The Han Empire ca. 50 B.C.E.
Following the brief but important Qin Dynasty (that established a unified, imperial China), the Han Dynasty ruled for four hundred years (206 B.C.E.–220 C.E.). As this map depicts, the Han Dynasty did not just consolidate existing Chinese states, it sought to add new territory to the empire. It expanded its boundaries into Central Asia. Important trade routes developed, such as the Silk Road, which connected China to other parts of the world.