Ten States, Five Dynasties, One Great Emperor: How Emperor Taizu Unified China in the Song Dynasty

Ten States, Five Dynasties, One Great Emperor: How Emperor Taizu Unified China in the Song Dynasty

Ten States, Five Dynasties, One Great Emperor: How Emperor Taizu Unified China in the Song Dynasty

Ten States, Five Dynasties, One Great Emperor: How Emperor Taizu Unified China in the Song Dynasty

Synopsis

Drawn from Chinese classics of history, Hung Hing Ming's biographies introduce China's most emblematic historical figures and the cultural attributes fostered by China's ancient chronicles. This book is about one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history, Zhao Kuang Yin, founder of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). He is honored for having unified China in the extremely chaotic period of 'Five Dynasties and Ten States'.This enjoyable book introduces more of China's heroes and villains, highlighting a modest man yet a great emperor who brought peace and stability to the realm and saved the people from great suffering. Interwoven into the narrative of battles fought and alliances forged or flouted, we find examples of good leadership and bad, hot-headed fighters and disciplined warriors, and lessons on how to assess - and win - people's loyalty.

Excerpt

This book is about one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history, Zhao Kuang Yin (927–976), Emperor Taizu of the Song Dynasty (960–1279). Chinese historians have highly praised him because he unified China in the extremely chaotic period of “Five Dynasties and Ten States” (907–960). He brought peace and tranquility to the realm and saved the people from great sufferings.

By the end of the Tang Dynasty (Tang Dynasty: 618–907), the emperor was very weak and could not rule the country. Power was in the hands of the regional military governors, and popular uprisings were common. A famine in 875 devastated the eastern part of China. A man named Huang Chao led the hungry people in a revolt. In December of 880, Huang Chao seized control in Chang’an, the capital of the Tang Dynasty. The Emperor had to escape to Chengdu (now Chengdu, Sichuan Province). The regional military governors tried to defeat Huang Chao’s army, but they could not.

However, one of Huang Chao’s own generals, Zhu Wen, betrayed him and went over to the side of the Emperor. The Emperor granted him the name of Zhu Quan Zhong, “loyal to the court.” Zhu Quan Zhong was instrumental in defeating Huang Chao’s insurrectionists and became a powerful man. By the time Huang Chao’s army was destroyed and he was killed, Zhu Quan Zhong already controlled a vast area in Central China. He gained so much power that he was able to force the Emperor of the Tang Dynasty to step down in 907. Zhu Quan Zhong took the throne himself and established the (Later) Liang Dynasty. He made his capital in Daliang (now Kaifeng, Henan Province). From then on, China entered into a period known as “Five Dynasties and Ten States” (907–960).

China was hopelessly divided and the wars were never-ending. In March 923, Li Cun Xu declared himself emperor of the (Later) Tang Dynasty. In October 923 he took Daliang and destroyed Zhu Quan Zhong’s (Later) Liang Dynasty.

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