The civil war did not last for long. A man by the name of Liu Pang gained control and crowned himself emperor, establishing a new dynasty called the Han. Setting up its capital at Chang'an the Han tried to follow in the footsteps of the Qin. The Han changed some of the more unfair laws and taxes, which lessened the tension within the masses. Pang granted some land to his allies with hereditary titles, but soon their power ended and most of the land fell once again to imperial rule.
The Han dynasty also re-introduced ideas of Confucianism as the main school of thought. These ideas sought to provide people with jobs and titles according to skills and merit not their lineage. So a test to find the best civil servants was adopted.
The Han rule marked several inventions that were to revolutionize the world: Confucianism, the use of paper, and porcelain which proved valuable for trading and for domestic use. The peak of the Han empire, though, was the employment of military might. To ensure the safety of the empire the Han expanded westward to the very rim of the Tarim Basin. This provided for safe caravan travel from China all the way to Rome. This trade path became known as the "Silk Route". To make sure travel was safe, the army took control of parts of North Vietnam and North Korea. To assure peace with the non-Chinese people along the route, a mutual system of tribute was established. The non-Chinese people symbolically acknowledged that the Chinese were superior and paid them tribute; the Chinese in return gave them gifts and ties which strengthened the culture by inter-marriages of the ruling class. The success of the Han kept their dynasty going for nearly four hundred years. With a growing population, increased wealth, and huge numbers of allies (and enemies), the Han lost control of their society. Corruption ran rampant in the highest levels of authority as public happiness waned. The dynasty collapsed in 220 AD. This period was called the Era of Disunity.