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Ancient China

Sui Dynasty

History >> Ancient China

The Sui Dynasty is most famous for unifying China under one rule after the Period of Disunion. The Sui Dynasty only ruled for a short time from 581 to 618 AD. It was replaced by the Tang Dynasty.


Since the fall of the great Han Dynasty in 220 AD, China had been divided. Different regions fought for control and there was constant war. In the early 500s, China was ruled by two major kingdoms known as the Northern and Southern Dynasties. In 581, a man named Yang Jian took control of the Northern Dynasty. He established the Sui Dynasty and became known as Emperor Wen.

After gaining control of northern China, Emperor Wen gathered a massive army and invaded the south. Eight years later, in 589, he conquered southern China and brought all of China under the rule of the Sui Dynasty.

Emperor Wen of Sui by Yan Li-pen
[Public Domain]

Emperor Wen was a strong leader. He made many changes including organizing the government of China, establishing fair taxes, giving land to the poor, and building up grain reserves.

The Sui Dynasty didn't last long, however. It began to decline under the rule of Emperor Yang (son of Emperor Wen). Emperor Yang ruled China as a tyrant. He forced the peasants to work on massive projects such as the Grand Canal and rebuilding the Great Wall. Millions of peasants died under his rule. In 618, the people rebelled and the Sui Dynasty was overthrown. It was replaced by the Tang Dynasty.


Despite being a short-lived dynasty, the Sui had many accomplishments. Government

Emperor Wen set up a new central government for China. The government consisted of Three Departments and Six Ministries. The Three Departments were the Chancellery, the Secretariat, and the Department of State Affairs. The Six Ministries reported to the Department of State Affairs. The ministries included the following: Culture

The dominant religion during the Sui Dynasty was Buddhism. Emperor Wen established himself as a Buddhist leader and the religion became a unifying point in the culture for all of China. Poetry and painting were important art forms during the period.

Interesting Facts about the Sui Dynasty Activities

For more information on the civilization of Ancient China:

Timeline of Ancient China
Geography of Ancient China
Silk Road
The Great Wall
Forbidden City
Terracotta Army
The Grand Canal
Battle of Red Cliffs
Opium Wars
Inventions of Ancient China
Glossary and Terms

Major Dynasties
Xia Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
Han Dynasty
Period of Disunion
Sui Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
Song Dyanasty
Yuan Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
Qing Dynasty

Daily Life in Ancient China
Numbers and Colors
Legend of Silk
Chinese Calendar
Civil Service
Chinese Art
Entertainment and Games

Kangxi Emperor
Genghis Khan
Kublai Khan
Marco Polo
Puyi (The Last Emperor)
Emperor Qin
Emperor Taizong
Sun Tzu
Empress Wu
Zheng He
Emperors of China

Works Cited

History >> Ancient China

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