Han Dynasty Essay

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The Han dynasty, which lasted from approximately 206 B.C.E. to 220 C.E., was founded by Liu Bang (pronounced LEO-BONG), a man born to a peasant family. Liu, the king of the state of Han, rose to power after the Qin dynasty collapsed in 206 B.C.E. After defeating the various groups that were vying for power after Qin Shi Huang Di's death, Liu became emperor and made his capital at Chang An (pronounced CHAHNG-AHN), in north central China. One of only two commoners ever to found a Chinese dynasty, Liu proved to be a talented and skillful ruler. Posthumously, he became known as Han Gaozu (pronounced HAHN-GOW-TZOO), which means the "Great Ancestral Father of Han." The achievements of the Han dynasty so influenced Chinese culture that the Chinese word for "Chinese person" is "a person of Han." During the Han dynasty, China experienced a period of peace, stability, and prosperity. Han emperors established a strong military, which allowed them to conquer new territories, expanding the reach of the empire as far as modern-day Korea and North Vietnam. In addition, they extended their power through diplomatic alliances with neighboring peoples. These alliances were often forged through strategic marriages or the exchange of lavish presents. Under the Han, the Chinese also engaged in international trade. Trading such goods as silk, spices, and jade, the Chinese acquired new products and ideas - including Buddhism - from ancient cultures such as India, Central Asia, and Rome. Much of the trade occurred locally in small trade centers throughout Asia that became known collectively as the Silk Road. During the Han dynasty, great achievements were made in the areas of education, culture, and science. Shifting away from the Legalist philosophy of the Qin dynasty, Han rulers instituted a Confucian system of government under which government officials were selected based on merit,
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