The Zhou adopted a decentralized system of government, in which the feudal lords ruled over their respective territories with a high degree of autonomy, even maintaining their own armies, while at the same time paying tribute to the king and recognizing him as the symbolic ruler of China.It was also the longest ruling dynasty in Chinese history, lasting about 800 years.
The era of division culminated with the Sui which reunified China in 581.
The Sui were famous for major public works projects, such as the engineering feat of the Grand Canal, which linked Beijing in the north to Hangzhou in the south.
With coasts on the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, in total it borders 14 nations.
It borders Afghanistan, Pakistan (through the disputed territory of Kashmir), India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam to the south; Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to the west; Russia and Mongolia to the north and North Korea to the east.
Despite this longevity, during the second half of the Zhou period, China descended into centuries of political turmoil, with the feudal lords of numerous small fiefdoms vying for power during the Spring and Autumn Period, and later stabilized into seven large states in the Warring States period.
This tumultuous period gave birth to China's greatest thinkers including Confucius, Mencius and Laozi, who made substantial contributions to Chinese thought and culture.
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