Southern Han

Last updated
Great Han / Great Yue

CapitalXingwang (Guangzhou)
Common languages Middle Chinese
Emperor Gaozu
Emperor Shangdi
Emperor Zhongzong
Emperor Houzhu
Historical era Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period
 Renamed from "Yue" to "Han"
 Ended by the Song dynasty
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Tang dynasty
Song dynasty Blank.png
Ngô dynasty Blank.png
Today part ofFlag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
Flag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam
Southern Han
Traditional Chinese 南漢
Simplified Chinese 南汉

Southern Han (Chinese :南漢; pinyin :Nán Hàn; 917–971), originally Great Yue (Chinese :大越), was one of the ten kingdoms that existed during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. It was located on China's southern coast, controlling modern Guangdong and Guangxi. The kingdom greatly expanded its capital Xingwang Fu (Chinese :興王府; pinyin :Xìngwángfǔ, (present-day Guangzhou). It attempted but failed to annex the Tang province of Annam (modern northern Vietnam).

Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the Han majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.


Founding of the Southern Han

Liu Yin was named regional governor and military officer by the Tang court in 905. Though the Tang fell two years later, Liu did not declare himself the founder of a new kingdom as other southern leaders had done. He merely inherited the title of Prince of Nanping in 909.

Liu Yin (劉隱), formally Prince Xiang of Nanhai (南海襄王), later further posthumously honored Emperor Xiang (襄皇帝) with the temple name of Liezong (烈宗) by his younger brother Liu Yan, was a warlord late in the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty and Tang's succeeding dynasty Later Liang of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, who ruled Qinghai Circuit as its military governor (Jiedushi). It was on the basis of his rule that Liu Yan was later able to establish the state of Southern Han.

It was not until Liu Yin's death in 917 that his brother, Liu Yan, declared the founding of a new kingdom, which he initially called "Great Yue" (大越); he changed the name to Great Han (大漢) in 918. This was because his surname Liu () was the imperial surname of the Han dynasty and he claimed to be a descendant of that famous dynasty. The kingdom is often referred to as the Southern Han Dynasty throughout China's history.

Han dynasty 3rd-century BC to 3rd-century AD Chinese dynasty

The Han dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms period. Spanning over four centuries, the Han period is considered a golden age in Chinese history. To this day, China's majority ethnic group refers to themselves as the "Han Chinese" and the Chinese script is referred to as "Han characters". It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han, and briefly interrupted by the Xin dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang. This interregnum separates the Han dynasty into two periods: the Western Han or Former Han and the Eastern Han or Later Han (25–220 AD).

Some modern scholars have been trying to ascribe a foreign origin to the Liu of Southern Han and attack the traditional historical records and the claims of the Liu clan themselves that said their ancestors were Han Chinese from northern China who migrated south. [1] [2] [3] Historical texts like the Old History of the Five Dynasties and the New Book of Tang record that this Liu family said they themselves originated in northern China, from Shangcai in Henan and Pengcheng in Jiangsu until their ancestor Liu Anren (劉安仁) migrated south to Fujian and Guangdong and the Southern Han Liu emperors claimed to be Han Chinese descended from the Han dynasty royal family who shared the same surname, Liu. Liu Zhiqian was of low class and rank and because of this the aristocratic Wei family said he was "not of our kind" (非我族类) but despite Liu's low rank, the military governor Wei Zhou married his niece to Liu Zhiqian over his family's objections. The Japanese scholar Fujita Toyohachi in 1910 tried claiming that the Liu family of Southern Han were descendants of Arabs who came to Fujian and Guangdong by sea by pointing to an Arab from the later Song dynasty who used the surname Liu and claiming it sounded similar to Arabic names like Ali or Alaa, and claimed that the Liu family tried to for Han ancestry from northern China. His claims of the Liu being of Arab or foreign descent were rubbished and attacked by another Japanese scholar, Masahiro Kawahara who pointed out it was a custom for reigning Chinese Emperors to grant the usage of their surnames to foreign merchants like the Tang dynasty which granted the imperial family's surname Li to foreigners, and that the foreign Arab merchant likely received his Liu surname from the reigning Liu Emperors of Southern Han and not the other way around, and he pointed out that the Southern Han did not believe in Islam but practiced Buddhism. Masahiro suggested instead that the Liu were from a local non-Han native ethnic minority of Guangdong from Fengzhou who then forged Han descent from northern China to claim descent from the Han dynasty. Both Fujita and Masahiro's theories were attacked by another historian because both of their theories are based on their own pure conjecture and opinions and have no solid evidence or historical data or texts to support their claims, saying that the phrase "not of our kind" "非我族类" referred to the socially stratified Tang dynasty aristocracy in China since 族 means clan the Liu were not a clan of the Wei's social status ("Not of our clan") and not referring to the modern meaning of 族 which means ethnicity or race, and using this statement "not of our kind" to suddenly jump to the conclusion that they were "Arab" is massively inappropriate for a historian. The aristocratic Wei family would have looked down and despised people of low rank like the Liu. Masahiro's suggestion that the Liu were native non-Han ethnic minority also has no evidence based in any historical texts and there is nothing to suggest that the existing historical texts like New History of the Five Dynasties are false. Both are seen as theories with no proof. [4] The Southern Han did not believe in Islam and were not Sultans. Arabs referred to the Southern Han as the "Chinese rose" monarchy because that rose originated from China, Guangzhou was known as the flower city and Southern Han planted lots of roses. [5] Statues of two of he last Southern Han Emperor's Liu Chang's sons were described as looking like "barbarian devils". [6] [7] The two sons may have come from a Persian woman who was Liu Chang's concubine. [8] A large number of Han Chinese moved to southern China like Southern Han as the Tang dynasty was collapsing and helped build Southern Han when it become independent.The arguments over the origin of the Liu family who ruled Southern Han again were looked at and determined that they were Han Chinese. [9] [10]

The Old History of the Five Dynasties was an official history of the Five Dynasties (907–960), which controlled much of northern China. It was compiled by the Song Dynasty official-scholar Xue Juzheng in the first two decades of the Song Dynasty, which was founded in 960. It is one of the Twenty-Four Histories recognized through Chinese history.

The New Book of Tang, generally translated as "New History of the Tang", or "New Tang History", is a work of official history covering the Tang dynasty in ten volumes and 225 chapters. The work was compiled by a team of scholars of the Song dynasty, led by Ouyang Xiu and Song Qi.

Shangcai County County in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Shangcai County is a county in the south of Henan province, China. It is under the administration of Zhumadian City.

Liu Yan's tomb was found to Beitang village's south. [11] The Southern Han spread sinicization in the lands they ruled. [12]

Territorial extent

With its capital at present-day Guangzhou, the domains of the kingdom spread along the coastal regions of present-day Guangdong, Guangxi, Hanoi and the island of Hainan. It had borders with the kingdoms of Min, Chu and the Southern Tang as well as the non-Chinese kingdoms of Dali. The Southern Tang occupied all of the northern boundary of the Southern Han after Min and Chu were conquered by the Southern Tang in 945 and 951 respectively.

Guangzhou Prefecture-level and Sub-provincial city in Guangdong, Peoples Republic of China

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong in southern China. On the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou has a history of over 2,200 years and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road, and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub, as well as one of China's three largest cities.

Guangdong Most populous province of the Peoples Republic of China

Guangdong is a province in South China, on the South China Sea coast. Guangdong surpassed Henan and Shandong to become the most populous province in China in January 2005, registering 79.1 million permanent residents and 31 million migrants who lived in the province for at least six months of the year; the total population was 104,303,132 in the 2010 census, accounting for 7.79 percent of Mainland China's population. This also makes it the most populous first-level administrative subdivision of any country outside of South Asia, as its population is surpassed only by those of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the Indian states of Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The provincial capital Guangzhou and economic hub Shenzhen are among the most populous and important cities in China. The population increase since the census has been modest, the province registering 108,500,000 people in 2015.

Guangxi Autonomous region

Guangxi ( ; formerly romanised as Kwangsi; Chinese: 广西; Zhuang: Gvangjsih, officially the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in south China and bordering Vietnam. Formerly a province, Guangxi became an autonomous region in 1958.

Relations with Vietnam

While the Tang Dynasty was strong, the region of the present-day Vietnam remained a stable, secure part of the Southern Han's Viet domains. However, as the Tang weakened late in the 9th century, the Viet sought to regain control over their own affairs. Hanoi, which had developed as a political center during the Tang Dynasty, was the center of an early Vietnamese polity.

The Southern Han sought to bring the Viet into its orbit; however, their invasion was unsuccessful and was repelled. In 939, the Viet in the Chinese province of Annam, under the leadership of Ngo Quyen (吳權), redeclared independence.

Fall of the Southern Han

The Five Dynasties ended in 960 when the Song Dynasty was founded to replace the Later Zhou. From that point, the new Song rulers set themselves about to continue the reunification process set in motion by the Later Zhou. Through the 960s and 970s, the Song increased its influence in the south until finally it was able to force the Southern Han dynasty to submit to its rule in 971.


Sovereigns in the Southern Han Kingdom 917–971
Temple Names Posthumous Names Personal NamesPeriod of Reigns Era Names
Gao Zu (高祖gāo zǔ)Tian Huang Da Di (天皇大帝tiān huáng dà dì) Liu Yan (劉巖liú yán)

Liu Yan (劉龑liú yǎn) after 926

917–941Qianheng (乾亨qián hēng) 917–925

Bailong (白龍bái lóng) 925–928
Dayou (大有dà yǒu) 928–941

Did not existShang Di (殤帝shāng dì) Liu Bin (劉玢liú bīn)941–943Guangtian (光天guāng tiān) 941–943
Zhong Zong (中宗zhōng zōng)Wénwǔ Guāngmíng Xiào (文武光明孝皇帝)

Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign

Liu Sheng (劉晟liú shèng)943–958Yingqian (應乾yìng qián) 943

Qianhe (乾和qiàn hé) 943–958

Hou Zhu (後主hòu zhǔ)Did not exist Liu Chang (劉鋹liú chǎng)958–971Dabao (大寶dà bǎo) 958–971

Rulers family tree

Related Research Articles

Hanzhong Prefecture-level city in Shaanxi, Peoples Republic of China

Hanzhong is a prefecture-level city in the southwest of Shaanxi province, China, bordering the provinces of Sichuan to the south and Gansu to the west.

Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture Autonomous prefecture in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China

Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture is an autonomous prefecture in southeastern Yunnan province, People's Republic of China, and the easternmost prefecture-level division of the province. It borders Baise, Guangxi to the east, Vietnam's Hà Giang Province to the south for 438 kilometres (272 mi), Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture to the west, and Qujing to the north.

The Teochew people are a Chinese people native to the historical Chaozhou prefecture of eastern Guangdong province who speak the Teochew dialect. Today, most Teochew people live outside China in Southeast Asia, especially in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia. They can also be found almost anywhere in the world, including North America, Australia and France.

Luogang District district of China

Luogang District is a former district of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, China. It was merged into Huangpu District on 12 February 2014.

Xianbei state nomadic empire

The Xianbei state or Xianbei confederation was a nomadic empire which existed in modern-day Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, northern Xinjiang, Northeast China, Gansu, Buryatia, Zabaykalsky Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, Tuva, Altai Republic and eastern Kazakhstan from 156-234. Like most ancient peoples known through Chinese historiography, the ethnic makeup of the Xianbei is unclear.

Liu Chang, originally Liu Jixing (劉繼興), was the fourth, last and youngest Chinese emperor of Southern Han during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, reigning from 958 until his country was annexed by the Song dynasty in 971.

Palaung language dialect cluster of Burma

Palaung, or in Chinese De'ang, is a Mon–Khmer dialect cluster spoken by over half a million people in Burma and neighboring countries. The Palaung people are divided into Palé, Rumai, and Shwe, and each of these has their own language. The Riang languages are reported to be unintelligible or only understood with great difficulty by native speakers of the other Palaung languages.

Ji or Jicheng was an ancient city in northern China, which has become the longest continuously inhabited section of modern Beijing. Historical mention of Ji dates to the founding of the Zhou Dynasty in about 1045 BC. Archaeological finds in southwestern Beijing where Ji was believed to be located date to the Spring and Autumn period. The city of Ji served as the capital of the ancient states of Ji and Yan until the unification of China by the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC. Thereafter, the city was a prefectural capital for Youzhou through the Han Dynasty, Three Kingdoms, Western Jin Dynasty, Sixteen Kingdoms, Northern Dynasties, and Sui Dynasty. With the creation of a Jizhou (蓟州) during the Tang Dynasty in what is now Tianjin Municipality, the city of Ji took on the name Youzhou. Youzhou was one of the Sixteen Prefectures ceded to the Khitans during the Five Dynasties. The city then became the southern capital of the Liao Dynasty and then main capital of the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). In the 13th Century, Kublai Khan built a new capital city for the Yuan Dynasty adjacent to Ji to the north. The old city of Ji became a suburb to Dadu. In the Ming Dynasty, the old and new cities were merged by Beijing's Ming-era city wall.

"The Legend of Wenlong" is an ancient folk story of Han Chinese origin, that was early on adopted by several people groups in Southern China including the Zhuang. It is also known by the name of the associated Chinese opera Liu Wenlong and the Water-chestnut Mirror. It is now a traditional song of the Zhuang people that is sung at the Dragon Boat Festival in some places.

Liu Sifen is a Chinese novelist and painter who was the president of Guangdong Literature and Art Association.

The 2014 Guangzhou Evergrande season is the 61st year in Guangzhou Evergrande's existence and is its 47th season in the Chinese football league, also its 25th season in the top flight.

Liu Jun (劉濬), courtesy name Boshen (伯深), was an official of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period state Southern Han, at one point serving as a chancellor.

Guangzhou Korea School

Guangzhou Korea School is a South Korean international school within the Jinxiuxiangjiang Primary School (锦绣香江小学) located within the Jinxiuxiangjiang Apartment (绣香江小区) in Nancun Town (南村镇), Panyu District, Guangzhou.

The 2016 Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao season was the 63rd year in Guangzhou Evergrande's existence and was its 49th season in the Chinese football league, also its 27th season in the top flight.

The Legend of Five Goats Legend in Guangzhou, China

The Legend of Five Goats comes from the ancient Guangzhou city, and is an origin of Guangzhou's nicknames like 'City of Five Goats', 'City of the Goat', 'City of the Rice'. It is also the origin of many Guangzhou local brands' names. The name 'Five Goats' can earliest be seen in poetry of Tang dynasty, and the related legendry can be dated back to Jin dynasty. Though the legendary had several versions, it was unified after Ming dynasty. Usually the Legend of Five Goats reflects the history that Lingnan people was colonized by Zhongyuan ancestors. In 2007, this legend was collected into the first batch of The Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity of Guangzhou.

Ziqi Kingdom

The Ziqi Kingdom was a kingdom established by Wuman in southwestern China during the Song dynasty. The territory of the Ziqi Kingdom included parts of modern-day Guizhou, Guangxi and Yunnan provinces of China.

Shehua is an unclassified Sinitic language spoken by the She people of southeastern China. It is also called Shanha 山哈 (San-hak) or Shanhahua 山哈话. Shehua speakers are located mainly in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces of southeastern China, with smaller numbers of speakers in a few locations of Jiangxi, Guangdong, and Anhui provinces.

Han Eight Banners

Han Eight Banners, were one of the three divisions in the Eight Banners of Qing dynasty. At beginning, members of Han Eight Banners had used to be Han Chinese living in Ming dynasty. During the transition from Ming to Qing, these people were conquered by Jurchen people or surrender to them. In 1631, Hong Taiji started the Han Army of Eight Banners. Then some other Han people who had surrendered to Qing dynasty joined Han Army of Eight Banners.


  1. Schottenhammer, Angela (2015). "CHINA'S GATE TO THE SOUTH: IRANIAN AND ARAB MERCHANT NETWORKS IN GUANGZHOU DURING THE TANG-SONG TRANSITION (c.750–1050), PART II: 900–c.1050" (PDF). AAS WORKING PAPERS IN SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY. Wien: Austrian Academy of Sciences. 29: 1–28. doi:10.1553/wpsa29. ISBN   978-3-7001-7880-4. (webpage).
  2. Miles, Steven B. (June 2002). "Rewriting the Southern Han (917-971): The Production of Local Culture in Nineteenth-Century Guangzhou". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. Harvard-Yenching Institute. 62 (1): 45. doi:10.2307/4126584. JSTOR   4126584.
  3. 李, 庆新. "南汉对外关系与海外贸易". 中国经济史论坛.
  4. 李, 庆新 (2010-11-04). "南汉对外关系与海外贸易". 中国经济史论坛_ 国学网.
  5. "南漢王朝是不是阿拉伯人建立的?五代十國時期的廣州與阿拉伯人". 每日頭條. 2016-05-21.
  6. "五代十国时期的广州与阿拉伯人". 头条新闻_东方头条. 2016-05-21.
  7. "二 刘氏祖籍与族属:汉人,阿拉伯人后裔,还是蛮夷?".
  8. 刘, 波. "第三章广州海洋文明文物撷萃". 广州市地方志. 该“波斯女”或许留有后代,吴兰修《南汉金石志?跋》称,广州“元妙观西院功德林,有伪南汉王刘鋹及二子铜像,状豪恶可憎,俗称'蕃鬼'”。
  9. 周, 加胜 (2008). 南汉国研究 (博士 PhD). 陕西师范大学.
  10. 崔, 北京 (2006). 南汉史研究 (硕士 Masters). 陕西师范大学. (page link).
  11. "南汉开国皇帝陵寝找到了". 广州日报. 2004-07-16.
  12. 刘, 美嵩 (1988年04期). "论南汉政权的汉化". 中南民族学院学报 (哲学社会科学版 ed.).Check date values in: |date= (help)