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China, a History

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Author Topic: China, a History  (Read 3121 times)
Bee Cha
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« Reply #90 on: October 07, 2007, 06:38:29 am »

Beginning of the Silk Road

From 138 BC, Emperor Wu also dispatched Zhang Qian twice as his envoy to the Western Regions, and in the process pioneered the route known as the Silk Road from Chang'an (today's Xi'an, Shaanxi Province), through Xinjiang and Central Asia, and on to the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Following Zhang Qian's embassy and report, commercial relations between China and Central as well as Western Asia flourished, as many Chinese missions were sent throughout the 1st century BC, initiating the development of the Silk Road:

"The largest of these embassies to foreign states numbered several hundred persons, while even the smaller parties included over 100 members... In the course of one year anywhere from five to six to over ten parties would be sent out." (Shiji, trans. Burton Watson).
China also sent missions to Parthia, which were followed up by reciprocal missions from Parthian envoys around 100 BC:

"When the Han envoy first visited the kingdom of Anxi (Parthia), the king of Anxi dispatched a party of 20,000 horsemen to meet them on the eastern border of the kingdom... When the Han envoys set out again to return to China, the king of Anxi dispatched envoys of his own to accompany them... The emperor was delighted at this." (Shiji, 123, trans. Burton Watson).
From 138 BC, Emperor Wu also dispatched Zhang Qian twice as his envoy to the Western Regions, and in the process pioneered the route known as the Silk Road from Chang'an (today's Xi'an, Shaanxi Province), through Xinjiang and Central Asia, and on to the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Following Zhang Qian's embassy and report, commercial relations between China and Central as well as Western Asia flourished, as many Chinese missions were sent throughout the 1st century BC, initiating the development of the Silk Road:

"The largest of these embassies to foreign states numbered several hundred persons, while even the smaller parties included over 100 members... In the course of one year anywhere from five to six to over ten parties would be sent out." (Shiji, trans. Burton Watson).
China also sent missions to Parthia, which were followed up by reciprocal missions from Parthian envoys around 100 BC:

"When the Han envoy first visited the kingdom of Anxi (Parthia), the king of Anxi dispatched a party of 20,000 horsemen to meet them on the eastern border of the kingdom... When the Han envoys set out again to return to China, the king of Anxi dispatched envoys of his own to accompany them... The emperor was delighted at this." (Shiji, 123, trans. Burton Watson).

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Bee Cha
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« Reply #91 on: October 07, 2007, 06:39:21 am »



The 138–126 BC travels of Zhang Qian to the West, Mogao Caves, 618–712 AD mural.
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« Reply #92 on: October 07, 2007, 06:40:30 am »

Rise of landholding class

To secure funding for his triumphant campaigns against the Xiongnu, Emperor Wu relinquished land control to merchants and the rich, and in effect legalized the privatization of lands. Land taxes were based on the sizes of fields instead of on income. The harvest could not always pay the taxes completely as incomes from selling harvest were often market-driven and a stable amount could not be guaranteed, especially not after harvest-reducing natural disasters. Merchants and prominent families then lured peasants to sell their lands since land accumulation guaranteed living standards of theirs and their descendants' in the agricultural society of China. Lands were hence accumulating into a new class of landholding families. The Han government in turn imposed more taxes on the remaining independent servants in order to make up the tax losses, therefore encouraging more peasants to come under the landholding elite or the landlords. This could be seen through such examples as the written evidence in the Yan Tie Lun (Discourses on Salt and Iron), written about 80 BC, where the Lord Grand Secretary is quoted in this passage in his support of nationalizing the salt and iron industries:

“ Formerly the overbearing and powerful great families, obtaining control of the profits of the mountains and lakes, mined iron ore and smelted it with great bellows, and evaporated brine for salt. A single family would assemble a multitude, sometimes as many as a thousand men or more, for the most part wandering unattached plebeians (fang liu ren min) who had traveled far from their own villages, abandoning the tombs (of their ancestors). Thus attaching themselves to the great families, they came together in the midst of mountain fastnesses or desolate marshes, bringing about thereby the fruition of business based on selfish intrigue (for profit) and intended to aggrandise the power of particular firms and factions.

Ideally the peasants pay the landlords certain periodic (usually annual) amount of income, who in turn provide protection against crimes and other hazards. In fact an increasing number of peasant population in the prosperous Han society and limited amount of lands provided the elite to elevate their standards for any new subordinate peasants. The inadequate education and often complete illiteracy of peasants forced them into a living of providing physical services, which were mostly farming in an agricultural society. The peasants, without other professions for their better living, compromised to the lowered standard and sold their harvest to pay their landlords. In fact they often had to delay the payment or borrow money from their landlords in the aftermath of natural disasters that reduced harvests. To make the situation worse, some Han rulers double-taxed the peasants. Eventually the living conditions of the peasants worsened as they solely depended on the harvest of the land they once owned.

The landholding elite and landlords, for their part, provided inaccurate information of subordinate peasants and lands to avoid paying taxes; to this very end corruption and incompetence of the Confucian scholar gentry on economics would play a vital part. Han court officials who attempted to strip lands out of the landlords faced such enormous resistance that their policies would never be put in to place. In fact only a member of the landholding families, for instance Wang Mang, was able to put his reforming ideals into effect despite failures of his "turning the clock back" policies.


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Bee Cha
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« Reply #93 on: October 07, 2007, 06:41:41 am »



A terracotta horse head from the Late Han Dynasty (2nd century).
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Bee Cha
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« Reply #94 on: October 07, 2007, 06:42:57 am »



A bronze coin of the Han Dynasty—circa 1st century BC.

Interruption of Han rule

After 200 years, Han rule was interrupted briefly during AD 9–24 by Wang Mang, a reformer and a member of the landholding families. The economic situation deteriorated at the end of Western Han Dynasty. Wang Mang, believing the Liu family had lost the Mandate of Heaven, took power and turned the clock back with vigorous monetary and land reforms, which damaged the economy even further.

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Bee Cha
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« Reply #95 on: October 07, 2007, 06:44:19 am »



Han Dynasty commanderies and kingdoms, AD 2
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« Reply #96 on: October 07, 2007, 06:45:20 am »



Han dynasty provinces AD 189
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« Reply #97 on: October 07, 2007, 06:46:01 am »

Rise and fall of Eastern Han Dynasty

A distant relative of Liu royalty, Liu Xiu, prevailed after a number of agrarian rebellions had overthrown Wang Mang's Xin Dynasty, and he reestablished the Han Dynasty (commonly referred to as the Eastern Han Dynasty, as his capital was at Luoyang, east of the old Han Dynasty capital at Chang'an). He and his son Emperor Ming of Han and grandson Emperor Zhang of Han were generally considered able emperors whose reigns were the prime of the Eastern Han Dynasty. After Emperor Zhang, however, the dynasty fell into states of corruption and political infighting among three groups of powerful individuals -- eunuchs, empresses' clans, and Confucian scholar-officials. None of these three parties was able to improve the harsh livelihood of peasants under the landholding families. Land privatizations and accumulations on the hands of the elite affected the societies of the Three Kingdoms and the Southern and Northern Dynasties that the landholding elite held the actual driving and ruling power of the country. Successful ruling entities worked with these families, and consequently their policies favored the elite. Adverse effects of the Nine grade controller system or the Nine rank system were brilliant examples.

Taiping Taoist ideals of equal rights and equal land distribution quickly spread throughout the peasantry. As a result, the peasant insurgents of the Yellow Turban Rebellion swarmed the North China Plain, the main agricultural sector of the country. Power of the Liu royalty then fell into the hands of local governors and warlords, despite suppression of the main upraising of Zhang Jiao and his brothers. Three overlords eventually succeeded in control of the whole of China proper, ushering in the period of the Three Kingdoms. The figurehead Emperor Xian reigned until 220 when Cao Pi forced his abdication.

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« Reply #98 on: October 07, 2007, 06:46:56 am »



Tombs of the Han Dynasty
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Bee Cha
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« Reply #99 on: October 07, 2007, 06:47:57 am »



A Western Han Dynasty bronze tripod lamp
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Bee Cha
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« Reply #100 on: October 07, 2007, 06:48:49 am »



A Western Han Dynasty gilt-bronze lamp set
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« Reply #101 on: October 07, 2007, 06:49:38 am »

Sovereigns of Han Dynasty

Han Dynasty Sovereigns Posthumous Name Personal Name Period of Reign Era Name Range of years
Convention: "Han" + posthumous name, excepting Liu Gong, Liu Hong, Ruzi Ying, the Prince of Changyi, the Marquess of Beixiang, and the Prince of Hongnong.
Western Han Dynasty 206 BC – 9 AD
Gao Zu
高帝 Liu Bang
劉邦 206 BC – 195 BC Did not exist
Hui Di
惠帝 Liu Ying
劉盈 194 BC – 188 BC Did not exist
Shao Di (Shao Di Gong)
少帝 Liu Gong
劉恭 188 BC – 184 BC Did not exist
Shao Di (Shao Di Hong)
少帝 Liu Hong
劉弘 184 BC – 180 BC Did not exist
Wen Di
文帝 Liu Heng
劉恆 179 BC – 157 BC Hòuyuán (後元) 163 BC – 156 BC
Jing Di
景帝 Liu Qi
劉啟 156 BC – 141 BC Zhōngyuán (中元)
Hòuyuán (後元) 149 BC – 143 BC
143 BC – 141 BC
Wu Di
武帝 Liu Che
劉徹 140 BC – 87 BC Jiànyuán (建元)

Yuánguāng(元光)
Yuánshuò (元朔)
Yuánshòu (元狩)
Yuándǐng (元鼎)
Yuánfēng (元封)
Tàichū (太初)
Tiānhàn (天漢)
Tàishǐ (太始)
Zhēnghé (征和)


Hòuyuán (後元) 140 BC – 135 BC

134 BC – 129 BC
128 BC – 123 BC
122 BC – 117 BC
116 BC – 111 BC
110 BC – 105 BC
104 BC – 101 BC
100 BC – 97 BC
96 BC – 93 BC
92 BC – 89 BC


88 BC – 87 BC
Zhao Di
昭帝 Liu Fuling
劉弗陵 86 BC – 74 BC Shǐyuán (始元)

Yuánfèng (元鳳)


Yuánpíng (元平) 86 BC – 80 BC

80 BC – 75 BC


74 BC
The Prince of Changyi
昌邑王 or 海昏侯 Liu He
劉賀 74 BC Yuánpíng (元平) 74 BC
Xuan Di
宣帝 Liu Xun
劉詢 73 BC – 49 BC Běnshǐ (本始)

Dìjié (地節)
Yuánkāng (元康)
Shénjué (神爵)
Wǔfèng (五鳳)
Gānlù (甘露)


Huánglóng (黃龍) 73 BC – 70 BC

69 BC – 66 BC
65 BC – 61 BC
61 BC – 58 BC
57 BC – 54 BC
53 BC – 50 BC


49 BC
Yuan Di
元帝 Liu Shi
劉奭 48 BC – 33 BC Chūyuán (初元)

Yǒngguāng (永光)
Jiànzhāo (建昭)


Jìngníng (竟寧) 48 BC – 44 BC

43 BC – 39 BC
38 BC – 34 BC


33 BC
Cheng Di
成帝 Liu Ao
劉驁 32 BC – 7 BC Jiànshǐ (建始)

Hépíng (河平)
Yángshuò (陽朔)
Hóngjiā (鴻嘉)
Yǒngshǐ (永始)
Yuányán (元延n2)


Suīhé (綏和) 32 BC – 28 BC

28 BC – 25 BC
24 BC – 21 BC
20 BC – 17 BC
16 BC – 13 BC
12 BC – 9 BC


8 BC – 7 BC
Ai Di
哀帝 Liu Xin
劉欣 6 BC – 1 BC Jiànpíng (建平)
Yuánshòu (元壽) 6 BC – 3 BC
2 BC – 1 BC
Ping Di
平帝 Liu Kan
劉衎 1 BC – 5 Yuánshǐ (元始) 1 – 5
Ruzi Ying
孺子嬰 Liu Ying
劉嬰 6 – 8 Jùshè (居攝)
Chūshǐ (初始) 6 – October 8
November 8 – December 8
Xin Dynasty (AD 9–23)
Xin Dynasty of Wang Mang (王莽) 9 – 23 Shǐjiànguó (始建國)

Tiānfēng (天鳳)


Dìhuáng (地皇) 9 – 13

14 – 19


20 – 23
Continuation of Han Dynasty
Geng Shi Di
更始帝 Liu Xuan
劉玄 23 – 25 Gēngshǐ (更始) 23 – 25
Eastern Han Dynasty 25 – 220
Guang Wu Di
光武帝 Liu Xiu
劉秀 25 – 57 Jiànwǔ (建武)
Jiànwǔzhongōyuán (建武中元) 25 – 56
56 – 57
Ming Di
明帝 Liu Zhuang
劉莊 58 – 75 Yǒngpíng (永平) 58 – 75
Zhang Di
章帝 Liu Da
劉炟 76 – 88 Jiànchū (建初)

Yuánhé (元和)


Zhānghé (章和) 76 – 84

84 – 87


87 – 88
He Di
和帝 Liu Zhao
劉肇 89 – 105 Yǒngyuán (永元)
Yuánxīng (元興) 89 – 105
105
Shang Di
殤帝 Liu Long
劉隆 106 Yánpíng (延平) 9 months in 106
An Di
安帝 Liu Hu
劉祜 106 – 125 Yǒngchū (永初)

Yuánchū (元初)
Yǒngníng (永寧)
Jiànguāng (建光)


Yánguāng (延光) 107 – 113

114 – 120
120 – 121
121 – 122


122 – 125
Shao Di, the Marquess of Beixiang
少帝 or 北鄉侯 Liu Yi
劉懿 125 Yánguāng (延光) 125
Shun Di
順帝 Liu Bao
劉保 125 – 144 Yǒngjiàn (永建)

Yángjiā (陽嘉)
Yǒnghé (永和)
Hàn'ān (漢安)


Jiànkāng (建康) 126 – 132

132 – 135
136 – 141
142 – 144


144
Chong Di
沖帝 Liu Bing
劉炳 144 – 145 Yōngxī (永嘉) 145
Zhi Di
質帝 Liu Zuan
劉纘 145 – 146 Běnchū (本初) 146
Huan Di
桓帝 Liu Zhi
劉志 146 – 168 Jiànhé (建和)

Hépíng (和平)
Yuánjiā (元嘉)
Yǒngxīng (永興)
Yǒngshòu (永壽)
Yánxī (延熹)


Yǒngkāng (永康) 147 – 149

150
151 – 153
153 – 154
155 – 158
158 – 167


167
Ling Di
靈帝 Liu Hong
劉宏 168 – 189 Jiànníng (建寧)

Xīpíng (熹平)
Guānghé (光和)


Zhōngpíng (中平) 168 – 172

172 – 178
178 – 184


184 – 189
Shao Di, the Prince of Hongnong
少帝 or 弘農王 Liu Bian
劉辯 189 Guīngxī (光熹)
Zhàoníng (昭寧) 189
189
Xian Di
獻帝 Liu Xie (liú xié)
劉協 189 – 220 Yǒnghàn (永漢)

(中平}
Chūpíng (初平)
Xīngpíng (興平)
Jiàn'ān (建安)


Yánkāng (延康) 189

189
190 – 193
194 – 195
196 – 220


220
« Last Edit: October 07, 2007, 06:55:18 am by Bee Cha » Report Spam   Logged
Bee Cha
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« Reply #102 on: October 07, 2007, 06:52:01 am »



A Han Dynasty lacquered wooden basket with three-inch figure painting, unearthed at Lolang in North Korea
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Bee Cha
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« Reply #103 on: October 07, 2007, 06:53:03 am »



A bronze Western Han horse in mid gallop, 2nd century BC, found in Gansu

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Bee Cha
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« Reply #104 on: December 08, 2007, 04:15:06 pm »



A Han Dynasty incense burner with a sliding shutter.
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