Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
half of the Xiongnu chose to submit to Han China rather than to the
northern Xiongnu.
Around A.D. 100, an allied force of Han Chinese, Xiongnu, and
other pastoral nomadic warriors attacked and defeated the northern
Xiongnu. After this, most of the northern Xiongnu also submitted to
China, but a minority flfled northward and westward “to parts
unknown,” according to later Han historical documents. These
Xiongnu may have migrated across the Eurasian landmass to emerge,
300 years later, as the Huns under Attila, who menaced the Roman
Empire. (The phonetic similarity between “Xiongnu” and “Hun”
seems to substantiate this equation of the Xiongnu with the Huns
known to the later Roman Empire, as also does recent archaeological
and documentary evidence. This Xiongnu/Hun equation is, however,
still somewhat controversial and is not unanimously accepted in
scholarly circles.)
A.D. 220-589
Toward the end of the Eastern Han, the old problems came back to
haunt China. Landlordism was once again on the rise, the northern
barbarians or pastoral nomads were making hostile movements, tax
revenues were down, and regionalism was up. A major uprising called
the Yellow Turban Rebellion, which broke out in A.D. 186, nearly suc-
ceeded in overthrowing the Han. It was quelled only after a coalition
of generals was given almost total discretion and the military power to
fight it. After the rebellion was put down, these generals, unwilling to
give up military power after they had tasted it, became warlords or
regional military strongmen who did whatever they pleased with little
regard for what the dynasty thought of their actions. The Hanwas never
the same again, but it limped on until a general accepted the abdication
of the last Han emperor in A.D. 220. Thereafter China fell into a period
of division and chaos that lasted for more than 350 years. China did,
however, finally succeed in reunifying itself again in the 580s.
The first part of the Period of Division is known as the Three King-
doms period. Three states succeeded the Han and pretended to be
working for the eventual reunification of China. This period is highly
romanticized in Chinese history, and stories of the alliances, betrayals,
and battles between the three states have long been stock themes in
Chinese literature. A popular historical novel about this period, called
the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, is one of China's all-time favorite lit-
erary works, and even trained historians are sometimes confused
Search WWH ::

Custom Search