The Period of Great Feudal Unity - the Qin and Han Dynasties
The period of the Qin and Han dynasties began in 221 BC and ended in 220 AD. The Qin Dynasty was the first feudal dynasty to rule the whole of China, and it laid the foundation of a united multi-ethnic country. Many institutions initiated in the Qin and Han dynasties were inherited continuously by later dynasties.
The Qin Dynasty was established in 221 BC by Emperor Qinshihuang, who adopted a series of reforms such as unifying the currencies and writing systems of the previous states. However, the heavy-handed methods of Qinshihuang and his successor led to the overthrow of the Qin Dynasty in 207 BC by a peasant uprising.
In 202 BC, Liu Bang established the Han Dynasty, choosing Chang'an (today's Xi'an) as his capital. In 9 AD, Wang Mang staged a coup, and set up the short-lived Xin Dynasty. The Han Dynasty was restored in 25 AD by Liu Xiu, who moved the capital to the city known today as Luoyang. Subsequently, this period became known to historians as the Eastern Han Dynasty, and the previous one as the Western Han Dynasty. In 220, the Eastern Han Dynasty was overthrown by a peasant uprising. In its over 400 years of existence, the Han Dynasty made achievements in agriculture, defense, science and technology, and culture. Notable among these achievements was the invention of the technique of papermaking, which was a great contribution to world civilization.
During the period of the Qin and Han dynasties, the Silk Road started to connect China with the Roman Empire and the Western world as a whole. With the opening of the Silk Road, China's brilliant culture began to influence the whole world, and the splendid cultural accomplishments of other countries gradually merged into traditional Chinese culture.