The Three Kingdoms Period

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By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Feb 3, 2012

The Three Kingdoms Period

From AD 208 to 265, China was divided into the three kingdoms of Shu, Wei, and Wu; hence, this era is called the Three Kingdoms period. The Xiongnu put an end to a brief period of reunion by sweeping into China from the north, sacking the capital at Louyang in 311, and going on to sack Changan in 316. In 383, however, the Chinese managed to defeat the Xiongnu; they would never again expand into the south. The nomadic warrior culture of the Xiongnu had an important influence on northern China. This region absorbed a measure of Central Asian customs and would remain distinct from the traditional Chinese culture in the south. The influence of Buddhism grew in southern China during this era, which also saw a return to the old feudal system of governing.

The era of disunion and fragmentation ended as abruptly as it began. The Chinese warrior Sui Yang Jian usurped the throne from an infant king in AD 581, ushering in a series of successful military campaigns that ended in the reunion of the Chinese Empire in 589. The Sui dynasty, however, would last only until 618, when the Tang dynasty took power.

Practice questions for these concepts can be found at: 

Early Asian Empires Practice Test

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