Han Dynasty: 206 BC - 220 AD

Han Video:

Major Accomplishments: started Confucian traditions in Chinese government, increased size of Great Wall, emperor Wudi expanded Chinese empire into Korea and central Asia, Silk Road expanded to Afghanistan

HAN  DYNASTY 206 B.C.E.-220 C.E. (about. 400 years)


  • The Han continued the Q’in organization and empire to build a strong but humane government, great wealth, good Confucian education for upper class men, important inventions and excellent long distance trade along the Silk Road.  In contrast to the Q’in, the Han followed Confucian ideals rather than the cruel legalism of the Q’in Dynasty.


Liu Bang 1st Han Emperor

  • replaced Legalism with Confucianism
  • Chang’an is capital
  • Confucianism teaches that Emperor is
  • Responsible for keeping harmony
  • Must model goodness and virtue
  • Often attacked from central Asian nomads
  • Confucian Civil Service Examination
  • Han government officials chosen by scores on a Confucian poetry and moral code test
  • Han started schools to train candidates
  • Curriculum is Confucius’s teachings, Chinese history, and Chinese law.

Emperor Wudi, 141-87 B.C.E.

  • Started public Confucian schools
  • Great military leader
  • Colonized Manchuria, Korea, & Vietnam.
  • Larger land Empire than Rome


  • peasant life
  • Military service required of oldest male
  • a month’s labor for govt per year
  • textile manufacturing,
  • water mills
  • iron casting led to steel
  • Chinese traders were able to sail into the Indian Ocean, expanding trade tremendously.
  • SILK Road across Asia to Middle East connects China to Persia, India and Rome


  • Confucianism is VERY influential in govt and social life
  • People follow Confucian morals in all aspects of life
  • Buddhism came to China via the Silk Road
  • Han Society
  • Population tripled  to 50 million
  •  less land per person
  • Farming techniques improved
  • Many people moved to cities
  • Chinese migrated into central Asia
  • Government must provide peace & prosperity, & education
  • Fore Aft Sails, Fishing reel, Water wheel, rudder


  • Han Great Wall
  • Extended the Q’in wall 1500 miles
  • Many more towers and soldiers to guard China


  • grand temples and palaces.
  • jade and ivory carvings and ceramic figures.
  • Improved bronzeworking and silkmaking techniques.
  • Revival of Chinese
    landscape painting.


The bandits were numerous, and Yang's forces very weak, so his men were filled with alarm and despondency.  But he organized several dozen horse-drawn vehicles carrying bellows to blow powdered lime strongly forth, he caused rags of fire to be tied to the tails of a number of horses, and he prepared other vehicles full of bowmen and crossbowmen. The lime chariots went forward first, and as the bellows were plied the smoke was blown forwards according to the wind, then the rags were kindled and the frightened horses rushed forwards throwing the enemy lines into confusion, after which the bowmen and crossbowmen opened fire, the drums And gongs were sounded, and the terrified enemy was utterly destroyed and dispersed.


  • Han rulers love for wealth and pleasure weakened the government; often corrupt and brutal.
  • The Han dynasty fell in A.D. 220.
  • Fiscal crisis (they were broke)
  • Raised taxes
  • Peasants get angry
  • Revolts lead to the downfall of the govt
  • The Huns attack over the wall
  • China descends into chaos and warlike states rule for 350 years


  • China is not unified under a single Emperor
  • Return of regional rule and many small regional wars