I would like to hear from members who can shed some lights on these legendary characters.I recently purchased a box set on complete ancient Chinese history with one book has a page depicted a map where Huang-Ti defeated the evil Chiyoo.
Are there factual ancient Chinese chronicles verify these mystical figures as non-fiction ?
There are no chronicles of the time (it is even doubtful that writing existed in china such a long time ago).
More precisely, here is what we have in chronicles (please expand if you have better information)
1- Detailed chronicles of the eastern Zhou and later, Chunqiu, and traces of other ancient chronicles which made it into the Shiji and Guoyu
2- For the western Zhou, we have the oldest parts of the Shangshu, which contain information on the early years of the dynasty. The Shangshu also has stories about the Shang, Xia, Yao and Shun, but most of these are considered later fabrications (on the basis of the language used). There is some debate on whether some parts of some chapters could be dated from the last years of the Shang, but this is still a theory, and anyway, it is much later than the times of the Yellow Emperor. For this era, we also have inscription on bronzes. Altogether, this provides enough elements to be pretty sure of the rulers of the dynasty, and to derive a rough chronology (the exact reigning years of the older rulers, in fact all the chronology before 841, still being debated)
3- we have indirect information on the Shang rulers from the jiaguwen (bone and tortoise shell inscriptions), which allow one to list the shang emperors, but gives less information on their precise dates.
4- finally, we have the Zhushu Jinian, an ancient chronicle, which provides dates since very old times. It is considered that the dates in the Zhushu Jinian have been heavily edited by later scholars. Basically, they could be reliable for the Zhou, but probably not very useful for earlier periods.
So, the short answer would be : we have precious nothing in terms of written material for anything prior to the Shang (and, possibly, anything prior to the later years of the Shang).
As for Huangdi, Yandi, Shennnong, Chiyou, their stories could have been transmitted orally over time. An interesting point is that their story is not told in all ancient chronicles. In fact, the oldest texts (Shangshu and Chunqiu) do not mention them. To my knowledge, the oldest mention of them in a historical text is in the Guoyu. In the early 20th century, a number of western sinologists considered that they were probably mythological heroes/gods, which were later incorporated as historical persons. Granet, Maspero, Karlgren and others studied this extensively, trying to restore the various stages of the legend, from Huangdi being a god, calling on his daughter, the goddess of draught, to destroy Chiyou (some sort of serpent), to Huangdi being an emperor and Chiyou a rebel feudal prince.
If I remember correctly, they tried to find parallels in the myths of other ethnic groups of the region, to show the various stages in the legend.