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c. AD 1210 The first ancestor of the Huang Cun Huang family lineage arrives in Huang Cun.
1368-1644Ming dynasty rules China.  
1400 Huang Yueqi, 7th generation, writes the first genealogy of the Huang family lineage.
1531 An ancestral shrine, named Jin Shi Di, is built in Huang Cun in honor of a resident, Huang Fu, who passed the highest level of civil exams.
1644Manchus overthrow the Ming emperor in Peking (Beijing) and establish the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Ming emperor commits suicide. 
c.1650The Xin’an School of Painting (also known as the Anhui School) flourishes. Simplicity and clarity of design, dry brushstrokes and the depiction of landscapes characterize the work.  
1721The use of opium begins to spread in China. 
1736Under the Qianlong Emperor, imports of luxury goods from Europe to China increase. 
1760-1842Guangzhou (Canton) is the sole port opened to trade with Europe. Merchant families form guilds to oversee trade with visitors from abroad under the jurisdiction of the emperor. 
1773The British East India Company obtains a monopoly on the opium trade. 
1785The Grand Turk, the first trade ship to sail from New England to China, leaves Salem Harbor in Massachusetts for Guangzhou (Canton). It later returns with a cargo of silks, tea, and porcelain, beginning the trade that would make Salem one of the most important New England ports in the early 19th century.  
1786The first Boston mercantile agency is established at Guangzhou (Canton). 
 Chinese merchants pool funds to finance a defense of the port city Hankou against a Buddhist group fighting to improve conditions for peasants in the White Lotus Rebellion.  
1799The Jiaqing Emperor inherits the throne from the Qianlong Emperor and outlaws opium. 
 Peabody Essex Museum, the oldest museum in the United States, is founded by sea captains in Salem, Massachusetts. 
1800-1830sUnited States and British importation of opium to China leads to increased opium use. 
c. 1800 Yin Yu Tang is constructed by the 28th or 29th generation of the Huang family lineage.
1805Charles Cabot of Boston, Massachusetts, tries to buy opium from the British; he ends up smuggling it into China under the protection of British smugglers. 
1827 Huang Kentang, Yin Yu Tang patriarch of the 31st generation, is born.
1839-1842China orders foreign surrender of all opium, provoking piracy by British. The First Opium War begins. 
c. 1840 Huang Kentang marries Madame Cheng (b. 1825).
1842The Treaty of Nanjing is signed at the end of the Anglo-Chinese Opium War. As a part of the treaty, China cedes Hong Kong to the British. 
1850The Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) begins in response to growing drought, flood, famine, disease and economic hardship. The movement aims to redistribute land and create egalitarian social relations. Before an eventual defeat by the imperial army, the Taipings managed to occupy one third of China. Over 20 million people are reported to have died.  
1851The 32nd generation of the Huang family begins. Huang Huanwen, a son, is born to Huang Kentang and Madame Cheng. 
 Tea from Xiuning County in Huizhou is exported to U.S. and Europe. 
1852 Taipings invade Huang Cun and the surrounding region, destroying ancestral shrines, homes, and genealogies.
1856The British and French fight China in the Second Opium War. As a result, imports of opium are legalized.  
1857 Huang Yangxian (also known as “Ba Jin”), the second son of Huang Kentang and Madame Cheng, is born.
1859Fredrick Townsend Ward, a native of Salem, Massachusetts, goes to China and becomes a Chinese citizen. After forming and training a small Chinese army to assist the Chinese in defeating the Taiping rebels, he is honored as a mandarin, a Chinese official.  
1860In Beijing, British and French forces burn the Summer Palace, a vast, elaborate royal garden created in the 12th century AD, as part of reprisals for alleged Chinese treaty violations. 
1867-1908Dowager Empress Cixi becomes the de facto ruler of the Qing dynasty.  
c. 1870 Huang Yangxian marries Madame Cheng (also known as “Ba Jin Sao”) from nearby Fanggan village.
1875Wu Jingrong, age 11, from Xiuning County in Huizhou, is selected to study abroad in the United States. 
c. 1878 The 33rd generation of the Huang family begins. Huang Zixian, the first son of Huang Yangxian and Madame Cheng, is born.
1882In the U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese laborers are prohibited from immigrating to the United States. Male teachers, students, merchants, and travelers are exempted. 
1883 Huang Zizhi, the second son of Huang Yangxian and Madame Cheng, is born.
1885While traveling toward Hankou by boat, Huang Yangxian, of the 32nd generation, is robbed and murdered by pirates, and his body is thrown in the river. Since his body is never recovered, he does not receive a proper funeral and is condemned to be a hungry, wandering ghost. His wife, Madame Cheng, is left with two children to care for and no income. 
1886 Madame Cheng, Huang Yangxian’s widow, embroiders, sews, and makes shoes to make ends meet.
1895The movement against the binding of women’s feet begins.  
1898The One Hundred Day Reform movement is begun to modernize China. The Empress Dowager Cixi eventually crushes it. 
1898-1901The Boxer Rising. Secret society members, supported by the Empress Dowager Cixi, beseige missionaries, diplomats, and civilians from abroad in an attempt to oust foreign influence around Beijing. Huang Yangxian’s widow, Madame Cheng, is forced to clear a debt by ceding four rooms in Yin Yu Tang to a distant relative, Huang Zhengang, who lives in a neighboring house. 
 Secret society members in the Huizhou region of Anhui Province, where Yin Yu Tang is located, stage a rebellion against Qing armies. 
c. 1907 Huang Zixian marries Madame Cheng. Born in 1880, her given name is not recorded.
  Huang Zixian’s younger brother, Huang Zizhi, leaves home to apprentice at a pawnshop in neighboring Jiangxi Province.
c. 1909 The 34th generation of the Huang family begins. Huang Zhenzhi, the first son of Huang Zixian and Madame Cheng, is born.
c. 1910 Madame Cheng, wife of Huang Zixian, dies.
  Huang Zizhi marries Hong Zhaodi, from Xiazhuang, a nearby village.
  Huang Su, a Huang Cun elder, establishes the Huang Clan Primary School in Huang Cun.
1910-1950 A Huang Cun resident pays the Huang family to house his wife and daughter while he works in a nearby town. A poor local couple surnamed Shao also move into Yin Yu Tang.
1911The 1911 Revolution brings about the end of the imperial monarchy of the Qing dynasty.  
1912Sun Yat-sen is inaugurated in Nanjing as President of the Republic. Yuan Shikai replaces him in one month, and the government is moved to Beijing.Thirty-four traditional Chinese crafts are selected for exhibition in the American Panama World Exposition, including Wang Shengchao tea and Hu Kaiwen ink from Xiuning County, one of five counties in Huizhou, where Yin Yu Tang is located.
  Huang Zizhi contracts malaria.
1913Yuan Shikai dissolves Parliament and later declares himself emperor of China.Huang Zizhi returns to Huang Cun to recover from his illness.
c. 1914 Huang Zixian marries his second wife, Madame Wu, from Longwan Village.
1915 The elderly widowed matriarch, Madame Cheng, mother of Huang Zixian and Huang Zizhi, dies. The Republic of China honors her with a banner to recognize her chastity and filial piety in the years following the death of her young husband, Huang Yangxian, in 1885.
1916-1928After the death of Yuan Shikai in 1916, China breaks into rival warlord regions. 
c. 1920 Huang Zixian becomes the manager of a kerosene shop in the city of Tunxi, located about 10 miles from Huang Cun.
1921The Chinese Communist Party is established in Shanghai. 
1922 Huang Ailan, 34th-generation daughter of Huang Zixian and his second wife, Madame Wu, is born.
  Huang Zizhi leaves Huang Cun to apprentice at a pawnshop in neighboring Jiangxi Province.
1926Defeated troops of warlord Sun Chuangfang invade and loot Huang Cun. The Huang family is forced to flee Yin Yu Tang and live in a neighboring village for a short period.  
1927 Huang Zhenzhi marries Wang Yaozhen from the village of Hongni in the neighboring town of Dongzhou. Their upstairs bedroom is decorated with imported wallpaper. His uncle, Huang Zizhi, pens a wedding poem for the occasion.
  Huang Zizhi recovers from his illness. He and his brother, Huang Zixian, share expenses to maintain their parents’ gravesites.
1927-1937The Nationalist government rules China from Nanjing under President Chiang K’ai-shek. 
1928 Huang Zhenzhi marries Wang Yaozhen, a literate woman from a well-to-do merchant family.
  Huang Zizhi opens a pawnshop in Hankou with two partners. His eldest son, Huang Zhenxin, begins his apprenticeship there at age 14.
1929 Huang Zixian dies of a stroke in Tunxi.
1930s Two daughters of the 35th generation born to Huang Zhenzhi and Wang Yaozhen die, one in infancy and one at age 6. Their names are not recorded.
1931 Birth of Huang Xilin, 35th-generation son of Huang Zhenzhi and Wang Yaozhen.
 Merchant travel to Shanghai made difficult due to Japanese presence in Shanghai. 
1932Japan attacks Shanghai.Second daughter of Huang Zizhi and Hong Zhaodi dies at age 10 of polio. Her name is not recorded.
1933 Eldest daughter of Huang Zizhi and Hong Zhaodi dies at age 15 of polio. Her name is not recorded.
1934Civil wars between Nationalists and Communists take toll on domestic trade. Huang Zizhi closes his pawnshop in Hankou and makes plans to open a new shop in Shanghai.At the steamship pier in Hankou, Huang Zizhi refuses to allow porters to carry his bags, and one of them strikes him. He dies of his injuries one month later in Shanghai.
1935 Huang Zhenxin returns to Huang Cun after the death of his father, Huang Zizhi, and soon marries Chou Lijuan. Using the money left to him by his father, he moves to Shanghai and opens a coal shop in partnership with his cousin Huang Zhenzhi.
 Mao Zedong becomes primary leader of the Chinese Communist Party. 
1939Japanese bomb Tunxi, former location of Huang Zixian’s kerosene shop, 10 miles from Huang Cun. 
1940Japanese bomb high school in Huizhou in Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), which has by now merged with World War II.Youngest daughter of Huang Zizhi and Hong Zhaodi, Huang Ailan, who has been engaged since age nine, moves into her fiancé’s home. There, she works as a servant until she and her future husband are old enough to marry.
  Huang Zhenzhi returns to Huang Cun and teaches in a nearby elementary school.
1941 Huang Zhenzhi and Wang Yaozhen give birth to a son, Huang Xiqi. His father dies in his mid-30s, two weeks after the birth. Like the grandmother-in-law Madame Cheng almost 60 years earlier, Wang Yaozhen is left to care for her family without an income.
1942 After her husband’s death, Wang Yaozhen inherits responsibility for the household. Huang Aizhu, eldest daughter of Huang Zizhi and Hong Zhaodi, is married off to relieve financial strain on Wang Yaozhen.
1946-1949Civil war between Nationalists and the Chinese Communist Party resumes after the end of World War II.  
1947 Huang Binggen, 35th generation son of Huang Zhenxin and Chou Lijuan, is born.
  Huang Zhenxin returns the body of his father, Huang Zizhi, home to Huang Cun for a funeral ceremony. Huang Zizhi had died in 1934 of injuries suffered at the port of Hankou. Huang Zhenxin doesn’t return home again until 1996, almost 50 years later.
1948 A new Huang Cun Primary School is built in Huang Cun. The public school replaces the original school, which was built to educate primarily Huang family members and was located in an old temple near collapse.
1949 Students from the village of Huang Cun, including Huang Xilin, join the People’s Liberation Army.
 The Chinese Communist Party is victorious. President Chiang K’ai-shek and the Nationalists flee to Taiwan.  
 The People’s Republic of China is proclaimed in Beijing. 
1950The Republic establishes Agrarian Reform Law to redistribute land. The New Marriage Law establishes new rights for women. 
1951 Under Communist guidelines, Huang family relative and neighbor Huang Zhengang is categorized as a landlord, and two of the four rooms he owns in Yin Yu Tang are confiscated. Each room is assigned to one poor peasant family by the Land Reform Team.
1953-1957A drive for agricultural collectives begins, leading to the development of “people’s communes.” 
1954Wang Yaozhen sells off a parcel of land still remaining in the family’s name. 
1958As part of the government’s Great Leap Forward (1958-1963), an agricultural and industrial reform movement that collectivizes many aspects of daily life throughout China, Huang Cun residents begin to eat in a communal cafeteria in the village instead of at home. In Huang Cun village, the two Huang-lineage ancestral halls—one for men and one for women—are torn down. Building materials are donated to the Xiuning County Reservoir project.
1959 Huang Xiqi attends the Tunxi Normal School to be trained as a teacher. For a son of a merchant family, this was a notable leap into the world of education and scholarship.
1959-61Famine breaks out in China; casualties are estimated to have exceeded 20 million.  
 China suppresses Tibetan uprising. 
1960During the famine, five children of Huang Ailan, daughter of Huang Zixian, die of starvation. She has one more child after the famine.Neighbor and relative Huang Zhengang also dies of starvation. Because of his lowly status as a “landlord,” his relatives do not participate in his funeral to avoid being associated with him.
1966 Tong Xihao, future bride of Huang Xiqi, graduates from Tunxi Normal School.
1966-1976 Cultural Revolution. In Yin Yu Tang, the Huang family demonstrates their loyalty to the Communist party: carved tile decorations on the house façade are battered, and a heart inscribed with the “loyalty” character is painted on the stone lintel of the doorway. The campaign aims to eliminate the “Four Olds” (old customs, habits, culture, and thought).
1967 Huang Xiqi marries Tong Xihao. Marriage certificate expresses equal standing and rights for women instituted by new marriage laws.
1968Chinese government initiates mass exodus of young urban Chinese to the countryside to educate them on the toil of working the land; many intellectuals are sent to work on farms in the countryside.Huang Xiqi returns to his hometown village of Huang Cun, as required under the Cultural Revolution, and becomes a teacher in the Huang Village school. He and his wife, Tong Xihao, move into Yin Yu Tang.
  Yin Yu Tang household provides shelter for locals arriving in Huang Cun for military training. Sixteen women from the nearby village of Fanggan sleep in one small bedroom on the second floor.
  Many graves of the Huang family ancestors are dug up and plundered. The identity of the plunderers is never discovered.
1972Richard Nixon is the first U.S. President to visit China.  
1976Chairman Mao Zedong dies. The Cultural Revolution ends.The kitchens of Yin Yu Tang collapse and are dismantled.
 An estimated 200,000 people are killed in an earthquake in Tangshan.  
1978Mao Zedong’s successor, Deng Xiaoping, initiates the Four Modernizations campaign to modernize agriculture, national defense, science, and technology.  
1978-1979In the Democracy Wall Movement, political dissident Wei Jingsheng proposes the “fifth modernization”: democracy. 
 Premier Deng Xiaoping visits the United States. 
 Communes begin to be phased out and new economic reforms make their way to Huang Cun. 
1981Electricity comes to Huang Cun, and two bulbs are installed in Yin Yu Tang. Wang Yaozhen, widow of Huang Zhenzhi, leaves Huang Cun village to join her son Huang Xilin in Shanghai.
1982 Huang Xiqi and his family are the last family members to live in Yin Yu Tang. He is transferred from Huang Cun to teach at another elementary school in Xiuning County.
1985Economic reforms continue.  
 State council approves opening Xiuning County to visitors from other countries. 
1989On June 4, the People’s Liberation Army quells protests in Tiananmen Square. An undetermined number of people die as a result.  
1990Several pieces of furniture and paintings are stolen from Yin Yu Tang. 
1996 Huang Zhenxin and his family, including son Huang Binggen, return to Huang Cun village to visit Yin Yu Tang and their ancestors’ graves.
1997Premier Deng Xiaoping dies. Chinese authorities approve Yin Yu Tang’s move to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.
 Hong Kong is returned to Chinese jurisdiction. 
 Jiang Zemin, president of the People’s Republic of China, comes to Boston, Massachusetts, to discuss human rights, nuclear power, and trade. 
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