|Much of China was unified in
221 B. C. under the ruthless Shi
Huangdi, the First Emperor.
During the Ch'in dynasty, a
number of public works were
undertaken, including the
beginning of construction of the
|The Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-
A. D. 220) modified some of
the harshness of Ch'in rule.
Confucianism became the ideal
of government, and intellectual,
literary and artistic
Trade grew, and silk was
exported as far as Rome.
|After a period of disunity the
short-lived Sui dynasty was
followed by the Tang dynasty
(618-907 A. D.), the high point
of Chinese civilization.
Trade was extended to India,
and Buddhism flourished. Block
printing was invented, bringing
the written word to an
increasingly large audience.
Thus the Tang period was the
golden age of literature and art.
|The Song Dynasty (960-1279)
reunified most of China
Proper. It is noted for the
development of cities for
commerce as well as
The Song ideal, the universal
man, combined scholarship,
poetry, painting and
|The Ming dynasty (1368-1644),
founded by a Han Chinese peasant
and Buddhist monk, had its Northern
capital at Beijing. Ming China was a
maritime power, while its Grand Canal
stimulated domestic trade. Eventually,
its very stability convinced China they
had the best civilization on earth and
had no need for anything foreign.