Chinese dynasty dating to c. 1050–256 bc
that succeeded the Shang dynasty. The Zhou established suzerainty as far south as the coastal districts on the eastern and northern edge of the Yangzi River basin and as far north as modern Beijing. The empire encompassed areas bordering on Central Asian and Mongol deserts to the west and north and the state of Chu in the south. However, for much of the period Zhou rule was not direct, but limited, devolved and often challenged. Chronologically, the Zhou is divided into the Western Zhou (c. 1050–771 bc
) and the Eastern Zhou (771–256 bc
). The Eastern Zhou period is further divided into a Spring and Autumn period (722–481 bc
), named after the chronology for the state of Lu, the Chunqiu (‘Spring and Autumn Annals’), and the Warring States period (403–221 bc
), a time of severe fragmentation. The exact dating of these periods is a matter of debate, however: many scholars date the Spring and Autumn period to ...