Paper originated in China in 105 AD. According to archaeological research, the paper was discovered thanks to a Chinese official named Cai Lun. Cai Lun had managed to create the paper by combining the tips of bark and hemp. Afterwards, this invention was put into large-scale production in a short time and had a widespread use. Thanks to the invention of paper, the course of history changed completely. Especially the beginning of historiography and the storage of information offered serious benefits to humanity. The cumulative storage of information through papers has strengthened science. Paper managed to spread all over the world via the Silk Road.

3. Gunpowder

Another invention that comes to mind when talking about genie inventions is gunpowder. Black powder, BC. It was discovered in China by Taoist alchemists around 1000 BC. Wei Boyang, considered the “father of alchemy”, discovered gunpowder in 142 AD. Boyang named gunpowder a “flying and dancing” substance. In the 10th century, gunpowder was used in fireworks and signs. Thus, gunpowder began to be used in a similar way as it is today. This innovation spread to Europe in the 10th century. The invention of gunpowder undoubtedly transformed world history in terms of wars and struggles. So much so that the battlefields were now much bloodier. This has had many political, military and even global consequences.

4. Printing and motion printing

chinese invention

The earliest example of woodblock printing was excavated in 1974 from a Tang tomb near Xi’an. This relic was an example printed on hemp paper dating to AD 650 and 670. The text in the relic was a Buddhist hymn written in Sanskrit. Woodblock printing was widely used during the ancient Tang Dynasty. This type of printing had a very expensive and time-consuming method.

The movable type printing press was invented during the Song Dynasty. A person named Bi Sheng invented the movable printing. Bi Sheng carved the character into pieces of clay, which he hardened with the help of fire. He placed the hard clay pieces on the iron plate for later printing on the page. Thus, he developed a much faster and more practical method than woodcut printing. This technique spread to Europe in a very short time. He initiated a series of very important events that ultimately led to the Renaissance.

5. Tea

According to Chinese legends, tea originated in BC. It was discovered around 2737 by the “father of agriculture” Shennong. It was a plant variety native to western Yunnan at that time. During the Tang dynasty, it became a beverage frequently consumed by different social classes. Also during this period, there was a lot of information about tea in the book named “Cha Jing” by Lu Yu. This information included information such as the methods by which tea was grown. As a result, this book is described as the world’s first monograph on tea. The oldest tea tree still in existence in the world is in the Lin Cang region. This tree, which still exists today, is 3200 years old.

6. Paper money

chinese invention

The first example of paper money, which can also be expressed as banknotes, was in China. When it came out in China, it was called “flying money”. It got this name because it is incredibly light against a coin. The earliest examples of paper money appeared during the Tang Dynasty in the form of merchants’ deposit slips. In addition, it was later adopted by the government as a medium of exchange. By the 10th century, paper money was being used in exchange for coins. Thus, the first paper money in history entered the world stage. The first country to use paper money in Europe was Sweden (1661).

7. Alcohol

Until very recently, it was thought that the first beer production was made in the Arabian Peninsula. Some relics have been found that dispel this idea. Remains found in Henan in 2013 have changed what we know about alcohol. Some pottery used by a tribe in Central Asia was found. Traces of wine were found in these pottery. Thus, it was accepted that alcohol was used for the first time in history in China.

8. Mechanical watch

chinese invention

The world’s first mechanical clock was made in 725 by a Buddhist monk, Yi Xing. This mechanical clock worked by dripping water onto the wheel, which would complete its revolution every 24 hours. In addition, it was ringing automatically once every hour. This technology was widely used, especially in military clock towers.

9. Cast iron

Archaeological studies in China trace the history of cast iron to the BC. It goes back to the 5th century. This example from the Zhou Dynasty was used both functionally and decoratively.

10. Crossbow

chinese invention

Although it is seen as a medieval war tool, the history of the crossbow goes back to BC. It dates back to the 2000s. Discovered at the Chu Province burial site in Hubei, this specimen consists of bronze and bolts. In addition, when the other examples found in the famous Terra Cotta are compared, one fact comes to mind: The crossbow was invented by the Chinese, like many other inventions.

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