Western Wei

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Western Wei

西魏
535–557
Northern and Southern Dynasties 3.png
Western Wei and neighbors
Capital Chang'an
GovernmentMonarchy
Emperor 
 535–551
Emperor Wen of Western Wei
 552–554
Emperor Fei of Western Wei
 554–557
Emperor Gong of Western Wei
Historical era Southern and Northern Dynasties
 Establishment of Eastern Wei, start of division of Northern Wei
8 November 534 [1]
  Emperor Wen's ascension, often viewed as establishment
18 February 535 [2] 535
 Disestablished
14 February 557 [3] 557
Area
557 [4] 1,300,000 km2 (500,000 sq mi)
Currency Chinese coin,
Chinese cash
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Northern Wei
Blank.png Liang Dynasty
Northern Zhou Blank.png
Today part of China
History of China.png
History of China
ANCIENT
Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC
Xia c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC
Shang c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC
Zhou c. 1046 – 256 BC
  Western Zhou
  Eastern Zhou
    Spring and Autumn
    Warring States
IMPERIAL
Qin 221–207 BC
Han 202 BC – 220 AD
  Western Han
  Xin
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei , Shu and Wu
Jin 266–420
  Western Jin
  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms
Northern and Southern dynasties
420–589
Sui 581–618
Tang 618–907
  (Wu Zhou 690–705)
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

907–979
Liao 916–1125
Song 960–1279
  Northern Song Western Xia
  Southern Song Jin Western Liao
Yuan 1271–1368
Ming 1368–1644
Qing 1636–1912
MODERN
Republic of China on mainland 1912–1949
People's Republic of China 1949–present
Republic of China on Taiwan 1949–present

The Western Wei ( /w/ ; [5] Chinese :西魏; pinyin :Xī Wèi) followed the disintegration of the Northern Wei, and ruled northern China from 535 to 557. As with the Northern Wei state that preceded it, the ruling family of Western Wei were members of the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei.

Contents

After the Xianbei general Yuwen Tai killed the Northern Wei emperor Yuan Xiu, he installed Yuan Baoju as emperor of Western Wei while Yuwen Tai would remain as the virtual ruler. Although smaller than the Eastern Wei in territory and population, Western Wei was able to withstand the attacks from the eastern empire. Due to its better economical conditions, Western Wei was even able to conquer the whole western part of the Liang empire in the south and occupied the territory of modern Sichuan. In 557 Yuwen Tai's nephew Yuwen Hu deposed Emperor Gong and placed Yuwen Tai's son Yuwen Jue on the throne, ending Western Wei and establishing Northern Zhou.

Rulers

Posthumous Name Personal NamePeriod of Reign Era Name
Emperor Wen of Western Wei Yuan Baoju535-551Datong (大統) 535-551
Emperor Fei of Western Wei Yuan Qin 551-554
Emperor Gong of Western Wei Tuoba Kuo554-557

Related Research Articles

Northern Wei former country (386–535)

The Northern Wei or the Northern Wei Empire, also known as the Tuoba Wei (拓跋魏), Later Wei (後魏), or Yuan Wei (元魏), was a dynasty founded by the Tuoba (Tabgach) clan of the Xianbei, which ruled northern China from 386 to 534 AD, during the period of the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Described as "part of an era of political turbulence and intense social and cultural change", the Northern Wei Dynasty is particularly noted for unifying northern China in 439: this was also a period of introduced foreign ideas, such as Buddhism, which became firmly established.

Northern Qi former country

The Northern Qi was one of the Northern dynasties of ancient China history and ruled northern China from 550 to 577. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Wenxuan, and it was ended following attacks from Northern Zhou.

Eastern Wei former country

The Eastern Wei followed the disintegration of the Northern Wei, and ruled northern China from 534 to 550. As with Northern Wei, the ruling family of Eastern Wei were members of the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei.

Northern Zhou former country

The Northern Zhou followed the Western Wei, and ruled northern China from 557 to 581 AD. The last of the Northern Dynasties of China's Northern and Southern dynasties period, it was eventually overthrown by the Sui Dynasty. Like the preceding Western and Northern Wei dynasties, the Northern Zhou emperors were of Xianbei descent.

Empress Gao was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Xiaowu.

Emperor Wen of Western Wei ( 魏文帝) (507–551), personal name Yuan Baoju (元寶炬), was an emperor of Western Wei—a branch successor state to Northern Wei. In 534, Yuan Baoju, then the Prince of Nanyang, followed his cousin Emperor Xiaowu in fleeing from the capital Luoyang to Chang'an, after a fallout between Emperor Xiaowu and the paramount general Gao Huan. However, Emperor Xiaowu's relationship to the general that he then depended on, Yuwen Tai, soon deteriorated as well, and around the new year 535, Yuwen Tai poisoned Emperor Xiaowu to death, making Yuan Baoju emperor. As Gao Huan had, late in 534, made Yuan Shanjian the son of Emperor Wen's cousin Yuan Dan (元亶) the Prince of Qinghe emperor, thus establishing Eastern Wei, Emperor Wen was known as Western Wei's first emperor, formalizing the division. Emperor Wen's relationship with Yuwen appeared cordial, but he was unable to exercise much real power.

Empress Yifu (510–540), formally Empress Wen, was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei—a branch successor state of Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Wen.

Empress Yujiulü (525–540), formally Empress Dao, was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei — a branch successor state of Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Wen.

Yuwen Tai (507–556), nickname Heita (黑獺), formally Duke Wen of Anding (安定文公), later further posthumously honored by Northern Zhou initially as Prince Wen (文王) then as Emperor Wen (文皇帝) with the temple name Taizu (太祖), was the paramount general of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei, a branch successor state of Northern Wei. In 534, Emperor Xiaowu of Northern Wei, seeking to assert power independent of the paramount general Gao Huan, fled to Yuwen's domain, and when Gao subsequently proclaimed Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei emperor, a split of Northern Wei was effected, and when Yuwen subsequently poisoned Emperor Xiaowu to death around the new year 535 and declared his cousin Yuan Baoju emperor, the split was formalized, with the part under Gao's and Emperor Xiaojing's control known as Eastern Wei and the part under Yuwen's and Emperor Wen's control known as Western Wei. For the rest of his life, Yuwen endeavored to make Western Wei, then much weaker than its eastern counterpart, a strong state, and after his death, his son Yuwen Jue seized the throne from Emperor Gong of Western Wei, establishing Northern Zhou.

Emperor Fei of Western Wei ( 魏廢帝), personal name Yuan Qin (元欽), was an emperor of the Xianbei state Western Wei—a branch successor state of Northern Wei. He, even more so than his father Emperor Wen, held little actual power in the face of overwhelming control of power by the paramount general Yuwen Tai. In 554, he tried to plot to have Yuwen killed, but his plot was discovered, and Yuwen deposed him, and soon had him killed.

Empress Ruogan was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei — a branch successor state of Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Gong, the final emperor of the state.

Emperor Xiaomin of Northern Zhou ( 周孝閔帝) (542–557), personal name Yuwen Jue (宇文覺), nickname Tuoluoni (陀羅尼), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou (although he used the alternative title "Heavenly Prince". He was the heir of Western Wei's paramount general Yuwen Tai, and after Yuwen Tai's death in 556, his cousin Yuwen Hu, serving as his guardian, forced Emperor Gong of Western Wei to yield the throne to Yuwen Jue in spring 557, establishing Northern Zhou. Later in 557, however, Yuwen Jue, wanting to assume power personally, plotted to kill Yuwen Hu, who in turn deposed him and replaced him with his brother Yuwen Yu. Later that year, Yuwen Hu had Yuwen Jue executed.

Yuan Humo was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou.

Emperor Ming of Northern Zhou ( 周明帝) (534–560), personal name Yuwen Yu (宇文毓), Xianbei name Tongwantu (統萬突), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou, although at the start of his reign he used the alternative title "Heavenly Prince". He was made emperor after his younger brother Emperor Xiaomin was deposed and killed by the regent Yuwen Hu. Emperor Ming himself assumed some, but not all, powers from Yuwen Hu, and was generally considered able. Because of this, Yuwen Hu became apprehensive, and in 560, he poisoned Emperor Ming to death. While near death, however, Emperor Ming appointed his brother Yuwen Yong as his successor, believing Yuwen Yong to be intelligent and capable, and in 572, Yuwen Yong was finally able to kill Yuwen Hu and assume full imperial powers.

Empress Ashina (551–582) was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the daughter of Göktürk's Muqan Qaghan, and her husband was Emperor Wu.

Empress Dowager Chinu, formally Empress Xuan, was an empress dowager of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the mother of Emperor Wu.

Wei Xiaokuan (韋孝寬) (509–580), formal personal name Wei Shuyu (韋叔裕), known by the Xianbei name Yuwen Xiaokuan (宇文孝寬) during late Western Wei and Northern Zhou, formally Duke Xiang of Xun (勛襄公), was a general of the Chinese/Xianbei states Western Wei and Northern Zhou. He first became a prominent general during Western Wei as he defended the fortress of Yubi against a vastly larger army commanded by rival Eastern Wei's paramount general Gao Huan, and he eventually contributed greatly to the destruction of Eastern Wei's successor state Northern Qi by Northern Zhou. His final campaign, in 580, saw him siding with the regent Yang Jian against the general Yuchi Jiong in Northern Zhou's civil war, allowing Yang to defeat Yuchi and take over the throne as Sui Dynasty's Emperor Wen.

Li Ezi, later Buddhist nun name Changbei (常悲), was an empress dowager of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the mother of Emperor Xuan.

Su Wei, courtesy name Wuwei (無畏), was a high-level official of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty. He first became an important official during the reign of Sui's founder Emperor Wen, and after Emperor Wen's death continued to serve Emperor Wen's son Emperor Yang. He was often praised for his abilities and integrity but criticized for pettiness. After Emperor Yang was assassinated in 618, he was nominally an official under Emperor Yang's nephew Yang Hao, and then under the warlords Yuwen Huaji, Li Mi, and Wang Shichong. After Wang Shichong's state of Zheng was destroyed by Tang Dynasty in 621, neither the Tang general Li Shimin nor Li Shimin's father Emperor Gaozu of Tang was interested in retaining Su as an official, and Su Wei died soon thereafter.

Dugu Xin, Xianbei name Qimitou (期彌頭), known as Dugu Ruyuan before 540, was a prominent military general and official during the chaotic Northern and Southern Dynasties period. In 534, Dugu Xin followed Emperor Xiaowu of Northern Wei to the west to join the warlord Yuwen Tai, and in the ensuing years led Western Wei forces against their archnemesis, the Eastern Wei. Despite an early debacle, he captured the former Northern Wei capital Luoyang from Eastern Wei in 537. He rose to high ranks under Yuwen Tai, and his eldest daughter married Yuwen Tai's son Yuwen Yu. When the Northern Zhou dynasty replaced Western Wei, Dugu Xin was created Duke of Wei (衛國公), but was soon forced by the powerful regent Yuwen Hu to commit suicide for challenging him.

References

Citations

  1. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 156.
  2. Zizhi Tongjian , vol. 157.
  3. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 166.
  4. Rein Taagepera "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.", Social Science History Vol. 3, 115-138 (1979)
  5. "Wei". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary .

Sources