Shu Han

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Shu Han

蜀漢
221–263
Three Kingdoms.png
The territories of Shu Han (in light pink), as of 262 A.D..
Capital Chengdu
Common languages Ba-Shu Chinese
Religion
Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion
GovernmentMonarchy
Emperor  
 221–223
Liu Bei
 223–263
Liu Shan
Historical era Three Kingdoms
 Established
221
263
Population
 221 [1]
900,000
 263 [1]
1,082,000
Currency Chinese coin, Chinese cash
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Eastern Han
Cao Wei Blank.png
Today part of China
Myanmar
Shu Han
Traditional Chinese 蜀漢
Simplified Chinese 蜀汉
Hanyu Pinyin Shǔ Hàn

Shu or Shu Han ( [ʂù xân]  ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); 221–263) was one of the three major states that competed for supremacy over China in the Three Kingdoms period (220–280). The state was based in the area around present-day Sichuan and Chongqing, which was historically known as "Shu" after an earlier state in Sichuan named Shu. Shu Han's founder Liu Bei had named his state "Han" as he considered it the legitimate successor to the Han dynasty, while "Shu" is added to the name as a geographical prefix to differentiate it from the many "Han" states throughout Chinese history.

Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history (220–280 CE), where much of China was divided into the Wei, Shu-Han, and Wu kingdoms

The Three Kingdoms was the tripartite division of China between the states of Wei, Shu, and Wu. It started with the end of the Han dynasty and was followed by the Jin dynasty. The term "Three Kingdoms" is something of a misnomer, since each state was eventually headed not by a king, but by an emperor who claimed suzerainty over all China. Nevertheless, the term "Three Kingdoms" has become standard among English-speaking sinologists. To distinguish the three states from other historical Chinese states of the same names, historians have added a relevant character to the state's original name: the state that called itself Wei (魏) is also known as Cao Wei (曹魏), the state that called itself Han (漢) is also known as Shu Han (蜀漢) or just Shu (蜀), and the state that called itself Wu (吳) is also known as Eastern Wu or Sun Wu (孫吳).

Sichuan Province

Sichuan, is a province in southwest China occupying most of the Sichuan Basin and the easternmost part of the Tibetan Plateau between the Jinsha River on the west, the Daba Mountains in the north, and the Yungui Plateau to the south. Sichuan's capital city is Chengdu. The population of Sichuan stands at 81 million.

Chongqing Direct-administered Municipality in Peoples Republic of China

Chongqing, formerly romanized as Chungking, is a major city in southwest China. Administratively, it is one of China's four municipalities under the direct administration of central government, and the only such municipality in China located far away from the coast.

Contents

History

Beginnings and founding

Towards the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, Liu Bei, a warlord and distant relative of the Han imperial clan, rallied the support of many capable followers. Following the counsel of his advisor, Zhuge Liang, and Zhuge's Longzhong Plan, Liu Bei conquered parts of Jing Province (covering present-day Hubei and Hunan) in 208 and 209. Liu Bei took over Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) from the warlord Liu Zhang between 212 and 214 and wrestled control of Hanzhong from his rival Cao Cao in 219.

Liu Bei Shu Han emperor

Liu Bei, courtesy name Xuande, was a warlord in the late Eastern Han dynasty who founded the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period and became its first ruler. Despite early failings compared to his rivals and lacking both the material resources and social status they commanded, he gathered support among disheartened Han loyalists who opposed Cao Cao, the warlord who controlled the Han central government and the figurehead Emperor Xian, and led a popular movement to restore the Han dynasty through this support. Liu Bei overcame his many defeats to carve out his own realm, which at its peak spanned present-day Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Hunan, and parts of Hubei and Gansu.

Zhuge Liang Shu Han chancellor, military strategist

Zhuge Liang, courtesy name Kongming, was a Chinese politician, military strategist, writer, engineer and inventor. He served as the chancellor and regent of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period. He is recognised as the most accomplished strategist of his era, and has been compared to Sun Tzu, the author of The Art of War. His reputation as an intelligent and learned scholar grew even while he was living in relative seclusion, earning him the nickname "Wolong" or "Fulong", meaning "Crouching Tiger" or "Sleeping Dragon". Zhuge Liang is often depicted wearing a Taoist robe and holding a hand fan made of crane feathers.

Longzhong Plan

The Longzhong Plan is the name given to a strategic plan by Zhuge Liang, a statesman and regent of the Shu Han state in the Three Kingdoms period (220–280) of China. Zhuge Liang presented the plan to Liu Bei, a warlord who became the founding emperor of the Shu Han state, sometime in 207 towards the end of the Eastern Han dynasty when Liu Bei visited him at his residence in Longzhong (隆中), an area in the west of present-day Xiangyang, Hubei.

From the territories he gained, Liu Bei established a position for himself in China during the final years of the Han dynasty. However, in 219, the alliance between Liu Bei and his ally, Sun Quan, was broken when Sun sent his general Lü Meng to invade Jing Province. Liu Bei lost his territories in Jing Province to Sun Quan. Guan Yu, the general guarding Liu Bei's assets in Jing Province, was captured and executed by Sun Quan's forces.

Sun Quan Eastern Wu emperor

Sun Quan, courtesy name Zhongmou, formally known as Emperor Da of Wu, was the founder of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period. He inherited control of the warlord regime established by his elder brother, Sun Ce, in 200. He declared formal independence and ruled from 222 to 229 as the King of Wu and from 229 to 252 as the Emperor of Wu. Unlike his rivals Cao Cao and Liu Bei, Sun Quan was much younger than them and governed his state mostly separate of politics and ideology. He is sometimes portrayed as neutral considering he adopt a flexible foreign policy between his two rivals with the goal of pursuing the greatest interests for the country.

Lü Meng Han dynasty general serving under the warlord Sun Quan

Lü Meng, courtesy name Ziming, was a military general who served under the warlord Sun Quan during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. Early in his career, he fought in several battles under the banner of Sun Ce, Sun Quan's elder brother and predecessor. Although he had been noted for his bravery, he was still deemed as nothing more than a "mere warrior" for his lack of literacy skills. Later, with encouragement from Sun Quan, Lü Meng took up scholarly pursuits to improve himself, gradually becoming a learned and competent military leader. In 217, he succeeded Lu Su as the frontline commander of Sun Quan's forces in Jing Province. Two years later, in a carefully calculated military operation, Lü Meng led an invasion of Liu Bei's territories in southern Jing Province, swiftly and stealthily capturing all the lands from Liu Bei's general Guan Yu, who was captured and executed after his defeat. Lü Meng enjoyed his finest hour after the victory but died a few months later because he was already seriously ill before the campaign.

Lü Meng's invasion of Jing Province was fought between the warlords Sun Quan and Liu Bei in the winter of 219–220 in the late Eastern Han dynasty. Sun Quan's forces, led by Lü Meng, invaded Liu Bei's territories in southern Jing Province, which covered present-day Hubei and Hunan. The campaign occurred after the Battle of Fancheng and concluded with victory for Sun Quan's forces, who completely captured all of Liu Bei's territories. Guan Yu, Liu Bei's general guarding those territories, was captured and executed by Sun Quan's forces. The fall of Jing Province and Guan Yu's death provided the trigger for the Battle of Xiaoting between Liu Bei and Sun Quan between 221 and 222.

Cao Cao died in 220 and was succeeded by his son, Cao Pi, who forced the last Han ruler, Emperor Xian, to abdicate the throne in his favour. Cao Pi then established the state of Cao Wei and declared himself emperor. Liu Bei contested Cao Pi's claim to the throne and proclaimed himself "Emperor of Shu Han" in 221. Although Liu Bei is widely seen as the founder of Shu, he never claimed to be the founder of a new dynasty; rather, he viewed Shu as a continuation of the fallen Han dynasty.

Cao Pi Cao Wei emperor

Cao Pi, courtesy name Zihuan, was the first emperor of the state of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period of China. He was the second son of Cao Cao, a warlord who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty, but the eldest son among all the children born to Cao Cao by his concubine, Lady Bian. According to some historical records, he was often in the presence of court officials in order to gain their support. He was mostly in charge of defence at the start of his career. After the defeat of Cao Cao's rival Yuan Shao at the Battle of Guandu, he took Yuan Xi's widow, Lady Zhen, as a concubine, but in 221 Lady Zhen died and Guo Nüwang became empress.

Emperor Xian of Han last emperor of the Han Dynasty

Emperor Xian of Han, personal name Liu Xie, courtesy name Bohe, was the 14th and last emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty in China. He reigned from 28 September 189 until 11 December 220.

Cao Wei ancient Chinese state (220–265); one of the three major states in the Three Kingdoms period, with capital at Luoyang

Wei (220–266), also known as Cao Wei, was one of the three major states that competed for supremacy over China in the Three Kingdoms period (220–280). With its capital at Luoyang, the state was established by Cao Pi in 220, based upon the foundations laid by his father, Cao Cao, towards the end of the Eastern Han dynasty. The name "Wei" first became associated with Cao Cao when he was named the Duke of Wei by the Eastern Han government in 213, and became the name of the state when Cao Pi proclaimed himself emperor in 220. Historians often add the prefix "Cao" to distinguish it from other Chinese states known as "Wei", such as Wei of the Warring States period and Northern Wei of the Southern and Northern Dynasties. The authority of the ruling Cao family gradually weakened after the death of the second Wei emperor, Cao Rui, and eventually fell into the hands of Sima Yi, a Wei regent, and his family, in 249. Cao Rui's successors remained as puppet rulers under the control of the Sima's until Sima Yi's grandson, Sima Yan, forced the last Wei ruler, Cao Huan, to abdicate the throne and established the Jin dynasty.

Liu Bei's reign

Liu Bei ruled as emperor for less than three years. In 222, he launched a campaign against Sun Quan to retake Jing Province and avenge Guan Yu, culminating in the Battle of Xiaoting. However, due to grave tactical mistakes, Liu Bei suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Sun Quan's general Lu Xun and lost the bulk of his army. He survived the battle and retreated to Baidicheng, where he died from illness a year later.

Jingzhou or Jing Province was one of the Nine Provinces of ancient China referenced in Chinese historical texts such as the Tribute of Yu, Erya and Rites of Zhou. It became an administrative division during the reign of Emperor Wu in the Western Han dynasty.

Guan Yu general serving under the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han Dynasty of China

Guan Yu, courtesy name Yunchang, was a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. Along with Zhang Fei, he shared a brotherly relationship with Liu Bei and accompanied him on most of his early exploits. Guan Yu played a significant role in the events leading up to the end of the dynasty and the establishment of Liu Bei's state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period. While he is remembered for his loyalty towards Liu Bei, he is also known for repaying Cao Cao's kindness by slaying Yan Liang, a general under Cao Cao's rival Yuan Shao, at the Battle of Boma. After Liu Bei gained control of Yi Province in 214, Guan Yu remained in Jing Province to govern and defend the area for about seven years. In 219, while he was away fighting Cao Cao's forces at the Battle of Fancheng, Liu Bei's ally Sun Quan broke the Sun–Liu alliance and sent his general Lü Meng to conquer Liu Bei's territories in Jing Province. By the time Guan Yu found out about the loss of Jing Province after his defeat at Fancheng, it was too late. He was subsequently captured in an ambush by Sun Quan's forces and executed.

Battle of Xiaoting battle

The Battle of Xiaoting, also known as the Battle of Yiling and the Battle of Yiling and Xiaoting, was fought between the state of Shu and the vassal kingdom of Wu between the years 221 and 222 in the early Three Kingdoms period of China. The battle is significant because Wu was able to turn the situation from a series of initial losses into a defensive stalemate, before proceeding to win a decisive victory over Shu. The Wu victory halted the Shu invasion and preceded the death of Liu Bei, Shu's founding emperor.

Liu Shan's reign

A Qing dynasty illustration of a battle between Wei and Shu at the banks of the Wei River. Many battles were fought between Shu and Wei in the Three Kingdoms period. Wei and Shu battle at the banks of River Wei.jpg
A Qing dynasty illustration of a battle between Wei and Shu at the banks of the Wei River. Many battles were fought between Shu and Wei in the Three Kingdoms period.

Liu Bei's son Liu Shan succeeded his father, making him the youngest of three rulers at only 16. Before his death, Liu Bei also appointed the chancellor Zhuge Liang and the general Li Yan as regents to assist Liu Shan in managing the state affairs.

Liu Shan Chinese emperor

Liu Shan (207–271), courtesy name Gongsi, was the second and last emperor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period. As he ascended the throne at the age of 16, Liu Shan was entrusted to the care of the Chancellor Zhuge Liang and Imperial Secretariat Li Yan. His reign of 40 years was the longest of all in the Three Kingdoms era. During Liu Shan's reign, many campaigns were led against the rival state of Cao Wei, primarily by Zhuge Liang and his successor Jiang Wei, but to little avail. Liu Shan eventually surrendered to Wei in 263 after Deng Ai led a surprise attack on the Shu capital Chengdu. He was quickly relocated to Luoyang, capital of Wei, and enfeoffed as "Duke Anle". There he enjoyed his last years peacefully before dying, most probably of natural causes, in 271.

Li Yan, courtesy name Zhengfang, also known as Li Ping, was a military general of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He climbed to the zenith of his career when he was asked by the Shu emperor Liu Bei to be the military paramountcy and co-regent alongside Zhuge Liang for his son and successor, Liu Shan. After the death of Liu Bei, Li Yan was given the rank of General of the Vanguard which was last held by Guan Yu back in 220. Li served most of his career in the mid and late 220s as the area commander for the Eastern Front centered in Yong An with Chen Dao as his deputy; he never faced any major battles in his position. However, during the 230s and the 4th of Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions, Li Yan was given a higher rank of General of the Agile Cavalry, below only Zhuge Liang. He was assigned to handle logistics, but he was unable to deliver supplies to Zhuge Liang's army in a timely manner. After his attempt to fraudulently cover his inability to follow commands, Li Yan was stripped from positions and power.

Zhuge Liang was the de facto head of the Shu government throughout Liu Shan's reign and was responsible for masterminding most of Shu's policies during his regency. When Liu Shan succeeded his father, Shu was the weakest of the three major powers. Following his father's defeat in 221, the portion of Jing Province previously held by Shu was now firmly under the control of Wu. Shu only included the western lands of Yi Province, while Wei controlled all of the northern lands, and Wu controlled all the lands from the east of Yi Province to the southern and eastern coastlines. This greatly limited Shu in terms of resources and manpower. As such, Zhuge Liang parleyed for peace with Wu, and reaffirmed the alliance between Sun Quan and Shu — with the former even recognising Sun Quan's legitimacy when the latter broke with Wei and declared himself "Emperor of Wu" in 229.

Zhuge Liang advocated an aggressive foreign policy towards Wei, because he strongly believed it was critical to the survival of Shu and its sovereignty. Between the years of 228 and 234, he launched a series of five military campaigns against Wei, with the aim of conquering Chang'an, a strategic city located on the road to the Wei capital, Luoyang. Most of the battles were fought around present-day Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. However, aside from gaining Jiang Wei as an officer in 228, Shu failed to achieve any significant victories or lasting gains in the five expeditions. During his final campaign, fought against the Wei general Sima Yi, an already taxed and ill Zhuge Liang died under the strain of the long stalemate with the Wei forces at the Battle of Wuzhang Plains.

The Shu government was then headed by Jiang Wan, Fei Yi and others after Zhuge Liang's death, and Shu temporarily ceased its aggression towards Wei. The Wei regent Cao Shuang launched an invasion of Hanzhong in 244. Despite being outnumbered 2-to-1, the Shu forces successfully defeated them at the Battle of Xingshi, with the humiliated Wei forces fleeing. Between 247 and 262, the Shu general Jiang Wei resumed Zhuge Liang's legacy by leading a series of military campaigns against Wei, but also failed to make any significant territorial gains.

Fall of Shu

In 263, armies led by the Wei generals Deng Ai and Zhong Hui attacked Shu and conquered its capital Chengdu without much struggle — the state having been exhausted by Jiang Wei's ill-fated campaigns. In the same year, Liu Shan surrendered to Deng Ai outside Chengdu, marking the end of Shu. In spite of this, Jiang Wei attempted to incite conflict between Deng Ai and Zhong Hui in the hope of taking advantage of the situation to revive Shu. Zhong Hui captured Deng Ai and openly rebelled against the Wei regent, Sima Zhao, but the revolt was suppressed by Wei forces. Jiang Wei, Zhong Hui and Deng Ai were killed in the struggle.

Liu Shan was brought to Luoyang, where he met with Sima Zhao and was awarded the title of "Duke of Anle". He lived a comfortable and peaceful life in Luoyang until the end of his days.

Government and military

Shu's population was not large enough to stand against the rival state of Wei. [2] Although the country could efficiently defend itself, Shu could not easily launch successful campaigns. The first step to solving this was to launch an offensive against the Nanman in present-day Yunnan. This would secure more individuals for the army as well as more slaves. It would also gain control over trade with India. [2]

Economy

The economy of the Shu was not in a bad position. [2]

Shu was not merely a nation at war. During peacetime, the Shu state began many irrigation and road-building projects designed to improve the economy. Many of these public works still exist and are widely used. For example, the Zipingpu Dam is still present near Chengdu, Sichuan. These works helped improve the economy of southwestern China and can be seen as the beginning of economic activity in Sichuan. It also promoted trade with southern China, which was then ruled by Eastern Wu.[ citation needed ]

List of territories

List of emperors

Shu Han rulers
Temple name Posthumous name Family name (in bold) and personal name Reign Era names and their year rangesNotes
(N/A)Emperor Zhaolie
昭烈皇帝
Liu Bei
劉備
221-223
  • Zhangwu
    章武 (221-223)
Liu Bei is also referred to as the "Former Lord" (先主) in some historical texts.
(N/A)Emperor Xiaohuai
孝懷皇帝
Liu Shan
劉禪
223-263
  • Jianxing
    建興 (223-237)
  • Yanxi
    延熙 (238-257)
  • Jingyao
    景耀 (258-263)
  • Yanxing
    炎興 (263)
Liu Shan was posthumously granted the title of "Duke Si of Anle" (安樂思公) by the Jin dynasty. He was later posthumously honoured as "Emperor Xiaohuai" (孝懷皇帝) by Liu Yuan, the founder of the Han Zhao state of the Sixteen Kingdoms. He is also referred to as the "Later Lord" (後主) in some historical texts.

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References

  1. 1 2 Zou Jiwan (Chinese:鄒紀萬), Zhongguo Tongshi - Weijin Nanbeichao Shi中國通史·魏晉南北朝史, (1992).
  2. 1 2 3 Eberhard, Wolfram (1977). A History of China. University of California Press. p. 112. ISBN   0520032683.