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Rise and Fall of Chinese Empires

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1 Rise and Fall of Chinese Empires
Chapter 3 Section 4 Rise and Fall of Chinese Empires

2 The Qin Dynasty Qin Shihuangdi – the first Qin emperor – came to the thrown at age 13. He created a single monetary system and ordered the buildings of a system of roads throughout the entire empire – many of these roads led out from his capital, Xianyang.

3 The Emperor’s Army In 1974, farmers digging a well about 35 miles east of Xi’an discovered an underground pit near the burial mount of the First Qin Emperor The pit contained a vast army made of terra-cotta, or hardened clay, believed to be a recreation of Qin Shihuangdi’s imperial guard, meant to be with the emperor on his journey to the next world. Archaeologist estimate that there are more than 6,000 figures in the first pit alone along with horses, wooden chariots, and 7,000 bronze weapons.

4 The Great Wall When the Xiongnu, nomadic people who resided in the vicinity of the Gobi, challenged Chinese communities near the northern frontier, a number of states constructed walls to keep the nomads out. Qin Shihuangdi’s answer to the problem was to link the walls together to create “The Wall of Ten Thousand Li” (li – a third of a mile) The wall required the efforts of thousands of laborers.

5 Political Structure The Qin Dynasty dramatically changed Chinese politics. Legalism was adopted as the regimes official ideology. Books which opposed the policies were publicly burned and people who opposed the policies of the new regime were punished or executed. Ruled a highly-centralized state. The central bureaucracy was divided into three parts – the civil division, the military division and the censorate – inspectors who checked on government officials to make sure they were doing their jobs.

6 Fall of the Qin Dynasty Qin Shihuangdi was the dynasty’s only ruler.
The emperor died in 210 BC and his dynasty was overthrown four years later. The fall of the Qin Dynasty was followed by a period of civil war but it did not last long, a new dynasty soon arose.

7 The Han Dynasty Emerged in 202 BC under the rule of Liu Pang, was of peasant origin, but became known by his title of Han Gaozu – Exalted Emperor of Han

8 Political & Social Structure
The first Han emperor discarded the Qin dynasty’s harsh policies and Legalism, Confucian principles became the new state philosophy. The central bureaucracy was divided into three parts – the civil service, the military and the censorate. Kept the Qin system of choosing government officials based on merit rather than birth. Civil service examination and a school to train these candidates.

9 Political & Social Structure
Besides providing a strong central government, the Han emperors expanded the Chinese empire. Han Wudi – Marital Emperor of Han, added the regions south of the Chang Jiang. He also drove back the Xiongnu beyond the Great Wall. After his death in 87 BC, China experienced almost 150 years of peace.

10 Technology & Culture New technologies in textile manufacturing, water mills and windmills for grinding grain and iron casting added to the economic prosperity of the Han Era. With the invention of the rudder and fore-and-aft rigging, ships could sail into the wind – made it possible for merchant ships carrying heavy cargoes to travel throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and India.

11 Fall of the Han Empire As weak rulers amused themselves with the pleasures of court life, the power to the central government began to decline. Official corruption and the concentration of the land in the hands of the wealthy led to widespread peasant unrest and nomadic raids continued in the north. By 170 AD, wars, intrigues at the court, and peasant uprisings brought the virtual collapse of the Han Dynasty.

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