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Sui Tang Song Yuan Ming Qing

After the fall of the Han Dynasty, military leaders split China into rival kingdoms, which led to a period of warfare called the Period of Disunion

Lasted for more than 350 years and ended when a northern ruler named Wendi reunified China and founded the Sui dynasty

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Sui Dynasty 581 to 618

Wendi was the first emperor of the dynasty and was also known as Yang Jian

He reunified China

He also established a centralized gov’t and restored order His son, Emperor Sui Yangdi, built the Grand Canal that linked northern and southern China

It was a 1,000 mile waterway that made it easier to trade and ship rice

Millions of peasants were forced to work on the Grand Canal and hundreds of thousands died High taxes and military failures led to Yangdi’s assassination and the end of the dynasty

Tang Dynasty 618 to 907

A Sui general seized power and founded the Tang dynasty, which was a period of prosperity and cultural achievement

Tang rulers began by instituting reforms, such as giving land to peasants, and restoring the civil service exam

China also expanded, regaining lands in Central Asia, along with gaining influence over Korea

Many early Tang rulers were Buddhists, although Buddhism lost official favor later on

Trade revived and the Silk Road once again prospered

Wu Zhao – first and only female emperor

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Invented gunpowder – used mostly for fireworks

Fire-lance: weapon that shot out flame and projectiles up to 40 yards

Perfected the magnetic compass

Sailors could more accurately determine direction and navigate

Developed woodblock printing

Books could be mass produced Gov’t corruption, high taxes, nomadic invasions, and peasant rebellions all led to the decline of the Tang dynasty

A powerful general killed the emperor, ending the dynasty

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Song Dynasty 960 to 1279

After the Tang, China once again split apart until it was reunified under the Song Dynasty

Under the Song, Chinese civilization became the most advanced in the world Enlarged the gov’t bureaucracy and reformed the civil service exam

Exams tested students’ knowledge of Confucianism

Those who passed the exam became scholar-officials, the elite educated members of the gov’t

The exams were a pathway to gain wealth and status

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Scholar-gentry = landed aristocrats who produced most of the candidates for the civil service exam – political and economic elite of China Invasions by northern tribes forced the Song to move the imperial court farther south, but eventually they were conquered by the Mongols, leading to foreign rule in China

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The Mongols

The Mongols were nomadic people who were fierce warriors and skilled horsemen

Were divided into separate clans, each ruled by a khan, or chief

One khan, Temujin, conquered his rivals and united the Mongol clans

He took the title Genghis Khan, which means “universal ruler” Genghis Khan organized the Mongols into a powerful military machine and his armies were highly mobile and could strike quickly

Used brutality and psychological warfare

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Many people surrendered without a fight With his armies, Genghis Khan created the largest land empire in history, controlling much of the Eurasian landmass

On his death, his empire was divided into four parts and given to his heirs

His grandson, Kublai Khan, completed the conquest of China

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Yuan Dynasty 1279 to 1368

Kublai Khan defeated the last Song ruler and had himself declared emperor

This was the first time foreigners ruled China

He established his capital at future Beijing

Explorer Marco Polo was greatly impressed by this city Kublai Khan kept the Chinese gov’t system in place, but its highest positions were staffed by Mongols

He distrusted the Chinese and limited their power

Mongols were made to live apart from the Chinese

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Kublai Khan tried to expand his empire

Sent several invading forces into Southeast Asia, which all failed

He also tried to invade Japan twice, but failed again These military losses, along with Chinese resentment of foreign rule, led to rebellion that ended the Yuan dynasty

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Ming Dynasty 1368 to 1644

A peasant and his rebel army overthrew Mongol ruled and established a new dynasty, taking the title Emperor Hongwu

Hongwu reduced taxes and passed reforms to improve agriculture and trade

He also greatly expanded his powers as emperor, taking over more control of the gov’t

Ming emperors were more powerful than previous emperors Ming rulers gained control of Korea, Mongolia, and parts of Asia

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The Ming capital was established at Beijing

In the center the vast Imperial City was built, also known as the Forbidden City One Ming ruler sponsored overseas voyages

Chinese admiral Zheng He led seven voyages that explored Southeast Asia, India, the Arabian Peninsula, and the east coast of Africa

Zheng He travelled with 300 ships Made contact with the first Europeans since Marco Polo, the Portuguese

Restricted foreign trade to a few ports

Ming disliked the influence of Europeans, especially the missionaries – wanted to preserve China’s traditions

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The Ming emperors decided to isolate China from the outside world The main artistic achievement was the porcelain Ming vases Decline due to weak rulers, corruption, and high taxes, which all leads to a peasant revolt

The Manchus, a group of people who live in Manchuria, invade and conquer the peasant revolt

The last Ming emperor commits suicide and the Manchus establish a dynasty

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Qing Dynasty 1644 to 1911

The Manchus established the Qing dynasty, which would be the last dynasty of China The Manchus adopted the Chinese political system and shared power with them

Showed respect for Chinese customs and maintained Confucian traditions

Remained separate from the Chinese and placed restrictions on them In order to better identify rebels, the Qing gov’t ordered all men to adopt Manchu dress and hairstyles

Men had to adopt the queue = hair style in which the front is shaved with a braid or ponytail in the back

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Missionaries were allowed to enter China

Qing emperors entertained Jesuit priests to learn about European intellectual advances Foreign relations

Conquered Taiwan and Tibet

The Dutch began a thriving trade in Chinese goods

Had to accept China’s terms The Qing dynasty would eventually fall to rebellion in 1911, mostly due to increasing Western influence and the efforts of European imperialism in the 1800s