Han (state)

Han (state)

Han (韓國, "Hánguó") (403 BC-230 BC) was a kingdom during the Warring States Period in China. Not to be confused with South Korea which shares the same name.

Its territory directly blocked the passage of the state of Qin into the North China Plain, thus becoming a frequent target of Qin's military operations. Although Han had attempted several self strengthening reforms, notably under the famous Legalist Shen Buhai, it would never overcome the Qin. In fact it was the first of the Six states to be conquered by Qin.

The Qin invasion of Han's Shangdang Commandery (上党郡) ushered in the bloodiest battle of the whole period, the Battle of Changping in 260 BC.


According to Shiji, the Han family was descended from the Zhou nobles. The Zhou kings granted Hanyuan (韓原) to the Han family which the family used to gain influence and importance. In 403 BC, Marquis Jing of Han (韓景侯), along with Marquis Wen of Wei and Marquis Lie of Zhao partitioned the powerful state Jin into Han, Wei, and Zhao marking the beginning of the Warring States Period and Han as an independent polity. King Lie of Zhou was forced to recognize the new states and elevated the ruler's titles to Marquis.


The height of the Han state was during the rule of Marquis Xi. Xi appointed Shen Buhai (申不害) Chancellor and implemented Shen's Legalist philosophy. Shen's policies strengthened Han and the kingdom became a "xiaokang" society.


Because of the nature of the split of Jin, the Han state was landlocked on all sides by other powerful states like Chu, Qi, Qin, and Wei. Han was the smallest of the seven states, and was bullied militarily by more powerful neighbors. During its steady decline, the Han state lost the power to defend its territory and was requesting military assistance from other states when faced with invasions. Eventually, Han became the first of the six states to be conquered by the expanding Qin in 230 BC.

Famous People

The most famous person of Han is the Legalist philosopher Han Fei. Another famous Han personality was Zhang Liang, who helped bring about the founding of the Han dynasty.

List of Han rulers

ee also

*Chinese nobility

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