Learning Objective

Compare the Han empire with the previously Qin Dynasty, and explain the western Han period

Key Points

The Han empire put an finish to polite war and reunified China in 202 BCE, introducing a golden e of peace and also prosperity during which progress and social development took place.The west Han duration continued a many the Qin’s policies, but modified them with Confucian ideals. Because of this, the Han lasted far longer 보다 the harsher Qin Dynasty- the west Han period in details lasted until 9 CE, as soon as there was a brief rebellion.One the the most exalted Han queens was Emperor Wu. That made Confucianism the main philosophy, motivated reciprocity in between the state and its people, reformed the economy and agriculture, made call with India, safeguarded China indigenous the Huns, and doubled the dimension of the empire.Rebellions and also external threats posed challenges to the west Han, however it was able to survive.

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four occupations

A hierarchy in which aristocratic scholars had actually the highest social status, adhered to by farmers, then craftsmen and also artisans, and also finally merchants.


Descent through the male line in a family.

golden age

A happy period of peace and also prosperity; a time of good progress or achievement.


Mythical immortality paradise throughout the Han Dynasty.

Chu-Han Contention

A four-year (206-202 BCE) polite war between the Chu and Han states.


A politics philosophy based on principles of neighborhood decision making, social equality, and also the avoidance that economic and social exclusion, with preference to ar goals over individual ones.


A policy of government non-interference in economic affairs.

Formation that the Han Dynasty

By the moment the Qin Dynasty fell down in 207 BCE, eighteen separate kingdoms had claimed their independence. The Han and Chu states arised as the most powerful, but the Han state was the victor that the Chu-Han Contention, a four-year polite war. Gaozu, who had actually been born a peasant, established the Han empire in 202 BCE, reunifying China.


Emperor Gaozu the the Han Dynasty. Emperor Gaozu, previously known as Liu Bang, started the Han Dynasty.

The Han dynasty would become one the the most important and long-lasting empires in all of Chinese history. That would dominance China because that over 4 hundred years, from 206 BCE-220 CE, and ushered in a golden age of peace, prosperity, and also development. Today, both the bulk ethnic group in China and also Chinese script are dubbed Han.

Comparison that Han to Qin

In plenty of ways, the Han lugged on plans that started in the Qin. Provincial rule arisen in both, and also the Han ongoing Legalist rule, return in much much less stricter fashion. Confucianism to be banned during the Qin, however resurrected throughout the Han. The Qin, through its emphasis on the power of the state, was not shaped by faith in the same method the Han was. The Han were thought about with the afterlife, and worshipped their ancestors. Both had characterized social classes, but in the Han, peasants to be treated with greater respect and also classes were based upon occupations.

The western Han duration and politics Reform

At very first the Han Dynasty established its resources at Chang’an, in western China. This west Han period would critical from 206 BCE to 9 CE, as soon as the dynasty’s preeminence would be summary interrupted by rebellion and also the short-lived Xin Dynasty.

Throughout the west Han period, the Han largely continued the governing plans of the Qin, continuing to increase the bureaucracy and encouraging a centralized state. There were, however, differences between the 2 dynasties, and it was maybe these differences that permitted the Han to rule for for this reason much much longer than the Qin. The Han were more interested in the lives and well-being of their subjects, and also they modified some of the harsher elements of the earlier dynasty’s preeminence with Confucian ideals that government. Flexibility of speech and writing was restored, and also the an ext laissez-faire layout of governing permitted harmony, prosperity, and population growth.

This duration also saw the further development of the four-class hierarchy, called the “four occupations,” which offered aristocratic scholar the greatest social status, adhered to by farmers, climate craftsmen and also artisans, and also finally merchants.

The family during this time was patrilineal and featured a small number of nuclear family members members. Arranged, monogamous marital relationships were the norm because that most. Sons obtained equal shares of household property and also were regularly sent away as soon as married.

Ritual sacrifices of animals and also food to be made come deities, spirits, and ancestors at temples and shrines. Each human being was viewed as having a two-part soul. The spirit-soul, which went to the afterlife paradise the immortals, dubbed xian, and the body-soul, which remained in that earthly tomb.

Other innovations consisted of the very first use of negative numbers in mathematics, the record of stars and comets, the armillary sphere, which stood for star motions in 3 dimensions, the waterwheel, and other design feats.

Emperor Wu

One the the most exalted Han kings was Emperor Wu, who ruled indigenous 141-87 BCE. He to be responsible for a an excellent number the innovations and political and military feats.


Emperor Wu that the Han Dynasty. A portrait of Emperor Wu, one of the most influential rulers that the Han Dynasty.

Emperor Wu experimented with socialism, and also made Confucianism the single official philosophy. The Confucian classics were reassembled and transcribed. The Confucian right of each person accepting his social position aided legitimize the state and made people more willing to accept its power. In ~ the very same time, this ideals urged the state to act justly toward its people. There to be reciprocity also in the reality that the state to be funded partially by soil taxes (a portion of the harvest); this meant that the prosperity of the agricultural estates identified the prosperity of the Han government.

Emperor Wu likewise founded great government industries and transportation and also delivery services, developed governmental manage of profit, and also imposed a 5% revenue tax. He produced civil-service examinations to test potential federal government officials top top their knowledge of the Confucian classics, so the bureaucrats would be preferred for their intelligence rather of your social connections. Emperor Wu additionally reformed the Chinese economy and nationalized the salt and iron industries, and also he initiated reforms that made farming an ext efficient.

Through Emperor Wu’s southern and western conquests, the Han empire made call with the Indian social sphere. Emperor Wu repelled the invading barbarians (the Xiongnu, or Huns, a nomadic-pastoralist warrior people from the Eurasian steppe), and also roughly doubled the dimension of the empire, claiming floor that contained Korea, Manchuria, and even component of Turkistan. As China propelled its boundaries further, trade contacts were created with lands come the west, many notably via the Silk Road.

Challenges during the western Han Period

Nonetheless, the Han faced many challenges. Emperor Gaozu bonus his supporters v grants of land, which began again the same problems that had carried down the Zhou Dynasty. Numerous rebellions damaged out, the most serious of which to be the Rebellion of the 7 States. Nonetheless, the Han emperors stamped out the rebellions and also gradually lessened the power of the tiny kingdoms (though never ever abolished lock completely).

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Another significant danger come the Han to be the outside threat the the barbarians, the most dangerous of whom to be the Huns. However, the Han empire was maybe to confront these internal and external threats and also survive because of the strong central state they had actually established.