Emperor He of Han, Chinese 漢和帝, py. hàn hé dì, wg. Han Ho-ti, (79 – February 13, 105) was an emperor of the Chinese Han Dynasty who ruled from 88 to 105. He was the 4th emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty.
Emperor He was the son of Emperor Zhang. He ascended the throne at the age of nine and reigned for 17 years. It was during Emperor He's reign that the Eastern Han began its decline. Strife between consort clans and eunuchs began when the Empress Dowager Dou (Emperor He's adoptive mother) made her own family members important government officials. Her family was corrupt and intolerant of dissension. In 92, Emperor He was able to remedy the situation by removing the empress dowager's brothers with the aid of the eunuch Zheng Zhong (鄭眾) and his brother Liu Qing (劉慶) the Prince of Qinghe. This in turn created a precedent for eunuchs to be involved in important affairs of state. These trend would continue to escalate for the next century contributing to the fall of the Han dynasty. Further, while Qiang revolts, spurred by corrupt and/or oppressive Han officials, started during his father Emperor Zhang's reign, they began to create major problems for the Han during Emperor He's reign and would last until the reign of Emperor Ling.
Emperor He himself appeared to be a largely kind and gentle man who, however, lacked his father's and grandfather Emperor Ming's acumen for governance and for judgment of character. Although Emperor He's reign arguably began Han's long decline, notable scientific progresses were made during this period including the invention of paper by the eunuch Cai Lun in 105.
One additional trend that started with Emperor He was the lack of imperial heirs—Emperor He continuously lost sons while in childhood, and at his death he had only two live male children, neither of whom survived him long. Whereas many dynasties had succession issues involving the emperors' many sons, the Eastern Han Dynasty had the succession issues involving the lack of direct line male heirs, which further added to the instability.
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