The Three Fanzhen of Hebei (Chinese :河朔三镇; pinyin :Hé shuò sān zhèn) were three regions of what is now Hebei, China governed by powerful jiedushi during the Tang dynasty (618–907). After the devastating An Lushan Rebellion, this area became virtually independent of the central government, as these regions were controlled by ex-rebel generals who had substantial territory and forces. The independence of these fanzhen threatened the central government of the Tang dynasty.
During and after the An Lushan Rebellion, the Tang court lost control of vast swathes of territory and a number of defense commands evolved into autonomous kingdoms, their military commissioners became warlords, only nominally subservient to the Tang court. Particularly recalcitrant were Chéngdé (成德), Lúlóng (盧龍) and Wèibó (魏博) in the Hebei area. The central court was all but helpless in the northeast. In the south, however, it took a much more aggressive stand against such defense commands as Zīqīng (淄青) (mainly in Shandong), Biànsòng (汴宋) (in east Henan), and Huáixī (淮西) (in south Henan), which posed a more immediate and palpable threat to the transportation of strategic grains through the Grand Canal, on which the court depended.
During Emperor Xianzong's reign this region was briefly subdued by the central government, but after his death it became independent again. By the reign of Emperor Wenzong, the central government had lost all control over this region. The situation was summed up thus by Tang dynasty's chancellor Niu Sengru:
"Ever since the Anshi Rebellion, the three Fanzhen have not been part of the country. Although Liu Chong briefly gave the area to the central government, in the end it became independent and 80 million strings of cash were wasted. These regions are fought over frequently; one day Zhicheng has it, the next day Daiyi. As long as the jiedushi can fend off the northern barbarians, we will not care about its allegiance."
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The Tang dynasty or the Tang Empire was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in Chinese history. Historians generally regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, and a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Tang territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, rivaled that of the Han dynasty. The Tang capital at Chang'an was the most populous city in the world in its day.
The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly succeeded one another in the Central Plain, and more than a dozen concurrent states were established elsewhere, mainly in South China. It was the last prolonged period of multiple political division in Chinese imperial history.
The history of the Khitans dates back to the 4th century. The Khitan people dominated much of Mongolia and modern Manchuria by the 10th century, under the Liao dynasty, and eventually collapsed by 1125.
The An Lushan Rebellion was an armed conflict between the Tang dynasty of China and various regional powers. The rebellion's overt phase began on 16 December 755, when general An Lushan declared himself emperor in Northern China, thus establishing a rival Yan Dynasty, and ended when Yan fell on 17 February 763. This event is also known as the An–Shi Rebellion or An–Shi Disturbances, as it continued after An Lushan's death under his son An Qingxu and his deputy and successor Shi Siming, or as the Tianbao Rebellion (天寶之乱), as it began in the 14th year of that era.
Li Shangyin, courtesy name Yishan, was a Chinese poet and politician of the late Tang Dynasty, born in Henei. Along with Li He, he was much admired and "rediscovered" in the 20th century by young Chinese writers for the imagist quality of his poems. He is particularly famous for his tantalizing "no title" (無題) poems.
The jiedushi were regional military governors in China during the Tang dynasty and the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The post of jiedushi has been translated as "military commissioner", "legate", or "regional commander". Originally introduced in 711 to counter external threats, the jiedushi were posts authorized with the supervision of a defense command often encompassing several prefectures, the ability to maintain their own armies, collect taxes and promote and appoint subordinates.
Ye or Yecheng was an ancient Chinese city located in what is now Linzhang County, Handan, Hebei province and neighbouring Anyang, Henan province.
Emperor Dezong of Tang, personal name Li Kuo, was an emperor of the Chinese Tang Dynasty and the oldest son of Emperor Daizong. His reign of 26 years was the third longest in the Tang dynasty. Emperor Dezong started out as a diligent and frugal emperor and he tried to reform the governmental finances by introducing new tax laws. His attempts to destroy the powerful regional warlords and the subsequent mismanagement of those campaigns, however, resulted in a number of rebellions that nearly destroyed him and the Tang Dynasty. After those events, he dealt cautiously with the regional governors, causing warlordism to become unchecked, and his trust of eunuchs caused the eunuchs' power to rise greatly. He was also known for his paranoia about officials' wielding power, and late in his reign, he did not grant much authority to his chancellors.
Fanzhen, also called fangzhen, was a governmental system involving administration through regional governors (jiedushi). The term fanzhen literally means "buffer town", and refers to the strategic settlement of troops in locations along the empire's border areas. During the Tang dynasty, these settlements came under the control of provincial military commissioners, otherwise known as jiedushi. During the late Tang period, the phenomenon of fanzhen domination has been termed fanzhen geju by historians.
Lingyan Pavilion was a small tower beside Sanqing Hall (三清殿) in the southwest of Taiji Palace (太極宮), Chang'an, the capital of the Tang dynasty. Its location in modern China is roughly in the north of Xi'an, Shaanxi.
Xue Song, formally the Prince of Pingyang (平陽王), was a general of the Chinese rebel state Yan, who later submitted to and became a general of Tang Dynasty, from which Yan had rebelled. As was in the case of several other Yan generals who submitted to Tang but who had substantial army and territorial holdings, Xue was allowed to retain his command and territory, semi-independent of the Tang imperial government structure.
Li Baochen (李寶臣), originally named Zhang Zhongzhi (張忠志), courtesy name Weifu (為輔), known as An Zhongzhi (安忠志) during the Anshi Rebellion and Zhang Baochen (張寶臣) 778–779, formally the Prince of Longxi (隴西王), was a general of the Chinese rebel state Yan, who later submitted to and became a general of Tang Dynasty, from which Yan had rebelled. As was in the case of several other Yan generals who submitted to Tang but who had substantial army and territorial holdings, Li was allowed to retain his command and territory, semi-independent of the Tang imperial government structure.
Tian Chengsi, formally the Prince of Yanmen, was a general of the Chinese rebel state Yan, who later submitted to and became a general of Tang Dynasty, from which Yan had rebelled. As was in the case of several other Yan generals who submitted to Tang but who had substantial army and territorial holdings, Tian was allowed to retain his command and territory, semi-independent from the Tang imperial government structure, and among these generals, he was particularly defiant of the Tang imperial government.
Li Huaixian was a general of the Chinese rebel state Yan, who later submitted to and became a general of Tang Dynasty, from which Yan had rebelled. As was in the case of several other Yan generals who submitted to Tang but who had substantial army and territorial holdings, Li was allowed to retain his command and territory, semi-independent of the Tang imperial government structure, but unlike the others, he was unable to hold on to power for long and was assassinated in 768 by his subordinates Zhu Xicai, Zhu Ci, and Zhu Tao.
The Sixteen Kingdoms, less commonly the Sixteen States, was a chaotic period in Chinese history from 304 to 439 CE when the political order of northern China fractured into a series of short-lived dynastic states, most of which were founded by the "Five Barbarians," non-Chinese peoples who had settled in northern and western China during the preceding centuries and participated in the overthrow of the Western Jin dynasty in the early 4th century. The kingdoms founded by ethnic Xiongnu, Xianbei, Di, Jie, Qiang, as well as Chinese and other ethnicities, took on Chinese dynastic names, and fought against each other and the Eastern Jin dynasty, which succeeded the Western Jin and ruled southern China. The period ended with the unification of northern China in the early 5th century by the Northern Wei, a dynasty established by the Xianbei Tuoba clan, and the history of ancient China entered the Northern and Southern dynasties period.
Kong Xun, known early in his life as Zhao Yinheng (趙殷衡), also having used surnames of Li (李) and Zhu (朱) early in life, was an official of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period states Later Liang and Later Tang. He became prominent during the reign of Emperor Mingzong of Later Tang due to his alliance with Emperor Mingzong's trusted advisor An Chonghui, but later had a fallout with An, was ejected from the central government, and would not return to it toward the end of his life.
The Tang dynasty administered territory using a hierarchical system of three descending divisions: circuit dào (道), prefecture zhōu (州), and county xiàn (縣). Prefectures have been called jùn 郡 as well as zhōu 州 interchangeably throughout history, leading to cases of confusion, but in reality their political status was the same. The prefectures were furthered classified as either Upper Prefectures, Middle Prefectures, or Lower Prefectures depending on population. An Upper Prefecture consisted of 40, 000 households and above, a Middle Prefecture 20, 000 households and above, and a Lower Prefecture anything below 20, 000 households. Some prefectures were further categorized as bulwark prefectures, grand prefectures, renowned prefectures, or key prefectures for strategic purposes. A superior prefecture was called a fu (府).
Weibo, also known as Tianxiong, was a province or circuit of the mid to late Tang dynasty.
Yōuzhōu Jiédùshǐ (幽州), also known as Yōujì Jiédùshǐ (幽薊), Yānjì Jiédùshǐ (燕薊), Fànyáng Jiédùshǐ (范陽), and Lúlóng Jiédùshǐ (盧龍), was a military district during the Tang dynasty. It covered the area of Yānjì (燕薊) in what is now the Beijing and Hebei region. Youzhou was the base of operations for An Lushan as well as one of the revolting three garrisons of Hebei.
The military history of the Sui and Tang dynasties encompasses the period of Chinese military activity from 581 to 907. Although the Sui dynasty preceded the Tang, it was extremely short lived, ending in 618. The two dynasties share many similar trends and behaviors in terms of military tactics, strategy, and technology. It can therefore be viewed that the Tang continued the Sui tradition, or that the Sui set the precedent for the Tang dynasty.