The Han dynasty was a prosperous time. The last emperor, Emperor Xiandi, however, was not a great emperor. During his rule, people switched from Confucianism to Daoism, which made them work for their own good, instead of China's.
Soon, peasants grew more and more frustrated and started the Yellow Turban Rebellion led by Zhang Jue (a Daoist faith healer). This forced the government to spend money on countering this revolution instead of helping China prosper even more. This war eventually escalated and divided up the power of China, making a once beautiful place into a place of famine and division.
The peasant rebellion led to China splitting into three kingdoms: Wei, Wu, and Shu-Han. Each kingdom was ruled by a military warlord. Wei was established by General Cao Cao; Wu was established by Sun Quan; Shu-Han was ruled by Liu Bei. Each warlord promised that they were the next emperor of China, but that was not true. Cao Cao was the strongest of all, a former protector of Emperor Xiandi. After he died, his son, Cao Pi, inherited the throne. This started the Wei dynasty. Then, they were conquered by Wudi (also known as Sima Yan) who declared himself emperor and founded the Jin dynasty.
China split once again. The north split into five kingdoms; the south split into ten kingdoms. In the north, Taizu, a military inspector-general, founded the Song dynasty, reuniting China once again. This, as many historians believed, was a golden age. Sadly, the northern Song dynasty was destroyed by the Jin.
During the Song Dynasty, many inventions and innovations took place. They created new farming tools, such as the plow and the harrow, which made farming much easier and efficient. They accidentally made gunpowder, which they used to propel arrows and in fireworks. They also created the crossbow, which was stronger and did not depend on strength as much as the bow did since it had a trigger. They also found silk, which is used in clothing and a useful trading item.
Made in China (Silk)
Neo-Confucianism was a giant factor of the success of the Song dynasty. Emperor Wendi first saw that Confucianism could strengthen his rule greatly. Neo-Confucianism, or New Confucianism, supported the right of rule: the Mandate of Heaven. The Mandate of Heaven is basically the Divine Right of Kings but for the Chinese. The new Confucianism helped the emperor rule because it tells the supporters to follow the rule of law, loyalty to a fair monarch, and to respect their rulers and ancestors.