Sutton World History Project
This project will be over the Sui, Song, and Tang, Mongols, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia dynasties.
(Sui, Song, and Tang)
We will start with the Sui Dynasty. Before the Sui ruled the Han was the main ruler of China. They ruled from 206 BC to AD 200, more than 400 years. After the fall of the Han dynasty military leader split China into rival kingdoms. This lead to a period of war and disorder called the Period of Disunion. The Period of Disunion lasted more than 350 years. In 589 a ruler named Yang Jian (Wendi) reunified China, ending the period. Wendi founded the Sui dynasty. Wendi used the dynasties from before him as examples. He worked to created a centralized government, restored order to China, and made a new legal code. Wendi created policies that provided all adult men with land. This ensured the Sui would always have grain. The biggest accomplishment of the Sui dynasty was the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal was a 1,000 mile long waterway which created a link between north and south China. This was important because the north could now easily access resources from southern China. Yang Di, Wendi's son, became Emperor after his father. During the time of his rule Yang Di forced millions of citizens to work on the Grand Canal and other projects. Hundreds of thousands of citizens died which lead to peasants rebelling. Many military campaigns made the situation even worse. In 618 an official assassinated Yang Di and the Sui dynasty came to an end.
For more info on the Sui Dynasty watch the video below:
Next we will talk about the Tang Dynasty. After the Sui dynasty fell a Sui general saw his opportunity to take power and founded the Tang dynasty. The Tang dynasty ruled China from 618 to 907, almost 300 years. Under the Tang rule, China had a period of prosperity, and cultural achievement. The Tangs government and institutions were models for the rest of Asia. The Tang rulers added on to what the Sui had done and created a strong government. The governments control remained centralized and based on a bureaucracy of officials. To get the best officials possible, the Tang created the civil service examination system. With this system people had to pass exams to work for the government. The Tang rulers also created a flexible law code, which Japan and Korea modeled their law codes off of. Tang forces gained influence in the western part of central Asia along with Korea. Expansion and increased contact with other places helped grow foreign trade and helped the economy. Much of the expansion happened under the rule of Taizong. Taizong ruled from 626 to 649. He was one of China's best Emperors. He had many military conquests and had schools built to prepare the youth for the exams you must pass to work for the government. After he died one of his sons became Emperor. He was very sick and ended up dying not long after coming to power. After his death, his wife Wu Zhao gained power. Wu Zhao the first and only woman Emperor in Chinese history. She was overthrown in 705. Xuanzong (shoo-an-toong) took her place. He ruled from 712 to 756. The Tang dynasty reached its peak under his rule. The Tang dynasty began to decline in the 750s. The government weakened, there were many rebellions, and they were losing land. Citizens began to rebel due to high taxes and Nomadic invasions took place, these both worsened the problem. In 907 a powerful general killed the Emperor, ending the Tang dynasty.
For more information about the Tang dynasty you can watch the video below:
Now we are going to talk about the Song Dynasty. After the Tang dynasty fell apart, China again split. It was not reunified until 960, when the Song dynasty was created. Like the Tang, the Song ruled for about 300 years. They ruled from 960 to 1279 to be exact. It was the longest lasting dynasty in China. The Song established their capitol at Kaifeng and restored centralized government control. The Song also reformed the civil service examination system, which ensured that talented people worked for the government. Under the Song a new form of Confucianism was created, called Neo-Confucianism. Poetry was very popular throughout the Song dynasty. Du Fu and Li Bo were both popular poets at the time. Other things that were important included painting and porcelain. The Song had many great achievements such as pagodas, woodblock printing, magnetic compasses, and a movable printing type. One of the Song dynasties greatest achievements was the discovery of gun powder. This discover lead to many important things such as fireworks, flaming arrows, and eventually would lead to fire arms which would change our world forever.
Mongols and Yuan dynasties
Now we will talk about the Mongols. The Mongols lasted for about 80 years and had three major leaders. The leaders were Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, and Hulegu. Genghis Khan was the first and probably the most well known leader. He was a strong military leader. He struck fear into the hearts of those who he attacked and conquered. After Genghis came his son, Kublai Khan. Kublai Khan was the founder of the Yuan dynasty. The Yuan dynasty was a division of the Mongol empire. Kublai was a strong and ferocious leader just like his father. Unlike many of the Chinese dynasties the Mongols were a monarchy. Their capitol was located in Khanbaliq. While Kublai was in charge the Yuan dynasty was a bureaucracy and the capitol was located near Beijing. The Mongols adopted many ideas from Islam at the time. They also were able to conquer thousands of acres if land and become the biggest, strongest empire. Trade was also a big part of the Mongol dynasty.
This video shows the rise and the fall of the Mongols on a map:
First we will talk about the Yamato Clan. The first emperor of the Yamato Clan was said to be the grandson of the sun goddess, Amaterasu. The Yamato Clan was located on the island of Honshu. The Yamato clan conquered much of Japan. The area was ideal for farming and farming most likely played a huge part in their lives. The Yamato clan was greatly influenced by Chinese and Korea dynasties. They used many of these dynasties as examples and based their civilization off of them. This is why the Yamato clan chiefs called themselves emperors.
For a little more information on the sun goddess and her grandson click here.
Next we will talk about the Heian Period. The Heian Period was a time in Japan when culture flourished. Heian is where Japanese culture became very popular. The capitol of Heian is called Kyoto. Nobles were the people to be in the Heian Period. They lived in palaces and enjoyed poetry and art. Poetry became very popular, many people even began to write their own. Elegance was a big part of the culture. During this time many achievements in poetry and literature were made. Almost every noble wrote poems, most of them being about love. A very popular female poet at the time was Lady Murasaki Shikibu. She wrote the first love story. They had many rules for etiquette. All the women of the Heian Period wore pretty much the same thing, which was a lot of expensive clothes and jewelry.
This video gives a little bit more information about the Heian Period:
The first dynasty we will talk about from Korea is the Koryo dyansty. The Koryo dynasty, like many others, adopted a lot of ideas from the Chinese. They took many ideas such as Confucianism. They also adopted the Chinese ways of government and writing. They also set up civil service examination systems much like the Chinese dynasties. Only nobles could take these tests in the Koryo dynasty. They also made it so that government positions could be inherited. The Koryo dynasty made many achievements in art and had a flourishing culture. The people of Koryo created a new form of pottery called celadon. Celadon pottery had a blue-green glaze. They also invented a metal, movable type of printing.
For more information about Celadon pottery watch this video:
South East Asia
The first thing we will talk about in Asia is the Pagan Kingdom. The Pagan Kingdom was located the Irrawaddy river valley. The first ruler of this kingdom was Anawrahta. As king of the Pagan Kingdom he conquered much of the surrounding area and unified Myanmar. Anawrahta agreed with the ideas of Theravada Bhuddists and during his rule he built many temples for them. The government in the Pagan Kingdom was a mix between China's and India's. The Kingdom fell when it refused to pay tribute to the Mongols. When the Mongols didn't get what they wanted they went to war with the Pagan Kingdom and killed the Pagan Kingdoms king.
Next we will talk about the Khmer empire. The Khmer empire was mainly influenced by India. They based their government around Hindu beliefs. The leaders of the Khmer empire had large temples built. One of these temples was the Angkor Wat. These temples had things written inside of them form Hindu beliefs such as myths. These temples also had places for people to learn about astronomy. The Khmer empire made a majority of its money from agriculture. The land was perfect for farming things such as rice. They made many agricultural advancements such as irrigation systems that stretched as far as a few acres.
Click here for more information on how the Khmer empire got started and how it fell from power.
This video is not in English but it does give you a better idea of what the temples of the Khmer empire looked like:
The trading kingdoms were Sailendra and Srivijaya. Sailendra is not shown on the map but was located on Java island. The Sailendra kingdoms economy relied heavily on trade and agriculture. The leaders took in the ideas of Buddhism. They made many Buddhist monuments. One of their greatest achievements was building the monument in Borobudur. It represented the Buddhism spiritual journey. The kingdom of Srivijaya gained most of its wealth from trade that passed through the kingdom. Like the Sailendra kingdom the Srivijaya also used ideas from Buddhism and Hinduism. Both kingdoms blended these beliefs into the government.
Click here for more information on these two kingdoms.
Here's a video that shows a little more about the Sailendra kingdom:
A lot like the other South East Asia dynasties, Vietnam was greatly influenced by China and India. They adopted Chinese things such as the language, clothing, and religious beliefs such as Confucianism. They also adopted the Chinese form of government. Vietnam was a bureaucracy and set up the civil service examination systems. They also took in ideas from Mahayana Buddhism. Vietnam was influenced by Buddhism in terms of arts and architecture.
For more information on Vietnam click here. The Sections "Brief History of Vietnam" and "Chinese Influence" give a better look at how China influenced Vietnam and how Vietnam came to be.