Confucius is described as a thinker, political philosopher, and educator whose teachings and sayings have been extremely influential throughout Chinese history.
Accurate records were not kept in his time, but it is believed that he was born in 551 BC, during a time known as the Spring and Autumn Period and at the start of the Hundred Schools of Thought philosophy movement. His birthplace is in or near the city of Qufu in what is now known as the Shadong Province.
Early life was not easy for him. His father died when he was three years old. That left his mother to raise him alone. The family had been a noble one, but due to hard times had fallen into poverty. As he got older he is said to have worked in several different fields including animal herding, clerk, and book keeping.
When he began working in politics is uncertain, but he was named the Justice Minister in the state of Lu when he was 53. He stayed in the position till the Duke made a couple of errors, one involving dancing girls and the other forgetting to send Confucius meat from a sacrifice.
He resigned because of them and travelled to many different states talking about his political beliefs. They basically supported the social justice, personal relationships, sincerity, right vs. wrong, and morality in people and government. These teachings formed the basis for a school of thought and philosophy that became known as Confucianism.
His teachings and philosophy were never written down while he was alive. All that is known about them has been taken from what was written down following his death to the beginning of the first Chinese empire in 221 B.C.
When he was 68 he finally returned home after trying to spread his philosophy around China. He continued to teach his philosophy from home until he passed away. It is unclear, but he is believed to have passed in 479 BC at either the age of 71 or 72.