China Pictorials 中国

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Change of Boundary in Tang Dynasty China


The Tang Dynasty 唐朝 (618 AD - 907 AD)was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li (李) family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire.

The Tang Dynasty, with its capital at Changan (current day Xian), the most populous city in the world at the time, is generally regarded as a high point in Chinese civilization—equal to, or surpassing that of, the earlier Han Dynasty—a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Its territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, was greater than that of the Han period, and it rivaled that of the later Yuan Dynasty and Qing Dynasty. In two censuses of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Tang records estimated the population by number of registered households at about 50 million people. Yet, even when the central government was breaking down and unable to compile an accurate census of the population in the 9th century, it is estimated that the population had grown by then to about 80 million people. With its large population base, the dynasty was able to raise professional and conscripted armies of hundreds of thousands of troops to contend with nomadic powers in dominating Inner Asia and the lucrative trade routes along the Silk Road.

In the Tang census of the year 754, there were 1,859 cities, 321 prefectures, and 1,538 counties throughout the empire.

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