Sunday, January 13, 2008

Han Dynasty

The Han Dynasty
Dates of Power

-Battle of Gaixia, Liu Bang crowned. Han dynasty begins.
202 BC
- Interruption of Han Rule
9 - 24 AD
- End of Dynasty 220 AD

Reasons for takeover

The Han dynasty emerged from the chaos of the revolts which sprang up throughout China following the death of the Qin dynasty's emperor Shi Huang. The force and the duration of the revolt prompted the toppling of the Qin dynasty cerca 206 BC. At this point, a military leader name Xiang Yu divided China into 19 feudal states. The uneven and hind sighted divisions caused war between the newly created states. The "Han" state, headed by Liu Bang, emerged the victor.( Liu Bang became emperor of all of China and the Han dynasty began a rule which lasted for around 426 years.(

The Han Dynasty at its peak.

Leaders of the Civilization

The first Han emperor was Emperor Liu Bang. He became emperor after his clan's victory at the Battle of Gaixia. The greatest and probably the most successful monarch of the Han dynasty was the Emperor Wu- di. It was during his reign, at around 100 BC, that the Han dynasty reached its peak.( Many of the reforms done in China during the Han period were put into effect during the reign of Emperor Wu-di. He pioneered the diplomatic decision to send an envoy west to begin what would later become the Silk Road.(

Emperor Wu-di

Roman Emperor: Antoninus Pius

Emperor Antoninus Pius of Rome (Emperor from 138 -161 AD) is recorded as being the fourth of the five "Good Emperors". The five "Good Emperors" became emperors due to them being adopted by the ruling emperor; this allowed emperors to be chosen by merit, rather than lineage. His rule was very peaceful, for an Emperor of Rome. ( Pius also sent Roman envoys to China around 160 AD, this helped develop the Silk Road even further. Furthermore, Antoninus Pius was a great patron of Rhetoric, philosophy, and the arts; consequently, these flourished under his rule.( Emperor Antoninus Pius

Accomplishments: Government

The Han Empire had a sophisticated method of governance. The government was divided into two systems, a central and a local. The central division was organized into a cabinet called the Three Lords and Nine Ministers, with the Prime Minister serving as one of the lords and being in charge. The most revolutionary aspect of Han governance can be ruled out to be their choosing of officials based on a merit system, rather than choosing officials from the aristocratic clans in power.( The local division of the government operated at two levels, the county and the Xian, or a sub-prefecture of a county. The 1,180 county governors of the Han Empire were the backbone of the Han bureaucratic system; they were in charge of all decisions in their respective counties, including military, financial, and legal policies. Due to the efficiency of this system, the Han were able to launch a government school system throughout their empire with the Central academy being in Chang'an.(
Han Edicts

Accomplishments: Technology, Economy, Society, and Philosophy

The Han dynasty can be considered as a golden era for technological and social growth in China. The primary accomplishment of the Han dynasty was the Silk Road, a route which connected China with Rome through Silk trade.( The Silk Road

The Silk Road was established when emperor Wu-di sent his trusted diplomat Zhang Qian to the Western regions to explore diplomatic possibilities. Another benchmark accomplishment of the Han dynasty is the invention of paper. The Han dynasty was a period of great inventors and statesmen. One such man was Zhang Heng (78 - 139 AD); he is accredited with having invented the Shi poetry style, the seismometer, and the world's first hydraulic powered armillary sphere. ( with these inventions, it was during the Han dynasty that the Chinese succeeded in forging steel. An important historical work done during the Han dynasty was the "Records of the Grand Historian", a detailed chronicle of Chinese history till the time of Emperor Wu. This was written by the court historian, Sima Qian, China's most famous historian of all time. (, the Han period was an era of change, as Confucianism became China's state ideology. It was also at this time that Buddhism first entered China. It is apparent that the Han period was indeed one of growth for China.(

Reasons for Fall

Two important factors were the cause of the obliteration of the Han dynasty. Firstly, people had begun to move in large numbers to the Yangzi River in the south from the Yellow river in the north. Second, the Han weren't able to cope with the continual attacks from raiders from the north. The raiders from the north were the cause of the exodus to the south. These are the causes for the fall of the Han.(

Zhang Heng's journey west at the peak of the Empire

Works Cited
  1. "HanDynasty".Wikipedia.10/1/2008.<>.
  2. "Han Dynasty Background". Chinatown Connection. 10/1/2008 .<>.
  3. "Antoninus Pius". Wikipedia. 11/1/2008 .<>.
  4. "Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.)". Metropolitan Museum of Art. 11/1/2008 .<>.
  5. "The Legacy of Ancient China". Baltimore County Public Schools. 10/1/2008 . <>.
  6. "Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionus Arrius Antoninus". Roman 11/1/2008 .<>.

Picture Citations


Han Dynasty: Welcome!

This is the primer for my new Han Dynasty project!

As before, please feel free to comment.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Case Study: Latur Earthquake of 1993

When and Where?

The Latur, India earthquake was the most destructive earthquake in 1993. It occurred on September 30, 1993. The main reason for its lethality was the fact that it occurred at 3:45 AM, while the entire area was indoors and asleep. The earthquake struck in Southeastern India, in the state of Maharashtra. The two districts which were decimated by the earthquake were the districts of Osmanabad and Latur. The coordinates of the earthquake’s epicenter were N18.07 and E76.62.( This was very close to Latur, and consequently, it suffered the most damage. The earthquake measured 6.45 on the richter scale, with its focal point 12 meters beneath the surface. Unlike the Latur earthquake, most earthquakes occur along fault lines, where two plates meet. (

What happened? What caused it to happen?

The Latur earthquake was one of a very rare type of earthquakes. It was what is referred to as a SCR, or a stable continental region earthquake. Most earthquakes are a result of interaction between two plates, whether they be sliding, colliding, or forming a subduction zone. (, in this instance, the cause is very complicated. The Latur earthquake was an intraplate earthquake, or it occurred in the middle of a plate, as opposed to a plate boundary. The earthquake’s epicenter was very far from any fault line. The cause of this earthquake is still in speculation. Some scientists claim that it was a result of the force released from the continuous crumpling of the Indian plate against the Eurasian plate. Others claim that it was a consequence of the pressure built up as a result of the reservoir construction on the river Terna. The theory which most scientists agree on is that the many leniaments, or mini faults within plates, in that region contributed to the build up of pressure and its consequent release.(

Who and what regions were affected? Why do people live in hazard prone regions?

An example of the stone houses commonly found in
that region at the time of the earthquake.

The Latur earthquake was tremendously destructive. More than 30, 000 lives were lost. The earthquake itself didn’t cause as much damage. Most of the people were living in houses made of stones on soft soil. The tiles of the roofs were generally constructed out of stone plates, which were used as a result of availability and cost effectiveness. The tremors caused these plates to literally bury the local populace without food, water, and sometimes even air. The liquefaction, which resulted from the earthquake, destroyed the foundations of the houses and caused them to crumble. More than 60% of the deaths were a result of this.( Liquefaction is the phenomenon that causes soft soil or sand to shake loose as a result of seismic activity.An example of liquefaction

The people affected were mainly of the Latur and Osmanabad region and of several neighboring districts. The region itself isn’t hazard prone. As mentioned earlier, it isn’t even in close proximity to a fault or a plate boundary. An SCR earthquake occurs only about once per 100,000 years, making its predictability close to zero.( According to scientists, it wasn’t even possible for an earthquake to strike this region, which is why there weren’t any monitoring stations in this region. However, to answer the general question, most people live in hazard prone regions for many reasons. Generally, it is a matter of livelihood. At other time, it is the case of ancestral heritage, or houses in hazard prone areas that are handed down, generation to generation. More often in LEDC’s, it is the simple fact that the people who live in hazarde prone regions cannot afford to move out to a less threatened region.(

What was the result? What are the effects of the hazard? How are effects different between LEDCs and MEDCs?

The remains of a 10,000 litre water tank

There were several short term and long term effects of the earthquakes. The most tragic effect was that around 30, 000 people died due to the primary and secondary hazards caused by the earthquake. The effects of this earthquake were accentuated, as the region had problems with structurally unsound buildings and the earthquake occurred at night while everyone was sleeping, giving the people less time to react.( Around 30,000 people died during the seismic shaking. The remaining 20,000 were wiped out by the liquefaction that has already been mentioned. The hardest hit villages were those of the Latur and Osmanabad districts. The long term effect was that the area has still not been able to completely recover from the calamity. The earthquake has left one good mark on India. In the aftermath of the earthquake, the Indian government diverted more funding into earthquake research. Also, more earthquake monitoring centers have now been made. (, India is an LEDC, it has taken a much longer period of time for the region to recover completely from the catastrophe. ( LEDCs, the recovery period is generally longer than in a MEDC. Also, the amount of deaths would have been lower as the engineering firms of an MEDC would have built the house foundations on bedrock, instead of having shallow foundations in soft soil. Finally, there would have been a host of building techniques in MEDC that would have cut the number of dead by two thirds, for example, the use of rubber shock absorbers and steel girders to prevent the snapping of columns and support structures.(

What is being done about it? Possible prevention methods? Were/are there any volunteer programs to help?

Relief work during the primary stages involved rescuing
people who had been trapped by the debris.

The time of the crisis has already past, but at that time, more than 300 relief projects were started to quickly alleviate the problem. Several villages were reconstructed by either private firms, or by the government. ( it has been previously mentioned, new earthquake monitoring and preparedness centers have been started in the region to educate the people on matters regarding earthquake safety and injury prevention. It is now government law in the state of Maharashtra that buildings be constructed with the designated earthquake proof materials and techniques, several of which have already been mentioned. Since it is not possible to prevent earthquakes, government funding has generally aimed at earthquake monitoring and injury prevention during earthquakes.( Although the districts of Latur and Osmanabad were given plenty of attention at the time of crisis, the relief was lifted too soon to guarantee the complete recovery of the region. This is why it took the region 6 years to completely recover. However, ironically, the earthquake memorial has generated more revenue for the city through tourism than its traditional markets. (

Though still scarred, Latur has mostly recovered from the earthquake.


Welcome to my natural hazards blog! Here I will be posting my case study on the Latur earthquake of 1993. Feel free to comment!