A Graphical Timeline
Qin and Han Dynasties
Qin Dynasty (221 - 206 BCE)
361 BC: Legalism is Introduced
230 BC: Warring States Period
221 BC: Unification of China
218 BC: Great Wall of China
213 BC: Burning of the Books
Lord Shang Yang introduces the strict political philosophy of legalism, which is adopted by the Qin.
Led by King Ying Zheng, Qin gains control of one-third of China's total population through carefully planned attacks.
Emperor Shi Huangdi, who was the King of Qin, is victorious at the conclusion of the Warring States Period, and unifies China.
Shi Huangdi orders the Great Wall to be connected into one continuous barrier, in order to provide protection against invasion.
Shi Huangdi orders all books not supporting Legalism to be burned, and few texts are saved.
210 BC: Shi Huangdi Dies
206 BC: Qin Government Falls
After his death, he is buried with an army of over 8,000 clay warriors, discovered by archaeologists on accident.
After Shi Huangdi's death, revolts against his son result in the overthrow of the Qin government.
Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE)
206 BC: Liu Bang Takes Control
195 BC: Internal Conflict
138 BC: The Silk Road
91 BC: The Shiji is Completed
After leading a rebellion against the Qin, Liu Bang establishes the Han Dynasty and renames himself Emperor Gaozu.
After the death of Emperor Gaozu, fifteen years of conflict over the throne ensues. In the end, Gaozu's son Wen takes the throne.
An explorer named Zhang Qian begins expeditions to central Asia, eventually opening the now famous Silk Road.
Written by Sima Qian, the Shiji is a complete record of Chinese history from prehistory to the Han Dynasty.
2 CE: Census
23 CE: Invention of Paper
148 CE: Spread of Buddhism
220 CE: Han Dynasty Ends
The oldest surviving census is taken in the Han empire, showing that over a quarter million people live in its capital.
The first type of paper is invented by Cai Lun, and spreads across the silk road.
A Buddhist missionary named An Shigao transcribes Indian Buddhist texts, converting many to Buddhism.
After a series of battles between warlords and states, the Han Dynasty falls after Liu Xie abandons the throne.