The Han Empire (red, not including the Hexi corridor), and the three southern kindoms/vassal states it would conquer during Wu’s later reign: Nanyue (conquered in 112 BCE, pictured in fuchsia), Minyue (conq. 110 BCE, yellow), and Dian (conq. 109 BCE, blue):
The conquest of Gojoseon Korea
Nearly a century prior, Gen. Wei Man had fled Emperor Gaozu’s wrath following a failed rebellion. He took refuge in Gojoseon, but swiftly usurped the Korean throne from the sitting King Jun, thus establishing Wiman Joseon between 194 and 180 BCE:
Given the incomplete and imprecise nature of the records of the era, there remains some dispute and uncertainty of the bordered between Han, Joseon, and the southern Korean Kingdoms, headed by Jin…
The Joseon Kingdom would fall to a two-pronged military strike by Emperor Wu’s army in 109 BCE, resulting in its annexation into China from more than 4 centuries.
The War of the Heavenly Horses
In 104 BCE, conflict flared up between Han and the Ferghana/Ionian Kingdom ( known to the Chinese as Dayuan) on the far side of the Taklamakan Desert. The Han required their superior quality horses to rejuvenate their own war-depleted supply… the Ionians were not so keep on the prospect. By 102, the Ionian king was assassinated, his capital breached, and the Dayuan surrendered, offering the Han all the horses they wanted.
Purportedly, in addition to be hardy and strong, the Ferghana horses were well-known to sweat blood.
The Grand Historian of China and Imperial Court Astrologer of Han, Sima Qian
Though it would cost him his manhood and self-respect, he would manage to survive Emperor Wu’s punishment, and finish his master work, the Shiji (史記).
The Capital of Han, Chang’an (长安)
During the Han Dynasty, the imperial city (top left) was considerably smaller that it would become during the later Sui and Tang Dynasties (top right), and located 3-5km north of the later settlement (bottom left).
The uncovered remains of Chang’an of the Han period:
Maoling Mausoleum, Emperor Wu’s final resting place: