China 200 CE

The Han dynasty of Ancient China is now in its death throes, its empire is breaking up, and a troubled period in Chinese history is dawning.

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What is happening in China in 200CE

A great chapter in the history of ancient China is coming to an end, with the Han dynasty now in its death throes.


About 200 years after the founding of the Han dynasty (202 BCE), a succession of weak emperors led to the usurpation by the chief minister Wang Mang (reigned 9 – 27 CE). He attempted some radical reforms, which caused first confusion, then a destructive civil war, and finally the restoration of the Han dynasty.

This was followed by years of reconstruction, renewed economic expansion and restored imperial power. It was during this period that paper was invented, to meet the needs of the civil servants.

…and decline

Latterly, however, the foundations of the later Han empire have been undermined by a succession of child-emperors. This has resulted in unchecked factionalism at the Han court, and in the provinces, an increasingly corrupt bureaucracy.  As a direct result, widespread peasant revolts have broken out, causing immense destruction.

At the same time, a renewed barbarian threat has emerged with the reunification of the Xiongnu nomads.

The Han dynasty is now in terminal decline, and has only twenty years to go before it succumbs to these many dangers. China’s long history is entering a troubled period.

Next map, China in 500 CE


Dig Deeper:

Han Dynasty China

Ancient Chinese Civilization

China in the Classical Age (Premium Resource)


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