Han People & Language

& the Han Dynasty


The Chinese ethnic group is also known as the Han people (汉人).

It is the largest ethnic group not only in China, but also the world. 

In addition to Han, officially there are 55 other ethnic groups in China, which make up less than 10% of the population.

The Chinese language, on the other hand, is referred to as the han language. 

If you learn mandarin phonetics, the most widely used system -- pinyin -- is also known as Hanyu Pinyin, literally means the phonetics of the Han language.

The Han Dynasty

The name Han comes from the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD).   It was one of the most prosperous periods in the Chinese history.

Confucianism was introduced as the official state ideology.   Since then, it has become a reference point for the moral standards in China, even when the country was ruled by non-Han ethnic groups, such as Mongolian and Manchu.

The Han Dynasty consisted of two dynasties: the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD) and the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 - 220).

Several of the 24 emperors were good leaders, resulting in it becoming a period of peace and prosperity. They include Emperors Gaozu, Wen, Jing and Wu.

It was a period of military expansion. The han culture, therefore, impacted not only the Chinese, but also people of other countries.

The empire expanded westward to the Tarim Basin, where Xinjiang is today; and the military expeditions went as far west as beyond the Caspian Sea, which lies between Russian and Iran.

Its armies also invaded and annexed parts of northern Korea and northern Vietnam.


Read more on Chinese history.

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