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THE RISE AND FALL OF THE HAN DYNASTY General Throughout the Qin Dynasty 221-206 BC the emperors lived in luxury while oppressing their people This gave rise to wide opposition to the monarchy from within the country The despotic rule was finally ended in 207 BC by an uprising led by Luibang official which overthrew the Qin Libang was a commoner with no aristocratic background Early in his career he had unintentionally become the leader of a group of bandits Luibang organized a rebel force to protest the oppressive regime of the Qin Around 208 BC Luibang joined his forces with a larger more organized rebel army headed by Xiangyu a powerful nobleman from the state of Chu Xiangyu was commander of the rebel forces that burned the capital and killed the Qin imperial family after Luibang had already accepted their surrender and spared their lives Because of acts like this Luibang soon disagreed with his aristocratic commander and the two of them engaged in a four-year struggle for control of the empire Although Xiangyus forces won most of the battles at the outset Luibang s following steadily increased while that of Xiangyu began to slacken The highborn Xiangyu had only contempt for the common people and could not imagine being beaten by one of them Xiangyu died by his own hand at the age of thirty after being defested in a desperate battle against Luibangs superior forces Following his victory over Xiangyu in 202 BC Luibang became emperor At first he refused the title protesting that he had no distinguished lineage But when his advisers and supporters pointed out that their titles would mean nothing without his he agreed to accept the title As was the Chinese custom he then chose a name by which he wished to be known after his death Gaozu meaning High Progenitor or forefather He established the Han Dynasty Historians called this period the Western
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