6th century

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The 6th century is the period from 501 to 600 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian/Common Era. In the West this century marks the end of Classical Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages.



Following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire late in the previous century, Europe fractured into many small Germanic Kingdoms, which competed fiercely for land and wealth. From this upheaval the Franks rose to prominence, and carved out a sizeable domain encompassing much of modern France and Germany. Meanwhile, the surviving Eastern Roman Empire began to expand under the emperor Justinian, who eventually recaptured North Africa from the Vandals, and attempted to fully recover Italy as well in the hope of re-establishing Roman control over the lands once ruled by the Western Roman Empire. Following Justinian's death, most of his gains were lost.

During its second Golden Age, the Sassanid Empire reached the peak of its power under Khosrau I in the 6th century.[1] The classical Gupta Empire of Northern India, largely overrun by the Huna, ended in the mid-6th century. In Japan, the Kofun period gave way to the Asuka period. After being divided for more than 150 years into the Southern and Northern Dynasties, China was reunited under the Sui Dynasty toward the end of the 6th century. The Three Kingdoms of Korea persisted throughout the 6th century. The Göktürks became a major power in Central Asia after defeating the Rouran.

In the Americas, Teotihuacan began to decline in the 6th century after having reached its zenith between AD 150 and 450. Classic Period of the Maya civilization in Central America.


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