Dynasties in Chinese history
Prior to the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor on 12 February 1912 in the wake of the Xinhai Revolution, China was ruled by a series of successive dynasties.[a] Dividing the history of China into periods ruled by dynasties is a common method of periodization utilized by scholars.
The following is a non-comprehensive list of the dynasties in Chinese history.
- 1 Background
- 2 List of Chinese dynasties
- 3 Timelines
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Transition between dynastiesEdit
One might incorrectly infer from viewing historical timelines that transitions between dynasties occurred abruptly and roughly. Rather, new dynasties were often established before the complete overthrow of an existing regime. For example, 1644 CE is frequently cited as the year in which the Qing dynasty succeeded the preceding Ming dynasty in possessing the Mandate of Heaven. However, the Qing dynasty was officially proclaimed in 1636 CE by the Emperor Taizong of Qing through renaming the Later Jin established by his father the Emperor Taizu of Qing in 1616 CE, while the Ming imperial family would rule the Southern Ming until 1662 CE. The Ming loyalist Kingdom of Tungning based in Taiwan continued to oppose the Qing until 1683 CE. Meanwhile, other factions also fought for control over China during the Ming–Qing transition, most notably the Shun and Xi dynasties proclaimed by Li Zicheng and Zhang Xianzhong respectively. This change of ruling houses was a convoluted and prolonged affair, and the Qing took almost two decades to extend their rule over the entirety of China proper.
According to Chinese historiographical tradition, each new dynasty would compose the history of the preceding dynasty, culminating in the Twenty-Four Histories. This cycle was disrupted, however, when the Xinhai Revolution overthrew the Qing dynasty in favor of a republic. Later on, an attempt by the Republicans to draft the history of the Qing was disrupted by the Chinese Civil War, which resulted in the political division of China into the People's Republic of China on mainland China and the Republic of China on Taiwan.
China was divided during multiple periods in its history, with different regions ruled by different dynasties. Examples of such division include the Three Kingdoms, Sixteen Kingdoms, Northern and Southern dynasties, and Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms periods, among others.
Relations between Chinese dynasties during periods of division often revolved around political legitimacy, which was derived from the doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven. Dynasties ruled by ethnic Han Chinese would proclaim rival dynasties founded by other ethnicities as illegitimate, usually justified based on the concept of Hua–Yi distinction. On the other hand, many dynasties of non-Han Chinese origin regarded themselves as the legitimate dynasty of China and saw themselves as the true inheritor of Chinese culture and history. Traditionally, only regimes deemed as "legitimate" or "orthodox" (正統; zhèngtǒng) are termed cháo (朝; lit. "dynasty"); "illegitimate" regimes are referred to as guó (國; usually translated as either "state" or "kingdom"[b]), even if these regimes were dynastic in nature. The political legitimacy status of some of these dynasties remain contentious among modern scholars.
Such legitimacy dispute existed during the following periods:
- Three Kingdoms
- Cao Wei, Shu Han, and Eastern Wu considered themselves as legitimate while simultaneously denouncing the rivaling claims of others
- The Emperor Xian of Han abdicated in favor of the Emperor Wen of Cao Wei, hence Cao Wei directly succeeded the Eastern Han in the timeline of Chinese history
- The Western Jin accepted Cao Wei as the legitimate dynasty of the Three Kingdoms period and claimed succession from it
- Eastern Jin and Sixteen Kingdoms
- Northern and Southern dynasties
- All dynasties during this period saw themselves as the legitimate representative of China
- Liao, Song, and Jin dynasties
- Following the conquest of the Later Jin, the Liao dynasty claimed legitimacy and succession from it
- Both the Northern Song and Southern Song considered themselves as the legitimate Chinese dynasty
- The Jin dynasty challenged the Song's claim of legitimacy
- The succeeding Yuan dynasty recognized all three in addition to the Western Liao as legitimate Chinese dynasties, culminating in the composition of the History of Liao, the History of Song, and the History of Jin
- Ming and Northern Yuan dynasties
- The Ming dynasty recognized the preceding Yuan dynasty as a legitimate Chinese dynasty, but asserted that it had succeeded the Mandate of Heaven from the Yuan, thus considering the Northern Yuan as illegitimate
- Northern Yuan rulers continued to claim the "Great Yuan" dynastic title and used Chinese imperial titles until 1388 CE; Chinese titles were subsequently restored during several occasions for brief periods
- Qing and Southern Ming dynasties
- The Qing dynasty recognized the preceding Ming dynasty as legitimate, but asserted that it had succeeded the Mandate of Heaven from the Ming, thus refuting the claimed legitimacy of the Southern Ming
- The Southern Ming continued to claim legitimacy until its eventual defeat by the Qing
- The Ming loyalist Kingdom of Tungning in Taiwan denounced the Qing dynasty as illegitimate
- The Joseon dynasty of Korea and the Later Lê dynasty of Vietnam had at various times considered the Southern Ming, instead of the Qing, as legitimate
These historical legitimacy disputes are similar to the modern competing claims of legitimacy by the People's Republic of China based in Beijing and the Republic of China based in Taipei. Both regimes formally adhere to the One-China policy and claim to be the sole legitimate representative of the whole of China.
Types of dynastiesEdit
Central Plain dynastiesEdit
The Central Plain is a vast area on the lower reaches of the Yellow River which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization. "Central Plain dynasties" (中原王朝; zhōngyuán wángcháo) refer to dynasties of China that had their capital cities situated within the Central Plain. It could either include dynasties of both Han Chinese and non-Han Chinese origins (e.g., Jin dynasty, Yuan dynasty), or limited to only dynasties established by the Han Chinese with Zhongyuan culture as its core element (e.g., Qin dynasty, Tang dynasty).
"Unified dynasties" (大一統王朝; dàyītǒng wángcháo) refer to dynasties of China, regardless of its ethnic origin, that achieved unification of China proper. "China proper" is a region generally regarded as the traditional heartland of the Han Chinese, and is not equivalent to the term "China".
Dynasties usually considered to have unified this region include the Qin dynasty, the Western Han, the Eastern Han, the Western Jin, the Sui dynasty, the Tang dynasty, the Northern Song, the Yuan dynasty, the Ming dynasty, and the Qing dynasty. The status of the Northern Song is disputed among historians, as the contemporaneous Liao dynasty occupied the Sixteen Prefectures of Yan and Yun while the Western Xia exercised control over Hetao; the Northern Song, in this sense, did not truly achieve unification of China proper.
"Conquest dynasties" (征服王朝; zhēngfú wángcháo), first coined by historian and sinologist Karl August Wittfogel, refer to dynasties of China founded by non-Han Chinese peoples that ruled parts or all of China proper (e.g., Northern Wei, Qing dynasty). In this regard, dynasties of China established by non-Han Chinese that ruled over areas of "China" outside of "China proper" are not considered to be conquest dynasties (e.g. Western Liao).
Official dynastic nameEdit
It was customary for Chinese monarchs to adopt an official name for the realm, known as the guóhào (國號; lit. "name of the state"), upon the establishment of a dynasty. During the rule of a dynasty, its guóhào functioned as the formal name of the state, both internally and for diplomatic purposes.
There were instances whereby the official name was changed during the reign of a dynasty. For example, the dynasty known retroactively as Southern Han (南漢) initially used the name "Great Yue" (大越), only to be renamed to "Han" (漢) subsequently.
The formal names of Chinese dynasties were usually derived from the following sources:
- the name of the ruling tribe or tribal confederation
- the noble title held by the dynastic founder prior to the founding of the dynasty
- the name of a historical state that occupied the same geographical location as the new dynasty
- the name of a previous dynasty from which the new dynasty claimed descent or succession from, even if such familial links were questionable
- a term with auspicious or other significant meanings
Retroactive dynastic nameEdit
In Chinese historiography, historians generally do not refer to dynasties by their official name. Instead, historiographical names, which were most commonly derived from their guóhào, are used. For instance, the Sui dynasty (隋朝) is known as such because its formal name was "Sui" (隋). Likewise, the Jin dynasty (金朝) was officially the "Great Jin" (大金).
When more than one dynasty shared the same Chinese character(s) as their formal name, as was common in Chinese history, prefixes are retroactively applied to dynastic names by historians in order to distinguish between these similarly-named regimes. Frequently used prefixes include:
- cardinal direction
- surname of the ruling family
- other types of prefixes
A dynasty could be referred to by more than one retroactive name in Chinese historiography, albeit some are more widely used than others. For instance, the Liu Song (劉宋) is also known as the "Former Song" (前宋), and the Yang Wu (楊吳) is also called the "Southern Wu" (南吳).
Scholars usually make a historiographical distinction for dynasties whose rule were interrupted. For example, the Song dynasty is divided into the Northern Song and the Southern Song, with the Jingkang Incident as the dividing line; the original "Song" founded by the Emperor Taizu of Song was therefore differentiated from the "Song" restored under the Emperor Gaozong of Song. In such cases, the regime had collapsed, only to be re-established; a distinction between the original regime and the new regime is thus necessary for historiographical purpose. Major exceptions to this historiographical practice include the Western Qin and the Tang dynasty, which were interrupted by the Later Qin and the Wu Zhou respectively.
In Chinese sources, the term "dynasty" (朝; cháo) is usually omitted when referencing dynasties that have prefixes in their historiographical names. Such a practice is sometimes adopted in English usage, even though the inclusion of the word "dynasty" is also widely seen in English scholarly writings. For example, the Northern Zhou is also sometimes referred to as the "Northern Zhou dynasty".
List of Chinese dynastiesEdit
This list includes only major dynasties of China. Due to the large number of dynastic polities in Chinese history, minor and short-lived realms (e.g., Nanyue, Zhai Wei, Shun dynasty) will not be listed.
|Dynasty||Ruling house||Period of rule||Rulers|
(English / Chinese[d] / Pinyin[e] / Bopomofo)
|Origin of name||Surname
(English / Chinese[d])
|Huaxia||2070 BCE[g]||1600 BCE[g]||470 years||Yu of Xia||Jie of Xia||(list)|
|Huaxia||1600 BCE[g]||1046 BCE[g]||554 years||Tang of Shang||Zhou of Shang||(list)|
|Huaxia||1046 BCE[g]||771 BCE||275 years||Wu of Zhou||You of Zhou||(list)|
|From Zhou dynasty||Ji
|Huaxia||770 BCE||256 BCE||514 years||Ping of Zhou||Nan of Zhou||(list)|
|Early Imperial China|
|Huaxia||221 BCE||207 BCE||14 years||Qin Shi Huang||Qin San Shi||(list)|
|Toponym & Noble title||Liu
|Han||202 BCE||9 CE||210 years||Gao of Han||Liu Ying||(list)|
|Han||9 CE||23 CE||14 years||Wang Mang||Wang Mang||(list)|
|From Han dynasty||Liu
|Han||25 CE||220 CE||195 years||Guangwu of Han||Xian of Han||(list)|
|220 CE||280 CE||60 years||(list)|
|Han||220 CE||266 CE||46 years||Wen of Cao Wei||Yuan of Cao Wei||(list)|
|From Han dynasty||Liu
|Han||221 CE||263 CE||42 years||Zhaolie of Shu Han||Liu Shan||(list)|
|Han||222 CE||280 CE||58 years||Da of Eastern Wu||Sun Hao||(list)|
|Han||266 CE||316 CE||50 years||Wu of Jin||Min of Jin||(list)|
|From Jin dynasty (266–420 CE)||Sima
|Han||317 CE||420 CE||103 years||Yuan of Jin||Gong of Jin||(list)|
ㄕˊ ㄌㄧㄡˋ ㄍㄨㄛˊ
|304 CE||439 CE||135 years||(list)|
|Toponym & From Han dynasty||Liu
|Xiongnu||304 CE||329 CE||25 years||Guangwen of Han Zhao||Liu Yao||(list)|
|Toponym & From Han dynasty||Li
|Di||304 CE||347 CE||43 years||Wu of Cheng Han||Li Shi||(list)|
|Jie||319 CE||351 CE||32 years||Ming of Later Zhao||Shi Zhi||(list)|
|Han||320 CE||376 CE||56 years||Cheng of Former Liang||Zhang Tianxi||(list)|
|Xianbei||337 CE||370 CE||33 years||Wenming of Former Yan||You of Former Yan||(list)|
|Di||351 CE||394 CE||43 years||Jingming of Former Qin||Fu Chong||(list)|
|From Former Yan||Murong[l]
|Xianbei[l]||384 CE||409 CE||25 years||Chengwu of Later Yan||Zhaowen of Later Yan
Huiyi of Yan[m]
|Qiang||384 CE||417 CE||33 years||Wuzhao of Later Qin||Yao Hong||(list)|
|Xianbei||385 CE||431 CE||37 years[n]||Xuanlie of Western Qin||Qifu Mumo||(list)|
|Di||386 CE||403 CE||17 years||Yiwu of Later Liang||Lü Long||(list)|
|Xianbei||397 CE||414 CE||17 years||Wu of Southern Liang||Jing of Southern Liang||(list)|
|Xiongnu[p]||397 CE||439 CE||42 years||Duan Ye||Ai of Northern Liang||(list)|
|From Former Yan||Murong
|Xianbei||398 CE||410 CE||12 years||Xianwu of Southern Yan||Murong Chao||(list)|
|Han||400 CE||421 CE||21 years||Wuzhao of Western Liang||Li Xun||(list)|
|From Xia dynasty||Helian[q]
|Xiongnu||407 CE||431 CE||24 years||Wulie of Hu Xia||Helian Ding||(list)|
|From Former Yan||Feng[r]
|Han[r]||407 CE||436 CE||29 years||Huiyi of Yan[m]
Wencheng of Northern Yan
|Zhaocheng of Northern Yan||(list)|
|386 CE||581 CE||195 years||(list)|
|Xianbei||386 CE||534 CE||148 years||Daowu of Northern Wei||Xiaowu of Northern Wei||(list)|
|From Northern Wei||Yuan
|Xianbei||534 CE||550 CE||16 years||Xiaojing of Eastern Wei||Xiaojing of Eastern Wei||(list)|
|From Northern Wei||Yuan[t]
|Xianbei||535 CE||557 CE||22 years||Wen of Western Wei||Gong of Western Wei||(list)|
|Han||550 CE||577 CE||27 years||Wenxuan of Northern Qi||Gao Heng||(list)|
|Xianbei||557 CE||581 CE||24 years||Xiaomin of Northern Zhou||Jing of Northern Zhou||(list)|
|420 CE||589 CE||169 years||(list)|
|Han||420 CE||479 CE||59 years||Wu of Liu Song||Shun of Liu Song||(list)|
|A prophecy on defeating the Liu clan||Xiao
|Han||479 CE||502 CE||23 years||Gao of Southern Qi||He of Southern Qi||(list)|
|Han||502 CE||557 CE||55 years||Wu of Liang||Jing of Liang||(list)|
|Han||557 CE||589 CE||32 years||Wu of Chen||Chen Shubao||(list)|
|Middle Imperial China|
|Noble title ("随" homophone)||Yang[u]
|Han||581 CE||618 CE||37 years||Wen of Sui||Gong of Sui||(list)|
|Han||618 CE||907 CE||274 years[v]||Gaozu of Tang||Ai of Tang||(list)|
|From Zhou dynasty||Wu
|Han||690 CE||705 CE||15 years||Wu Zhao||Wu Zhao||(list)|
|907 CE||960 CE||53 years||(list)|
|Han||907 CE||923 CE||16 years||Taizu of Later Liang||Zhu Youzhen||(list)|
|From Tang dynasty||Li[w]
|Shatuo||923 CE||937 CE||14 years||Zhuangzong of Later Tang||Li Congke||(list)|
|Shatuo||936 CE||947 CE||11 years||Gaozu of Later Jin||Chu of Later Jin||(list)|
|From Han dynasty||Liu
|Shatuo||947 CE||951 CE||4 years||Gaozu of Later Han||Yin of Later Han||(list)|
|From Zhou dynasty||Guo[y]
|Han||951 CE||960 CE||9 years||Taizu of Later Zhou||Gong of Later Zhou||(list)|
|907 CE||979 CE||62 years||(list)|
|Toponym / Noble title||Wang
|Han||907 CE||925 CE||18 years||Gaozu of Former Shu||Wang Yan||(list)|
|Han||907 CE||937 CE||30 years||Liezu of Yang Wu||Rui of Yang Wu||(list)|
|Han||907 CE||951 CE||44 years||Wumu of Ma Chu||Ma Xichong||(list)|
|Han||907 CE||978 CE||71 years||Taizu of Wuyue||Zhongyi of Qin||(list)|
|Han||909 CE||945 CE||36 years||Taizu of Min||Tiande of Min||(list)|
|From Han dynasty||Liu
|Han||917 CE||971 CE||54 years||Gaozu of Southern Han||Liu Chang||(list)|
|Han||924 CE||963 CE||39 years||Wuxin of Chu||Gao Jichong||(list)|
|Han||934 CE||965 CE||31 years||Gaozu of Later Shu||Gongxiao of Chu||(list)|
|From Tang dynasty||Li[z]
|Han||937 CE||976 CE||37 years||Liezu of Southern Tang||Li Yu||(list)|
|From Later Han||Liu
|Shatuo||951 CE||979 CE||28 years||Shizu of Northern Han||Yingwu of Northern Han||(list)|
|Han||960 CE||1127 CE||167 years||Taizu of Song||Qinzong of Song||(list)|
|From Song dynasty||Zhao
|Han||1127 CE||1279 CE||152 years||Gaozong of Song||Zhao Bing||(list)|
|"Iron" (Khitan homophone) / Toponym||Yelü
|Khitan||916 CE||1125 CE||209 years||Taizu of Liao||Tianzuo of Liao||(list)|
|From Liao dynasty||Yelü[ab]
|Khitan[ab]||1124 CE||1218 CE||94 years||Dezong of Western Liao||Kuchlug||(list)|
|Tangut||1038 CE||1227 CE||189 years||Jingzong of Western Xia||Li Xian||(list)|
|Jurchen||1115 CE||1234 CE||119 years||Taizu of Jin||Wanyan Chenglin||(list)|
|Late Imperial China|
|"Great" / "Primacy"||Borjigin
|Mongol||1271 CE||1368 CE||97 years||Shizu of Yuan||Huizong of Yuan||(list)|
|From Yuan dynasty||Borjigin
|Mongol||1368 CE||1635 CE[ad]||267 years||Huizong of Yuan||Tianyuan of Northern Yuan
|Han||1368 CE||1644 CE||276 years||Hongwu||Chongzhen||(list)|
|From Ming dynasty||Zhu
|Han||1644 CE||1662 CE||18 years||Hongguang||Yongli
|From Jin dynasty (1115–1234 CE)||Aisin Gioro
|Jurchen[af]||1616 CE||1636 CE||20 years||Tianming||Taizong of Qing||(list)|
|Manchu||1636 CE||1912 CE[ag]||276 years||Taizong of Qing||Xuantong||(list)|
Timeline of major historical periodsEdit
Timeline of major dynasties and regimesEdit
- Ancient Chinese states
- China proper
- Chinese emperors family tree (early)
- Chinese emperors family tree (late)
- Chinese emperors family tree (middle)
- Chinese historiography
- Chinese imperialism
- Chinese sovereign
- Conquest dynasty
- Dynastic cycle
- East Asian cultural sphere
- Emperor at home, king abroad
- Emperor of China
- Family tree of ancient Chinese emperors
- Head of the former Chinese imperial clan
- Head of the House of Aisin Gioro
- Historical capitals of China
- History of China
- Hua–Yi distinction
- List of Chinese leaders
- List of Chinese monarchs
- List of recipients of tribute from China
- List of tributary states of China
- Mandate of Heaven
- Names of China
- Pax Sinica
- Six Dynasties
- Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors
- Timeline of Chinese history
- Tributary system of China
- Twenty-Four Histories
- Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project
- Xinhai Revolution
- Zhonghua minzu
- While there were attempts after the success of the Xinhai Revolution to reinstate monarchical and dynastic rule in China, such as the Empire of China and Manchu Restoration, they failed to consolidate their rule and gain political legitimacy. Similarly, the Manchukuo, a puppet state of the Empire of Japan during World War II with limited diplomatic recognition, is not regarded as a legitimate regime. Ergo, historians usually consider the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor on 12 February 1912 as the end of the Chinese monarchy.
- The term "kingdom" is potentially misleading as not all rulers held the title of king. For example, sovereigns of the Eastern Wu used the title huángdì (皇帝; lit. "emperor") despite the realm being considered as one of the "Three Kingdoms". Similarly, monarchs of the Western Qin, one of the "Sixteen Kingdoms", bore the title wáng (王; usually translated as "prince").
- The English and Chinese names stated are historiographical nomenclature. These should not be confused with the guóhào officially proclaimed by each dynasty.
- The Chinese characters shown are in Traditional Chinese. Some characters may have simplified versions that are currently used in Mainland China. For instance, the characters for the Eastern Han are written as "東漢" in Traditional Chinese and "东汉" in Simplified Chinese.
- While Hanyu Pinyin is the most common form of romanization currently in adoption, some scholarly works utilize the Wade–Giles system, which may differ drastically in the spelling of certain words. For instance, the Qing dynasty is rendered as "Ch'ing dynasty" in Wade–Giles.
- The monarchs listed were the de facto founders of dynasties. However, it was common for Chinese monarchs to posthumously honor earlier members of the family as monarchs. For instance, while the Later Jin was officially established by the Emperor Gaozu of Later Jin, four earlier members of the ruling house were posthumously accorded imperial titles, the most senior of which was Shi Jing who was conferred the temple name Jingzu (靖祖) and the posthumous name Emperor Xiao'an (孝安皇帝).
- The dates given for the Xia dynasty, the Shang dynasty, and the Western Zhou prior to 841 BCE are derived from the Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project.
- The Western Zhou (西周) and the Eastern Zhou (東周) are collectively known as the Zhou dynasty (周朝).
- The Western Han (西漢) and the Eastern Han (東漢) are collectively known as the Han dynasty (漢朝).
- The Western Jin (西晉) and the Eastern Jin (東晉) are collectively known as the Jin dynasty (晉朝).
- The names of the Jin dynasty (晉朝) of the Sima clan and the Jin dynasty (金朝) of the Wanyan clan are rendered similarly using the Hanyu Pinyin system, even though they do not share the same Chinese character for "Jin".
- The Emperor Huiyi of Yan was of Goguryeo descent. Originally surnamed Gao (高), he was an adopted member of the Murong (慕容) clan. His enthronement was therefore not a typical dynastic succession.
- The Emperor Huiyi of Yan could either be the last Later Yan monarch or the founder of the Northern Yan depending on the historian's characterization.
- The Western Qin was interrupted by the Later Qin between 400 CE and 409 CE. Chinese historiography does not make a distinction between the realm that existed before 400 CE and the restored realm. The Prince Wuyuan of Western Qin was both the last ruler before the interregnum and the first ruler after the interregnum.
- The names of the Later Liang (後涼) of the Lü clan and the Later Liang (後梁) of the Zhu clan are rendered similarly using the Hanyu Pinyin system, even though they do not share the same Chinese character for "Liang".
- Duan Ye was of Han Chinese descent. The enthronement of the Prince Wuxuan of Northern Liang was therefore not a typical dynastic succession.
- The ruling house of the Hu Xia initially bore the surname Liu (劉). The Emperor Wulie of Hu Xia subsequently adopted Helian (赫連) as the surname.
- The Emperor Huiyi of Yan was of Goguryeo descent. Originally surnamed Gao (高), he was an adopted member of the Murong (慕容) clan. The enthronement of the Emperor Wencheng of Northern Yan was therefore not a typical dynastic succession.
- The ruling house of the Northern Wei initially bore the surname Tuoba (拓跋). The Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei subsequently adopted Yuan (元) as the surname.
- The ruling house of the Western Wei initially bore the surname Yuan (元). The Emperor Gong of Western Wei subsequently adopted Tuoba (拓跋) as the surname.
- The ruling house of the Sui dynasty initially bore the surname Puliuru (普六茹). The Emperor Wen of Sui subsequently adopted Yang (楊) as the surname.
- The Tang dynasty was interrupted by the Wu Zhou between 690 CE and 705 CE. Chinese historiography does not make a distinction between the realm that existed before 690 CE and the restored realm. The Emperor Ruizong of Tang was the last ruler before the interregnum. The Emperor Zhongzong of Tang was the first ruler after the interregnum.
- The ruling house of the Later Tang initially bore the surname Zhuye (朱邪). The Emperor Xianzu of Later Tang subsequently adopted Li (李) as the surname.
- The names of the Later Jin (後晉) of the Shi clan and the Later Jin (後金) of the Aisin Gioro clan are rendered similarly using the Hanyu Pinyin system, even though they do not share the same Chinese character for "Jin".
- The Emperor Shizong of Later Zhou, originally surnamed Chai (柴), was an adopted member of the Guo (郭) clan. His enthronement was therefore not a typical dynastic succession.
- The ruling house of the Southern Tang initially bore the surname Xu (徐). The Emperor Liezu of Southern Tang subsequently adopted Li (李) as the surname.
- The Northern Song (北宋) and the Southern Song (南宋) are collectively known as the Song dynasty (宋朝).
- Kuchlug was of Naiman descent. As he was not a member of the Yelü (耶律) clan by birth, his enthronement was not a typical dynastic succession.
- The ruling house of the Western Xia initially bore the surname Tuoba (拓跋). The Tang dynasty and Song dynasty later bestowed the family the surname Li (李) and Zhao (趙) respectively. The Emperor Jingzong of Western Xia subsequently adopted Weiming (嵬名) as the surname.
- The Northern Yuan is considered to have ended in either 1388 CE or 1402 CE by traditional Chinese historiography. However, some historians regard the Mongol regime that existed from 1388 CE or 1402 CE up to 1635 CE—referred to in the History of Ming as "Dada" (韃靼)—as a continuation of the Northern Yuan.
- The existence and identity of the Dingwu Emperor, supposedly reigned from 1646 CE to 1664 CE, are disputed. Hence, most historians regard the Yongli Emperor as the final monarch of the Southern Ming.
- The name of the Jurchen ethnic group was changed to "Manchu" in 1635 CE by the Emperor Taizong of Qing.
- The Qing dynasty was briefly restored between 1 July 1917 and 12 July 1917. The movement was led by Zhang Xun who reinstalled the Xuantong Emperor to the Chinese throne. Due to the abortive nature of the event, it is usually excluded from the Qing history.
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