Lesson 8 – The Qin and Han Dynasties(221 BC -220 AD)
A. The Qin dynasty was founded by Shi Huang Zhi , China ‘s first great emperor. The Chinese name for China was “Zhongguo” (All that is under heaven) or (middle kingdom).
B. Shi Huang Zhi built much of the Great Wall of China. He began the concept of a strong centralist government and continued Shang Yang’s military and legalist philosophy. During his reign, the metal detector was invented after an assassination attempt on the emperor. The Qin quickly fell out of favor with the vast majority of Confucians who believed in moderation in all things. Qin reaction was to burn all books that did not follow Yang’s legalist view. Dynasty fell immediately after these book-burnings.
C. Accomplishments of the Qin:
- Great Wall begun
- Grand Canal begun
- Written language standardized
- Mandarin becomes standardized language
- First railroad principles developed
D. The Han Dynasty represented over 90% of the Chinese population
E. The capital of the Han Dynasty was Chang’an until 8 AD. After 8 AD, the capital was Luoyang .
F. The Four Great Native Chinese Dynasties:
G. In 141 BC, Han Wu-Ti (Wudi) ruled for 54 years. This was the longest rule up to that time for any native Chinese emperor. Wudi re-established Confucian principles and created a national university. He was also responsible for creating national examinations. Culture was expanded to poetry, music, dancing and art. Western contact was made with the former Persian Empire, now ruled by ancestors of Alexander the Great. An attempted alliance between these two cultures against the Huns was unsuccessful and probably contributed to later Chinese Xenophobia and distrust of all foreign cultures. Firm trade routes along the Silk Road were established through this relationship, however.
H. Han historian Sima Qian (SSuma Chien) was born in 145 BC and wrote “Records of the Historians”, a primary source of Chinese History.
- How did the Qin Dynasty unify China?
- Why was the Great Wall of China doomed to fail?
- Why were the first railroads designs important to China ?
- Why was the establishment of a university under the Han Dynasty important?
Additional Internet Research Links For This Lesson:
Chinese Studies – http://www.easternstudiesdatabase.cn
Education Essays – https://jitterymonks.com/education-essays/
Great Wall of China – http://www.travelchinaguide.com/china_great_wall/
Augmentation of Lesson 8
The Qin were responsible for the centralization of power of the emperor. The Qin greatly expanded the influence of the Chinese empire. Feudalism declined during and after the Qin Dynasty The aristocracy also suffered during and after the Qin; this also accelerated the fall of feudalism. Many migrations took place during the Qin as men and their families tried to avoid lifelong assignments to the Great Wall or Grand Canal . The new concept of land taxes was established by the Qin. Time and work studies, attributed to Taylor in England over a thousand years later, actually originated in China under the Qin during the Great Wall and Grand Canal projects. The Qin is still remembered for its book-burnings and anti-intellectual repression.