The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from much of South and Central Asia.
For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies known as dynasties, beginning with the Xia dynasty (c., when the Qin dynasty conquered the other largest six states to form the first unified Chinese empire, China has then expanded, fractured and reformed numerous times in the following millennia.
In 1912, The Republic of China (ROC) replaced the last dynasty, and ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949, when it was defeated by the communist People's Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War.
Despite the Han's initial decentralization and the official abandonment of the Qin philosophy of Legalism in favor of Confucianism, Qin's legalist institutions and policies continued to be employed by the Han government and its successors.
whose central figures were later immortalized in one of the Four Classics of Chinese literature.
At its end, Wei was swiftly overthrown by the Jin dynasty.
The Jin fell to civil war upon the ascension of a developmentally-disabled emperor; the Five Barbarians then invaded and ruled northern China as the Sixteen Kingdoms.
China is a great power and a major regional power within Asia, and has been characterized as a potential superpower.
China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south.
Its King Zheng proclaimed himself the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty (Qín Shǐhuáng or Shǐ Huángdì).