China 500 CE

A troubled period of ancient China's history began when the empire of the Han dynasty fell, to be followed by centuries of division, invasion and barbarian rule.

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What is happening in China in 500CE

The Han dynasty, whose empire marked the high point of ancient Chinese history, fell in 220 CE. It was followed by almost three centuries of division, invasion and, in the north, barbarian rule. Unlike with the western Roman empire, however, the fall of the Han empire did not lead a steep decline in material civilization.

Northern China

The Northern Wei, who are of Mongolian origin and who have ruled northern China since their conquest in 425-435 CE, have ended the worst of the divisions and have brought more than half a century of peace and stability to the region. Of all the barbarian dynasties, they have pursued a policy of Sinicisation most purposefully, giving their state a much greater degree of strength and durability than its rivals and predecessors.

Southern China

Southern China has been unified under one government since the fall of the Han. Despite the succession of weak, faction-ridden dynasties, this region, spared the upheavals to the north, has seen considerable economic expansion and population growth.

During this period of division, Buddhism, which came from India in late Han times, has become a major religion in China.

Next map, China in 750 CE


Dig Deeper:

China in the Long Period of Division

The History of China

China in the Classical Age (Premium Resource)

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