One of the oldest countries in the world, it has a rich cultural history extending back roughly 5 or 6 millenia. The Xia dynasty were the first real royal line, overthrown by the Shang dynasty, who were, in turn, ousted in a revolution by the Zhou (pronounced 'show'). Gradually, China expanded, and with the discovery of tea, a rich cultre developed. It fostered the development of the Daoist religion as well as Confucianism, named after its founder. Once invaded by Mongolia, China found true prosperity under the wise rule of Kublai Khan. By the 1800s, China was probably the most advanced nation on the planet, with public libraries, schools and plentiful resources. However, after the population boom and following colonial conquests, China lost its Emperor in 1919. A nationalist leadership was set up, lasting through WW2 until, in 1949, Mao Tse-Tung overthrew it, creating the communist dictatorship we all know today.
China is responsible for such wonders as the Terracotta Army and the birth of Confucianism.