The Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty came to power in 618 A.D., after a series of peasant uprisings against the Sui Dynasty gave an ambitious territorial lord by the name of Li Yuan the opportunity to proclaim himself emperor.
Under the Tang Dynasty the empire continued to grow in strength, wealth and size. Yuan’s son, Tai Cong, established a strong central government, allowing him to easily maintain control over his massive kingdom.
Officials in the government were required to pass difficult written exams that measured how qualified an individual was to serve in government. These tests helped insure that the most talented individuals were selected and promoted within the government.
The peace that lasted during the Tang Dynasty allowed the people to improve their technologies. One important technological advance was in the area of growing rice. Farmers developed better methods for growing rice, which resulted in greater crop yields, and allowed the population of China to increase.
Under the Tang Dynasty trade flourished. With new roads and improved waterways, merchants were able to bring Chinese goods out to the rest of the world and exotic goods back into China. This new wealth allowed the Chinese capital of Changan to grow into the largest city in the world at the time, with more than two million inhabitants.
While the capital flourished, many of the outlying provinces began to experience decline and poverty. The Tang Dynasty put so much of their resources into building the capital, that the military became weaker and less effective. In 765 A.D., turmoil and uprisings began to plague the dynasty. In 907 A.D., these uprisings led to the dynasty being overthrown.