The Qin and Han dynasties (221-220 BC) were first era of great unification of China. In this era, Chinese civilization summarized and combined achievements of civilization from Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period, which contributed to maturity of Chinese civilization. Looking around world, Western Asia has long established vast Persian Empire, and Greece has also created Macedonian Empire in Asia, Europe, and Africa. India also founded Magadha empire. The great unification of China under Qin and Han dynasties allowed China to become pole of world, sharing glory of India, Persia and Rome.First, creation of a single centralized and authoritarian state.
The period of "Spring and Autumn" and "Warring States" was an era of wars and wars, as well as an era of great social change. Until Spring and Autumn period, entire country was free, with hundreds of relatively independent political entities within Zhou dynasty. Starting from Spring and Autumn Period, these vassal states began to merge, and in Warring States Period, only seven powerful states remained, known in history as "Seven Heroes of Warring States Period." In order to meet needs of annexationist wars, various countries carried out large-scale reforms of domestic political system, such as abolition of seniority and wealth system and establishment of a talent selection system; abolition of enfeoffen system and introduction of district system; rule of law was established, peasant system was abolished, and a system of conscription was introduced. As a result, the aristocratic politics of Xia, Shang, and Zhou continued to disintegrate, while centralized politics continued to be established.
Spring and autumn
In 221 BC. The Qin Dynasty united six countries and created an empire of 3 million square kilometers. Subsequently, throughout empire, political system that had appeared in Qin since Warring States era was implemented throughout country. In central government, Qin Shi Huang established imperial system and formally established an autocratic monarchy; in administrative terms, a relatively complete bureaucratic system was established - Sangun and Jiuqing system; at local level, system of prefectures and counties. promoted throughout country. The formation of these political measures marked formal formation of centralization and despotism.
The territory of Qin Dynasty
The Han inherited Qin system, and Han dynasty system underwent new changes based on succession of Qin dynasty. But in general, Qin did not go beyond barriers. For example, at beginning of Western Han Dynasty, a prefecture-state coexistence system was implemented, but later on it continued to weaken power of princes and princes. During Eastern Han Dynasty, system of prefectures and counties developed into three levels of administrative regions. In center, in order to limit power of three princes led by prime minister, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty reused Shang Shuling, servants, generals, etc. to form inner and outer courts. During Eastern Han Dynasty, Shangshu's power continued to expand and became highest administrative authority, while Sangun became a void. In order to accommodate establishment of a bureaucratic system and needs of source of officials, Western Han Dynasty introduced a system of selection of officials, such as investigation and recruitment system. And he built an education system throughout country to train talents for country.
Map of Han Dynasty
Centralization and dictatorship are undoubtedly political basis for turning China into one of centers of world civilization. On this basis, China has ability to concentrate power of entire country to build large-scale projects and solve large-scale tasks. major natural disasters. During this era, Great Wall of China, Efang Palace, and terracotta warriors and horses of Qin Shi Huang were built. The establishment of centralized power also created conditions for repelling foreign aggression and expanding territory. During Qin Dynasty, Huns were conquered in north, and Baiyue in south. During reign of Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty, he made many northern expeditions to Xiongnu, ruled western regions, annexed South Vietnam, Korea and southwestern Yi, expanded China to almost 6 million square kilometers, becoming largest country. in world at that time.
The ruins of Great Wall of Qin
But with establishment of autocratic centralization, its shortcomings began to be exposed. Imperial power is too centralized, prone to tyranny, chaos and bad decisions. Qin Shi Huang, Han Wudi, Wang Mang and other famous tyrants of this era. At same time, when emperor was young, it was easy for relatives and eunuchs to control monarch, and there was a situation where relatives interfered in politics and eunuchs corrupted government. Throughout late Eastern Han dynasty, dictatorship of foreign relatives and eunuchs lasted over 100 years, directly pushing Eastern Han dynasty to a far-reaching end. At same time, contradictions between local and central authorities cannot be resolved forever. Local tyrants, bureaucrats, and other powers continued to grow and finally split one side during a peasant uprising, which led to collapse of empire. In addition, a strong centralized power will also affect normal operation of economy. For example, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty implemented policies such as official exploitation of salt and iron, which dealt a big blow to business.
Qin Shi Huang2. Intensive farming was promoted throughout country.
Beginning with Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period, with application and promotion of iron agricultural implements and livestock breeding methods, China's agriculture entered era of intensive farming. At same time, state abolished system of well fields and promoted development of private ownership of land. After unification of Qin Dynasty, Qin Shihuang extended this economic model throughout country. Agriculture is basis of taxation and labor. After unification of country, land will be checked throughout country, and households will be listed under population (population statistics) as basis for paying taxes and conscription. The Geographic Records of Hanshu contains data on area of cultivated land and population of country in second year of reign of Emperor Pingdi Yuanshi (2 AD) of Western Han Dynasty. This is first accurate record of land area and population in China.
Economic Life of Han Dynasty
The unification of country not only promotes a single economic system and model, but also focuses on implementation of large-scale projects for protection of water resources. During reign of Emperor Wudi of Han Dynasty, Yellow River was successfully managed and economic security was guaranteed. At same time, state also uses administrative power to promote advanced agricultural practices, sowing methods, and production tools. For example, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty ordered Zhao Guo, an agronomist from Western Han Dynasty, to promote method of connecting plows and changing fields. Throughout Han Dynasty, under leadership of officials who sought to "persuade agriculture and mulberries," iron plow cultivation moved from Yellow River basin to Yangtze River basin and then to Pearl River basin. Prior to this, a large number of villages in Yangtze and Pearl River basins still practiced slash-and-burn agriculture. The advancement of livestock technology to south undoubtedly contributed to development of south and laid foundation for turning south into economic center of country.
Speaking of agriculture, you should mention taxes and labor force. During Qin and Han dynasties, taxes were divided into three types: oral tax (poll tax), land rent and miscellaneous taxes. During Qin Dynasty and Emperor Wudi, country's tax burden was relatively heavy: adults were taxed at 120 yuan, and land rent was one-tenth of income. Upon recovery, tax on adult population will be reduced to 40 qian, and land rent will be reduced to one-thirtieth. The system of labor service in Qin and Han dynasties was also basically finalized: as a rule, people began to serve after 15 years, and they could serve in army from age of 20. up to 20 and 23 years respectively. The tax system of Qin and Han dynasties laid post-tax foundation for China in 2000.
Instruction on agriculture and mulberry
The unity of economy is manifested not only in agriculture, but also in industry and trade. After unification of Qin Dynasty, country was ordered to introduce a single "half-two" currency, and chaotic currency of Warring States period was abolished. Since then, China's currency shape has evolved into a coin with a round square hole. . Qin Shi Huang also unified measures and weights of entire country and abolished many checkpoints, which undoubtedly contributed to development of industry and trade. The Han Dynasty continued system of Qin Dynasty, for example Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty promoted five baht coins across country. The unification of country contributes to development of transport industry. During Qin Dynasty, a high-speed road leading to whole country was laid, and Han Dynasty opened two silk roads, a road and a sea, and economic and cultural ties between China and foreign countries became closer than ever. In order to control national economy and increase tax revenues, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty also implemented economic measures such as official use of salt and iron, leveling production and equal standards, which severely restricted normal development of trade. one of China's typical "emphasis on agriculture and restraint in business" policies.
Unification of currencies
At same time, contradiction between land and population in Qin and Han dynasties was also fully disclosed. Due to continuous growth of population, arable land per capita will be greatly reduced under late dynasty, and contradiction between man and land will become very difficult. At same time, under policy of focusing on agriculture and suppressing business, businessmen, soldiers, bureaucrats, nobles and other members of upper class invested in land one after another, becoming "landlords", so land mergers arose. Under Eastern Han Dynasty, land was very concentrated, and a "manor system" of a large land system emerged. The high concentration of land and reduction in area of land per capita led to bankruptcy of a large number of farmers and a serious social crisis. When a major natural disaster strikes, a large number of farmers will take risks and start a large-scale peasant uprising, destroying foundation of this empire. During Qin and Han dynasties, there were three large-scale peasant uprisings by Chen Sheng, Wu Guang, Lvlin Chimei and Huangjin.Third, cultural integration
The culture of Qin and Han dynasties demonstrated a magnificent climate of great unity. The state will influence development of culture through strong centralization. For example, after unification of Qin Dynasty, she adopted "Theory of Beginning and Ending of Five Virtues" and carried out comprehensive "Shuo Correction and Dressing Up". The Qin Dynasty defined itself as virtue of "water", and color was all black. During reign of Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty, same reform was carried out, and Han Dynasty was established as virtue of Tude, and color of clothes was yellow. They also hired astronomers from all over country to develop a new calendar— —— "Taichu Calendar" became first complete calendar in China.
In terms of ideology, unity of thought has been carried out since Qin Dynasty. During Shang Yang period, spread of Confucianism was prohibited. During Qin Shi Huang period, policy of "burning books and burying Confucianism" was carried out, which established authority of legalism. At beginning of Western Han Dynasty, Huang-Lao Taoist thought became orthodox idea of ruling country. From Qin Dynasty to early Han Dynasty, although Confucianism suffered greatly, it continued to absorb outstanding achievements of hundreds of schools, and finally developed into a new Confucianism in Dong Zhongshu period. Since then, Confucianism has established itself as official thought and has been followed to this day. Confucianism here has actually synthesized knowledge of hundreds of schools, so exclusive respect for Confucianism simply reflects great confluence of cultures. Of course, great integration will inevitably make Confucianism move towards theology, make Chenwei popular, and open door for spread of Buddhism and Taoism.
The fusion of cultures is also reflected in literature. In pre-Qin period, Chu Qi literature was developed in south, while argumentative essays and four-character poems were more developed in north. After Qin and Han dynasties, North and South merged, and literary styles continued to be exchanged, resulting in magnificent Han Fu. Han Fu is rich in rhetoric, poor in sound and appearance, and grandiosely presented. The description in it has beauty of Chu Qi, and discussion has momentum of northern essays not without lyrical beauty. It is worthy of crown of a generation of literature. At same time, state also set up Yuefu agency in central government to collect and edit folk poems to create music and dance. Inheriting tradition of collecting folk songs from Book of Songs, Yuefu collected poetry, folk moods, songs and dances from all over country at court and promoted development of Chinese literature, music, dance and other arts.
The Four Masters of Han Fu
In terms of technology, technology of Qin Dynasty has officially established its leading position in world. In field of mathematics, people summarized mathematical knowledge from pre-Qin period and compiled famous "Zhou Pai Xuan Jing" and "Nine Chapters on Counting", which laid foundation for application of mathematics in China. In field of astronomy, great scientists such as Zhang Heng have appeared who have invented advanced observation instruments such as armillary sphere and provided reasonable explanations for lunar eclipses and models of universe; "Medical Materia Shen Nong", "A Treatise on Febrile Diseases". and other medical masterpieces, Zhang Zhongjing, Hua Tuo and other generations of miracle doctors appeared. In terms of production technology, China has become a world leader in iron and steel smelting, pottery, and textile technology. At this time, an important invention in China was emergence of paper-making technology, which greatly accelerated spread of Chinese culture.
The great unification of culture contributes to formation of a single cultural psychology, which, in turn, contributes to great integration of nations. During Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period, Huaxia, Dongyi, Nanman, Xirong, Beidi, Baiyue, Bashu, and other ethnic groups lived in different countries. After cultural exchanges from Warring States period to Qin and Han dynasties and unification of economic life, these peoples finally merged and formed a new great nation - the Han people. Since then, China has always been a Han-dominated country and coexisted with many ethnic groups.