Han Fei was a legalist philosopher and essayist in the 3rd century during the Warring States Period. His legalist thought had provided important theoretical support for the rule of the later Qin dynasty, China’s first centralized state.
Han Fei was a prince of the royal family of the State of Han. He stuttered and could not present his ideas in court, which was a serious impediment. But he overcame this by developing one of the most brilliant writing styles in ancient China. Continue reading Han Fei and His Legalist Philosophy
The Ming dynasty began in 1368 when Zhu Yuanzhang was crowned in Nanjing. During his 31-year reign, Zhu Yuanzhang, or Emperor Taizu, further centralized power of the feudal autocracy. He executed many officials and often used violence in dealing with suspected conspirators. After Taizu’s death, his grandson ascended to the throne and became known as Emperor Jianwen. He was defeated by his uncle, Zhu Di, who made himself Emperor Chengzu. In 1421 he moved the capital to Beijing from Nanjing. Continue reading Ming Dynasty
Having witnessed more than 2,000 years of slave society, the history of China welcomed the birth of the first consolidated, centralized, feudal empire. This dynasty was the Qin (in 221 B.C), whose significance would be recognized in the later ages.
In the States and Warring period (from 475 BC to 222 B.C), namely the end of the slave society, many small states battled with each other. Seven strong states survived, which were called the “Seven Powers”, namely, Qin, Qi, Chu, Wei, Yan, Han, and Zhao. Qin, situated in the northwestern region, carried out earlier reformations of agriculture and military affairs and flourished quickly. In the year of 247 B.C, Yinzheng was enthroned, who at the time was only 13 years old. Later, at the age of 22, Yinzheng was in control. He began to make efforts to swallow up the other six powers and consolidate China. He recruited talents, such as Zhengguo who was the spy from Zheng, whom Zhengguo Dyke was named after. This helped to turn the 40 thousand hectares of saline-alkali soil into fertile farmland. This would supply enough to influence consolidation. In less than 10 years, Yin annihilated the remaining six powers and succeeded to make out a new vast empire. As a result, the Qin Empire was established and Yin has been called the “The first Emperor”. Continue reading Qin Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty lasted from 1644-1911 A.D. By and large, 12 emperors reigned during a period of 268 years with Nuerhachi being the first and Puyi being the last.
At its most prosperous time, the domain of the dynasty once reached 12 million square kilometers. Later, in 1616 Nuerhachi established Jin and in 1636 Huang Taiji changed the dynasty’s name to Qing. Furthermore, in 1644 Li Zicheng led the rebellious peasant army and overthrew the Ming Dynasty. The Qing army had the advantage of the war and defeated the peasants by coming in through the Shanhai Pass. As a result of his defeat, Emperor Chongzhen committed suicide. Beijing was made the capital and the court eliminated other revolts of the peasants and remained southern Ming forces. Continue reading Qing Dynasty
In 581 A.D, China was reunified by the short-lived Sui dynasty, which lasted 37 years until 618 A.D., when Yang Guang, the successor of Emperor Sui Wen Di, was hanged. Sui dynasty’s early demise was attributed to the government’s tyrannical demands on the people, who bore the crushing burden of taxes and compulsory labor. These resources were overstrained in the completion of the Grand Canal (a monumental engineering feat) and in the undertaking of other construction projects, including the reconstruction of the Great Wall. Yang Jian, the founder of the dynasty, made some contributions to abolish cruel penalties and establish new ways to select court officials. Continue reading Sui and Tang Dynasty