As China became more unified a Chinese general named Wendi declared himself emperor of the Sui dynasty. Soon after he died his first son named Yangdi became emperor. In his rule, he repaired the Great Wall and built the Grand Canal which connected China's two biggest rivers. This made it easier to transport rice throughout the country. Yangdi forced farmers to work on these projects which resulted in revolted which ended the killed Yangdi and ended the dynasty.
Soon after Yangdi's death one of his generals declared himself emperor and began the Tang dynasty. The emperor wanted to restore China's power so he took control of the Silk road (was a place where people traded silk which was in high demand in west China) which helped China's cities become rich. The emperor also wanted to restore many Confucius ideas including civil service examinations which are a test to get a government job. The collapse of the Tang Dynasty was caused by a battle which made China give up the Silk Road. Revolts by Chinese farmers also contributed to the fall of the Tang dynasty.
A picture of Wendi, the founder and first emperor of the Sui Dynasty.
A picture of modern-day Silk in which they traded in the Silk Road.
After the fall of the Tang dynasty, military leaders ruled China. Later one of the generals declared himself emperor which began the Song (Sung) Dynasty. In this dynasty, a new understanding of Confucianism called Neo-Confucianism. Neo-Confucianism taught that people should be concerned about the afterlife. Gunpowder was invented in the Tang Dynasty and was used a lot throughout the Song Dynasty. Also, around 1150 CE, Chinese inventors perfected the magnetic compass that helped sailors navigate their ship's location and sail further away from land.
A picture of Confucius, the founder of Confucianism.
After the fall of the Song dynasty, a group of Mongol leaders had a meeting in the Gobi desert where they elected a warrior they named Genghis Khan to be their leader and was sent out to unify all the Mongol clans. In 1227, after he died his grandson in the east, Kublai Khan focused on conquering all of China. Also in this period of time, Marco Polo, a famous traveler from Venice Italy, went to meet Kublai Khan and then became an ambassador. As an ambassador, he ruled a Chinese city called Yangzhou. During the Mongol/Yuan Dynasty one of the biggest trading centers was a city called Quanzhou which is large natural harbor in southeast China.
A picture of Kublai Khan, the fifth Khagan of the Mongol Empire, reigning from 1260 to 1294.
In 1398 CE the previous emperor died, so his son, named Yong Le took over. Determined to be a powerful ruler, he moved the capital city to Beijing and built the Forbidden City, where he and his family lived. He also wanted to explore the outside world so he sent the Chinese fleet on seven voyages led by a Chinese Muslim named Zheng He. In 1514, ships from Portugal arrived in Southern China. The Portuguese wanted to trade with China and convert the Chinese to Christianity.
A picture of the modern-day Forbidden City, the place where the Emperor and his family would live.