Waterway Transportation and the Shang Civilization

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.6, 2013


Waterway Transportation and the Shang Civilization



Zhang Xingzhao


Waterway transportation plays a fairly important role in the earlier period of civilization. During the Shang dynasty, the Yellow River and its tributaries were navigable to water carriers that had evolved from their primitive forms. Manmade water system navigation was also initiated at that time. Waterway transportation was closely associated with the Shang civilization: waterway transportation was an important determinant in the selection and construction of the capital and strategic points; waterway transportation played a role in military campaigns; the tribute and trade (particularly the shipping of copper from the Yangtze River delta) of the Shang dynasty depended on waterway transportation; and waterway transportation also promoted the self-development and external dissemination of the Shang civilization.