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China's last dynasty was the Qing (1644–1912), which was replaced by the Republic of China in 1912, and in the mainland by the People's Republic of China in 1949.
In the 21 centuries from 206 BC until AD 1912, routine administrative tasks were handled by a special elite, the Scholar-officials ("Scholar-gentlemen").
Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian (ca.
100 BC) and the Bamboo Annals describe a Xia dynasty (c.
This is one of multiple periods of failed statehood in Chinese history, the most recent being the Chinese Civil War that started in 1927.
Between eras of multiple kingdoms and warlordism, Chinese dynasties have ruled parts or all of China; in some eras control stretched as far as Xinjiang and Tibet, as at present.
Young men were carefully selected through difficult examinations and were well-versed in calligraphy and philosophy.The conventional view of Chinese history is that of alternating periods of political unity and disunity, with China occasionally being dominated by steppe peoples, most of whom were in turn assimilated into the Han Chinese population.