The Achievements of the Han Dynasty

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The Achievements of the Han Dynasty

The achievements of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E - 220 A.D.) in ancient China were among the most important successes of this time. Three of the most significant achievements of the Han Dynasty were the expansion of the Silk Road, the invention of paper, and the advances in agriculture. The Silk Road led to the “exploration of trade” and opened new roads for merchants. Paper was invented which allowed to people to communicate more easily. Lastly, changes in agriculture helped make many jobs simpler and much clearer. These three achievements made the people’s everyday lives more efficient and easier. Without these inventions and developments, the Han Dynasty would not have been as prosperous.

When the Han Dynasty began, trade was sparse. As the Silk Road developed, trade expanded. Communications between east and west territories of the Han Dynasty and other areas of China grew, along with the religion of Buddhism.1 The Persian Royal Road was an important route in the Silk Road. It started in Susa (north Persia) and connected to the Mediterranean Sea in modern day Turkey.2 This path eventually reached to and crossed Mesopotamia.3 The Silk Road started in modern day Xian and continues to Dunhuang where then it split into three individual routes.4 These routes are known as the Southern route, the Central route, and the Northern route.5 Goods were carried to trade, and by the name, silk was the most common item traded and brought along because of its light weight, high commercial value, and great demand.6 The Silk Road was very successful due to its contacts between many places. This allowed different people to share ideas and trade new products.

Without paper, people would not have been able to communicate as well as they did. Paper lead to the developments of communication and ideas. Paper was invented in 100 B.C.E. In 105 A.D., Ts’ai Lun started the first paper-making industry (in China).7 It spread west due to the accesses of the Silk Road.8 Paper was invented to replace the bulkiness of bones, tortoise shells, and bamboo (which had been previous writing surfaces).9 Paper was invented from worn fishnets, bark, and cloths.10 These materials were cheap and so more paper could be made.11 Due to the inexpensive access to paper, many people had the access to writing. This, in combination with the Silk Road, spread new ideas and helped develop culture and literature.12 This is important because without paper, people would not be able to transfer accurate information and would make the people’s everyday lives more chaotic.

Agriculture achievements were important to the success of all the people. “For 
 suffered.”13 This shows the importance of plowing. The wheelbarrow is an example of a tool that was used for agriculture. Its earliest existences were from tomb murals and brick tomb reliefs.14 The tomb mural was dated to 118 A.D..15 The wheelbarrow is an invention that made it easier and faster to transport materials and less of a burden on the farmers.

Throughout history, there have been several dynasties and empires that have had tremendous success. The Han Dynasty’s achievements are still notable. Many are still used today. The list of their accomplishments goes on and on. However, the ones that are the most impressive inventions are; the Silk Road, paper, and the advances in agriculture. Without these achievements, our lives today would be much harder and less efficient. People would not be able to convey their ideas around the world and we would not be able to transport many, heavy objects around. These caused huge breakthroughs and changed the world.

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Last modified September 28, 2009. Accessed November 16, 2014.

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28, 2014. Accessed November 14, 2014.


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6Advantour. "Great Silk Road." Advantour. Last modified 2001-2014. Accessed

November 15, 2014.

7 Karen Carr, Portland State University. "History of Paper." History for Kids!

Last modified 2014. Accessed November 16, 2014.

8 Wikipedia. "History of Paper." Wikipedia the Free Encylopedia. Last modified

November 3, 2014. Accessed November 16, 2014.


9 "Four Great Inventions of Ancient China." Last modified

1998-2014. Accessed November 17, 2014.


11 IBID "Invention of Paper in China." History of China. Last

modified 2007. Accessed November 15, 2014.


13Bary, Theodore and Bloom, Irene. Sources of Chinese Tradition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. (Accessed November 18, 2014)

14 "Wheelbarrow." Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. Last

modified October 25, 2014. Accessed November 15, 2014.


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