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Imperial China; Han and Beyond
Transcript of Imperial China; Han and Beyond
206 B.C. - A.D. 220
618 - 907 A.D
1279 - 1368 C.E. (Mongols)
1368 - 1644 C.E.
Tang Dynasty Foreign Contact
During the Tang the dynasty there was a period of flourishing trade and also a time of struggle. The Tang welcomed foreigners into China, which meant their doors were open. Through this, they learned about new ideas, goods, religion, music, and fashions from the traders and merchants. Around this time, the Silk Road was dangerous but once the Tang took over a vast area and unified the area, they made it safe once again. Cultural exchange played a role in Economy, because foreigners traded for items the Chinese had, and the Chinese received items that they needed. The upper class of the Tang Dynasty welcomed new products from different cultures. The most important part of all was: religion entering. Even though this is Religion it ties in with Economy. The Tang accepted religions such as Buddhism, Judaism, etc. Buddhist monks and nuns didn’t have to pay taxes, but they controlled several monasteries, hospitals, schools, etc. for travelers. Soon, these people would trade with one another. However, during the time of struggle, a group known as the Uighurs attacked the area. This led to the government putting restrictions on travelers and merchants. Due to this trade did not flourish and the economy was very bad. Soon, the government took over the Buddhist properties. Even if trade was not that popular the Chinese did still trade individually with other countries, and soon maritime trade was introduced making it safe...
Han Dynasty Foreign Contact
By: Aarogya Pandey & Abhinav Krishnan
Ming Dynasty Foreign Contact
The Uighurs were originally allies with the Chinese. However, due to a trade conflict this resulted into a bad relationship between them...Rebellions started and soon the doors of the Tang Dynasty Closed...
Song Dynasty Foreign Contact
Similar to the Tang, the Song Dynasty had implemented diplomatic tactics when dealing with foreigners. The dynasty endured both losses and triumph when diplomatically approaching foreigners, yet Trade between the Song dynasty and its northern neighbors was stimulated by the payments Song made to them. The Song set up supervised markets along the border to encourage this trade. Chinese goods that flowed north in large quantities included tea, silk, copper coins (A popular currency outside of China), paper and printed books, porcelain, l jewelry, rice and other grains, ginger and other spices. They traded for silver that had originated with the Song and the horses that Song desperately needed for its armies, but also other animals such as camel and sheep, as well as goods that had traveled across the Silk Road, including Indian and Persian cotton cloth, precious gems/jewels, incense, and perfumes.The political division led to internal problems within the dynasty and the Jurchens, once an ally, that invaded and captured the capital. The conquest led to the division of the Song Dynasty. Emperor Gaozong, a ruler of the Song forces then established Southern Song.
The Ming Dynasty used many technological advances in marine technology to expand their reaches across the seven seas… The Ming saw China as the oldest, appreciated, largest, and most civilized in the world at the time. Due to this other empires felt they should acknowledge China's prosperity by paying tribute to China's government. When ambassadors came to China they would kowtow: kneel 3 times and touch their heads to the floor 3 times. Each time an ambassador was sent to pay tribute, they were given valuable gifts to bring back to their countries, and they could also trade and sell at the local trade markets. The foreigners were effected more by this than the Chinese. Even if the Ming was mainly based on tributaries, they still had somewhat of a an open door. Emperor Chengzu of the Ming wanted to grow China's power so advisor Zheng He was appointed as Admiral of a fleet of 300 ships. He made 7 expeditions between 1405 and 1433 and established 33 tributaries for China. These marine expeditions allowed China to open their doors to new trades and knowledge. Zheng He also returned to China with many exotic gifts from the places he had visited. However, once Zheng He died, things started to fall apart. A new emperor was appointed and eventually China was attacked from the north by the Mongols who had spread their resources within… The government required more money to fight off invaders and the emperor was persuaded to end the expeditions. From there on China turned inward and limited all foreign contact. Any contact to other countries must be approved by the government. Because of this trade slowed down due to restraints imposed by the government...
Urbanization has occurs all around the world from modern-day New York City to the ancient times of China. Urbanization means, "The process by which cities grow or by which societies become more urban." Looking at urbanization in China, there are 3 different sections: Before Urbanization (How did urbanization occur), During Urbanization (What was it like during Urbanization), and After Urbanization (What were the results of Urbanization).
The Han Dynasty lasted from 206 B.C. to 220 A.D. and was based off of an agricultural economy. The Han government confiscated land from nobles to encourage peasants to farm. They relied off of the output of the peasant farmers. Another major contributing factor was the Silk road and the trade it provided. With the technological advances of the loom, the Han exported plenty of silk to the West and was also used as a currency and tribute with the nomads. Eventually the Han became economically and politically decentralized, which led to the end of the Han empire...
During the Song Dynasty, many essential changes occurred, effecting the growth of trade and commerce, resulting into urbanization of cities. Such as: agricultural changes, in the Song boosted Economy. These agricultural changes occurred due to the Mongols. At this time, the Chinese were living here under the Tang, but the Mongols invaded this area and forced them to move south. But why did the Mongols invade this area? The Mongols wanted control over this area, so they could control the vast trading route, the Silk Road. The Silk Road was a path where many merchants and traders traveled to trade and interact with one and another. If the Mongols could control the Silk Road, they basically had controlled trade in China. Once, the Chinese moved south to the fertile lands of the Chang Jiang Basins under the Song, southern China grew. Southern China was dry and wet, and wetlands covered most of the area, unlike Northern China which was cold and dry. When the Chinese lived in Northern China they cultivated wheat and millet, and grew well in that terrain. However, in Southern China, the conditions were great for growing rice plants near the Yangtze River. But rice farmers had an obstacle as well. Droughts and typhoons often destroyed the plants, and it took a longer time to grow plants. However, later in the 11th century a new type of rice entered China from what is now central Vietnam (South East Asia). This new type of rice was sustainable to harsh weather conditions and matured faster compared to the previous type of rice. Due to this, now farmers were able to grow at least 2 crops of rice per year. Also, due to mild weather, farmers were able to plant 2 crops in the same field (summer and winter crops). Due to this rice production skyrocketed! Along with the new type of rice, several tools and innovations were made, helping production even more. Such as the harrow and plow made it easier to prepare a field for planting. Also, on hill-sides, farmers used terraces like other civilizations, so they could continue to grow rice crops. The chain pump, another innovation, was used for irrigation. They were also known as dragon backbones. The chain pump was originally created in in the early part of the Han Dynasty, and was described in an account by philosopher, Wang Chong. Also, the chain pumps in China, were square-pellet type compared to the pear-shaped bucket. Due to the change from cultivating millet to growing rice crops led to the increase in food production, abundance in food, and supporting for a large population (100 million)! Also, due to a stable food supply with the rice, people had more free time to do other things such as crafts, weaving, etc. And because of the surplus of rice, farmers could create markets selling rice. These changes led to the growth of trade and commerce…
One of the main reasons for trade and commerce to start were that landowners were eager to buy riches and luxuries. Since, the demand of luxuries was needed, this attracted/encouraged trade. This also called for many jobs and openings, such as merchants, traders, etc. Another aspect which caused commerce was water transportation. China consisted of a vast land of different canals and rivers connecting. Some farmers used the Grand Canal to ship rice. The Grand Canal is the longest canal in the world, and connects the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers. The canal served as a trading route connecting many cities for trade. This also encouraged trade and commerce. For example, boat businesses contributed to economy because it was much cheaper and faster to move items by water compared to by roads. Comparing these 2 routes, a barge (water transportation) could travel 40 miles per day compared to the beasts of burden (land) such as an oxcart which travels 25 miles per day! Also, several improvements in navigation encouraged maritime trade. Such as the magnetic compass and navigational maps, made it convenient and effective for those traveling on long journeys. With trade flourishing, the Song needed a currency. During this time, they used copper/bronze coins as their currency. The coin was heavy and had an open square in the middle for people to tie their string onto. Due to so many people trading, the government minted so many copper coins (over 6 million a year) - so then there was a copper shortage. Later, a new type of currency entered China. This currency was known as Jiaozi and was paper currency. It was first initiated by merchants. The merchants had started trading receipts from deposit shops where they left money/goods. Around 1120, the government took control over the system, issuing the world’s first paper currency/money. However, later in the Mongol (Yuan) Dynasty, the official banknote became known as the Chao. Unlike Jiaozi, Chao was the first paper currency to use the predominant circulating medium in China. To prevent counterfeiting, the Jiaozi were stamped with multiple seals. The introduction of paper money was another part of the growth of commerce. The results of these events led to the increase of the merchants class in the social pyramid, business activity grew and brought prosperity, making China the highest standard of living in the world at the time, and finally these commercial centers became into huge cities.
Also, commerce encouraged people to move into town, where they can make a living, as a merchant, trader, peddler, and shopkeeper. Also, some landowners left their farms to go to the city, because they enjoyed the shops and social daily life. All these series of events led to the urbanization of many cities, and the population grew. Urbanization shaped people’s lives, and commercial activity increased. The results of urbanization were that cities became vibrant centers and stimulated culture.
1) How and why did urbanization happen during the Song dynasty (cause) and what was the result (effect) of it occurring?
2) How, and to what extent, did China’s approach to government and foreign contact (networks) affect the success, or lack of, for each of the following dynasties (200 – 1600) : Han, Tang, Song, Yuan (Mongol), and Ming?
Foreign Contact Under Mongol Rule
After invading China, the Mongols continued their interactions with the Chinese and other ethnicities. They made many cultural exchanges with ties to Europe and Asia and continued the prospering trade. Many religions were also affected as it was around the time that many were being converted to Islam. The Yuan had some tolerance for Catholicism and Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism continued to flourish. During the Yuan period, many western travels were recorded. Marco Polo was an explorer from Venice and brought many trading opportunities and cultures to China. Beijing became the capital of commerce and contacts were established with Europe the first time. The Mongol society at that time was very diverse, with people from Korea, Southern Song, Uighers from Central Asia. This brought plenty of trade via the Silk Road, boosting China’s economy and trade.In the year 1368 the Yuan Dynasty ended, becoming the most productive period in china's history both economically and religiously.