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.