Tianshui revolts

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Tianshui revolts
Part of the first of Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions
Long Corridor-Jiang Wei .JPG
Jiang Wei surrenders to Zhuge Liang. Portrait in the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace, Beijing
Datec. February – May 228 [1]
Location Gansu and Shaanxi, China
Result Territorial losses to Shu were retaken by Wei later; Overall stalemate
Belligerents
Shu Han Cao Wei
Commanders and leaders
Zhuge Liang
Zhao Yun
Deng Zhi
Cao Zhen
Zhang He
Strength
>60,000[ citation needed ] >50,000[ citation needed ]
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown, but estimated to be around 55,000[ citation needed ]
Tianshui revolts
Traditional Chinese 天水之亂
Simplified Chinese 天水之乱

The Tianshui revolts refer to the rebellions that broke out in the southern part of Liang Province (covering parts of present-day Gansu and Shaanxi) in the spring of 228 during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Military forces from the state of Shu Han, led by their chancellor-regent Zhuge Liang, planned to seize control of Chang'an, a strategic city in Shu's rival state, Cao Wei. The three commanderies of Nan'an, Tianshui and Anding were captured by Shu forces, but these territorial gains were later lost after the Battle of Jieting. As mentioned in the biography of the Wei general Zhang He: "The commanderies of Nan'an, Tianshui and Anding rebelled and defected to (Zhuge) Liang, (Zhang) He pacified all of them." [2]

Liang Province

Liang Province or Liangzhou (涼州) was a province in the northwest of ancient China, in the approximate location of the modern-day province of Gansu. It was bordered in the east by Sili Province.

Gansu Province

Gansu is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the northwest of the country.

Shaanxi Province

Shaanxi is a province of the People's Republic of China. Officially part of the Northwest China region, it lies in central China, bordering the provinces of Shanxi, Henan (E), Hubei (SE), Chongqing (S), Sichuan (SW), Gansu (W), Ningxia (NW), and Inner Mongolia (N). It covers an area of over 205,000 km2 (79,151 sq mi) with about 37 million people. Xi'an – which includes the sites of the former Chinese capitals Fenghao and Chang'an – is the provincial capital. Xianyang, which served as the Qin dynasty capital, is located nearby. The other prefecture-level cities into which the province is divided are Ankang, Baoji, Hanzhong, Shangluo, Tongchuan, Weinan, Yan'an and Yulin.

Contents

Background

At Hanzhong Commandery, during a war council meeting, Zhuge Liang proposed a wide left flanking manoeuvre to seize the upper Wei River valley to capture the city itself. Wei Yan objected to the plan and proposed a strike through a pass in the Qinling Mountains with 10,000 elite troops to take Chang'an by surprise. Zhuge Liang rejected the plan because it was too ambitious and went for a more cautious approach. The objective was to seize Chang'an along with Tianshui (天水; around present-day Tianshui, Gansu), Anding (安定; around present-day Zhenyuan County, Gansu) and Nan'an (南安; around present-day Longxi County, Gansu) commanderies, and Mount Qi (祁山; the mountainous regions around present-day Li County, Gansu).

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.

Wei River river in west-central Chinas Gansu and Shaanxi provinces

The Wei River is a major river in west-central China's Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. It is the largest tributary of the Yellow River and very important in the early development of Chinese civilization.

Wei Yan Shu Han general

Wei Yan, courtesy name Wenchang, was a military general of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Originally a subordinate of the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han dynasty, Wei Yan rose through the ranks and became a general when Liu Bei seized control of Yi Province in 214. His performance in battle helped him to become a prominent figure in the Shu military in a short period of time. He was later appointed as the Administrator of Hanzhong Commandery and as an Area Commander in 219. Between 228 and 234, he participated actively in the Northern Expeditions led by the Shu regent Zhuge Liang against Shu's rival state, Cao Wei. After Zhuge Liang's death in 234, Wei Yan was killed by another Shu general, Ma Dai, for alleged treason.

The revolt

In 228, Zhuge Liang declared that he would march through the Xie Gorge to take Mei County (郿縣; southeast of present-day Fufeng County, Shaanxi). He sent Zhao Yun and Deng Zhi as decoys to give the appearance of threatening Mei County and to occupy Ji County (冀縣; present-day Gangu County, Gansu). Cao Zhen led his armies to oppose them. Zhuge Liang personally led the armies to besiege Mount Qi; the ranks were ordered, discipline severe and authority apparent. The three commanderies of Nan'an, Tianshui and Anding all revolted and defected from the Wei side to Zhuge Liang, sending shockwaves throughout Liang Province. Cao Rui moved to Chang'an to oversee the defences. Cao Zhen secured Mei County against Zhao Yun, while a combined cavalry-infantry force of 50,000 under Zhang He went west to oppose Zhuge Liang's main army.

Fufeng County County in Shaanxi, Peoples Republic of China

Fufeng County is a county under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Baoji, in the west-central part of Shaanxi Province, China. The county lies on the north bank of the Wei River between Xi'an, 110 km (68 mi) to the east, and Baoji, 95 km (59 mi) to the west. It has a land area of 751 km2 (290 sq mi), and a population of 460,000.

Gangu County County in Gansu, Peoples Republic of China

Gangu County is a county in the southeast of Gansu province, the People's Republic of China. It is under the administration of Tianshui City. Its postal code is 741200, and in 1999 its population was 570,318 people.

Cao Rui, courtesy name Yuanzhong, was the second emperor of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. His parentage is in dispute: his mother, Lady Zhen, was Yuan Xi's wife, but she later remarried Cao Pi, the first ruler of Wei. Based on conflicting accounts of his age, Pei Songzhi calculated that, in order to be Cao Pi's son, Cao Rui could not have been 36 when he died as recorded, so the recorded age was in error; Lu Bi and Mou Guangsheng argued instead that Cao Rui was Yuan Xi's son.

At that moment, Jiang Wei was patrolling the outskirts with his commanding officer Ma Zun (馬遵), the Administrator of Tianshui Commandery. Afraid that Jiang Wei might be colluding with the Shu army, Ma Zun fled secretly at night to Shanggui County (上邽縣; in present-day Tianshui, Gansu). When Jiang Wei discovered about that, it was already too late and on returning to Shanggui County, the defenders refused to open the gates for him. As a result, Jiang Wei defected to the Shu side along with his colleagues Liang Xu (梁緒), Yin Shang (尹賞) and Liang Qian (梁虔).

Jiang Wei Chinese general of the Three Kingdoms period

Jiang Wei, courtesy name Boyue, was a military general of the state of Shu during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Born in Ji County, Jiang Wei started his career as a military officer in his native Tianshui Commandery, which was a territory of the state of Wei. In 228, when Wei's rival state Shu launched an invasion, Jiang Wei had no choice but to defect to Shu due to the circumstances. Zhuge Liang, the Imperial Chancellor and regent of Shu, highly regarded Jiang Wei and allowed him to serve as a general in Shu. After Zhuge Liang's death in 234, Jiang Wei continued serving as a general during the regencies of Zhuge Liang's successors, Jiang Wan and Fei Yi. Between 240 and 262, he continued Zhuge Liang's legacy of waging war against Wei by leading another 11 military campaigns. However, Jiang Wei failed to make any significant gains from the campaigns as each was ultimately aborted due to inadequate food supplies, heavy losses on the battlefield, or other reasons. The campaigns also severely depleted Shu's already limited resources and took a toll on the Shu population; Jiang Wei also incurred much resentment from the people for his warmongering behaviour. While Jiang Wei was away at the frontline, the palace eunuch Huang Hao, whom the Shu emperor Liu Shan favoured, gradually became more influential in Shu's internal politics. After the 11th campaign in 262, Jiang Wei suspected that Huang Hao was plotting to remove from power so he did not return to the capital Chengdu and instead remained in Tazhong. In 263, when Wei launched a massive invasion of Shu, Jiang Wei led Shu forces to resist the invaders at Tazhong, Yinping and Jiange, but he was caught off guard when the Wei forces under Deng Ai took a shortcut and showed up at Chengdu unexpectedly. Liu Shan surrendered to Deng Ai without putting up resistance and ordered Jiang Wei to surrender to the Wei general Zhong Hui; this event marked the end of Shu's existence. In the following year, Jiang Wei instigated Zhong Hui to launch a rebellion in Chengdu against the Wei regent Sima Zhao and hoped to use the opportunity to gain military power and restore Shu. However, some of Zhong Hui's officers, who were unwilling to participate in the rebellion, started a mutiny against Zhong Hui and killed him and Jiang Wei.

Tianshui Prefecture-level city in Gansu, Peoples Republic of China

Tianshui is the second-largest city in Gansu Province, China. Its population is approximately 3.5 million. The city and its surroundings have played an important role in the early history of China, as still visible in the form of historic sites.

There was in fact no battle at Tianshui; only a revolt took place. The area surrounding the city submitted quickly to Shu, enabling the army to advance steadily but the Shu army had suffered a setback at the Battle of Jieting, when Zhang He defeated Ma Su who was sent by Zhuge Liang to handle him. Zhuge Liang gave the order for a retreat back to Shu territory. Zhao Yun and Deng Zhi were also ordered to counter Cao Zhen, but their troop strength were inadequate to that of the enemy. Hence they were defeated at Ji Gorge (箕谷; east of present-day Baoji, Shaanxi), but their centre held firm and thus avoided a great defeat. Zhao Yun and his army withdrew. The commanderies that rose in revolt to join Shu were later pacified by Zhang He and returned to Wei control.

Battle of Jieting battle

The Battle of Jieting was fought between the states of Cao Wei and Shu Han in 228 during the Three Kingdoms period in China. The battle was part of the first Northern Expedition led by Shu's chancellor-regent, Zhuge Liang, to attack Wei. The battle concluded with a decisive victory for Wei.

Ma Su Shu Han general and strategist

Ma Su (190–228), courtesy name Youchang, was a military general and strategist of the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period of China. He was a younger brother of Ma Liang. Ma Su had conspicuous talent in military theories and was admired by the Shu chancellor Zhuge Liang. However, a tactical blunder by Ma Su at the Battle of Jieting resulted in Shu being dealt a huge defeat by Zhang He, a general of the rival state of Wei.

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

Baoji  is a prefecture-level city in western Shaanxi province, People's Republic of China. Since the early 1990s, Baoji has been the second largest city in Shaanxi.

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms

In Chapters 92 and 93 of the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms , Jiang Wei was one of the reasons Zhuge Liang went on this expedition, and getting Jiang to defect to Shu became a goal after his quick battle with Zhao Yun. Zhuge Liang sent Zhao Yun ahead first, and after a skirmish and some scheming he comes onto the battlefield. During the battle, Ma Zun (馬遵) suspected Jiang Wei of plotting with the enemy. When Jiang Wei was outside Tianshui, Ma Zun closed the city gates and denied Jiang Wei entry. Jiang Wei had no choice but to defect to Zhuge Liang's side.

<i>Romance of the Three Kingdoms</i> one of Chinas Four Great Classical Novels

Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Sanguo Yanyi is a 14th-century historical novel attributed to Luo Guanzhong. It is set in the turbulent years towards the end of the Han dynasty and the Three Kingdoms period in Chinese history, starting in 169 AD and ending with the reunification of the land in 280.

Starting from the fourth instalment in Koei's video game series Dynasty Warriors , there is a playable stage called "Battle of Tian Shui" that is based on the fictional account of the revolt in Romance of the Three Kingdoms . If the player is playing as Jiang Wei, Wei forces will win the battle, but Jiang himself would later join Shu. If the player is playing on the Shu side, he must defeat Jiang Wei to make him defect to Shu.

Notes

  1. Zizhi Tongjian vol. 71.
  2. (南安、天水、安定郡反應亮,郃皆破平之。) Sanguozhi vol. 17.

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