rnment was introduced, and was continued by the less extreme Han Dynasty. The Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC) The Terracotta Army The First Emperor — Qin Shi Huang was first to use the title of emperor in China. He and his Qin state united China by conquering the other warring states, and he ruled with an iron fist. Qin Shi Huang centralized the powerof the empire after he took the throne and set up a system of laws. He standardized units of weight and measurements, as well as the writing system. The Qin Dynasty was the first and shortest imperial dynasty in China. It was famous for great building projects, such as the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army, which guarded the First Emperor’s burial objects and was to protect him in his afterlife. During the later period of the Qin Dynasty, Liu Bang, a peasant leader, overthrew the unpopular Qin regime and established the Han Dynasty. The Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) The Silk Road The longest imperial dynasty, the Han Dynasty, was known for starting the Silk Road trade and connecting China with Central Asia and Europe. In the Han Dynasty, a bureaucratic system in which promotion was based on merit was established and Confucianism was adopted by the state for national governance. What’s more, agriculture, handicrafts, and commerce developed rapidly. During the reign of Emperor Wudi (r. 140–87 BC), the Han regime prospered most. The multiethnic country became more united during the Han regime. The Han Dynasty was one of the most powerful and important dynastiesin China’s history. It had far-reaching impacts for every dynasty that followed it. China’s Dark Ages (220–581) When the Han Dynasty fell into decline, it fractured into the Three Kingdoms Period (220–265). After the Three Kingdoms Period came the Jin Dynasty, which then conquered most of China (265–420). Its hold on power was tenuous, however, and China again fractured, this time into the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420–589). During this messy time, many religions emerged and Buddhism was popularamong the barbarian kingdoms in North China. After almost 400 years of chaos ended, the Sui Dynasty eventually unified China again in 581 AD. Medieval China (581–1368) China’s Middle Ages saw steady growth through a series of regime changes. China went from having four warring kingdoms to being the most culturally sophisticated and technologically developed nation. Finally, it was consumed by the rise and fall of the phenomenal Mongol Empire, which stretched to Europe. The Grand Canal The Sui Dynasty (581–618) In 581, Yang Jian usurped the throne in the north and, as Emperor Wen, united the rest of China under the Sui Dynasty. It was a short, intense dynasty, with great conquests and achievements, such as the Grand Canal and the rebuilding of the Great Wall. One of Emperor Wen’s most prominent achievements was to create the imperial examinationsystem to select talented individuals for bureaucratic positions. Most of this dynasty’s government institutions were adopted by later dynasties. It’s considered, along with the following Tang Dynasty, to be a great Chinese era. Tri-colored glazed pottery The Tang Dynasty (618-907) After the short-lived Sui Dynasty, the powerful and prosperous Tang Dynasty unified China once again. The Tang Dynasty continued with the Sui’s imperial examination system and optimized it. It ruled for three centuries, and it was also the golden age for poetry, painting, tricolored glazed pottery, and woodblock printing. In the middle of the Tang Dynasty, an immense rebellion appeared and some regions refused to follow the state’s authority. This situation continued to the end of the Tang Dynasty. After the Tang Dynasty came half a century of division in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907–960). This ended when one of the northern kingdoms defeated its neighbors and established the Song Dynasty. The Song Dynasty (960–1297) The Song Dynasty unified the Central Plain and Southern China. However, the territory under the Northern Song Dynasty’s (960–1127) control was smal

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