The increase of the Han Dynasty

The solid but benevolent Han Dynasty started a golden e of reform and also expansion. The an initial period, called the west Han, lasted until 9 CE.

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Learning Objectives

Compare the Han dynasty with the previously Qin Dynasty, and also explain the west Han period

Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe Han empire put an end to civil war and also reunified China in 202 BCE, introducing a golden age of peace and prosperity throughout which progression and cultural development take it place.The west Han period continued a lot of the Qin’s policies, however modified them with Confucian ideals. Since of this, the Han lasted far longer 보다 the harsher Qin Dynasty—the west Han duration in details lasted until 9 CE, when there was a quick rebellion.One the the most exalted Han kings was Emperor Wu. The made Confucianism the main philosophy, urged reciprocity in between the state and its people, reformed the economy and also agriculture, made call with India, protected China from the Huns, and doubled the size of the empire.Rebellions and also external risks posed obstacles to the western Han, but it was able to survive.Key Termsfour occupations: A power structure in which aristocratic scholars had the highest social status, complied with by farmers, then craftsmen and artisans, and finally merchants.golden age: A happy period of peace and prosperity; a time of great progress or achievement.patrilineal: Descent v the male line in a family.xian: Mythical immortality paradise throughout the Han Dynasty.socialism: A political philosophy based upon principles of neighborhood decision making, social equality, and also the avoidance of economic and also social exclusion, with preference to community goals end individual ones.laissez-faire: A policy of governmental non-interference in financial affairs.Chu-Han Contention: A four-year (206-202 BCE) civil war between the Chu and Han states.

Formation the the Han Dynasty

By the time the Qin Dynasty collapsed in 207 BCE, eighteen different kingdoms had asserted their independence. The Han and also Chu states arised as the many powerful, however the Han state to be the victor of the Chu-Han Contention, a four-year polite war. Gaozu, who had actually been born a peasant, started the Han empire in 202 BCE, reunifying China.


Emperor Gaozu that the Han Dynasty: Emperor Gaozu, previously known as Liu Bang, founded the Han Dynasty.

The Han empire would become one of the many important and also long-lasting empires in every one of Chinese history. The would ascendancy China because that over 4 hundred years, native 206 BCE-220 CE, and ushered in a golden age of peace, prosperity, and also development. Today, both the majority ethnic team in China and also Chinese manuscript are dubbed Han.

Comparison the Han to Qin

In numerous ways, the Han lugged on policies that started in the Qin. Provincial rule emerged in both, and the Han ongoing Legalist rule, return in much much less stricter fashion. Confucianism was banned during the Qin, but resurrected throughout the Han. The Qin, with its emphasis on the strength of the state, was not shaped by religion in the same way the Han was. The Han were considered with the afterlife, and also worshipped their ancestors. Both had defined social classes, but in the Han, peasants to be treated with greater respect and classes were based upon occupations.

The western Han duration and politics Reform

At very first the Han Dynasty developed its capital at Chang’an, in west China. This western Han period would last from 206 BCE come 9 CE, as soon as the dynasty’s ascendancy would be summary interrupted through rebellion and also the short-lived Xin Dynasty.

Throughout the western Han period, the Han largely continued the governing plans of the Qin, proceeding to broaden the bureaucracy and also encouraging a central state. There were, however, differences in between the 2 dynasties, and also it was probably these differences that permitted the Han to dominance for so much much longer than the Qin. The Han were much more interested in the lives and also well-being of your subjects, and also they modified several of the harsher elements of the earlier dynasty’s dominion with Confucian ideals of government. Flexibility of speech and writing was restored, and the an ext laissez-faire style of governing permitted harmony, prosperity, and population growth.

This period also saw the further breakthrough of the four-class hierarchy, called the “four occupations,” which offered aristocratic scholar the highest social status, followed by farmers, climate craftsmen and also artisans, and also finally merchants.

The family during this time to be patrilineal and featured a small variety of nuclear family members. Arranged, monogamous marital relationships were the norm for most. Sons got equal share of family members property and were often sent away as soon as married.

Ritual sacrifices the animals and food were made to deities, spirits, and ancestors in ~ temples and also shrines. Each person was viewed as having actually a two-part soul. The spirit-soul, which checked out the immortality paradise the immortals, called xian, and the body-soul, which remained in its earthly tomb.

Other innovations included the first use of an adverse numbers in mathematics, the recording of stars and also comets, the armillary sphere, which represented star motions in 3 dimensions, the waterwheel, and other design feats.

Emperor Wu

One that the most exalted Han queens was Emperor Wu, that ruled from 141-87 BCE. He to be responsible for a good number of innovations and also political and military feats.


Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty: A portrait the Emperor Wu, among the most significant rulers of the Han Dynasty.

Emperor Wu experimented v socialism, and made Confucianism the solitary official philosophy. The Confucian standards were reassembled and transcribed. The Confucian ideal of each human being accepting his society position aided legitimize the state and made people an ext willing to accept its power. At the same time, these ideals motivated the state come act justly towards its people. There to be reciprocity too in the fact that the state to be funded partially by soil taxes (a portion of the harvest); this intended that the prosperity the the agricultural estates identified the prosperity the the Han government.

Emperor Wu additionally founded good government industries and transportation and delivery services, emerged governmental regulate of profit, and also imposed a 5% earnings tax. He created civil-service examinations to test potential government officials ~ above their knowledge of the Confucian classics, so the bureaucrats would be favored for their intelligence instead of their social connections. Emperor Wu likewise reformed the Chinese economy and nationalized the salt and also iron industries, and he initiated reforms the made farming an ext efficient.

Through Emperor Wu’s southern and western conquests, the Han empire made call with the Indian social sphere. Emperor Wu repelled the invading barbarians (the Xiongnu, or Huns, a nomadic-pastoralist warrior civilization from the Eurasian steppe), and roughly doubled the dimension of the empire, claiming lands that consisted of Korea, Manchuria, and even component of Turkistan. Together China propelled its borders further, profession contacts were developed with lands come the west, many notably via the Silk Road.

Challenges during the western Han Period

Nonetheless, the Han confronted many challenges. Emperor Gaozu rewarded his supporters v grants the land, which began again the same troubles that had brought down the Zhou Dynasty. Several rebellions broke out, the most serious that which was the Rebellion the the 7 States. Nonetheless, the Han majesties stamped the end the rebellions and also gradually decreased the power of the small kingdoms (though never ever abolished lock completely).

Another major danger come the Han to be the outside threat of the barbarians, the most dangerous of whom were the Huns. However, the Han dynasty was maybe to face these internal and external threats and also survive since of the strong centralized state they had actually established.

The Silk Road

The Silk road was created by China’s Han Dynasty, and led to cultural integration across a vast area the Asia. The persisted till the autumn of the Mongolian empire in 1360 CE.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe Silk roadway was established by China’s Han empire (206 BCE-220 CE) through territorial expansion.The Silk roadway was a collection of profession and social transmission that were central to cultural interaction between the West and East.A good deal of protection and stability was listed on the Silk roadway by the Han.A 2nd Pax Sinica in 737 CE assisted the Silk roadway reach its golden e of cultural integration.The Mongol Empire, and also Pax Mongolica, strengthened and re-established the Silk Road between 1207 and 1360 CE. However, as the Mongol empire disintegrated, so did the Silk Road.Key Termsnomadic-pastoralist: A way of life in i beg your pardon livestock are herded to uncover fresh grazing pastures in one irregular pattern of movement.Pax Sinica: Latin term for “Chinese peace” kept by Chinese hegemony.Tang Dynasty: one imperial empire of China, native 618-907 CE.Pax Mongolica: Latin term for “Mongolian peace” throughout their Empire.

Establishment the the Silk Road

Through southern and also western conquests, the Han empire of China (206 BCE-220 CE) made contact with the Indian cultural sphere.Emperor Wu repelled the invading barbarians (the Xiongnu, or Huns, a nomadic-pastoralist warrior people from the Eurasian steppe) and roughly double the size of the empire, claiming lands that included Korea, Manchuria, and also even part of Turkistan. Together China propelled its boundaries further, profession contacts were created with lands come the west, most notably via the Silk Road.


Map the Silk Road: In this map the the Silk Road, red reflects the soil route and also blue reflects the maritime route.

The Silk road was a collection of trade and cultural transmission that were central to social interaction between the West and East. Silk was definitely the major trade item indigenous China, yet many other products were traded as well. These paths enabled solid trade relationships to construct with Persia, India, and the roman Empire.


Example that Woven Silk Textile: This woven silk textile indigenous the western Han era was found at dig No. 1 at Mawangdui, Changsha, Hunan Province.

Chinese manage of the Silk Road

This increased western are became particularly important because of the silk routes. Through this century, the Chinese had become really active in the silk trade, though till the Hans noted sufficient protection, the Silk Road had actually not functioned well since of wanderer pirates. Development by the Han took place approximately 114 BCE, led mostly by royal envoy Zhang Qian. The an excellent Wall of China was increased to administer extra protection.

The Tang empire reopened the route in 639 CE, but then lost it come the Tibetans in 678 CE. Regulate of the Silk roadway would shuttle in between China and Tibet till 737 CE. This 2nd Pax Sinica helped the Silk road reach its golden age. China was open up to foreign cultures, and also its urban locations could be fairly cosmopolitan. The Silk Road aided to combine cultures, but likewise exposed tribal and pastoral societies to brand-new developments, sometimes causing them to become skilled warriors.

The Mongolian Empire and also the disintegration of the Silk Road

The Mongol Empire, and Pax Mongolica, strengthened and re-established the Silk Road in between 1207 and 1360 CE. However, together the Mongol realm disintegrated, therefore did the Silk Road. Gunpowder accelerated the failing integration, and the Silk roadway stopped being a shipping course for silk roughly 1453 CE. A lasting result of this was to accumulate Europeans to find alternative routes come Asia because that trade, consisting of Christopher Columbus ‘ famous overseas trip in 1492.

The eastern Han Period

The east Han period was a time the reunification and also prosperity that additionally saw the perfection of paper and porcelain.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe 400-year Han empire was summary interrupted by the rebellious Xin Dynasty. The first part that the Han dynasty is known as the western Han period; the east Han duration began as soon as the Han overthrew the rebellion and also reestablished the dynasty in 25 CE.Emperor Guangwu, the an initial emperor of the eastern Han period, regained lost land and also pacified the people.The rule of Ming and Zhang was an era of prosperity; taxes were reduced, Confucian ideals to be encouraged, the federal government was capable and also strong, and also the processes of creating record and porcelain were perfected.A collection of rebellions led to powerful generals who attempted to manage the young emperor. Eventually, three states got control and the Han empire was ended.Key TermsChimei: A rebel army that finished the Xin empire after unrest.regent: A family member in a royal household who looks after the throne because that an underaged king till he is mature enough to obtain power.porcelain: A Chinese invention perfected throughout the east Han Period; durable, high-quality, and attractive ceramic ware.

Interruption by the Xin Dynasty

When the west Han period ended in 9 CE, the regent come the former emperor, Wang Mang, proclaimed his own new dynasty, the Xin Dynasty. He attempted a variety of radical reforms, together as brand-new forms of currency, a half on slavery, and a go back to old models of floor distribution. A series of significant floods ~ above the Yellow River, however, displaced countless peasants, and also caused enormous unrest. A rebel army called the Chimei (“Red Eyebrows”) developed out that the peasantry, and also they defeated Wang Mang’s armies and also stormed the resources of Chang’an. They killed Wang Mang and also put their own puppet ruler on the throne.

The east Han Period

A new Han emperor, Emperor Guangwu, took control and ruled indigenous Luoyang, in east China; thus started the eastern Han period, i m sorry lasted native 25-220 CE. He beat the Chimei rebels, and rival warlords, to reunify China again under the Han Dynasty.

Under Emperor Guangwu, the empire was strengthened considerably. Areas that had fallen far from Chinese control, such together Korea and Vietnam, were reconquered. The Hun Confederation, which had actually grown solid during China’s period of instability, was pacified.


Emperor Guangwu: Emperor Guangwu ruled throughout the east Han Dynasty.

Emperor Guangwu was thrived by Emperor Ming, followed by Emperor Zhang. The rule of Ming and Zhang, together it is called, is remembered because that being one era of prosperity. Taxes to be reduced, Confucian ideals were encouraged, and the majesties appointed may be administrators. The was likewise in this duration that paper, one of China’s most vital inventions, emerged. Though early on forms of record had existed for centuries, the process was currently perfected. Through paper, Chinese texts might circulate on a long lasting and reasonably inexpensive medium, instead of on clay, silk, or bamboo. This permitted Chinese messages to become much more readily available and motivated learning. Another important development of this time was porcelain. Porcelain exist in previous forms for centuries, but was perfected in the eastern Han period. The advancement of porcelain permitted for durable, high-quality, and also attractive ceramic ware.


Ceramic Candle Holder from the east Han Dynasty: A ceramic candle holder from the east Han Dynasty, v prancing pet figures.

The autumn of the eastern Han

A series of rebellions, consisting of the Yellow Turban and also Five Pecks that Rice, started in 184 CE. Army generals appointed during these situations kept their militia pressures intact also after defeating the rebels. General-in-Chief the Jin plotted to overthrow palace eunuchs. He to be discovered and also killed, however, in the finish 2,000 eunuchs were likewise killed. A collection of generals attempted to manage the young emperor, finishing in 3 spheres of influence. Cao Cao rule the north, sun Quan ruled the south, and Liu Bei managed the west. After ~ Cao Cao’s death, his kid Cao Pi required Emperor Xian to offer up his throne to him. This finished the Han Dynasty, and also started a duration of conflict in between these 3 states, called Cao Wei, eastern Wu and Shu Han.

Invention the Paper

Paper was created by Cai Lun throughout the Han Dynasty of old China. That was offered for a range of purposes, consisting of wrapping and writing, and also eventually spread throughout the world.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsCai Lun (202 BCE-220 CE), a Chinese main working in the royal court during the Han Dynasty, is attributed v the invention of paper.A basic process is still complied with today that consists of producing felted sheets of fiber exposed in water, climate draining the water and allowing the fibers to dry in a slim matted sheet.Early record was supplied for wrapping and also writing, as well as for toilet paper, tea bags, and also napkins.After the battle of Talas in 751 CE, throughout which the Chinese were defeated, 2 Chinese prisoners are believed to have actually leaked the tricks to making paper.Key Termspapyrus: A material prepared in ancient Egypt from the pithy stem the a water plant, used in sheets throughout the ancient Mediterranean civilization as a surface for writing or painting.bast fibers: Fibrous material from the phloem of a plant, supplied as fiber in matting, cord, etc.

While words “paper” is derived from papyrus, the early on Egyptian thick composing sheets, it is made quite differently. If papyrus is make from the dried pith of the papyrus plant that has actually been woven, paper has to be disintegrated and also reformed.

During the Shang (1600-1050 BCE) and also Zhou (1050-250 BCE) dynasties, bone, bamboo, and also sometimes silk were used as creating tablets. Cai Lun (202 BCE-220 CE), a Chinese main working in the imperial court during the Han Dynasty, is attributed through the development of paper. However, earlier examples have actually been found, and also he may have simply boosted upon a known process. Legend claims that that was inspired by the swarms of record wasps.


Portrait of Cai Lun: This portrait that Cai Lun depicts the creation of paper.

Cai Lun’s file was made using mulberry and also other bast fibers in addition to fishnets, old rags, and also hemp waste. The bark of the file Mulberry and also Sandalwood were frequently used and highly valued during the period. His basic procedure of producing felted sheets of fiber suspended in water, climate draining the water and enabling the fibers to dried in a slim matted paper is still complied with today.


Chinese Hemp wrapping Paper: These instances of Chinese hemp wrapping file date indigenous 100 BCE.

Uses of Paper

Paper was often used together a pack material. Paper used come wrap bronze mirrors has actually been date to the power of Emperor Wu in the second century BCE. File was also used to wrap gift medicines. Through the third century CE, file was commonly used for writing, and by 875 CE the was used as toilet paper. During the Tang empire (618-907 CE), file was folded and sewn into tea bags, and also used come make record cups and also napkins. Throughout the Song empire (960-1279 CE), the world’s very first known file money to be produced, and often gift in special file envelopes.


The Oldest record Book: This is the oldest record book, date to 256 CE.

Spread the Paper-making come the Islamic World

After the fight of Talas in 751 CE, during which the Chinese to be defeated, two Chinese detainees are thought to have actually leaked the keys to do paper. A document mill was shortly established, and also many refinements to be made come the process.

The fall of the Han and also the three Kingdoms Period

As the Han dynasty government weakened over time and also ultimately collapsed, the empire fractured into the war-torn three Kingdoms period.

Learning Objectives

Demonstrate the definition of the battle of the Red Cliffs and also the three Kingdoms Period

Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe Han government started to weaken and also fracture by the finish of the second century CE. Basic Dong Zhuo recorded Emperor Shao and also installed his own puppet ruler, Emperor Xian.The warlord Cao Cao attempted to reunify China under the Han, but was beat at the battle of Red Cliffs.The Han empire ultimately broke down in 220 CE, and China splintered into three warlord kingdoms in what is recognized as the 3 Kingdoms period.The three Kingdoms period was war-torn, but additionally a time of an excellent technological advancement.Key Termshydraulic: one engineering technique in which fluid is in motion and transmits energy.Battle of Red Cliffs: A turning point in background that significant the critical attempt to reunite the Han, and also the start of a time the bloodshed because that the Chinese.

After the death of Emperor Zhang (of the eastern Han period’s dominion of Ming and also Zhang) in 88 CE, corrupt officials significantly gained manage of the state, while household feuds tore the empire apart. As the power of the emperor weakened, military commanders acted more independently and tried to secure strength for themselves.

The fall of the Han Dynasty

In 184 CE, two significant Daoist rebellions—the Yellow Turban Rebellion and also the 5 Pecks the Rice Rebellion—broke out. In order come fight these rebellions Emperor Ling provided military commanders control over their own provinces, however this gave way to a long power struggle. In 189 CE, Emperor Ling died and also was succeeded by his 13 year old son, Liu Bian, well-known as Emperor Shao. Empress Dowager He was regent, and also her larger brother, General-in-Chief he Jin, came to be the most powerful official in the court. He Jin want to exterminate the Ten Attendants, a group of prominent eunuch officials. That summoned basic Dong Zhuo come march ~ above the city. The plot was uncovered by the eunuchs, and He Jin was killed. In solution the Emperor notified indiscriminate death of the eunuchs. The survivors kidnapped the Emperor and fled, only to later commit suicide upon basic Dong Zhuo’s arrival. The basic would then change Emperor Shao with the Prince of Cheniliu, recognized as Emperor Xian. Xian would be the critical emperor that the Han Dynasty.


Portrait of Dong Zhuo: This portrait the Dong Zhuo days from a Qing empire edition of the romance of the three Kingdoms.

Dong Zhuo was ultimately assassinated and was flourished by one more warlord, Cao Cao, who wanted to reunite the Han empire by defeating the rebellious warlords. He virtually succeeded however was defeated in 208 CE at the fight of Red Cliffs, a memorable turning point in history. Through this defeat, most of the hope that the Han realm would be reunited disappeared. When Cao Cao died in 220 CE, Emperor Xian abdicated the throne, claiming the he had actually failed to keep the Mandate the Heaven. China splintered right into three kingdoms rule by warlords; this marks the start of the 3 Kingdoms duration of Chinese history.

The 3 Kingdoms Period

When the Han Dynasty broke down in 220 CE, nobody was powerful enough to reunify China under a solitary emperor. The an outcome was the period of the 3 Kingdoms, i m sorry lasted until 280 CE, when the Jin empire took over. These three kingdoms, Wei, Shu, and also Wu, dealt with for regulate in a long series of wars. This was among the bloodiest time in Chinese history—according come census data, the populace decreased from 50 million come 16 million—but it also has lengthy been romanticized in East eastern cultures and also remembered as a time of chivalry and also honor. It has been celebrated and popularized in operas, individual stories, and also novels, and also in more recent times, films, television, and video clip games.

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The 3 Kingdoms: The 3 Kingdoms in 262 CE after the fall of the Han dynasty

Technology progressed significantly during this period. Shu chancellor Zhuge Liang designed the wooden ox, argued to it is in an early type of the wheelbarrow, and improved ~ above the repeating crossbow. Wei mechanically engineer, Ma Jun, designed a hydraulic-powered, mechanical puppet theatre designed because that his emperor. He additionally invented a new irrigation device, the south-pointing chariot, and also a non-magnetic directional compass.