Following more than 30 years of market reform, China has become an economic powerhouse, likely to surpass the United States as the world's largest economy in the not so distant future. The resurgence of China has generated much interest not only in the present conditions of that country, but also in her past. Since China is the only uninterrupted ancient civilization that is stilling living today, the study of it can be a very rewarding pursuit in its own right, but can also offer tremendous benefit to anyone who wants to gain an in-depth understanding of modern China. Perhaps more than anywhere else, in China, the present is intricately linked with the past. Providing coverage of the entire Imperial Era (221 BCE-1912 CE) the handbook takes a chronological approach with key themes such as politics, religion, culture, the economy, and science embedded in the chapters. This is an essential resource for upper level undergraduates and graduates studying Imperial Chinese history in class or on their own; it will also be of interest to graduate students and scholars interested in broadening the scope of their research.