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History of China

Kingdom of Wuyue (Traditional Chinese: 吳越國; Simplified Chinese: 吴越国, Pinyin: Wúyuè Guó), 907-978, was a small independent coastal kingdom founded during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960) of Chinese history.


[edit] Founding

The Qian family had been providing military leaders to the Tang Dynasty beginning in 887. Qian Liu was named Prince of Yue in 902, with the title of Prince of Wu added two years later. In 907, then the Tang Dynasty fell and was replaced in the north by the Later Liang Dynasty, military leaders in the south formed their own kingdoms. Qian Liu used his position to proclaim himself the King of Wuyue. This signaled the beginning of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period which would last until the founding of the Song Dynasty in 960.

[edit] Origin of Name

The name Wuyue comes from the combination of Wu Kingdom and Yue Kingdom, two ancient kingdoms during the Spring and Autumn Period from 770 to 476 BC.

[edit] Territorial Extant

With its capital in Xifu, now known as Hangzhou, the kingdom included present-day Zhejiang, Shanghai, alond with the southern portion of Jiangsu Province. It would also later absorb some of the northern part of Fujian in the [[Min (Ten Kingdoms)|Min] Kingdom fell in 945. The territorial extant of Wuyue roughly corresponded to the territories of the ancient Yue, but not the ancient Wu -- which led to charges by the neighboring Wu (also known as Southern Wu) that Wuyue had designs on its territory, and the name was a source of tension for years between the two states.

In the early decades of its existence, Wuyue bordered the Min Kingdom on its south and the Southern Tang Kingdom on its west and north. With the rebellion of Yin from the Min from 943 to 945, it briefly gave Wuyue a third border. However, before long, Wuyue would be completely encircled (except for the East China Sea) as both Yin and Min were absorbed by the Southern Tang

[edit] Qian Liu

Under Qian Liu's reign, Wuyue prospered economically and freely developed its own regional culture that continues to this day. He developed the coastal kingdom's agriculture, built seawalls, expanded Hangzhou, dredged rivers and lakes, and encouraged sea transport and trade. On his death-bed he urged a benign administration of state affairs and his words were strictly followed by four succeeding kings.

[edit] Cultural Legacy

The Wuyue Kingdom cemented the cultural and economic dominance of the Wuyue region in China for centuries to come, as well as creating a lasting regional cultural tradition distinctive from the rest of China. The leaders of the kingdom were noted patrons of Buddhism, and architecture, temple decoration, and religious sculptures related to Buddhism. The cultural distinctiveness that began developing over this period persists to this day as the Wuyue region speaks a dialect called Wu (the most famous variant of which is Shanghainese), has distinctive cuisine and other cultural traits.

[edit] Infrasructure

The physical legacy of the Wuyue Kingdom was the creation of the system of canals and dikes which allowed the region to become the most agriculturally rich region of China for many centuries. As a result, shrines to Qian Liu sprang up all across the region, and many can still be found today.

[edit] Foreign Diplomacy

In 935, Wuyue established official diplomatic relations with Japan. The kingdom also took advantage of its maritime location to maintain diplomatic contacts with north China, the Khitans, and Korea.

[edit] Fall of the Kingdom

In 978, in the face of certain annihilation from northern imperial Chinese troops, the last king of Wuyue, Qian Shu, pledged allegiance to the Northern Song Dynasty, saving his people from war and economic destruction. While Qian Shu nominally remained king, Wuyue was absorbed into the Song Dynasty, effectively ending the kingdom. The last king died in 988.

[edit] Rulers

Sovereigns in Kingdom of Wuyue 907-978
Temple Names ( Miao Hao 廟號 miao4 hao4) Posthumous Names ( Shi Hao 諡號 ) Personal Names Period of Reigns Era Names (Nian Hao 年號) and their according range of years
太祖 tai4 zu3 武肅王 wu3 su4 wang2 錢鏐 qian2 liu2 907-932 Tianbao (天寶 tian1 bao3) 908-923

Baoda (寶大 bao3 da4) 923-925
Baozheng (寶正 bao3 zheng4) 925-932

Shi Zong (世宗 shi4 zong1) 文穆王 wen2 mu4 wang2 錢元瓘 qian2 yuan2 guan4 932-941 Did not exist
Cheng Zong 成宗 cheng2 zong1) 忠獻王 zhong1 xian4 wang2 錢佐 qian2 zuo3 941-947 Did not exist
Did not exist 忠遜王 zhong1 xun4 wang2 錢倧 qian2 zong1 947 Did not exist
Did not exist 忠懿王 zhong1 yi4 wang2 錢俶 qian2 chu4 947-978 Did not exist

[edit] Reference

Mote, F.W. (1999). Imperial China (900-1800). Harvard University Press, 11, 15, 22-23. ISBN 0674012127.

View of the West Lake from the mountains to the north-west.

ja:呉越 zh:吴越国


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