Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period

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Eastern Han
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Three Kingdoms
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Western Jin
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Sixteen Kingdoms
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Southern & Northern Dynasties
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Sui Dynasty
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Tang Dynasty
(interrupted by Second Zhou)
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5 Dynasties & 10 Kingdoms
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    Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (Traditional Chinese: 五代十國; Simplified Chinese: 五代十国; pinyin: Wǔdàishíguó, 907-960) was a period of political upheaval in China, between the Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty. During this period, five dynasties succeeded each other in rapid succession in the north, and more than a dozen independent states, mainly in the south, were established, though only ten of them are traditionally listed, hence giving rise to the name "Ten Kingdoms." (Some historians, including Bo Yang, count 11 – not including Northern Han (as it is an extension of the Later Han Dynasty) and including Yan and Qi in the list.)

    The Five Dynasties:

    The Ten Kingdoms:

    Other regimes:


    [edit] Setting the stage

    The period was a direct result of the political disintegration at the end of the Tang Dynasty, which saw power shifting away from the imperial government and into the hands of regional military governors (jiedushi). The Huang Chao Rebellion (875-884) also dealt a severe blow to the authority of the central government. By the early 10th century, the central government held little power over powerful jiedushi, who were de facto independent. Important jiedushi at this point included:

    North China

    South China

    [edit] The North

    [edit] Later Liang Dynasty

    Main article: Later Liang Dynasty

    Zhu Wen was the most powerful warlord at the time in North China. Originally a member of Huang Chao's rebel army, he surrendered to the Tang Dynasty and was crucial in suppressing the rebellion. For this he was given the title of Xuanwu Jiedushi. Within a few years he had consolidated his power by destroying his neighbours, and was able to force a move of the imperial capital to Luoyang (in modern Henan province) within his power base. In 904 he had the Emperor Zhaozong killed and put his 13-year-old son on the throne as a puppet ruler. Three years later, in 907, he induced the boy emperor to abdicate in his favour. He then proclaimed the founding of the Later Liang Dynasty, with himself as emperor. After, his son Zhū Zhèn (朱瑱) ruled. But Zhū Zhèn was considered a cowardly man who disliked responsibility, and to avoid kingship he left Later Liang under no control so that he may pursue the life of a monk. After his men 'bought' him back from the monks he soon left for the monkhood again, an occurrence which repeated itself three times in a row.

    [edit] Later Tang Dynasty

    Main article: Later Tang Dynasty

    By now, many of his rival warlords had also declared their own independent regimes, and not all of them recognized the new dynasty as overlord. In particular, Li Cunxu and Liu Shouguang opposed the new regime, and fought it for control of North China. Li Cunxu, a Shatuo Turk, was particularly successful. After defeating in 915 Liu Shouguang (who had proclaimed a Yan Empire in 911), Li Cunxu declared himself emperor in 923 and, within a few months, swept away the Later Liang regime, replacing it with the Later Tang Dynasty, and creating the first in what would become a long line of Conquest Dynasties. Under him, much of North China was reunified again, and in 925 he was able to conquer Former Shu, a regime that had been set up in Sichuan.

    [edit] Later Jin Dynasty

    Main article: Later Jin Dynasty

    The Later Tang Dynasty oversaw a few years of relative calm. Soon, however, unrest began to brew once again. In 934 Sichuan once again became independent as the Later Shu regime. In 936, Shi Jingtang, another Shatuo Turk, who was a jiedushi based in Taiyuan, rebelled with the help of the Khitan Empire of Manchuria. In return for their help, Shi Jingtang promised the Khitans 16 prefectures in the Youyun area (modern northern Hebei province and Beijing) and annual tribute. The rebellion succeeded, and Shi Jingtang became emperor of the Later Jin Dynasty in that same year.

    After the founding of Later Jin, the Khitans increasingly began to view Later Jin as their proxy in China proper. In 943 they decided to take the land for themselves, and within three years had swept into the capital at Kaifeng, ending the Later Jin dynasty. However, they were unable (or unwilling) to hold onto the vast areas of China proper that they had conquered, and retreated early in the next year.

    [edit] Later Han Dynasty

    To fill this void, a jiedushi named Liu Zhiyuan entered the imperial capital in 947, proclaiming the Later Han Dynasty, establishing a third successive Shatuo Turk dynasty. This was the most short-lived of the 5 dynasties, as a coup in 951 led to the enthronement of General Guo Wei, a Han Chinese, and the beginning of the Later Zhou Dynasty. However, Liu Chong, a member of the Later Han imperial family, set up the rival Northern Han regime in Taiyuan, and sought Khitan help to defeat Later Zhou.

    [edit] Later Zhou Dynasty

    Main article: Later Zhou Dynasty

    After the death of Guo Wei in 951, his adopted son Chai Rong succeeded the throne and began to pursue a policy of expansion and reunification. In 954 he defeated combined Khitan and Northern Han forces, ending their hopes of destroying Later Zhou. Between 956 and 958 Later Zhou dealt severe defeats to Southern Tang, the most powerful regime in South China, forcing them to cede all territory north of the Yangtze River. In 959 Chai Rong attacked the Khitan Empire in a bid to recover the territories ceded during the Later Jin Dynasty, and scored several victories before succumbing to illness.

    In 960, the general Zhao Kuangyin staged a coup and took the throne for himself, founding the Northern Song Dynasty. This marks the official end of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Over the next two decades, Zhao Kuangyin and his successor Zhao Kuangyi defeated all of the other remaining regimes in China proper, conquering Northern Han in 979 and reunifying China completely by 982.

    [edit] Northern Han

    Main article: Northern Han

    While counted as one of the ten kingdoms, the Northern Han was in the north and was based in the traditional Shatuo Turk stronghold of Shanxi. It was created after the last of the three dynasties set up by Shatuo Turks fell to the Han governed Later Zhou Dynasty in 951. With the protection of the powerful Khitan Liao empire, the Northern Han were able to maintain nominal independence until the Song Dynasty were finally successful in wresting it from the protective arms of the Khitan in 979.

    [edit] The South

    Unlike North China, where dynasties succeeded each other in rapid succession, the regimes of South China existed more or less concurrently and each held on to a specific geographical area.

    • Wuyue (907-978): The Kingdom of Wuyue was the longest-lived and among the most powerful of the southern states. It was founded by Qian Liu who set up his capital at Xifu (modern-day Hangzhou). It was based mostly in modern Zhejiang province but also held parts of southern Jiangsu. Qian Liu was named the Prince of Yue by the Tang emperor in 902, with the Prince of Wu being added in 904. On the fall of the Tang Dynasty in 907, he declared himself king of Wuyue. Wuyue survived until the eighteenth year of the Song Dynasty when Qian Shu surrendered to the expanding dynasty. Wuyue was known for its learning and culture.
    • Min (909-945): The Kingdom of Min was founded by Wang Shenzhi named himself the Prince of Min in 909 following the fall of the Tang Dynasty. It was not until his son formally declared himself the Emperor of Min in 933 what Shenzhi was posthumously named as the founding emperor. It was located in Fujian with its capital at Changle (present-day Fuzhou). One of Shenzhi’s sons proclaimed the independent state of Yin in the northeast of Min territory. The Southern Tang took that territory after the Min asked for help. Despite declaring loyalty to the neighboring Wuyue, the Southern Tang finished its conquest of Min in 945.
    • Jingnan (also known as Nanping) (924-963): The smallest of the southern states, it was founded by Gao Jichang in 924. It was based in Jiangling and held two other districts southwest of present-day Wuhan in Hubei. Gao was in the service of the Later Liang Dynasty (the successor of the Tang Dynasty in northern China.) Gao’s successors claimed the title of King of Nanping following the fall of the Later Liang in 924. It was a small and weak kingdom, and thus tried to maintain good relations with each of the Five Dynasties. The kingdom fell to advancing armies of the Song Dynasty in 963.
    • Former Shu (907)-(925): The Kingdom of Shu was founded in 907 with the fall of the Tang Dynasty by Wang Jian, who held his court in Chengdu. The kingdom held most of present-day Sichuan along with parts of southern Gansu and Shaanxi in addition to western Hebei. Wang was named military governor of Western Sichuan by the Tang court in 891. The kingdom fell when his incompetent son surrendered in the face of an advance by the Later Tang Dynasty in 925.
    • Later Shu (935-965): The Later Shu is essential a resurrection of the previous Shu state that ha fallen a decade early to the Later Tang Dynasty. As the Later Tang was in decline, Meng Zhixiang found the opportunity to reassert Shu’s independence. As with the Former Shu, the capital was at Chengdu and it basically controlled the same territory as its predecessor. The kingdom was ruled well until forced to succumb to Northern Song armies in 965.
    • Southern Tang (937)-(975): The Southern Tang was the successor state of Wu as Li Bian took the state over from within in 937. Expanding from the original domains of Wu, it eventually took over Yin, Min, and Chu, holding present-day southern Anhui, southern Jiangsu, much of Jiangxi, Hunan, and eastern Hubei at its height. The kingdom became nominally subordinate to the expanding Song Dynasty in 961 and was invaded outright in 975, when it was formally absorbed into the Song Dynasty.

    Although more stable than North China as a whole, South China was also torn apart by warfare. Wu quarrelled with her neighbours, a trend that continued as Wu was replaced with Southern Tang. In the 940's Min and Chu underwent internal crises which Southern Tang handily took advantage of, destroying Min in 945 and Chu in 951. (Remnants of Min and Chu, however, survived in the form of Qingyuan Jiedushi and Wuping Jiedushi for many years after.) With this, Southern Tang became the undisputedly most powerful regime of Southern China. However, it was unable to defeat incursions by the Later Zhou Dynasty between 956 and 958, and ceded away all of its land north of the Yangtze River.

    The Northern Song Dynasty, established in 960, was determined to reunify China. Jingnan and Wuping were swept away in 963, Later Shu in 965, Southern Han in 971, Southern Tang in 975. Finally, Wuyue and Qingyuan gave up their land to Northern Song in 978, bringing all of South China into the control of the central government.

    [edit] List of Sovereigns

    [edit] Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms

    Sovereigns in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907-960)
    Temple Names
    (廟號 miào hào)
    Posthumous Names
    (諡號 shì hào)
    Personal Names Period of Reign Era Names (年號 nián hào) and their according range of years
    Five Dynasties
    * note the naming convention: name of dynasty (e.g. 後漢) + temple name or posthumous name (e.g. 高祖), which makes 後漢高祖
    Later Liang Dynasty 後梁 Hòu Liáng 907-923
    Tài Zǔ 太祖 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Zhū Wēn 朱溫 907-912

    Kāipíng 開平 (907-911)
    Qiánhuà 乾化 (911-912)

    Did not exist Mò Dì 末帝 Zhū Zhèn 朱瑱 913-923

    Qiánhuà 乾化 (913-915)
    Zhēnmíng 貞明 (915-921)
    Lóngdé 龍德 (921-923)

    Later Tang Dynasty 後唐 Hòu Táng 923-936
    Zhuāng Zōng 莊宗 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Lǐ Cúnxù 李存勗 923-926 Tóngguāng 同光 (923-926)
    Míng Zōng 明宗 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Lǐ Sìyuán 李嗣源
    Lǐ Dǎn 李亶

    Tiānchéng 天成 (926-930)
    Chángxīng 長興 (930-933)

    Did not exist Mǐn Dì 節閔帝 Lǐ Cónghòu 李從厚 933-934 Yìngshùn 應順 (913-9115)
    Did not exist Mò Dì 末帝 Lǐ Cóngkē 李從珂 934-936 Qīngtài 清泰 (934-936)
    Later Jin Dynasty 後晉 Hòu Jìn 936-947
    Gāo Zǔ 高祖 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Shí Jìngtáng 石敬瑭 936-942 Tiānfú 天福 (936-942)
    Did not exist Chū Dì 出帝 Shí Chóngguì 石重貴 942-947

    Tiānfú 天福 (942-944)
    Kāiyùn 開運 (944-947)

    Later Han Dynasty 後漢 Hòu Hàn 936-947
    Gāo Zǔ 高祖 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Liú Zhīyuǎn 劉知遠 947-948

    Tiānfú 天福 (947)
    Qiányòu 乾祐 (948)

    Did not exist Yǐn Dì 隱帝 Liú Chéngyòu 劉承祐 948-950 Qiányòu 乾祐 (948-950)
    Later Zhou Dynasty 後周 Hòu Zhōu 951-960
    Tài Zǔ 太祖 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Guō Wēi 郭威 951-954

    Guǎngshùn 廣順 (951-954)
    Xiǎndé 顯德 (954)

    Shì Zōng 世宗 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Chái Róng 柴榮 954-959 Xiǎndé 顯德 (954-959)
    Did not exist Gōng Dì 恭帝 Chái Zōngxùn 柴宗訓 959-960 Xiǎndé 顯德 (959-960)
    Ten Kingdoms
    note the naming convention: use the personal names unless otherwise stated
    Wuyue Kingdom 吳越 904-978
    Tài Zǔ 太祖 Wǔsù Wáng 武肅王 Qián Liú 錢鏐 904-932

    Tiānbǎo (天寶) 908-923
    Bǎodà (寶大) 923-925
    Bǎozhèng (寶正) 925-932

    Shìzōng (世宗) Wénmù Wáng 文穆王 Qián Yuánquàn 錢元瓘 932-941 Did not exist
    Chéngzōng 成宗 Zhōngxiàn Wáng 忠獻王 Qián Zuǒ 錢佐 941-947 Did not exist
    Did not exist Zhōngxùn Wáng 忠遜王 Qián Zōng 錢倧 947 Did not exist
    Did not exist Zhōngyì Wáng 忠懿王 Qián Chù 錢俶 947-978 Did not exist
    Min Kingdom 閩 909-945 including Yin Kingdom 殷 943-945
    Tàizǔ 太祖 Zhōngyì Wáng 忠懿王 Wáng Shěnzhī 王審知 909-925 Did not exist
    Did not exist Did not exist Wáng Yánhàn 王延翰 925-926 Did not exist
    Tàizōng 太宗 Huìdì 惠帝 Wáng Yánjūn 王延鈞 926-935

    Lóngqǐ (龍啟) 933-935

    Yǒnghé (永和) 935
    Kāngzōng (康宗) Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Wáng Jìpéng 王繼鵬 935-939 Tōngwén (通文) 936-939
    Jǐngzōng (景宗) Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Wáng Yánxī 王延羲 939-944 Yǒnglóng (永隆) 939-944
    Did not exist Tiāndé Dì (天德帝) (as Emperor of Yin) Wáng Yánzhèng 王延政 943-945 Tiāndé (天德) 943-945
    Jingnan 荊南 or Nanping 南平 Kingdom 906-963
    Did not exist Wǔxìn Wáng 武信王 Gāo Jìxīng 高季興 909-928 Did not exist
    Did not exist Wénxiàn Wáng 文獻王 Gāo Cónghuì 高從誨 928-948 Did not exist
    Did not exist Zhēnyì Wáng 貞懿王 Gāo Bǎoróng 高寶融 948-960 Did not exist
    Did not exist Shìzhōng 侍中 Gāo Bǎoxù 高寶勗 960-962 Did not exist
    Did not exist Did not exist Gāo Jìchōng 高繼沖 962-963 Did not exist
    Chu Kingdom 楚 897-951
    Did not exist Wǔmù Wáng 武穆王 Mǎ Yīn 馬殷 897-930 Did not exist
    Did not exist Héngyáng Wáng 衡陽王 Mǎ Xīshēng 馬希聲 930-932 Did not exist
    Did not exist Wénzhāo Wáng 文昭王 Mǎ Xīfàn 馬希範 932-947 Did not exist
    Did not exist Fèi Wáng 廢王 Mǎ Xīguǎng 馬希廣 947-950 Did not exist
    Did not exist Gōngxiào Wáng 恭孝王 Mǎ Xī'è 馬希萼 950 Did not exist
    Did not exist Did not exist Mǎ Xīchong 馬希崇 950-951 Did not exist
    Wu Kingdom 吳 904-937
    Tài Zǔ 太祖 Xiàowǔ Dì 孝武帝 Yáng Xíngmì 楊行密 904-905 Tiānyòu (天祐) 904-905
    Liè Zōng 烈宗 Jǐng Dì 景帝 Yáng Wò 楊渥 905-908 Tiānyòu (天祐) 905-908
    Gāo Zǔ 高祖 Xuān Dì 宣帝 Yáng Lóngyǎn 楊隆演 908-921

    Tiānyòu (天祐) 908-919

    Wǔyì (武義) 919-921
    Did not exist Ruì Dì 睿帝 Yáng Pǔ 楊溥 921-937

    Shùnyì (順義) 921-927
    Qiánzhēn (乾貞) 927-929
    Dàhé (大和) 929-935
    Tiānzuò (天祚) 935-937

    Southern Tang Kingdom 南唐 937-975
    Convention for this kingdom only : Nan (Southern) Tang + posthumous names. Hòu Zhǔ was referred to as Lǐ Hòuzhǔ 李後主.
    Xiān Zhǔ 先主
    Liè Zǔ 烈祖
    Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Lǐ Biàn 李昪 937-943 Shēngyuán (昇元) 937-943
    Zhōng Zhǔ 中主
    Yuán Zōng 元宗
    Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Lǐ Jǐng 李璟 943-961

    Bǎodà (保大) 943-958
    Jiāotài (交泰) 958
    Zhōngxīng (中興) 958

    Hòu Zhǔ 後主 Wǔ Wáng 武王 Lǐ Yù 李煜 961-975 Did not exist
    Southern Han Kingdom 南漢 917-971
    Gāo Zǔ 高祖 Tiān Huáng Dà Dì 天皇大帝 Liú Yán 劉龑 917-925

    Qiánhēng (乾亨) 917-925
    Báilóng (白龍) 925-928
    Dàyǒu (大有) 928-941

    Did not exist Shāng Dì 殤帝 Liú Fēn 劉玢 941-943 Guāngtiān (光天) 941-943
    Zhōng Zōng 中宗 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Liú Chéng 劉晟 943-958

    Yìngqián (應乾) 943
    Qiánhé (乾和) 943-958

    Hòu Zhǔ 後主 Did not exist Liú Cháng 劉鋹 958-971 Dàbǎo (大寶) 958-971
    Bei (Northern) Han Kingdom 951-979
    Shi Zu|世祖 shi4 zu3 Shen Wu Di|神武帝 shen2 wu3 di4 Liu Min|劉旻 liu3 min2 951-954 Qianyou (乾祐 qian2 you4) 951-954
    Rui Zong|睿宗 rui4 zong1 Xiao He Di|孝和帝 xiao4 he2 di4 Liu Cheng Jun|劉承鈞 liu3 cheng2 jun1 954-970

    Qianyou (乾祐 qian2 you4) 954-957
    Tianhui (天會 tian1 hui4) 957-970

    Shao Zhu|少主 shao4 zhu3 Did not exist Liu Ji En|劉繼恩 liu3 ji4 en1 970 Did not exist
    Did not exist
    Ying Wu Di|英武帝 ying1 wu3 di4 Liu Ji Yuan|劉繼元 liu3 ji4 yuan2 970-982 Guangyun (廣運 guang3 yun4) 970-982
    Qian (Former) Shu Kingdom 907 - 925
    Gao Zu|高祖 gao1 zu3 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Wang Jian|王建 wang2 jian4 907-918

    Tianfu (天復 tian1 fu4) 907
    Wucheng (武成 wu3 cheng22) 908-910
    Yongping (永平 yong3 ping2) 911-915
    Tongzheng (通正 tong1 zheng4) 916
    Tianhan (天漢 tian1 han4) 917
    Guangtian (光天 guang1 tian1) 918

    Hou Zhu|後主 hou4 zhu3 Did not exist Wang Yan|王衍 wang2 yan3 918-925

    Qiande (乾德 qian2 de2) 918-925
    Xiankang (咸康 xian2 kang1) 925

    Hou (Later) Shu Kingdom 934 - 965
    Gao Zu|高祖 gao1 zu3 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Meng Zhi Xiang|孟知祥 meng4 zhi1 xiang2 934 Mingde (明德 ming2 de2) 934
    Hou Zhu|後主 hou4 zhu3 Did not exist Meng Chang|孟昶 meng4 chang3 938-965

    Mingde (明德 ming2 de2) 934-938
    Guangzheng (廣政 guang3 zheng4) 938-965

    [edit] Other regimes

    local independent regimes during Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period but traditionally not counted in the Ten Kingdoms
    Name of Posts Personal Names Period on post
    Wuping and Hunan 節度|jie2 du4 (similar to thema of the Byzantine Empire) 950-963
    Wuping strategos (correct English translation?)|武平節度使 wu3 ping2 jie2 du4 shi3 Liu Yan|劉言 liu3 yan2 950-953
    Wuping strategos (correct English translation?)|武平節度使 wu3 ping2 jie2 du4 shi3 Wang Kui|王逵 wang2 kui2 or Wang Jin Kui|王進逵 wang2 jin4 kui2 953-956
    Hunan strategos (correct English translation?)|湖南節度使 hu2 nan2 jie2 du4 shi3 Zhou Xing Feng|周行逢 zhao1 xing2 feng2 956-962
    Hunan strategos (correct English translation?)|湖南節度使 hu2 nan2 jie2 du4 shi3 Zhou Bao Quan|周保權 zhao1 bao3 quan2 962-963
    Quanzhang 節度|jie2 du4 (similar to thema of the Byzantine Empire) 945-978
    Quanzhang strategos (correct English translation?)|泉漳都指揮使 quan2 zhang1 du1 zhi3 hui1 shi3 Liu Cong Xiao|留從效 liu2 cong2 xiao4 945-962
    Quanzhang strategos (correct English translation?)|泉漳留守 quan2 zhang1 liu2 shou3 Liu Shao Zi|留紹鎡 liu2 shao4 zi1 962
    Quanzhang strategos (correct English translation?)|泉漳節度使 quan2 zhang1 jie2 du4 shi3 Zhang Han Si|張漢思 zhang1 han4 si1 962-963
    Quanzhang strategos (correct English translation?)|泉漳節度使 quan2 zhang1 jie2 du4 shi3 Chen Hong Jin|陳洪進 chen2 hong2 jin4 963-978

    [edit] Popular Culture

    [edit] See also

    es:Cinco Dinastías fr:Période des Cinq Dynasties et des Dix Royaumes ko:오대십국 시대 id:Lima Dinasti dan Sepuluh Negara lt:Penkių dinastijų ir Dešimties karalysčių laikotarpis ja:五代十国時代 no:De fem dynastiers og ti kongedømmers tid fi:Viisi dynastiaa zh:五代十国

    Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period

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