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China and the World: Role of the Emperor

Year 9 Mandatory History

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In this program, historian Niall Ferguson explores China, with a focus on how the autocratic rule enforced by the first Chinese Emperor still operates today. It is a useful cross-curricular resource for history and geography students.

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The social hierarchy in Ancient China was paramount. Emperors, government officials, nobles, peasants, merchants and slaves all had their role to play within Chinese society. As the ruling power in Ancient China for centuries, Chinese Emperors were at the top of the social order. Believing their authority to rule was granted from heaven, they lived a life very different from ordinary people.

Emperor Kangxi, the second emperor of the Qing Dynasty, is perhaps one of the most cultured emperors in Chinese history. He ruled China for more than 60 years and had a strong passion for learning throughout his life.

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The British Museum

The First Emperor governed his vast land with a mixture of strict discipline and excellent organisation. He divided it into 36 parts called ‘commanderies’, and chose officials to administer them.