HS150 World Civilization
The Sui Dynasty began on 589-618. Lead by General Yang Jian. General Yang Jian conquered China in the 6th century thus ending the Age of Disunity. For the first time in centuries, one man controlled China. In 581 General Yang Jian unseated the monarch and declared Heaven’s Mandate thus beginning a new dynasty called the Sui Dynasty. General Yang Jian reigned from 589-618. He was Emperor Wendi. His focus was on making and improving connections between the North and South. General Yang Jian developed nationwide law code which put into place the civil service programs and systems that had been started by the Han rulers. General Jian constructed the Grand Canal, a historic waterway that connected the north with the south. Therefore, since he had the Grand Canal built, this helped in the transport of troops and grain, which united the North’s military power with the South’s agricultural accomplishment. This provided a key strength of Chinese power and great prosperity. The Sui is the shortest dynasty, it only lasted for 38 years.
Because, of the restoration of power, Emperor Wendi established a stabilized and peaceful life in China. This brought political, economic and social growth. Therefore, this helped to increased agricultural acreage. This helped to produce more crops for food. They also developed shipbuilding technology that reached greater heights and commence became more prosperous which expanded the national economy. There were policies in place like the Juntian System. This system meant that there was an equal division of fields. China also had a system called the Zutiao which was a tax moderation system.
The Tang Dynasty started in 618 and ended in 907. This was led by Emperor Taizong and Empress Wu. During this period in China’s history, there was political stability, economic success, military expansion, cultural refinement, and technology modernization. In the Tang Dynasty, China spread into Central Asia. He made the Northern Nomads become his subjects and partners. With the help of the nomads, he conquered Turkestan. With this conquest, he opened trade passages and cultural networks. Under Emperor Taizong’s rule China advocated education, the arts and modernized the civil service. They also tolerated other religions even though he was a Confucian.
After the death of Taizong one of his wives or concubines became Empress Wu. Her name was Wu Zhao, who would later be known as Wu Zetian and as Empress Wu. Although, she was supposed to enter a Buddhist convent when the emperor died she was still 24 years old and was reluctant to stay a nun. She enamored the next emperor when he visited her at the convent. Apparently, she had seduced him, he fell in love with her and she became his full-time consort and then his empress. When that emperor’s health failed she became regent and proficiently ruled China. Her period of power brought tax relief to the people of China. She expertly enhanced the civil service, she reduced the power of the old nobility, cultivated military growth and bolstered economic wealth. When Empress Wu was removed, her grandson took the throne as emperor. His name was Xuanzong and he reigned for 713-756. During his tenure as emperor China was bloodless and affluent. Great success occurred during his reign, He lengthens the Grand Canal, reconstructed the bureaucracy and monetary system and he improved the arts.
The empire collapsed when he fell in love with a princess named Yang Guifei and he abandoned his responsibilities as Emperor by letting her relatives take charge. A revolt led by An Lushan who was a Chinese general of Turkish descent forced the emperor out.
The Song Dynasty 960-1127. This dynasty did not match in size or military prowess of the Han and Tang Dynasties. Later, it only ruled the South. The political and economic strength was dominated. The Song dynasty reveled on being stable and prosperous. This was due to the governess of Khitan Lia. He rebuilt and enhanced the Confucian civil service. He promoted professional governance. He prohibited court eunuchs from becoming high state officials, this stopped the clashes between the eunuchs and the civil service workers. The emperor consolidated control over the army and this decreased the influence of nobles and warlords. To conduct the territory, the Song combined the Confucian civil service exams. These were initiated in the Han era and continued by the Sui and Tang dynasties. These tests were now institutionalized and established. The candidates had to have extensive knowledge of the Confucian Classics. Possible bureaucrats had to pass a series of challenging exams, first on the regional and then on the national level. Less than 1 percent became state officials due to the difficulty of the exam. Officials had to earn their promotions to the next level.
Moreover, the one thing that distinguished this Emperor from the others is that he did not let his son succeed him. He made sure that his accomplished younger brother who finished the conquest of the south and centralized dynastic control. The Song dynasty rulers made no attempt to conquer other lands because they did not want to deplete China’s assets.
Finally, in 1004, the Song dynasty did not conquer the Khitans and failed to gain the northern border provinces. The Song dynasty made a truce and complied to pay a massive annual gift. These were Comparable agreements that cost less than invasion and the domination was in the agreement with China’s borders. Therefore, by overturning the old practice of making the weaker neighbor pay, assured China to purchase peace with silver and silks.
Hansen, V. (2000}. The open empire: A history of China to 1600. WW Norton.
Morton, W. S., & Lewis, C. M. (2005). China: Its history and culture (pp. 126-7). New York. McGraw-Hill