156 - 87 BC
Chinese Emperor

Wu-ti was one of the greatest Han dynasty emperors (his name means 'martial emperor').

Under Wu-ti the civil service was reorganized and Confucian theories were modified to include elements from other schools. Confuciansm became the state religion. The emperor established a Confucian university for administrators; appointed himself head of the bureaucracy and began selecting administrators by oral examination.

During his reign (140 - 87 BC) many peasants were resettled on newly conquered lands. New provinces, Tonking, in what is now Vietnam, and Yunnan, southwest China, were added to the empire and Han China reached its largest territorial expansion.

Wu-ti tried to form an alliance with the West against the Huns and he initiated transcontinental trade along the silk road. He sent a major expedition (138-125 BC) to Bactria, and a second expedition (101 BC) conquered Ferghana. ( see Map )

These expeditions ensured Chinese control over the Tarim Basin, and set a precedent for later spectacular Han triumphs. But Wu-ti levied unprecedented taxes to finance his military campaigns which led to difficulties among his successors.

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