Han Dynasty

by Corinne and Iris

Politics

Because of China's strong political system during the Han Dynasty, it was able to prosper. Strong, beneficial leaders established a firm method of rule. The Han Dynasty revolved around Confucianism, an idea that means that Han would rule by example, not force. The first emperor was Liu Bang, who overthrew the last Dynasty, the Qin, a time where China suffered. It was Han Gaozu who developed the idea of Confucianism, and who played a major part in Han's Dynasty. Han also restored old practices, which were banned in the Qin dynasty. During Wudi's rule, China's political system thrived, because of his army accomplishments. Wudi conquered foreign lands now known as North Korea, and managed to cross the Great Wall of China. Another ruler throughout the Han Dynasty is Zhang Qian, who embarked on a huge journey and returned with riches, and new sources of trade and agriculture, which brought diversity into China. This led to the development of the Silk Road, a huge system of trade. The Han Dynasty is the longest recorded dynasty and overall benefitted all. However what goes up must come down. Because the army was not united fast enough, rebels burned down the capitol, outside tribes attacked, many fled, and there was corruption throughout the generals. The Han Dynasty was over.
The symbol for Confucianism, an idea that guided the Han Dynasty
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Economics

When Ancient China was ruled by the Han Dynasty, the economy flourished. The establishment of the Silk Road allowed the Chinese to trade all over Asia and even near modern-day Europe. Alliances were formed, and the military protected the roads. Information, knowledge, and culture were spread and much wealth was brought to the empire. There were many common trade goods such as wine, spices, linen, pomegranates, beans, and animal and plant specimens. Luxury goods were silk, cinnamon, ivory, animal skins, and gold, and they were pulled by camels in trade caravans. The Han traded with Iran, the Mediterranean, Rome, Antioch, Baghdad, Tibet, Alexandria, India, and Africa. There were many jobs you could hold in the Han Dynasty. You could be a papermaker, trader,businessman, government official, or military leader if you had enough money. If you were poor or unsuccessful, you could be a soldier, builder, small farmer, slave, footman, or merchant.
A map of the Silk Road. As you can see, it spreads all over Asia and modern-day Europe.
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Inventions/Technology/Science & Architecture

During the Han Dynasty, there were huge advances in technology, science, and architecture. A helpful invention is the seismograph, a device which would alert the Chinese when an earthquake is near. A major trade item China prided itself on is silk, which was in demand throughout Asia, and discovered from silkworms. Many other things we use today were invented in China, specifically in the Han Dynasty. The medical practice of acupuncture, paper, and iron-dipped bamboo poles used for deep drilling. As far as scientific breakthroughs are concerned, Zhang Heng was able to predict eclipses and determine the length of a year. Scientists during the Han Dynasty developed the idea of using herbs and plants as healing power. Houses in China were typically made out of mud, as mud was abundant and inexpensive. The Great Wall of China was also redone and furthermore developed, after Wudi was able to cross it. The Silk Road was also improved upon, which is as known, a source of trade.

Religion/Culture/Social Life

There were three main religions/philosophies that Ancient China and the Han Dynasty was based off of. One of them was Confucianism, which had clearly defined beliefs. They believed that all aspects of life reflected on the universe. They strongly believed in cosmic forces. An example is Yin and Yang, which had to be balanced in order to maintain a good lifestyle. Yang is a sunlit, positive force and Yin is a shaded, negative force. The other religions/philosophies were Daoism and Buddhism. In Buddhism, statues of Buddha were worshiped and in all cultures, dragons were worshiped creatures that brought good luck and fortune. Knowledge and education were prized. Many poems were written, like "Greening Yang" which was a poem based off of Confucianism. There were also many manuscripts from Dao and Confucius used for politics and society. Art was also encouraged, and they made pottery with clay, mud, and a colored glaze. In the forges, they made gold ornaments and jade jewelry. In society, only boys went to the free public schools and the costly universities. There were schools in every province, and the rich hired tutors instead of going to school. In the city, the poor lived in crowded tenements, but in the country, the poor had housing and food to sustain themselves. It was very had for girls to get an education or for women to get power.