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Zhou Chinese dynasty (1030–221 bc). After the nomadic Zhou overthrew the Shang dynasty, Chinese civilization spread to most parts of modern China, although the dynasty never established effective control over the regions. The Late Zhou, from 772 bc, was a cultural golden age, marked by the writings of Confucius and Lao Tzu, and a period of rising prosperity. As the provincial states grew in power, the Zhou dynasty disintegrated.