Liu Bang and Xiang Yu
After the uprising led by Chen Sheng and Wu Guang failed, Liu Bang and Xiang Yu continued to lead peasants against the Qin Dynasty. In 207 BC, Xiang Yu with a small force routed the main body of the Qin army at Julu (southwest of today's Pingxiang in Hebei Province). At the same time, Liu Bang's peasant army pressed on toward Xianyang, and forced the abdication of the second Qin emperor.
Xiang Yu then proclaimed himself King of Western Chu, and made Liu Bang King of Han. From 206 BC, Xiang Yu and Liu Bang fought for rule of the empire for nearly four years, in what historians call the "War between Chu and Han". At the beginning of the war, Xiang Yu had an army of 400,000, whereas Liu Bang's forces numbered only 100,000. But Liu Bang won the support of the common people by abolishing the draconian laws and decrees of the Qin Dynasty, and enforcing strict discipline on his troops. In addition, he had the assistance of able officials like Xiao He, Zhang Liang and Han Xin. Occupying the rich and fertile central Shaanxi plain, the Han army led by Liu Bang gradually grew stronger. Xiang Yu, in contrast, was arrogant, and his army was lawless. Wherever they went they lost the support of the people.
In 202 BC, the Han army besieged the Chu army in Gaixia (in today's Anhui Province). Xiang Yu escaped the encirclement with a small force, but was trapped at the Wujiang River (in the northeast of today's Hexian County in Anhui Province), and committed suicide.
Liu Bang then established the Han Dynasty, with Chang'an (in the northwest of today's Xi'an) as the capital.