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Qin and Han China. WHAP. Qin Dynasty. Han Dynasty. General Info. 221 B.C. - 206 B.C. 206 B.C. – 220 A.D. The Most Famous Ruler. First Emperor. Qin Shih Huangdi. Wu Ti. Dynasty. Dynasty. It was short-lived. It lasted over 400 years. Geography. Qin Dynasty.

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general info

Qin Dynasty

Han Dynasty

General Info

221 B.C. - 206 B.C.

206 B.C. – 220 A.D.

The Most Famous Ruler

First Emperor

Qin Shih Huangdi

Wu Ti



It was short-lived.

It lasted over 400 years.


Qin Dynasty

  • Extended Chinese territory to the south
  • Reached up to present-day Hong Kong on the South China Sea and Northern Vietnam.

Han Dynasty

  • Extended to Korea, Indochina, and Central Asia.


  • Maritime Silk Road- origins in the Han dynasty.
  • The 7000 mile route spanned China, Central Asia, Northern India, and the Parthian and Roman Empires.
  • Raw and processes silk transported along the overland silk road.
  • The maritime routes opened by Emperor Han Wudi provided access to the Roman Empire via India.
  • Increased the number of foreign merchants present in China


  • The Yellow Turban Rebellion 184 A.D.

Through Taoism, Zhang Jue began to convince masses of people that the Han rulers had lost the Mandate of Heaven. Subsequently, he called for a full blown rebellion which turned out to be extremely violent and destructive, and eventually lead to the downfall of the Han dynasty.

  • Chu-Han War 206 B.C.

Liu Bang conquered the troops of the Qin Dynasty. After four years of war Liu Bang defeated his rival and established the Han Dynasty.



  • The Emperors encouraged the development of agriculture.
  • Grew rice, and wheat, and provided salt.
  • Under Wu Di’s reign the Lou Che was invented, which was used for ploughing and sowing. This saved manual labor.
  • Silk was invented and was used as currency.

Population Growth & Decline

  • With the advanced technology, farming flourished more. As farming became more productive, population thus naturally increased.
  • As the rulers expanded the Chinese territory toward such countries as Korea and Vietnam, population increased as more land was gained.


  • Bubonic Plague

not only decreased population, but also disrupted trade, industry, finance, and society.

  • European Plagues

spread over the silk roads brought down the Han Empire .

  • Small Pox, Measles, Chickenpox, and Rubella spread throughout countries through trade.
  • The East-West trade linking Rome with china through the Silk Road introduced Small pox and measles to China.
  • Writings were found suggesting that an ancient disease called Leprosy existed. Can be referred to as Leprosy or Syphilis.
  • May have been introduced into China from India.



  • Inter-migration within China

As the empire expanded southward into present day Hong Kong, and later further towards Korea, Indochina, and Central Asia, people moved to these new areas as they provided new opportunities for farming, and overall wealth and prosperity.


Social Structure

  • Aristocracy & Bureaucracy
  • Skilled laborers, Iron workers, farmers, etc.
  • Unskilled laborers
  • In Han China, there was a three tier social system. At the top of this was the Aristocrats and Bureaucrats, followed by the skilled laborers (iron workers, farmers, etc) and then the unskilled laborers which included people like servants.

Gender Structure

  • Women were subordinate and had their own clearly defined roles.
  • Women sometimes gained power as mothers in law of younger women brought into the household.
  • Same gender hierarchy existed among children. Boys > Girls
  • Considered the head of family, the oldest son who had the most authority other than his father, inherited everything.

The Arts

Qin Dynasty

  • The arts did not exist in the Qin Dynasty because Emperor Qin Shihuang ordered musical instruments and art forms to be burned. He considered them an unnecessary item in China because it taught people to have their own thoughts.

Han Dynasty

  • Emperors and musicians during the Han Dynasty wished to bring back the arts.
  • They wanted to adapt to Confucian thought, which considered music as an intellectual pursuit.
  • Office of Music (Yuefu) was created to collect the folk music of China
  • During the Han Dynasty 829 people were employed in three orchestras.

Literature/Sacred Writings/Writing System

  • Confucian writing
  • Several writers elaborated Confucian philosophy during the Han dynasty.
  • Learning and reciting poetry became significant part of Chinese education
  • Five Classics: Were used in civil service examinations. Included historical treatises, speeches, and a discussion of etiquette and ceremonies
  • most commonly used script: Lishu script. They used it because it was faster and more accessible, which they needed for governmental issues.
  • During the Qin Dynasty, the language was unified as one dialect.

Government Structure

Shih Huangdi

  • He provided a single law code for the whole empire
  • Established a uniform tax system
  • Appointed governors to each district. These rulers had legal and military powers. They also had their own lower rulers for smaller regions.
  • Epitome of effective centralized government

Government Structure

Han Dynasty

  • Established 130,000 bureaucrats. Had to take examinations.
  • Judicial matters were done by local governments.
  • Military was not extremely strong.
  • Emphasized Confucian philosophy as an official Chinese values..
  • Sponsored public works (irrigation/canal systems)
  • Standardized currency to facilitate trade
  • Regulated agricultural supplies

Family Organization

  • Patriarchal families
  • Extended family networks through brothers, uncles, grandparents, and others.
  • The practice of ancestor worship was important to family authority among the affluent landowners.
  • Village authority was supreme over family rule among the ordinary farmers.

Religious Beliefs


  • Buddhism originated in northern India during the 6th century.
  • Han Buddhism was popular during the Han Dynasty.
  • Emperor Tai Wu persecuted Buddhism.


  • Taoism was popular during the reign of the Han Dynasty.
  • Under the Qin Dynasty schools of Taoist philosophy began to emerge.


  • Confucianism was popular during both dynasties.

In China during the classical age (600 B.C.E-600 C.E, the Mandate of Heaven would continue to be a guiding principle of dynastic rule, agricultural productivity would be essential to maintain the populace but the opening up of the silk route during the Han Dynasty would bring great external developments as they extended their territorial boundaries