The collapse of the Tang Dynasty then saw China divided once again, until it was reunified by the Song Dynasty, this collapse was preceded by the secession and independence of Vietnam in 938 CE.

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The collapse of the Han Dynasty in 220 CE led to a period of political turmoil and war known as the Three Kingdoms Period, which saw China split into the three separate states of Wei, Shu and Wu.

Despite lasting for only about 60 years, it is a highly romanticised period of Chinese history.

The Xia Dynasty was the first dynasty to be described in ancient historical chronicles, though to date, no concrete proof of its existence has been found.

Nevertheless, archaeological evidence has shown that at the very least, an early bronze age Chinese civilization had developed by the period described.

With the invention of paper and extensive trade with the West along the Silk Road, along with relatively benevolent imperial rule, the Han was the first golden age of Chinese civilization.

Ethnic Chinese consider themselves to be part of the 'Han' race till this day.

This tumultuous period gave birth to China's greatest thinkers including Confucius, Mencius and Laozi, who made substantial contributions to Chinese thought and culture.

China was eventually unified in 221 BC by Qin Shi Huang, the 'First Emperor', and the Qin Dynasty instituted a centralized system of government for all of China, and standardized weights and measures, Chinese characters and currency in order to create unity.

The roughly 5000-year old Chinese civilization has endured through millennia of tumultuous upheaval and revolutions, periods of golden ages and anarchy alike.