|TANG DYNASTY 618-907|
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At the end of Sui, with all the peasants rebelling against the government, the aristocrat Li Yuan revolted as well. AD 618, he became the emperor of a new era -- Tang. He was Tang Gaozu who ordered his army to defeat all of the other peasant rebels and united China in AD 624.
During the making of the Tang, Li Shimin contributed the most. Later, he fought with the crown prince for the position of successor. But as cunning as he was, using the change of "Xuanwu Men", he killed the crown prince, becoming the emperor himself. Li shimin thus became the famous emperor -- Tang Taizong. Taizong learned from the fall of Sui, and talked about the fall of empires often with his subjects. He repeatedly stressed on the importance of "for the civilians". During his rein, corruption was not as bad, society was stable, economics was on an upscale and the civilians' lives were improving. Taizong was remembere as a people's emperor and an excellent politician.
Taizong's successor, Gaozong, was a man of ill-ness. Taking this opportunity, the empress Wu Zetian took care of some of his duties, and later Gaozong's death, became emperor. She was the only female-emperor in Chinese history. She was in power for half a century. During her rein, quality of life advanced, economy and national power were both on an upscale.
During the later years of Wu Zetian's rule, the political world was full of turbulence because of a growing discontent of being ruled by a woman. This problem was solved when Li Longji became the emperor Tang Xuanzong. During the early years of Xuanzong's rule, he tried to improve the current laws and society further and his attempts proved fruitful. These years, after many emperors' hard work, China was in its 2nd high prosperity since Han Wudi.
But during Xuanzong's later years, the government started to corrupt and the famous "The Treason of Anshi" occured. 755, An Lushan, taking advantage of Tang's corruption, rose against the government, in an attempt to take it down. The treacherous army soon sacked big cities Luo Yang and Chang'an. Tang Xuanzong escaped to Chengdu. The crown prince succeded the throne at Lin Wu and became Tang Suzong. Suzong ordered generals Guo Ziyi and Li Guangbi to counterattack the treacheous army. They successfully retrieved Chang'an and Luo Yang. During the battle, the treacherous army within was in a huge political mess. The head of the army, An Lushan was killed by his son, then his son was killed by general Shi Siming. Shi Siming called himself emperor, then he was also killed by his son. These political turbulences weakened the power of the army. Slowly, the government turned a losing battle into a winning one. AD 763, the treacherous army was defeated for good. This war lasted for 8 years and severely weakened the power of the govenrnment. Tang thus walked on a path of destruction.
Also during the later years of Xuangzong's rule, eunuchs slowly gained power. During Suzong's rule, many of the emperor's favourite eunuchs had way more power than legitimate high positioned officers. Later, eunuchs had so much power that many of the most important tasks such as the making of the law and who gets to be the emperor were decided by them.
During the later years of Tang, minister and other officials themselves befriended certain people and created their own "gangs". The fighting of power between eunuchs and these gangs further weakened Tang's power and fastened Tang's destruction. The government was corrupted from the Central Government down to the small regional government. Taxes were high and cruelty was everywhere. The civilians and peasants lived in terrible conditions. Finally, not able to bear to be supressed further, the peasants revolted.
AD 907, the 290-year-old Tang died.
Tang is the most glamorous dynasty in Chinese history. Looking at the current world, China during Tang was the most powerful empire in the world, and it was one of the most importance places of cultural and economic centers.