This post was edited by expatter at 2012-6-28 18:45|
Han Prosperity and Foreign Decline in China.
From the beginning of the Han Dynasty China always showed great prosperity and technological advancement apart from when internal disunity disrupted the harmony of society. Through all the Han controlled periods of Chinese history there were advances in many areas including technology, the arts and medicine. The only time when this seemed to slow significantly was when outsiders or foreigners occupied China and coincidentally led to stagnation. The first real period of this was the occupation of China by the Mongols in the Yuan Dynasty where innovation declined. This was followed by the Han Ming Dynasty where great works commenced and trade flourished along with innovation and exploration. The Qing Dynasty Manchurians turned China’sprosperity inwards and were also in turn exploited by Europeans leading to the demise of dynasty. With foreigners deeply entrenched in China the period of the Republic of China 1912 – 1949 oversaw a further decline in China’s fortunes. In1949 the Han finally rid themselves of the foreign influences and after a rickety start China has became a major leading nation in the world once again. It would seem that when the Han have the helm in China then the country prospers, but when there is internal disunity or foreign control then China traditionally declines.
206 BC - 220 AD
The Han Dynasty was an age of economic prosperity and saw asignificant growth of the money economy (coinage) first established during theZhou Dynasty (c. 1050–256 BCE). From the reign of Emperor Wu onward, theChinese court officially sponsored Confucianism in education and courtpolitics, synthesized with the cosmology of later scholars such as DongZhongshu. This policy endured until the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911 CE.Science and technology during the Han period saw significant advances,including papermaking, the nautical steering rudder, the use of negativenumbers in mathematics, the raised-relief map, the hydraulic-powered armillarysphere for astronomy, and a
220 - 280 AD
The Three Kingdoms period was one of the bloodiest inChinese history. Technology advanced significantly during this period. Shuchancellor Zhuge Liang invented the wooden ox, suggested to be an early form ofthe wheelbarrow, and improved on the repeating crossbow. Wei mechanicalengineer Ma Jun is considered by many to be the equal of his predecessor ZhangHeng. He invented a hydraulic-powered, mechanical puppet theatre designed forEmperor Ming of Wei, square-pallet chain pumps for irrigation of gardens inLuoyang, and the ingenious design of the South Pointing Chariot, a non-magneticdirectional compass operated by differential gears.
265 – 420
The Sima clan was initially subordinate to the Wei dynasty,but the clan's influence and power grew greatly after the incident at Gaopingtombs in 249.
Sima Rui founded the Eastern Jin at Jiankang in 317, withits territory stretching across most of today's southern China. The combinationof the Eastern Jin and Sixteen Kingdoms period is sometimes called the EasternJin Sixteen Kingdoms (ch: 東晉十六國). During this period, huge numbers of peoplemoved south from the central plain, stimulating the development of Southern China.
420 – 589
The Southern and Northern Dynasties (Chinese: 南北朝; pinyin:Nánběicháo) was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589AD. Though an age of civil war and political chaos, it was also a time offlourishing arts and culture, advancement in technology, and the spreading ofMahayana Buddhism and Daoism. The period saw large-scale migration of HanChinese people to the lands south of the Yangtze River.
During this period the process of sinicization acceleratedamong the non-Chinese arrivals in the north and among the aboriginal people inthe south. This process was also accompanied by the increasing popularity ofBuddhism (introduced into China in the 1st century AD) in both north and southChina, along with Daoism gaining influence from the outline of Buddhistscriptures (with two essential Daoist canons written during this period).Although multiple story towers such as guard towers and residential apartmentsexisted in previous periods, during this period the distinct Chinese pagodatower (for storing Buddhist scriptures) evolved from the stupa, the latteroriginating from Buddhist traditions of protecting sutras in ancient India.
There were notable technological advances during thisperiod. With the invention of the stirrup during the earlier Western JinDynasty, heavy cavalry became standard in combat. Advances in medicine,astronomy, mathematics, and cartography are also noted by historians. Thefamous Chinese mathematician and astronomer Zu Chongzhi (429–500 AD) belonged tothis age, an intellectual and social product of the elite culture shaped anddeveloped in southern China during this period of time.
581 – 618
This dynasty has often been compared to the earlier QinDynasty in tenor and in the ruthlessness of its accomplishments. The Suidynasty's early demise was attributed to the government's tyrannical demands onthe people, who bore the crushing burden of taxes and compulsory labor. Theseresources were overstrained by the completion of the Grand Canal, a monumentalengineering feat, and in the undertaking of other construction projects,including the reconstruction of the Great Wall. Weakened by costly anddisastrous military campaigns against Goguryeo (in modern day Korea) whichended with the defeat of Sui in the early seventh century, the dynastydisintegrated through a combination of popular revolts, disloyalty, andassassination.