After 3 years, Li Yuan's successful capture of Chang-An with allied northern forces and Yang Di's hanging by one of his own ministers was to propel China into one of the most remembered Dynasties of all time.
(The actual historical timeline that the story is not partly true to)
Events leading up to 589 A.D:
50 years of conflict with northern tribes and Turks. Unification of south, peace made with Eastern and Western Turks, support given by northern nomadic nomads for a unified China. Emperor of mixed northern blood ascends the throne in 589 A.D, known as Yang Jian and later, Wen Di. He ascended when he deposed the child ruler of the previous Northern Zhou dynasty, securing his position after killing 59 princes of the Zhou house. He then sought to legitimate his position by presenting himself as a Buddhist cakravartin king, a monarch who uses force to defend the Buddhist faith.
604 A.D Death of Emperor Wen, suspected murder by his own son Yang Di who ascended the throne. Yang Di drives back northern tribes who pressed the border.
605 610 A.D Yang Di begins the massive undertaking of the Grand Canal construction, a 1795 km long canal that runs North/South, connecting the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and the Huai River that ran West/East.
609 A.D A turning point in the reign of Yang Di, who became increasingly preoccupied with foreign expansion at the expense of dealing with domestic problems.
610 A.D I deliberately placed the Hun Battle in Disney's Mulan here.
612 614 A.D Yang Di leads an unsuccessful campaign against Korea, in which the Chinese Army suffered heavy losses. See Chapter 6: The Capture for the details of the battle.
615 A.D Central Asian Turks once again invade Border Region. China crumbles when nomadic people establish control over the northern plains, bandit gangs emerged, provincial governors declared themselves rulers, uprising of peasant armies.
Time that Taint is written in this time period (615 A.D 3 years before the establishment of the Tang Dynasty), where I get to slip Mulan into the Central Asian Tribes and the Silk Road, and Shang into the Korean Campaign (in the period 610 615) and get both of them to tackle once again, the Hun invasions.
617 A.D Yang Di in exile in Yangzhou, and there is continuing political strife for the throne.
618 A.D Yang Di is hanged by one of his own ministers. Li Yuan, the governor of Taiyuan, allied with a Turkish force, took over Chang-an and proclaimed himself Emperor, signalling the start of the Tang Dynasty. Chang'an, or Xi'An, became the new capital and over the next few years, the Tang army subsequently wiped out peasant and local separatist forces.
The Huns intrigue me. They are far less easier to define, don't you think? It's entirely possible (well, I'm leaving that up to interpretation and imagination) that Mulan might have interacted with people of Hunnic origin or are Hun-mixed at least.
A bit of background on the Huns: (courtesy of Microsoft Encarta 2003 online)
The Huns are nomadic Asian people, probably of Turkish, Tataric, or Ugrian origins, who spread from the Caspian steppes (the areas north of the Caspian Sea) to make repeated incursions into the Roman Empire during the 4th and 5th centuries ad . These attacks culminated in a series of wars under Attila, the most renowned of its leaders that brought both parts of the Roman Empire, East and West, to the verge of destruction. At the height of their power the Huns absorbed a number of different racial strains in their armies and assimilated the characteristics of the populations of their environment, so that in Europe they gradually lost their distinct Asian character; but even in their pre-European period they were highly variable in their physical characteristics, and of no easily determined ethnic or linguistic identity. All accounts, however, agree in describing them as an aggressive nomadic people of great vigour and comparatively low cultural achievement, who had developed considerable skill in the techniques of warfare, particularly in military horsemanship.