China: the Classical Age 316 CE

The unification of China under the Western Jin dynasty only lasted a short time. Non-Chinese invaders have taken control of northern China.

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The later Zhou kingdom is fragmented amongst numerous local states, constantly at war with one another.

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After 500 BCE the Chinese culture area continued to expand into lands inhabited by “barbarian” (i.e. non-Chinese) peoples.

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The state of Qin is the most ruthless in the pursuit of military and administrative efficiency.

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The state of Qin, with its ruthless pursuit of military and administrative efficiency, has conquered all the other states and so unified China. Its ruler has become the “First Emperor”.

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The First Emperor, Qin Shih Huang, and his chief minister, Li Si, imposed a harsh, rigidly centralized regime on the whole of China.

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Many rebellions sprang up after the death of the First Emperor, and chaos engulfed the country. One of the rebels, Liu Bang, defeated the others to become the founder of the Han dynasty.

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The Han dynasty has given a peace and stability to the huge empire, and expanded its borders.

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Between 9 CE and 23 CE a usurper, Wang Mang, ruled China. The Han dynasty was then restored to power.

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The Han empire splits into three kingdoms.

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The three kingdoms have struggled for supremacy, until one of them has conquered the other two and thus reunited China.

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In the north, non-Chinese dynasties rule several kingdoms, while the south forms a single state under a native Chinese dynasty.

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In the north, developments are under way which will prepare the ground for the reunification of China.

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