China 200 BCE

After the fall of the ruthless Qin dynasty, the Han dynasty emperors now rule Ancient China.

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What is happening in China in 200BCE

The past 300 years have been tumultuous ones for China. Indeed, this period of ancient Chinese history is traditionally known as the age of the “Warring States”. The competition between the states increased, and armies grew much larger, with professional generals, often of humble origin, commanding massed ranks of infantry and cavalry. The smaller states were swallowed up in the larger, until only six powerful kingdoms were left.

Economic progress

Despite this constant warfare, Chinese civilization has continued to advance. Trade and industry have expanded, towns and cities have grown, education has spread and technological innovation has continued: for example, the Chinese have developed steel by this date, centuries before other parts of the world.

The first imperial dynasty

Starting in the 250s BCE, one of these states, Qin, conquered all the others, one by one. The rulers of the Qin dynasty were thus the first in China’s history to rule a unified Chinese empire.

The Qin imposed a rigid centralization upon the vast country. Their empire lasted barely a generation, however, before it dissolved into anarchy. Out of this chaos a leader eventually emerges who founds the long-lasting Han dynasty.

The Han dynasty

This ruler, who takes the reign-name Gaozu, has adopted much the same centralized system of government as the Qin, but in a milder form. Taxes and labour services are less onerous than under his predecessors, and the laws less severe. He has thus successfully established his rule over the entire country, and the Han dynasty he founds will rule ancient China for 400 years.

Next map, China in 30 BCE


Dig Deeper:

Later Zhou China

Qin Dynasty China

Han Dynasty China

Ancient Chinese Civilization

China in the Classical Age (Premium Resource)


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