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Five Things China Gave The World

| Words by Ashley Diterlizzi |

China has long been a powerhouse when it comes to inventing things but are you able to name five things the Chinese invented? You can, you just don’t realise it!

1. Ice cream

The first ice cream was invented in China in around 2000BC but it wasn’t the smooth and creamy ball of sweet deliciousness that we know and love today. The first ice cream was a mixture of milk and rice in snow, probably not something that would rank very highly as your favourite flavour.

2. Kites

A lot has changed to the kite since it was first invented in China. The first kites in ancient China were made of wood and cloth and were often made to resemble birds. Today, China flies brightly coloured and elaborate kites, often resembling animals. Some kites now include LED lights for nightly displays.

Chinese kite

3. Umbrellas

You probably put up an umbrella every time the clouds open overhead, but did you know that they were invented in China? The Chinese invented umbrellas and parasols for protection against the sun and rain. The first folding umbrella was invented during the Cao Wei dynasty abour 1,700 years ago and were made from silk and paper.

4. Compasses

How lost we’d all be without our GPS tracking. Ancient China invented the iron compass during the Han Dynasty but it wasn’t used for navigation. Instead, they were used to divine the future in a large bowl-like compass. The first magnetic needle compass was described in the year 1088 and the first true north compass in 1119, all in China.

5. Paper

China invented paper thousands of years ago. There is evidence of pulp paper dating back to the 2nd century BC when paper was often made of bamboo or other tree fibres which were wet and pound flat. Before paper was invented, writers used wooden boards, bone and even tortoise shells.

Discover the country where many things originate from on one of our China small group journeys or speak to our experts about private tours.