The Han dynasty (Chinese: 漢朝; pinyin: Hàncháo) was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC–220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynasty (221–206 BC) and a warring interregnum known as the Chu-Han contention (206–202 BC), it was briefly interrupted by the Xin dynasty (9–23 AD) established by the usurping regent Wang Mang, and was separated into two periods — the Western Han (202 BC–9 AD) and the Eastern Han (25–220 AD), before succeeded by the Three Kingdoms period (220–280 AD). Spanning over four centuries, the Han dynasty is considered a golden age in Chinese history, and influenced the identity of the Chinese civilization ever since. To this day, China’s majority ethnic group refers to themselves as the “Han Chinese”, the Sinitic language is known as “Han language”, and the written Chinese is referred to as “Han characters”.
The Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE) was the second dynasty of Imperial China (the era of centralized, dynastic government, 221 BCE – 1912 CE) which established the paradigm for all succeeding dynasties up through 1912 CE. It succeeded the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE) and was followed by the Period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280 CE). It was founded by the commoner Liu Bang (l. c. 256-195 BCE; throne name: Gaozu r. 202-195 BCE) who worked toward repairing the damage caused by the repressive regime of the Qin through more benevolent laws and care for the people.
Cao Cao (l. 155-220 CE) waged war against his fellow commanders for control of the state. He was defeated at the Battle of Red Cliffs in 208 CE after which the country was divided between three kingdoms and the Han Dynasty fell. Its legacy is so profound that it continues to the present day and the majority of ethnic Chinese refer to themselves as Han People (Han rem) proudly in identifying themselves as descendants of the great ancient dynasty.