4

Middle and Late Imperial China: A.D. 589–ca. 1800

SUI UNIFICATION AND TANG SUCCESSION: 589–907

After over 350 years of internal division, China finally managed to pull itself back together. This was accomplished by the Sui, a short-lived dynasty (589–618) that used, like the Qin before it, extraordinarily harsh measures to achieve unity. Also like the Qin, the Sui was overthrown because of its harsh and totalitarian nature and replaced by a milder, long-lasting dynasty. Just as Han followed Qin, so the Tang (A.D. 618–907) followed the Sui.

The first Sui emperor surveyed Chinese farmlands and, with the power of his new state, confiscated land from wealthy landlords who had been charging outrageous rents for centuries and depriving Chinese governments of their needed revenue. The new taxes he imposed on China’s peasants were lower than the former rents had been, so the peasants welcomed this change. He also reestablished the capital at Chang’an, the former Han capital, and began digging the Grand Canal from southern China to Chang’an. This canal eventually became an important waterway linking northern and southern China. This helped reconnect north and south, which had been separated from each other for a long time and ruled over by different governments.

-67-

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The History of China
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Advisory Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Geography, Government, Population, and Early History 1
  • 2 - Pre-Imperial China: Ca. 1122–221 B.C 17
  • 3 - Early Imperial China: 221 B.C.–A.D. 589 45
  • 4 - Middle and Late Imperial China: A.D. 589–Ca. 1800 67
  • 5 - The Tumultuous Nineteenth Century: External Aggression and Internal Chaos 99
  • 6 - Revolution and Republic 115
  • 7 - The People’s Republic: from First Breath to Mao’s Death 143
  • 8 - Deng’s China 167
  • 9 - China in the 1990s 181
  • Notable People in the History of China 205
  • Chinese Dynasties 219
  • Glossary of Selected Terms 221
  • Bibliographic Essay 225
  • Works Cited 227
  • Index 229
  • About the Author 255
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