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Tang Dynasty, the Golden Age (618-907) The Tang emperors set up a political system in which the emperor was supreme and government officials were selected on the bases of merit and education. The early Tang rulers applied the equal allocation system rigorously to bring about a greater equity in taxation and to insure the flow of taxes to the government. A census was taken every three years to enforce the system, which also involved drafting people to do labor. These measures led to an agricultural surplus and the development of units of uniform value for the principal commodities, two of the most important prerequisites for the growth of commerce and cities. The Tang capital of Chang'an was one of the greatest commercial and cosmopolitan cities in the world at that time. Like most capitals of China, Chang'an was composed of three parts: the palace, the imperial city, and the outer city, separated from each other by mighty walls. The Tang was a period of great imperial expansion, which reached its greatest height in the first half of the 8th century. At that time, Chinese control was recognized by people from Tibet and Central Asia in the west to Mongolia, Manchuria (now the Northeast region of China), and Korea in the north and Annam in the south. The An Lu-shan rebellion. Most of the Tang accomplishments were attained during the first century of the dynasty's rule, through the early part of Emperor Hsuan Tsung's long reign from 712 to 756. However, late in his reign he neglected government affairs to indulge in his love of art and study. This led to the rise of viceroys, commanders responsible for military and civil affairs in the regions. An Lu-shan was a powerful viceroy commanding the northwest border area. He had both connections at the imperial court and hidden imperial ambitions. In 755 he rose in rebellion.
The emperor fled the capital with an ill-equipped army. These troops soon rebelled and forced the emperor to abdicate in favor of his son. The new emperor raised a new army to fight the rebels. An Lu-shan was assassinated in 757, but the war dragged on until 763. Afterward, the Chinese Empire virtually disintegrated once again. The provinces remained under the control of various regional commanders. The dynasty continued to linger on for another century, but the Tang Empire never fully recovered the central authority, prosperity, and peace of its first century.
The most serious problem of the last century of Tang was the rise of great landlords who were exempt from taxation. Unable to pay the exorbitant taxes collected twice a year after the An Lu-shan rebellion, peasants would place themselves under the protection of a landlord or become bandits. Peasant uprisings, beginning with the revolt under the leadership of Huang Chao in the 870s, left much of central China in ruins. In 881 Huang Chao's rebels, now numbering over 600,000 people, destroyed the capital, forcing the imperial court to move east to Luoyang. Another rebel leader founded a new dynasty, called Later Liang, at Kaifeng in Henan Province in 907, but he was unable to unify all China under his rule. This second period of disunity lasted only half a century. Once again, however, China was divided between north and south, with five dynasties in the north and ten kingdoms in the south. Tang culture. Buddhist influence in art, especially in sculpture, was strong during the Tang period. Fine examples of Buddhist sculpture are preserved in rock temples, such as those at Yongang and Longmen in northwest China. The invention of printing and improvements in papermaking led to the printing of a whole set of Buddhist sutras (discourses of the Buddha) by 868. By the beginning of the 11th century all of the Confucian classics and the Taoist canon had been printed. In secular literature, the Tang is especially well known for poetry. The great Tang poets such as Li Bai and Du Fu were nearly all disillusioned officials. The Tang period marked the beginnings of China's early technological advancement over other civilizations in the fields of shipbuilding and firearms development.

The prehistory of China
The Xia Dynastry(21st-17th centuryBC)
The Shang Dynasty(17th-11th century BC)
The Zhou Dynasty(11th century BC-256BC)
The Spring Autumn(770-476BC) and Warring States Period(475- 221BC)
The Qin Dynasty(221-206BC)
The Western Han Dynasty(206BC-25AD)
The Eastern Han Dynasty(25AD-220AD)
The Sui Dynasty(589-618)
The Tang Dynasty(618-907)
The Five Dynasties(907-960)
The Northern Song Dynasty(960-1127)
The Liao Dynasty(907-1125), Western Xai Dynasty(1038-1227) and Jin Dynasty(1115-1234)
The Southern Dynasty(1127-1279)
The Yuan Dynasty(1206-1368)
The Ming Dynasty(1368-1644)
The Qing Dynasty(1616-1911)
Republic of China(1912-1949)
The People's Republic of China(1949-)

 

 

 


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