Western Han Dynasty
The Ch'in Dynasty (221-206 B.C.), was the first to unify China under one ruler, but collapsed due to revolts and natural.
After years of warfare, Liu Bang founded the Western Han Dynasty, with its capital at Chang'an. The dynasty adopted the administrative system of the Ch'in, but integrated it with the feudal organization of the Chou. The constitution and administration were democratised and a bureaucratic state established to raise taxes, administer irrigation systems and direct commerce and traffic. Defence against the Huns, who had united their tribes during the 3rd century, was the objective of foreign policy.
The pinnacle of power was reached under Emperor Wu Ti (140-87 B.C.), who successfully fought off the Huns. Manchuria fell under his control and Indochina up to the Red River Delta was annexed. China also wielded strong political and cultural influence over Korea and Japan. Buddhism arrived from India, contributing to the cultural development of China. The feudal power of the nobles was eliminated. Transcontinental trade flourished on the 'silk-roads'.
Under Wu Ti's successors the strength of the Huns was broken and they migrated westwards. The great noble families still fought between themselves. A member of one of these families, Wang Mang (9- 23 A.D.) usurped the throne, but was not successful with his political reforms. The throne was restored by Liu Xiu, who moved his capital eastwards to Luoyang; henceforth the dynasty is known as the Eastern Han (25 - 250 A.D.).