Timeline Description: After roughly 350 years of disorder, the Sui dynasty (581 - 618 CE) finally succeeded in reuniting China. The Sui implemented a highly efficient bureaucracy, which improved administration of the empire. The Sui also enlarged the Great Wall, composed literature, and created a vast army. However, failed military campaigns led to the downfall of the Sui, who collapsed during an uprising that led to the conquest of the Tang dynasty.
|581||The Sui dynasty begins and unifies China.(March 4, 581 CE)
Yang Jian, a high official of the Bei Zhou dynasty, seizes the throne and begins to take over disparate sections of China. In 581 he unifiesmost of China and establishes the Sui dynasty as Emperor Wendi.
|581||Wendi undertakes the first of several construction projects on the Great Wall.(April 581)
Hoping to prevent the invasion of northern Turkic peoples, Wendi begins the first of several construction projects on the Great Wall of China. He builds eastern sections and later repairs other sections.
|583||Architect Yuwen Kai designs a vast capital city in Chang'an.
On imperial order, the great architect Yuwen Kai designs a vast capital city in Chang'an. The city is six times the size of the present-day city, Xi'an, and is laid out on a grid plan. Painters visit the city, and the Sui establish a reputation fo patronage of the arts, which continues into the Tang dynasty.
|583||Emperor Wendi centralizes the government.
After relocating to his new capital city, Emperor Wendi undertakes a series of reforms meant to centralize the government and rid it of corruption. He establishes a merit-based system of appointment and begins to attack southern regions of China.
|589||The Sui unify all of China.
In 589, the Sui defeat the last of the southern dynasties, Chen, and unify all of China for the first time since the Han.
|603||The Sui subdue the Turks in neighboring regions.
For years the formidable empires of the western and eastern Turks threaten the Sui, but when internal rivalries weaken these empires, the Sui strike in a series of successful military campaigns. By 603 the Sui have control over key neighboring regions in Turkistan and Mongolia.
|604||Emperor Yangdi ascends the throne.
Emperor Yangdi ascends the Sui throne in 604, most likely after assassinating his father, Emperor Wendi, and his older brother. He establishes a secondary capital city at Luoyang.
|605||Yangdi begins a great number of construction projects.
Yangdi lays the foundations for the Grand Canal, which he constructs later in his reign. He also undertakes the construction of a great imperial palace, as well as smaller palaces around China, supposedly built to enable him to travel around the provinces.
|605||The Zhaozhou Bridge is completed.
Master architect and stonemason Li Chun completes the construction of the Zhaozhou Bridge, which began in 595. The bridge crosses the Jiaohe River in Hebei Province and still stands today.
|608||Emperor Yangdi begins constructing the Grand Canal.
In 608 Emperor Yangdi builds a canal between northern Beijing and the rice-producing areas of southern China. He later extends this transportation system and begins the Grand Canal network, which helps supply the capital and northern armies with food.
|608||Yangdi defeats the Tuguhun people.
The Tuguhun people often invade the Sui dynasty, and in 608 Yangdi finally defeats them. He establishes four prefectures in their province to maintain control.
|612||Yangdi begins his first expedition against the Koreans.
Hoping to continue his father's work of expanding the empire, Yangdi sends an expedition against the Koreans. This and the two that follow end disastrously.
|617||Rebel forces capture food storage facilities near Luoyang.(Spring 617)
Despite the warnings of his officials, Emperor Yangdi leaves the capital, and his absence encourages rebel forces to begin moving. By spring 617 rebel armies have captured food storage facilities near Luoyang, thus depriving the Sui armies of supplies.
|618||Emperor Yangdi is murdered.(618 CE)
Rebel armies continue to gain control, and rebellions break out across the empire. Yangdi is murdered by a member of his entourage.
|618||The Sui dynasty ends.(618 CE)
Yangdi's successor, Gongdi, is unable to end the rebellions and bring the country together again. The Sui dynasty collapses in 618 CE.