Ancient Chinese Dynasties

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There were many Chinese dynasties that rose and fell throughout China’s history. The history of China, in a way, is a history of battles and wars. These wars were so important that they changed the structure of Chinese culture both then and now. Three dynasties that rose and fell during ancient China were the Han, the Tang, and the Song. The rise and fall of these great dynasties form a link that runs through Chinese history. The Han period was one of the golden ages of Chinese civilization. The Han dynasty lasted from 206 B.C. to A.D. 220. It began when the prince of Han, Liu Bang, took the title Gao Zu and began to restore order and justice to his new empire. He lowered taxes and reduced the Qin emperor’s harsh Legalist policies. These policies created a strong basis for the Han dynasty. The most famous emperor, Wudi took China to a new level. During his reign from 141 BC to 87 BC, he strengthened both the government and economy. Economic expansion, strengthening the palace at the expense of the civil service, weakening the states hold on the peasantry and the rise of the rich and the gentry were all factors that led to the adoption of Confucian ideals. Han emperors made Confucianism the official belief system of the state. Under Wudi, China conquered many lands, expanding their power and influence. The Han Dynasty now controlled northern Vietnam and the Korean Peninsula. Wudi sent explorers toward Central Asia, eventually opening up the famous trade route known as the Silk Road. However, signs of decay began to appear throughout the dynasty which put an enormous burden on the economy. Weak emperors allowed canals and roads to fall into disrepair. Burdened by heavy taxes, and crushing debt, many peasants revolted. Thousands of rebellious peasants abandoned their villages and fled to the mountains. In AD 220 warlords overthrew the last Han emperor. After four hundred years of unity, China broke up into several kingdoms. The Han dynasty was...
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