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China

China in the Middle Ages

The Giant Wild Goose PagodaThe Giant Wild Goose Pagoda The end of the Han dynasty in AD 220 brought confusion to China, as nomads attacked from the north and the country split into three kingdoms. China was reunited again by the brief rule of the Sui dynasty (581-618) before the Tang and, later, the Song dynasties came to power. The Chinese Empire was constantly under threat from foreign enemies. The Mongols, a tribe of fierce nomadic warriors, invaded northern China in 1211. They were led by Genghis Khan. In 1279, his grandson Kublai Khan finally conquered all of China. He encouraged international trade and brought great wealth to the country.

 A city during the Tang dynastyA city during the Tang dynastyChang’an (now Xi’an), China’s first capital cityChang’an (now Xi’an), China’s first capital city

Tang dynasty

The Tang dynasty came to power when Li Yuan seized power in 618. This dynasty lasted until 907 during which peace and prosperity returned to China. Sea trade flourished, and many ports became bustling centres of commerce. Chang’an attracted scholars, artists and poets from all parts of Asia. The Buddhist religion became increasingly important, and many shrines and temples were built, including the Giant Buddha at Leshan.

The Leshan Giant Buddha, built in Tang timesThe Leshan Giant Buddha, built in Tang times

An LushanAn Lushan

An Lushan Rebellion

The only woman ever to rule China in her own right was Wu Zetian, from AD 690 to 705. She was the concubine of Emperor Taizong, then married his son Emperor Gaozong. She took over after he fell ill.

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