Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy. 12 percent of the opium latex is made up of the analgesic alkaloid morphine, processed chemically to produce heroin and other synthetic opioids for medicinal use and for illegal drug trade. The latex contains the related opiates codeine and thebaine, non-analgesic alkaloids such as papaverine and noscapine; the traditional, labor-intensive method of obtaining the latex is to scratch the immature seed pods by hand. The word "meconium" referred to related, weaker preparations made from other parts of the opium poppy or different species of poppies; the production methods have not changed since ancient times. Through selective breeding of the Papaver somniferum plant, the content of the phenanthrene alkaloids morphine, to a lesser extent thebaine has been increased. In modern times, much of the thebaine, which serves as the raw material for the synthesis for oxycodone, hydrocodone and other semisynthetic opiates, originates from extracting Papaver orientale or Papaver bracteatum.
For the illegal drug trade, the morphine is extracted from the opium latex, reducing the bulk weight by 88%. It is converted to heroin, two to four times as potent, increases the value by a similar factor; the reduced weight and bulk make it easier to smuggle. The Mediterranean region contains the earliest archeological evidence of human use. Evidence from ancient Greece indicates that opium was consumed in several ways, including inhalation of vapors, medical poultices, as a combination with hemlock for suicide; the Sumerian, Egyptian, Minoan, Roman and Arab Empires all made widespread use of opium, the most potent form of pain relief available, allowing ancient surgeons to perform prolonged surgical procedures. Opium is mentioned in the most important medical texts of the ancient world, including the Ebers Papyrus and the writings of Dioscorides and Avicenna. Widespread medical use of unprocessed opium continued through the American Civil War before giving way to morphine and its successors, which could be injected at a controlled dosage.
Opium has been collected since prehistoric times, since 3400 BCE. A common name for males in Afghanistan is "Redey", which in Pashto means "poppy"; this term may be derived from the Sanskrit words rddhi and hrdya, which mean "magical", "a type of medicinal plant", "heart-pleasing", respectively. The upper Asian belt of Afghanistan, northern India, Burma still account for the world's largest supply of opium. At least 17 finds of Papaver somniferum from Neolithic settlements have been reported throughout Switzerland and Spain, including the placement of large numbers of poppy seed capsules at a burial site, which have been carbon-14 dated to 4200 BCE. Numerous finds of P. somniferum or P. setigerum from Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements have been reported. The first known cultivation of opium poppies was in Mesopotamia 3400 BCE, by Sumerians, who called the plant hul gil, the "joy plant". Tablets found at Nippur, a Sumerian spiritual center south of Baghdad, described the collection of poppy juice in the morning and its use in production of opium.
Cultivation continued in the Middle East by the Assyrians, who collected poppy juice in the morning after scoring the pods with an iron scoop. Opium production continued under the Egyptians. Opium was used with poison hemlock to put people and painlessly to death, but it was used in medicine. Spongia somnifera, sponges soaked in opium, were used during surgery; the Egyptians cultivated opium thebaicum in famous poppy fields around 1300 BCE. Opium was traded from Egypt by the Phoenicians and Minoans to destinations around the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece and Europe. By 1100 BCE, opium was cultivated on Cyprus, where surgical-quality knives were used to score the poppy pods, opium was cultivated and smoked. Opium was mentioned after the Persian conquest of Assyria and Babylonian lands in the 6th century BCE. From the earliest finds, opium has appeared to have ritual significance, anthropologists have speculated ancient priests may have used the drug as a proof of healing power. In Egypt, the use of opium was restricted to priests and warriors, its invention is credited to Thoth, it was said to have been given by Isis to Ra as treatment for a headache.
A figure of the Minoan "goddess of the narcotics", wearing a crown of three opium poppies, c. 1300 BCE, was recovered from the Sanctuary of Gazi, together with a simple smoking apparatus. The Greek gods Hypnos and Thanatos were depicted wreathed in poppies or holding them. Poppies frequently adorned statues of Apollo, Pluto, Aphrodite and Isis, symbolizing nocturnal oblivion; as the power of the Roman Empire declined, the lands to the south and east of the Mediterranean Sea became incorporated into the Islamic Empires. Some Muslims believe hadiths, such as in Sahih Bukhari, prohibits every intoxicating substance, though the use of intoxicants in medicine has been wi
In countries outside the United States of America, Americanization or Americanisation, is the influence American culture and business have on other countries, such as their media, business practices, popular culture, technology or political techniques. The term has been used since at least 1907. While not a pejorative term, it is most used by critics in the target country who are against the influences. Americanization has become more prevalent since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989–91, since the advent of widespread high speed Internet use starting in the mid-2000s. In Europe, in recent years there is growing concern about Americanization through Google, Twitter, Apple Inc. and Uber, among many other United States tech industry companies. European governments have expressed concern regarding privacy issues, as well as antitrust and taxation issues regarding the new American giants; the Wall Street Journal in 2015 reported "deep concerns in Europe’s highest policy circles about the power of U.
S. technology companies."Within the United States, the term Americanization refers to the process of acculturation by immigrants or annexed populations to American customs and values. Hollywood since the 1920s has dominated most of the world's media markets, it is the chief medium by which people across the globe see American fashions, customs and way of life. In general, the United States government plays only a facilitating role in the dissemination of films, books, journals and so on. However, during the occupation of former Axis enemies countries after World War II, the government played a major role in restructuring the media in those countries to eliminate totalitarianism and promote democracy, against communism. For example, In Germany, the American occupation headquarters, Office of Military Government, United States in 1945 began its own newspaper based in Munich. Die Neue Zeitung was edited by German and Jewish émigrés who fled to the United States before the war, its mission was to destroy Nazi cultural remnants, encourage democracy by exposing Germans to how American culture operated.
There was great detail on sports, business and fashions, as well as international affairs. Americanization would continue to spread out over the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Soviet Union and periodically after. Copies of American-based TV programs are re-broadcast around the world, many of them through American broadcasters and their subsidiaries. Many of these distributors broadcast American programming on their TV channels. In 2006, a survey of 20 countries by Radio Times found seven American shows in the ten most-watched: CSI: Miami, Desperate Housewives, The Simpsons, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Without a Trace and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. American films are extremely popular around the world dominating cinemas as a result of a high demand of US product exported to consumers to clear away the outlook of World War II. Out of the top-50 highest-grossing films of all time, all of them were made or in the United States. Part of the negotiating in free trade agreements between the U.
S. and other nations involves screen quotas. One such case is Mexico, which abolished screen quotas following the establishment of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the U. S. South Korea has agreed to reduce its quota under pressure from the U. S. as part of a free trade deal. Many U. S.-based artists, such as Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson are recognized worldwide and have sold over 500 million albums each. Michael Jackson's album Thriller, at 100 million sales, is the best-selling album of all time. Through the study of vocabulary and spelling of English words in books and tweets, American English is more common in communities in European Union compared to British English; this trend is more apparent in the events following the fall of the Soviet Union. Of the top ten global brands by revenue, seven are based in the United States: Apple Inc. Google, Coca-Cola, Facebook and IBM. Coca-Cola, which held the top spot, is viewed as a symbol of Americanization, giving rise to the term "Coca-Cola diplomacy" for anything emblematic of America's soft power.
Fast food is often viewed as being a symbol of U. S. marketing dominance. Companies such as McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Domino's Pizza among others have numerous outlets around the world. Many of the world's biggest computer companies are U. S.-based, such as Microsoft, Intel, HP Inc. Dell and IBM, much of the software bought worldwide is created by U. S.-based companies. Carayannis and Campbell note that "The USA occupies in global terms, a strong position in the software sector."By 1900 observers saw "Americanization" as synonymous with progress and innovation. In Germany in the 1920s, the American efficiency movement was called "rationalization" and it was a powerful social and economic force. In part it looked explicitly at American models Fordism. "Rationalization" meant higher productivity and greater efficiency, promising science would bring prosperity. More it promised a new level of modernity and was applied to economic production and consumption as well as public administration.
Various versions of rationalization were promoted by industrialists and social democrats, by engineers and architects, by educators and academics, by middle class feminists and social workers, by government officials and politicians of many parties. As ideology and practice, ratio
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire existing from the mid-to-late 3rd century CE to 543 CE. At its zenith, from 319 to 543 CE, it covered much of the Indian subcontinent; this period is called the Golden Age of India by some historians. The ruling dynasty of the empire was founded by the king Sri Gupta; the 5th-century CE Sanskrit poet Kalidasa credits the Guptas with having conquered about twenty-one kingdoms, both in and outside India, including the kingdoms of Parasikas, the Hunas, the Kambojas, tribes located in the west and east Oxus valleys, the Kinnaras and others. The high points of this period are the great cultural developments which took place during the reigns of Samudragupta I, Chandragupta II and Kumaragupta I. Many of the literary sources, such as Mahabharata and Ramayana, were canonised during this period; the Gupta period produced scholars such as Kalidasa, Aryabhata and Vatsyayana who made great advancements in many academic fields. Science and political administration reached new heights during the Gupta era.
The period gave rise to achievements in architecture and painting that "set standards of form and taste determined the whole subsequent course of art, not only in India but far beyond her borders". Strong trade ties made the region an important cultural centre and established the region as a base that would influence nearby kingdoms and regions in Burma, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia; the Puranas, earlier long poems on a variety of subjects, are thought to have been committed to written texts around this period. The empire died out because of many factors such as substantial loss of territory and imperial authority caused by their own erstwhile feudatories, as well as the invasion by the Huna peoples from Central Asia. After the collapse of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century, India was again ruled by numerous regional kingdoms. Many theories debating the homeland of the early Guptas were put forth by scholars and it was assumed to be uncertain. According to one theory, they originated in the present-day eastern Uttar Pradesh, where most of the inscriptions and coins of the early Gupta kings have been discovered.
The proponents of this theory argue that according to the Puranas, the territory of the early Gupta kings included Prayaga and other areas in the Ganges basin. Another prominent theory locates the Gupta homeland in the present-day Bengal region, based on the account of the 7th century Chinese Buddhist monk Yijing. According to Yijing, king Che-li-ki-to built a temple for Chinese pilgrims near Mi-li-kia-si-kia-po-no. Yijing states that this temple was located more than 40 yojanas east of Nalanda, which would mean it was situated somewhere in the modern Bengal region. Another proposal is that the early Gupta kingdom extended from Prayaga in the west to northern Bengal in the east.. Latest research confirms that the Gupta Empire originated in the Kannauj district of U. P; the earliest gold coins of the King and Queen on Couch Type are only found in this district. The Gupta records do not mention the dynasty's varna; some historians, such as A. S. Altekar, have theorized that they were of Vaishya origin, as some ancient Indian texts prescribe the name "Gupta" for the members of the Vaishya varna.
Critics of this theory point out that the suffix Gupta features in the names of several non-Vaishyas before as well as during the Gupta period, the dynastic name "Gupta" may have derived from the name of the family's first king Gupta. Some scholars, such as S. R. Goyal, theorize that the Guptas were Brahmanas, because they had matrimonial relations with Brahmanas, but others reject this evidence as inconclusive. Based on the Pune and Riddhapur inscriptions of the Gupta princess Prabhavati-gupta, some scholars believe that the name of her paternal gotra was "Dharana", but an alternative reading of these inscriptions suggests that Dharana was the gotra of her mother Kuberanaga.. Dr. Chhabra pointed to the presence of the crescent standard on these early Gupta coins as an indication that the Gupta kings may have been Chandravamśa Kshatriya — who traced their origins from the moon or Soma or Chandra; the Gupta royal inscriptions do not list any caste affiliations for the Gupta kings, however on the coins of the Archer-Quiver Type, we can see the king with the yajñopavītam, the sacred thread across his chest as it flows from over the left shoulder.
This Upanayana thread ceremony was performed within the Brahmin and the Kshatriya castes and is considered a rite of passage for the start of the education process for the young student at the feet of his guru This sacred thread can be seen draped across the left shoulder of the King Chandragupta I in the coin below. It is important to note here that thisyajñopavītam thread is not seen on any coins struck after Chandragupta I. Gupta is the earliest known king of the dynasty: different historians variously date the beginning of his reign from mid-to-late 3rd century CE. "Che-li-ki-to", the name of a king mentioned by the 7th century Chinese Buddhist monk Yijing, is believed to be a transcription of "Shri-Gupta", "Shri" being an honorific prefix. According to Yijing, this king built a temple for Chinese Buddhist pilgrims near "Mi-li-kia-si-kia-po-no". In the Allahabad Pillar inscription and his successor Ghatotkacha are described as Maharaja, while the next king Chandragupta I is called a Mahar
The British Empire comprised the dominions, protectorates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2, 24% of the Earth's total land area; as a result, its political, legal and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories. During the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries and Spain pioneered European exploration of the globe, in the process established large overseas empires.
Envious of the great wealth these empires generated, England and the Netherlands began to establish colonies and trade networks of their own in the Americas and Asia. A series of wars in the 17th and 18th centuries with the Netherlands and France left England and following union between England and Scotland in 1707, Great Britain, the dominant colonial power in North America, it became the dominant power in the Indian subcontinent after the East India Company's conquest of Mughal Bengal at the Battle of Plassey in 1757. The independence of the Thirteen Colonies in North America in 1783 after the American War of Independence caused Britain to lose some of its oldest and most populous colonies. British attention soon turned towards Asia and the Pacific. After the defeat of France in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Britain emerged as the principal naval and imperial power of the 19th century. Unchallenged at sea, British dominance was described as Pax Britannica, a period of relative peace in Europe and the world during which the British Empire became the global hegemon and adopted the role of global policeman.
In the early 19th century, the Industrial Revolution began to transform Britain. The British Empire expanded to include most of India, large parts of Africa and many other territories throughout the world. Alongside the formal control that Britain exerted over its own colonies, its dominance of much of world trade meant that it controlled the economies of many regions, such as Asia and Latin America. During the 19th century, Britain's population increased at a dramatic rate, accompanied by rapid urbanisation, which caused significant social and economic stresses. To seek new markets and sources of raw materials, the British government under Benjamin Disraeli initiated a period of imperial expansion in Egypt, South Africa, elsewhere. Canada and New Zealand became self-governing dominions. By the start of the 20th century and the United States had begun to challenge Britain's economic lead. Subsequent military and economic tensions between Britain and Germany were major causes of the First World War, during which Britain relied upon its empire.
The conflict placed enormous strain on the military and manpower resources of Britain. Although the British Empire achieved its largest territorial extent after World War I, Britain was no longer the world's pre-eminent industrial or military power. In the Second World War, Britain's colonies in East and Southeast Asia were occupied by Japan. Despite the final victory of Britain and its allies, the damage to British prestige helped to accelerate the decline of the empire. India, Britain's most valuable and populous possession, achieved independence as part of a larger decolonisation movement in which Britain granted independence to most territories of the empire; the Suez Crisis confirmed Britain's decline as a global power. The transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997 marked for many the end of the British Empire. Fourteen overseas territories remain under British sovereignty. After independence, many former British colonies joined the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of independent states.
The United Kingdom is now one of 16 Commonwealth nations, a grouping known informally as the Commonwealth realms, that share a monarch Queen Elizabeth II. The foundations of the British Empire were laid when Scotland were separate kingdoms. In 1496, King Henry VII of England, following the successes of Spain and Portugal in overseas exploration, commissioned John Cabot to lead a voyage to discover a route to Asia via the North Atlantic. Cabot sailed in 1497, five years after the European discovery of America, but he made landfall on the coast of Newfoundland, mistakenly believing that he had reached Asia, there was no attempt to found a colony. Cabot led another voyage to the Americas the following year but nothing was heard of his ships again. No further attempts to establish English colonies in the Americas were made until well into the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, during the last decades of the 16th century. In the meantime, the 1533 Statute in Restraint of Appeals had declared "that this realm of England is an Empire".
The subsequent Protestant Reformation turned Catholic Spain into implacable enemies. In 1562, the English Crown encouraged the privateers John Hawkins and Francis Drake to engage in slave-raiding attacks against Spanish and Portuguese ships off the coast of West Africa with the aim of breaking into the Atlantic slave tr
The Medes were an ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media between western and northern Iran. Under the Neo-Assyrian Empire, late 9th to early 7th centuries BC, the region of Media was bounded by the Zagros Mountains to its west, to its south by the Garrin Mountain in Lorestan Province, to its northwest by the Qaflankuh Mountains in Zanjan Province, to its east by the Dasht-e Kavir desert, its neighbors were the kingdoms of Gizilbunda and Mannea in the northwest, Ellipi and Elam in the south. In the 7th century BC, Media's tribes came together to form the Median Kingdom, which remained a Neo-Assyrian vassal. Between 616 and 609 BC, King Cyaxares, allied with King Nabopolassar of the Neo-Babylonian Empire against the Neo-Assyrian Empire, after which the Median Empire stretched across the Iranian Plateau as far as Anatolia, its precise geographical extent remains unknown. A few archaeological sites and textual sources provide a brief documentation of the history and culture of the Median state.
Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is unknown. The Medes had an ancient Iranian religion with a priesthood named as "Magi". During the reigns of the last Median kings, the reforms of Zoroaster spread into western Iran. According to the Histories of Herodotus, there were six Median tribes: The six Median tribes resided in Media proper, the triangular area between Rhagae and Ecbatana. In present-day Iran, the area between Tehran and Hamadan, respectively. Of the Median tribes, the Magi resided in Rhaga, modern Tehran, they were of a sacred caste. The Paretaceni tribe resided in and around Aspadana, modern Isfahan, the Arizanti lived in and around Kashan, the Busae tribe lived in and around the future Median capital of Ecbatana, near modern Hamadan; the Struchates and the Budii lived in villages in the Median triangle. The original source for their name and homeland is a directly transmitted Old Iranian geographical name, attested as the Old Persian "Māda-"; the meaning of this word is not known.
However, the linguist W. Skalmowski proposes a relation with the proto-Indo European word "med-", meaning "central, suited in the middle", by referring to the Old Indic "madhya-" and Old Iranian "maidiia-" which both carry the same meaning; the Latin medium, Greek méso and German mittel are derived from it. Greek scholars during antiquity would base ethnological conclusions on Greek legends and the similarity of names. According to the Histories of Herodotus: In the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, Medea is the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis and a paternal granddaughter of the sun-god Helios. Following her failed marriage to Jason while in Corinth, for one of several reasons depending on the version, she marries King Aegeus of Athens and bears a son Medus. After failing to make Aegeus kill his older son Theseus and her son fled to Aria, where the Medes take their name from her, according to several Greek and Roman accounts, including in Pausanias' Description of Greece. According to other versions, such as in Strabo's Geographica and Justin's Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum, she returned home to conquer neighboring lands with her husband Jason, one of, named after her.
The discoveries of Median sites in Iran happened only after the 1960s. For 1960 the search for Median archeological sources has focused in an area known as the “Median triangle,” defined as the region bounded by Hamadān and Malāyer and Kangāvar. Three major sites from central western Iran in the Iron Age III period are: Tepe Nush-i Jan,The site is located 14 km west of Malāyer in Hamadan province; the excavations started in 1967 with D. Stronach as the director; the remains of four main buildings in the site are "the central temple, the western temple, the fort, the columned hall" which according to Stronach were to have been built in the order named and predate the latter occupation of the first half of the 6th century BC. According to Stronach, the central temple, with its stark design, "provides a notable, if mute, expression of religious belief and practice". A number of ceramics from the Median levels at Tepe Nush-i Jan have been found which are associated with a period of power consolidation in the Hamadān areas.
These findings show four different wares known as “common ware” including jars in various size the largest of, a form of ribbed pithoi. Smaller and more elaborate vessels were in “grey ware”; the “cooking ware” and “crumbly ware” are recognized each in single handmade products. Godin Tepe,The site is located 13 km east of Kangāvar city on the left bank of the river Gamas Āb"; the excavations, started in 1965, were led by T. C. Young, Jr. which according to David Stronach, evidently shows an important Bronze Age construction th
First Opium War
The First Opium War known as the Opium War or the Anglo-Chinese War, was a series of military engagements fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing dynasty of China over diplomatic relations and the administration of justice in China. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the demand for Chinese goods in Europe created a trade imbalance between Qing Imperial China and Great Britain. European silver flowed into China through the Canton System, which confined incoming foreign trade to the southern port city of Canton. To counter this imbalance, the British East India Company began to grow opium in India and smuggle them into China illegally; the influx of narcotics reversed the Chinese trade surplus, drained the economy of silver, increased the numbers of opium addicts inside the country, outcomes that worried Chinese officials. In 1839, the Daoguang Emperor, rejecting proposals to legalize and tax opium, appointed viceroy Lin Zexu to go to Canton to halt the opium trade completely. Lin wrote to Queen Victoria an open letter in an appeal to her moral responsibility to stop the opium trade.
When he failed to get a response, he attempted to get foreign companies to forfeit their opium stores in exchange for tea, but this failed too. Lin resorted to using force in the western merchants' enclave, he confiscated all supplies and ordered a blockade of foreign ships to get them to surrender their opium supply. Lin confiscated 20,283 chests of opium; the British government responded by dispatching a military force to China and in the ensuing conflict, the Royal Navy used its naval and gunnery power to inflict a series of decisive defeats on the Chinese Empire, a tactic referred to as gunboat diplomacy. In 1842, the Qing dynasty was forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking—the first of what the Chinese called the unequal treaties—which granted an indemnity and extraterritoriality to Britain, opened five treaty ports to foreign merchants, ceded Hong Kong Island to the British Empire; the failure of the treaty to satisfy British goals of improved trade and diplomatic relations led to the Second Opium War, the perceived weakness of the Qing dynasty resulted in social unrest within China, namely the Taiping Rebellion, which the Qing dynasty fought against the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.
In China, the war is considered the beginning of modern Chinese history. Direct maritime trade between Europe and China began in 1557 when the Portuguese leased an outpost from the Ming dynasty at Macau. Other European nations soon followed the Portuguese lead, inserting themselves into the existing Asian maritime trade network to compete with Arab, Chinese and Japanese merchants in intra-regional commerce. After the Spanish conquest of the Philippines the exchange of goods between China and Europe accelerated dramatically. From 1565 on, the Manila Galleons brought silver into the Asian trade network from mines in South America. China was a primary destination for the precious metal, as the imperial government mandated that Chinese goods could only be exported in exchange for silver bullion. British ships began to appear sporadically around the coasts of China from 1635 on. Without establishing formal relations through the Chinese tributary system, by which most Asian nations were able to negotiate with China, British merchants were only allowed to trade at the ports of Zhoushan and Guangzhou.
Official British trade was conducted through the auspices of the British East India Company, which held a royal charter for trade with the Far East. The East India Company came to dominate Sino-European trade from its position in India and due to the strength of the Royal Navy. Trade benefited. Taiwan came under Qing control in 1683 and rhetoric regarding the tributary status of Europeans was muted. Guangzhou became the port of preference for incoming foreign trade. Ships did try to call at other ports, but these locations could not match the benefits of Canton's geographic position at the mouth of the Pearl River, nor did they have the city's long experience in balancing the demands of Beijing with those of Chinese and foreign merchants. From 1700 onward Canton was the center of maritime trade with China, this market process was formulated by Qing authorities into the "Canton System". From the system's inception in 1757, trading in China was lucrative for European and Chinese merchants alike as goods such as tea and silk were valued enough in Europe to justify the expenses of traveling to Asia.
The system was regulated by the Qing government. Foreign traders were only permitted to do business through a body of Chinese merchants known as the Cohong and were forbidden to learn Chinese. Foreigners could only live in one of the Thirteen Factories and were not allowed to enter or trade in any other part of China. Only low level government officials could be dealt with, the imperial court could not be lobbied for any reason excepting official diplomatic missions; the Imperial laws that upheld the system were collectively known as the Prevention Barbarian Ordinances. The Cohong were powerful in the Old China Trade, as they were tasked with appraising the value of foreign products, purchasing or rebuffing said imports, charged with selling Chinese exports at an appropriate price; the Cohong was made up of between 6 to 20 merchant families. Most of the merchant houses these families ruled had been established by low-ranking mandarins, but
The Han dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms period. Spanning over four centuries, the Han period is considered a golden age in Chinese history. To this day, China's majority ethnic group refers to themselves as the "Han Chinese" and the Chinese script is referred to as "Han characters", it was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han, interrupted by the Xin dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang. This interregnum separates the Han dynasty into two periods: the Western Han or Former Han and the Eastern Han or Later Han; the emperor was at the pinnacle of Han society. He presided over the Han government but shared power with both the nobility and appointed ministers who came from the scholarly gentry class; the Han Empire was divided into areas directly controlled by the central government using an innovation inherited from the Qin known as commanderies, a number of semi-autonomous kingdoms.
These kingdoms lost all vestiges of their independence following the Rebellion of the Seven States. From the reign of Emperor Wu onward, the Chinese court sponsored Confucianism in education and court politics, synthesized with the cosmology of scholars such as Dong Zhongshu; this policy endured until the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 AD. The Han dynasty saw an age of economic prosperity and witnessed a significant growth of the money economy first established during the Zhou dynasty; the coinage issued by the central government mint in 119 BC remained the standard coinage of China until the Tang dynasty. The period saw a number of limited institutional innovations. To finance its military campaigns and the settlement of newly conquered frontier territories, the Han government nationalized the private salt and iron industries in 117 BC, but these government monopolies were repealed during the Eastern Han dynasty. Science and technology during the Han period saw significant advances, including the process of papermaking, the nautical steering ship rudder, the use of negative numbers in mathematics, the raised-relief map, the hydraulic-powered armillary sphere for astronomy, a seismometer employing an inverted pendulum that could be used to discern the cardinal direction of distant earthquakes.
The Xiongnu, a nomadic steppe confederation, defeated the Han in 200 BC and forced the Han to submit as a de facto inferior and vassal partner, but continued their military raids on the Han borders. Emperor Wu launched several military campaigns against them; the ultimate Han victory in these wars forced the Xiongnu to accept vassal status as Han tributaries. These campaigns expanded Han sovereignty into the Tarim Basin of Central Asia, divided the Xiongnu into two separate confederations, helped establish the vast trade network known as the Silk Road, which reached as far as the Mediterranean world; the territories north of Han's borders were overrun by the nomadic Xianbei confederation. Emperor Wu launched successful military expeditions in the south, annexing Nanyue in 111 BC and Dian in 109 BC, in the Korean Peninsula where the Xuantu and Lelang Commanderies were established in 108 BC. After 92 AD, the palace eunuchs involved themselves in court politics, engaging in violent power struggles between the various consort clans of the empresses and empresses dowager, causing the Han's ultimate downfall.
Imperial authority was seriously challenged by large Daoist religious societies which instigated the Yellow Turban Rebellion and the Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion. Following the death of Emperor Ling, the palace eunuchs suffered wholesale massacre by military officers, allowing members of the aristocracy and military governors to become warlords and divide the empire; when Cao Pi, King of Wei, usurped the throne from Emperor Xian, the Han dynasty ceased to exist. According to the Records of the Grand Historian, after the collapse of the Qin dynasty the hegemon Xiang Yu appointed Liu Bang as prince of the small fief of Hanzhong, named after its location on the Han River. Following Liu Bang's victory in the Chu–Han Contention, the resulting Han dynasty was named after the Hanzhong fief. China's first imperial dynasty was the Qin dynasty; the Qin unified the Chinese Warring States by conquest, but their empire became unstable after the death of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang. Within four years, the dynasty's authority had collapsed in the face of rebellion.
Two former rebel leaders, Xiang Yu of Chu and Liu Bang of Han, engaged in a war to decide who would become hegemon of China, which had fissured into 18 kingdoms, each claiming allegiance to either Xiang Yu or Liu Bang. Although Xiang Yu proved to be a capable commander, Liu Bang defeated him at Battle of Gaixia, in modern-day Anhui. Liu Bang assumed the title "emperor" at the urging of his followers and is known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu. Chang'an was chosen as the new capital of the reunified empire under Han. At the beginning of the Western Han known as the Former Han dynasty, thirteen centrally controlled commanderies—including the capital region—existed in the western third of the empire, while the eastern two-thirds were divided into ten semi-autonomous kingdoms. To placate his prominent commanders from the war with Chu, Emperor Gaozu enfeoffed some of them as kings. By 157 BC, the Han court h