Timeline of the Khitans

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Liao dynasty (916-1125) Liao circuits.png
Liao dynasty (916–1125)
Collapse of the Liao dynasty (1117-1124) Collapse of the Liao dynasty 1117-1124.png
Collapse of the Liao dynasty (1117–1124)
Western Liao (Qara Khitai) (1124-1218) Western Liao.png
Western Liao (Qara Khitai) (1124–1218)

This is a timeline of the history of the Khitans. The Khitans were a nomadic people in northeastern Asia related to the Xianbei. Following the collapse of the Tang dynasty, they established the Liao dynasty in 916, encompassing parts of modern-day northern China, Mongolia, and North Korea. The Liao dynasty was eventually conquered by the Jin dynasty in 1125. Remnants of the Liao court led by Yelü Dashi fled westward to Central Asia where they established the Western Liao dynasty. In 1211, the Western Liao throne was usurped by a Naiman called Kuchlug. In 1218, the Mongol Empire defeated and conquered the Western Liao dynasty.


4th century

388 The Kumo Xi are defeated by the Northern Wei. As a result, the Khitans split from the Kumo Xi and emerge as a recognizable group of people around the Songmo region in modern Heshigten Banner and Ongniud Banner; at some point they migrate to the east of Daling River in modern Beipiao, Fuxin, and Zhangwu County [1]

6th century

553 Khitans raid Northern Qi, who retaliate dealing devastating losses to the Khitans [2]
585 Khitans move to the area between the Laoha River and Liao River [3]

7th century

605 Yami Qaghan of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate attacks the Khitans on behalf of the Sui dynasty [4]
618 Dahe Duoluo comes to power
627 Dahe Mohui succeeds Dahe Duoluo
644 Dahe Kuge succeeds Dahe Mohui
648 Khitans submit to the Tang dynasty as vassals [5]
653 Abugu succeeds Dahe Kuge
654 Mohe and Goguryeo attack the Khitans [6]
660 Tang dynasty attacks the Khitans and captures their leader Abugu at Songmo; Abugu is sent to Luoyang; [7]
675 Dahe Jinzhong comes to power
696 Li Jinzhong (Mushang Khan) of the Khitans along with his brother-in-law Sun Wanrong revolt against Tang hegemony and attack Hebei; Li dies soon after and Sun succeeds him [8]
697 Tang dynasty and Qapaghan Qaghan of the Second Turkic Khaganate defeat Sun Wanrong and Khitans become vassals of the Turks; [9] Dahe Shihuo succeeds Sun Wanrong

8th century

716 Khitans break alliance with the Turks and ally with Tang [10]
717 Dahe Suogu succeeds Dahe Shihuo
720 Ketuyu attacks Suogu and Suogu flees to the governor-general of Ying Prefecture, who sends 500 Tang soldiers to back Suogu but is defeated [11]
Dahe Yugan succeeds Dahe Suogu
724 Dahe Tugan succeeds Dahe Yugan
725 Dahe Shaogu succeeds Dahe Tugan, who fled to the Tang dynasty in fear of Ketuyu
730 Ketuyu of the Khitans attacks Tang [12]
Julü succeeds Dahe Shaogu
732 Tang forces inflict heavy casualties on the Khitans and Kumo Xi [13]
733 A Tang-Kumo Xi army attacks a Turk-Khitan army [14]
734 Zhang Shougui defeats Khitan forces in Youzhou (Hebei) [15]
735 Guozhe murders Ketuyu and succeeds Julü
736 An Lushan attacks the Khitans but is defeated [16]
740 An Lushan attacks the Khitans [11]
745 Two Khitan tribes revolt and are defeated by An Lushan [11]
746 Kailuo succeeds Guozhe
750 Chinese cultural dominance in Liaoning disappears and is replaced by Khitan culture [17]
752 An Lushan attacks the Khitans [18]
778 Su Khagan succeeds Kailuo
795  60,000 Kumo Xi raid the Tang dynasty and are defeated by Liu Ji [19]

9th century

800 Bala Khagan succeeds Su Khagan
820 Zhaogu Khagan succeeds Bala Khagan
830 Kumo Xi raid Youzhou and are defeated by Li Zaiyi [19]
842 Qushu succeeds Zhaogu Khagan
847 The Kumo Xi rebel against the Tang dynasty and are defeated by Zhang Zhongwu [20]
860 Xi'er succeeds Qushu
882 Qinde succeeds Xi'er
890 The Khitans drive the Kyrgyz away from the Orkhon Valley [21]

10th century


901 Abaoji is elected leader of the Yila tribe [22]
903 Abaoji becomes Yuyue, commander of all the Khitan nation's military forces [23]
905 Abaoji secures an alliance with Li Keyong in Datong [23]
907 27 FebruaryKhitan chieftain Abaoji becomes khagan of the Khitans [24]
908 Abaoji attacks the Shiwei [25]


910 Abaoji subdues a rebellion by the Kumo Xi [25]
912 Abaoji attacks the Zubu [25]
915 Abaoji attacks the Khongirad [25]
916 Abaoji declares himself emperor of the Khitans [26] and force Goryeo and Silla to pay tribute [27]
917 Wuyue offers the Khitans naphtha but they refuse [27]
918 Khitans relocate their capital to Shangjing, the Supreme Capital [28]
919 Khitans subdue the Khongirad [29]


922 Abaoji raids Jin [30]
923 Abaoji raids Later Tang [30]
924 Abaoji conquers the Tartars [31]
926 Khitans conquer Balhae and set up the puppet kingdom of Dongdan [32]
6 September Abaoji dies and his son Yelü Bei withdraws his claim to the throne, and the second son Yelü Deguang becomes Emperor Taizong of Liao [33]
928 Khongirad rebels in the north [33]
929 Emperor Taizong of Liao orders the relocation of the Dongdan Kingdom and its people to the Eastern Capital in modern Liaoyang [33]


930 Yelü Bei flees to Later Tang [33]
933 Khitans attack the Tanguts [33]
936 28 NovemberKhitans install Shi Jingtang as emperor of the Later Jin. In return Shi transfers 16 prefectures in Shanxi and Hebei to the Liao. [34]
937 Shi Jingtang of the Later Jin kills Yelü Bei [33]


947 The Khitan state is named the Liao dynasty [26]
Liao dynasty invades Later Jin and sacks Xiang Prefecture, killing most of its population [34]
15 May Emperor Taizong of Liao dies and the son of Yelü Bei, Yelü Ruan, succeeds him as Emperor Shizong of Liao [35]


951 7 October Emperor Shizong of Liao is murdered by a relative and is succeeded by Yelü Jing, son of Emperor Taizong of Liao, who becomes Emperor Muzong of Liao [36]
952 Liao dynasty assists Northern Han in repelling Later Zhou [37]
954 Liao dynasty assists Northern Han in repelling Later Zhou [37]
959 Later Zhou invades the Liao dynasty but retreats after their emperor dies [38]


960 FebruaryZhao Kuangyin declares himself Emperor Taizu of Song, replacing Later Zhou [39]
963 Minor skirmishes occur along the Liao dynasty and Song dynasty borders [40]
964 Liao dynasty assists Northern Han in repelling Song dynasty [40]
965 Khongirad and Shiwei tribes rebel [41]
967 Minor skirmishes occur along the Liao dynasty and Song dynasty border [40]
969 12 March Emperor Muzong of Liao is murdered by his attendants and is succeeded by Yelü Xian, son of Emperor Shizong of Liao, who becomes Emperor Jingzong of Liao [40]


973 Jurchens raid Liao dynasty [42]
975 Liao dynasty attacks Jeongan but fails [43]
976 Liao dynasty assists Northern Han in repelling Song dynasty [44]
Jurchens raid Liao dynasty [42]
977 Liao dynasty assists Northern Han in repelling Song dynasty [44]
An examination hall is built in Southern Capital [45]
979 Liao dynasty attempts to assist Northern Han in repelling Song dynasty but is intercepted en route and demolished [46]
Battle of Gaoliang River : Song dynasty invades Liao dynasty and is defeated [46]


980 Emperor Jingzong of Liao invades the Song dynasty and retakes territory in Hebei [46]
982 Emperor Jingzong of Liao invades the Song dynasty but is defeated [46]
13 October Emperor Jingzong of Liao dies and his son Yelü Longxu succeeds him as Emperor Shengzong of Liao; Empress Xiao Yanyan becomes regent [42]
983 The Liao dynasty reverts to calling itself the Khitans [26]
986 Song dynasty attacks the Khitans but is defeated [47]
988 Khitans begin holding regular imperial examinations [45]


992 Khitans attack the Tanguts [48]
993 First conflict in the Goryeo–Khitan War : Khitans invade Goryeo and acquire nominal tributary status over Goryeo [49]
997 Zubu tribes rebel [50]
998 Khitans invade the Song dynasty [48]

11th century


1000 Khitan forces retreat from the Song dynasty after failing to take key cities [48]
1001 Khitans attack the Song dynasty but are repulsed [48]
1003 Khitans invade the Song dynasty and retreat without making permanent gains [48]
1004 Emperor Shengzong of Liao conducts a full-scale invasion of the Song dynasty which ends in stalemate and the Chanyuan Treaty, an agreement to an annual payment of silk and silver from the Song to the Khitans [51]
1006 The Kumo Xi are assimilated into the Khitan nation [52]
1007 Zubu tribes rebel [50]
1009 Empress Xiao Yanyan dies [53]


1010 Second conflict in the Goryeo–Khitan War : Mokjong of Goryeo is murdered by Gang Jo and the Khitans send an expedition to punish him; Gang Jo is killed [53]
1012 Zubu tribes rebel [50]
1018 Third conflict in the Goryeo–Khitan War : Khitans invade Goryeo but are defeated [54]
1019 Third conflict in the Goryeo–Khitan War : Khitans prepares another army to attack Goryeo [54]


1020 Hyeonjong of Goryeo sends envoys to pay tribute to the Khitans [54]
1027 Khitans attack the Ganzhou Uyghur Kingdom but are repelled and then ambushed by Zubu tribes [55]
1029 Da Yanlin, a distant relative of the defunct Balhae regime, rebels; he is defeated [56]


1031 25 June Emperor Shengzong of Liao dies and his son Yelü Zongzhen succeeds him as Emperor Xingzong of Liao; Xiao Noujin becomes regent [57]
1034 Xiao Noujin attempts to dethrone Emperor Xingzong of Liao but fails and is banished [58]
1038 10 NovemberLi Yuanhao declares himself Emperor Jingzong of Western Xia [59]
1039 Xiao Noujin returns to the capital [60]


1042 Khitans force the Song dynasty to increase annual tribute to 200,000 taels of silver and 300,000 bolts of silk [61]
1044 Khitans attack the Western Xia but fail [61]
1049 Khitans attack Western Xia but are repelled [62]


1050 Khitans attack Western Xia and extract tribute [62]
1055 28 August Emperor Xingzong of Liao dies and is succeeded by his son Yelü Hongji, who becomes Emperor Daozong of Liao [63]
All officials are required to wear Chinese court dress [64]
1056 The Pagoda of Fogong Temple is completed [65]
1059 Institutes of higher learning are established in the capitals and prefectural and county schools are established [64]


1063 A group of Khitan dissidents ambush Emperor Daozong of Liao but are defeated [66]
1066 Khitans revert to calling their state the Liao dynasty [26]
1069 Zubu tribes rebel [50]


1076 Trade of gunpowder ingredients with the Liao dynasty and Western Xia is outlawed by the Song dynasty [67]
1082 Unusually heavy snowfall kills 70 percent of livestock and horses [68]


1085 The Shilu, the Veritable Records, are produced [69]


1093 Mogusi of the Zubu and the Dilie tribes of western Heilongjiang raid the Liao dynasty [50]

12th century


1100 Mogusi of the Zubu is captured and hacked to pieces at the capital [70]
The Tianning Temple (Beijing) is completed [71]
1101 12 February Emperor Daozong of Liao dies and his grandson Yelü Yanxi succeeds him as Emperor Tianzuo of Liao [70]
1102 The Zubu and Dilie tribes are pacified [70]


1114 The Jurchens under Wanyan Aguda attack the Liao dynasty [72]
1115 Wanyan Aguda declares himself emperor of the Jin dynasty
Yelü Zhangnu rebels and is defeated [73]
1116 Gao Yongchang rebels in the east and asks the Jurchens for help and ends up getting annexed by the Jin dynasty [74]
1117 Emperor Taizu of Jin defeats the Khitan army of the Liao dynasty [74]
1118 Zubu tribes rebel against the Liao dynasty and Liao territory suffers from famine [75]
Emperor Taizu of Jin captures the Liao dynasty's Eastern Capital [76]


1120 Emperor Taizu of Jin captures the Liao dynasty's Supreme Capital [75]
1121 Emperor Taizu of Jin captures the Liao dynasty's Central Capital [77]
1122 Emperor Tianzuo of Liao flees the Southern Capital and his uncle Yelü Chun is declared emperor of Northern Liao, however he dies three months later and the title is passed down to Yelü Ding, the son in hiding with his father the emperor also in hiding; real power goes to Empress Dowager Xiao Defei [77]
Jin dynasty conquers the Western Capital and Southern Capital [77]
Yelü Dashi and Empress Dowager Xiao Defei retreat to the west and meet up with Emperor Tianzuo of Liao, who executes the empress for disloyalty [78]
1123 Song dynasty attacks the Liao dynasty but is repelled [79]
Yelü Dashi is captured by the Jin dynasty and leads an attack on Emperor Tianzuo of Liao, who escapes; afterwards Yelü Dashi escapes from the Jurchens and rejoins the emperor [80]
1124 Emperor Tianzuo of Liao attacks the Jin dynasty despite warnings from Yelü Dashi [80]
Yelü Dashi declares himself king and flees with 200 followers to the Orkhon River, where he eventually takes the title of gurkhan, meaning "Universal Khan" [80]
1125 26 March Emperor Tianzuo of Liao is captured by the Jin dynasty; so ends the Liao dynasty [80]
1128 Emperor Tianzuo of Liao dies in captivity [80]
1129 Yelü Dashi annexes two Jin tribes [81]


1130 Yelü Dashi leaves the Orkhon River with 20,000 followers and travels to the Kingdom of Qocho where the ruler welcomes him [80]
1131 summer Yelü Dashi attacks the Karakhanids at Kashgar but is repelled [82]
1134 Yelü Dashi captures Balasagun and vassalizes the nearby Kankalis, Karluks, Kyrgyz, and Kingdom of Qocho [83]
Yelü Dashi launches an invasion of the Jin dynasty, which ends in failure [84]
1137 Yelü Dashi defeats Mahmud of the Western Karakhanids near Khujand and annexes Fergana and Tashkent [85]
Khitans raid Jin dynasty [86]


1141 9 September Battle of Qatwan : Yelü Dashi annihilates the army of Ahmad Sanjar of the Seljuk Empire and vassalizes the Khwarazmian dynasty [87]
1142 Qara Khitai plunders Khwarezm and forces Atsiz to pay an annual tribute of 30,000 dinars [87]
1143 Yelü Dashi dies and his wife Xiao Tabuyan succeeds him as regent [88]


1151 Yelü Yilie, son of Yelü Dashi, becomes gurkhan of the Qara Khitai [89]


1161 Khitans rebel against the Jin dynasty [90]
1163 The Khitan rebellion is defeated by the Jin dynasty [90]
Yelü Yilie dies and is succeeded by his sister, Yelü Pusuwan [91]
1165 Qara Khitai conquers Balkh [92]


1171 Qara Khitai defeats a Khwarazmian army [92]
1172 Qara Khitai assists Ala ad-Din Tekish in taking the Khwarazmian dynasty from his brother Sultan Shah of Khwarezm [93]
1175 Naimans and Kankalis switch sides to the Jin dynasty [94]
1177 Yelü Pusuwan is discovered in an affair with Xiao Fuguzhi and gets executed; Yelü Yilie's son Yelü Zhilugu becomes gurkhan of the Qara Khitai [95]


1181 Qara Khitai assists Sultan Shah of Khwarezm in taking Merv, Sarakhs, and Abiward [96]
Kipchaks raid the Qara Khitai [96]


1198 Qara Khitai assists Ala ad-Din Tekish against the Ghurids but is defeated and loses Balkh [97]

13th century


1204 Qara Khitai defeats Muhammad of Ghor [98]
Kashgar and Khotan rebel unsuccessfully against the Qara Khitai [99]
1205 Ghurids seize Termez from the Qara Khitai [100]
1206 Qara Khitai retakes Termez [100]
springKokochu, also known as Teb Tengri, chief shaman of the Mongols, bestows upon Temüjin the title of Genghis Khan, "Oceanic Ruler" of the Mongol Empire, at the kurultai of Burkhan Khaldun, sacred mountain of the Mongols [101]
1207 Muhammad II of Khwarezm captures Bukhara and Samarkand [102]
1208 Kuchlug of the Naimans arrives at the Qara Khitai court [103]
1209 Kingdom of Qocho rebels against Qara Khitai and switches allegiance to the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan [103]
Qara Khitai captures Samarkand [104]


1210 Kuchlug sacks Uzgen [104]
AugustA Qara Khitai army is defeated by Muhammad II of Khwarezm, who captures the Khitan commander Tayangu and annexes Fergana and Otrar [104]
Buraq Hajib is captured by Muhammad II of Khwarezm [105]
1211 The Karluks rebel against the Qara Khitai and switch sides to the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan [103]
Muhammad II of Khwarezm seizes Uzgen [106]
Qara Khitai defeats Kuchlug but the returning army is refused entry into Balasagun due to being mistaken for Khwarazmian troops and ends up massacring the entire city [107]
Kuchlug ambushes and captures Yelü Zhilugu, after which he usurps the throne of the Qara Khitai [108]
Kuchlug attacks Ozar of Almaliq unsuccessfully, and Ozar submits to the Mongol Empire of Genghis khan [109]
1213 Yelü Zhilugu dies [108]
1214 Kuchlug captures Kashgar [109]
1216 Jebe of the Mongol Empire attacks the Qara Khitai and seizes Kashgar [110]
1218 Kuchlug is captured and executed by the Mongol Empire; so ends the Qara Khitai [111]


1224 Buraq Hajib becomes governor of Kerman and converts to Islam, at which point the caliph grants him the title of Qutlugh Sultan [112]
1226 Buraq Hajib rebels against the Khwarazmian dynasty [112]
1227 September Emperor Mozhu of Western Xia surrenders to the Mongol Empire and is promptly executed; so ends the Western Xia [113]


1232 Buraq Hajib submits to the Mongol Empire and becomes Qutlugh Khan [112]
1234 9 February Siege of Caizhou : Emperor Aizong of Jin abdicates to a distant relative, Hudun, who becomes Emperor Mo of Jin, and commits suicide; Emperor Mo of Jin is killed by the Mongols; so ends the Jin dynasty [114]
1235 Buraq Hajib dies [115]
1236 Qutb al-Din, cousin of Buraq Hajib, comes to power and is succeeded by Rukn al-Din, son of Buraq Hajib [115]


1252 Rukn al-Din is succeeded by Qutb al-Din, cousin of Buraq Hajib and husband of his daughter Kutlugh Turkan [115]
1257 Qutb al-Din is succeeded by his wife Kutlugh Turkan [115]


1279 19 March Battle of Yamen : Mongol fleet annihilates the Song fleet and Zhao Bing dies at sea; so ends the Song dynasty [116]


1282 Kutlugh Turkan is succeeded by her stepson Soyurghatmish [115]


1292 Soyurghatmish is succeeded by Padishah Khatun, daughter of Qutb al-Din and Kutlugh Turkan [115]
1296 Padishah Khatun is succeeded by Sultan b. Hajjaj, son of Kutlugh Turkan and Qutb al-Din [115]

14th century

1304 Sultan b. Hajjaj is succeeded by Jahan, son of Soyurghatmish [115]
1306 Öljaitü of the Ilkhanate deposes Jahan and installs a Mongol governor in Kerman [112]
1307 The last Qutlughkanid Jahan escapes to Shiraz [112]
1328 Jahan's daughter, Qutlugh Khatun, marries Mubariz al-Din Muhammad, the founder of the Muzaffarids [117]
1340 Mubariz al-Din Muhammad takes Kerman and reinstates the Qara Khitai [117]

19th century

1811 People of the Ili region are still calling themselves the Qara Khitai [118]

See also

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