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The Western Han Dynasty
Qin Dynasty's ruthless laws and endless expensive campaigns cut its own life short. Rebellion broke out and a new dynasty, Han Dynasty, came into being.
The first emperor of Han Dynasty, Liu Bang, was an uneducated man but he wisely used talents to serve him. The Han Gaozu preserved many features of the Qin imperial system, such as the administrative division of the country and the central bureaucracy. But the Han rulers lifted the Qin ban on philosophical and historical writings. Han Kao Tsu called for the services of men of talent, not only to restore the destroyed classics but also to serve as officials in the government. From that time, the Chinese Empire was governed by a body of officials theoretically selected on merit. Such a practice has few parallels elsewhere at this early date in human history.
In 124 BC, during the reign of Wu Ti (140-87, the Martial Emperor), an imperial university was set up for the study of Confucian classics. The university recruited talented students, and the state supported them. Starting with 50 when the university first opened, the number of government-supported students reached 30,000 by the end of the Han Dynasty. Emperor Wu also established Confucianism as the official doctrine of the state. This designation lasted until the end of the Chinese Empire.
The Early Han faced two major difficulties: invasions by the barbarian Huns and the influence of the imperial consort families. In the Han Dynasty, the Huns (known as Xiongnu by the Chinese) threatened the expanding Chinese Empire from the north. Starting in Wu Ti's reign, costly, almost century-long campaigns had to be carried out to establish Chinese sovereignty along the northern and northwestern borders. Wu Ti also waged aggressive campaigns to incorporate northern Korea in 108 BC and northern Annam in 111 BC into the Han Empire. The Early Han's other difficulty started soon after the first emperor's death. The widowed Empress Lu dominated politics and almost succeeded in taking the throne for her family. Thereafter, families of the empresses exerted great political influence. In AD 9 Wang Mang, a nephew of the empress seized the throne and founded a new dynasty of Xin. Wang Mang's overambitious reform program alienated him from the landlords. At the same time the peasants, disappointed with Wang's inability to push through the reform, rose in rebellion. In AD 17 a rebel group in Shandong painted their faces red (hence their name, Red Eyebrows) and adopted religious symbols, a practice later repeated by peasants who rebelled in times of extreme difficulty. Wang Mang's force was defeated, and he was killed in AD 23.

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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