History of China
China was one of the earliest centers of human civilization, and became a large united country with an advanced culture at a very early stage, outpacing most of the world in areas such as art and science.
Since around 1000 BC China consisted of many small kingdoms. All of these were unified under one emperor in 221 BC by the Qin state, ushering in the Qin Dynasty. Over the course of centuries, China underwent periods of unity and disunity, order and disorder.
In the 18th century, China achieved a decisive technological advantage over the peoples of Central Asia, while simultaneously falling behind Europe technologically. This set the stage for the 19th century, in which China adopted a defensive posture against European imperialism while simultaneously extending control into Central Asia.
In the early 20th century, the institution of the Emperor of China disappeared, and China entered a period of disunion started by the Chinese Civil War. There are now two nations which lay formal claim to the title of "China": the People's Republic of China (also called "Mainland China") and the pre-revolution government of the Republic of China which administers Taiwan and several small islands of Fujian.