Born: 28 September 551 BC
Died: 479 BC
Confucius (孔子) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. It is generally thought that Confucius was born on 28 September, 551 BC. His birthplace was in Lu state, Zhou Dynasty. His father was an officer in the Lu military. His father died when Confucius was three years old, and Confucius was raised by his mother in poverty. Confucius was educated at schools for commoners, where he studied and learned the Six Arts.
Confucius was born into the class of shi (士), between the aristocracy and the common people. He is said to have worked in various government jobs during his early 20s, and also worked as a bookkeeper and a caretaker of sheep and horses, which he used the proceeds to give his mother a proper burial. His followers collected his talks and thoughts and edited to a book called Analects of Confucius, which is believed to be one of the most widely read and studied books in China for the last 2,000 years.
The core thoughts from Confucius became an ethical and philosophical system called Confucianism after he died. One of core idea in Confucianism is Datong, which is believed to be the traditional Chinese Utopia. The main description of it is found in the Chinese Classic of Rites, in the chapter called "Li Yun".
Confucianism became the official state ideology in China since Han dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD, 190–195 AD), and lasted until the establishment of People’s Republic of China (1945). Moreover, historically, other cultures and countries strongly influenced by Confucianism include Korea, Japan and Vietnam, as well as various territories inhabited predominantly by Chinese people, such as Singapore.
If you are interested to learn more about Confucius and Confucianism visit the links below:
http://www.iep.utm.edu/confuciu/ Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00547k8 BBC 4 radio programme about Confucius