Han Dynasty, 206 B.C.E.–220 C.E.

Established in the wake of the collapse of the authority of the Qin dynasty, the Han dynasty (206/202 b.c.e.-220 c.e.) further consolidated China into a unified empire in which many Chinese political and social patterns were set. With the Tang dynasty (618-907), the Han period is considered an era in which Chinese culture achieved its greatest heights. The dynasty is divided into two periods separated by the Wang Mang interregnum. The Former, or Western, Han (206 b.c.e.-9 c.e.) had its capital in Chang'an; the Latter, or Eastern, Han (23-220) was centered in Luoyang.

Beginning in 209 b.c.e., numerous rebel groups joined to overthrow the despotic Qin government. Several years of civil war followed in which the rebel leaders each fought...

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