Warring States period

The Warring States period (simplified Chinese: 战国时代; traditional Chinese: 戰國時代; pinyin: Zhànguó Shídài) was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded with the Qin wars of conquest that saw the annexation of all other contender states, which ultimately led to the Qin state's victory in 221 BC as the first unified Chinese empire, known as the Qin dynasty.

Warring States period
战国时代
c. 475–221 BCE
The Seven Warring States c. 260 BCE
(Yan (燕), Zhao (趙), Han (韩), Wei (魏), Qi ( 齐), Chu (楚), Qin (秦))
Warring States period
"Warring States" in seal script (top), Traditional (middle), and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese戰國時代
Simplified Chinese战国时代
Hanyu PinyinZhànguó Shídài
Literal meaning"Warring States era"
ANCIENT
Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC
Xia c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC
Shang c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC
Zhou c. 1046 – 256 BC
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn
   Warring States
IMPERIAL
Qin 221–207 BC
Han 202 BC – 220 AD
  Western Han
  Xin
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu and Wu
Jin 266–420
  Western Jin
  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms
Northern and Southern dynasties
420–589
Sui 581–618
Tang 618–907
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

907–979
Liao 916–1125
Song 960–1279
  Northern Song Western Xia
  Southern Song Jin Western Liao
Yuan 1271–1368
Ming 1368–1644
Qing 1636–1912
MODERN
Republic of China on the mainland 1912–1949
People's Republic of China 1949–present
Republic of China in Taiwan 1949–present

Although different scholars point toward different dates ranging from 481 BC to 403 BC as the true beginning of the Warring States, Sima Qian's choice of 475 BC is the most often cited. The Warring States era also overlaps with the second half of the Eastern Zhou dynasty, though the Chinese sovereign, known as the king of Zhou, ruled merely as a figurehead and served as a backdrop against the machinations of the warring states.

The "Warring States Period" derives its name from the Record of the Warring States, a work compiled early in the Han dynasty.