The Sixteen Prefectures, more the Sixteen Prefectures of Yan and Yun or the Sixteen Prefectures of You and Ji, comprise a historical region in northern China along the Great Wall in present-day Beijing and Tianjin Municipalities and northern Hebei and Shanxi Province, that were ceded by the Shatuo Turk Emperor Shi Jingtang of the Later Jin to the Khitan Liao dynasty in 938. The subsequent Later Zhou and Song Dynasties sought to recover the ceded northern territories. Most of the Sixteen Prefectures including the two principal cities and Yunzhou remained in Liao hands until the 1120s, when the Jurchens of the Jin dynasty conquered the region. In 1123, the Jurchens ceded most of the territories except Yunzhou to the Song, but retook them in 1125; the loss of the Sixteen Prefectures exposed the plains of central China to further incursions by the Jurchens and the Mongols. The Sixteen Prefectures were administrative units established during the Tang dynasty. Under the Tang, each prefecture or zhou was a unit of administration larger than a county but smaller than a province.
The Sixteen Prefectures stretched from Ji County in modern-day Tianjin Municipality to Datong in Shanxi Province, extending contiguously along the mountains that divide the agrarian plains of central China from the pastoralist steppes to the north. Several dynasties including the Qin and the Northern Dynasties before the Tang built the Great Wall along these mountains. Seven of the Sixteen Prefectures were located inside of the Inner Great Wall; the other eleven were located in between the Inner and Outer Great Walls. The Tang did not build Great Walls but used frontier military commanders to guard against the northern tribes; the Fanyang or Youzhou-Jizhou Commandery, based in modern-day Beijing commanded 11 of the Sixteen Prefectures. The other seven were commanded by the Hedong Commandery based in Yunzhou, modern Datong; the historian Frederick W. Mote writes that there were 19 prefectures but does not specify them. Chinese historians do not consider Yíngzhou and Pingzhou to be part of the Sixteen Prefectures because they had been occupied by the Khitans during the Later Tang, prior to Shi Jingtang’s cession.
Yizhou, which fell to the Khitans after the cession, is excluded from the count of 16. The Liao created two new prefectures, Jingzhou from Jizhou and Luanzhou from Pingzhou, which have not been included in the original sixteen; the year 907 was a turning point in East Asian history. On that year the pastoral and nomadic people known as the Khitan crowned Abaoji as their new Great Khan, the first from the Yila tribe after some two centuries of leadership by the Yaolian clan. Abaoji coveted the plains of North China, a rich source of plunder, guarded by a line of passes and fortifications stretching from mountainous northern Shanxi to the Bo Sea. In 905 Abaoji had started to intervene in northern China by leading a massive army to Datong in Shanxi to swear brotherhood with Li Keyong, a "partially sinified Shatuo Turk" who nominally served the weakened Tang dynasty as Military Governor of Shanxi on the westernmost point of that defense line; the rise of Khitan power under Abaoji occurred just as China was falling into turmoil.
The fall of the Tang dynasty in 907 led to power struggles among rival warlords and to the creation of a number of short-lived polities known as the Five Dynasties. The first of these dynasties was founded by Zhu Wen, another military governor, who declared himself emperor of the Later Liang in 907 after deposing the last Tang heir. In 923 his dynasty was overthrown by Li Keyong's son, who had just founded the Later Tang; the Sixteen Prefectures passed into Khitan hands in 938, when the Khitan supported Shi Jingtang, another Shatuo Turk and military governor of Shanxi, in his revolt against the Later Tang. Confident in his own military strength, the Khitan leader, Abaoji's second son Yelü Deguang, convinced Shi to found a new dynasty, but to cede a large band of territory to the Khitan that represented the entire North China defense line; the Khitan now possessed all the passes and fortifications that controlled access to the northern China plains. The Khitan kept using Chinese administrative forms to administer the counties and prefectures they had captured.
They named Datong their Western Capital, in 938 built a new fortified city at Youzhou, which they turned into their Southern Capital. Under Khitan rule, the Sixteen Prefectures thus represented two of the Liao Empire's five divisions. Both sections were part of the Southern Chancellery, one of two broader divisions the Liao state had been divided into; the Sixteen Prefectures had become the springboard from which the Liao dynasty would exert its influence on northern China. Shi Jingtang, the Later Jin ruler who had ceded the Sixteen Prefectures to the Khitan in 937, died in 942, he had been a staunch ally of the Khitan, but his successor Shi Chonggui refused to recognize the Khitan Khan as his superior. After a year of tense diplomatic exchanges, in 943 the Khitan resolved to punish Shi for his insubordination. For two years the engagements were indecisive, until in 945, Yelü Deguang, leading his troops in battle, was killed in a rout of his forces in southern Hebei; the following year, the Khitan so
The Tang dynasty or the Tang Empire was an imperial dynasty of China spanning the 7th to 10th centuries. It was followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Historians regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, 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 Lǐ family founded the dynasty, seizing power during the collapse of the Sui Empire; the dynasty was interrupted when Empress Wu Zetian seized the throne, proclaiming the Second Zhou dynasty and becoming the only Chinese empress regnant. In two censuses of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Tang records estimated the population by number of registered households at about 50 million people, yet when the central government was breaking down and unable to compile an accurate census of the population in the 9th century, it is estimated that the population had grown by to about 80 million people.
With its large population base, the dynasty was able to raise professional and conscripted armies of hundreds of thousands of troops to contend with nomadic powers in dominating Inner Asia and the lucrative trade-routes along the Silk Road. Various kingdoms and states paid tribute to the Tang court, while the Tang conquered or subdued several regions which it indirectly controlled through a protectorate system. Besides political hegemony, the Tang exerted a powerful cultural influence over neighboring East Asian states such as those in Japan and Korea; the Tang dynasty was a period of progress and stability in the first half of the dynasty's rule, until the An Lushan Rebellion and the decline of central authority in the half of the dynasty. Like the previous Sui dynasty, the Tang dynasty maintained a civil-service system by recruiting scholar-officials through standardized examinations and recommendations to office; the rise of regional military governors known as jiedushi during the 9th century undermined this civil order.
Chinese culture further matured during the Tang era. Two of China's most famous poets, Li Bai and Du Fu, belonged to this age, as did many famous painters such as Han Gan, Zhang Xuan, Zhou Fang. Scholars of this period compiled a rich variety of historical literature, as well as encyclopedias and geographical works; the adoption of the title Tängri Qaghan by the Tang Emperor Taizong in addition to his title as emperor was eastern Asia's first "simultaneous kingship". Many notable innovations occurred including the development of woodblock printing. Buddhism became a major influence with native Chinese sects gaining prominence. However, in the 840s the Emperor Wuzong of Tang enacted policies to persecute Buddhism, which subsequently declined in influence. Although the dynasty and central government had gone into decline by the 9th century and culture continued to flourish; the weakened central government withdrew from managing the economy, but the country's mercantile affairs stayed intact and commercial trade continued to thrive regardless.
However, agrarian rebellions in the latter half of the 9th century resulted in damaging atrocities such as the Guangzhou massacre of 878–879. The Li family belonged to the northwest military aristocracy prevalent during the Sui dynasty and claimed to be paternally descended from the Daoist founder, Laozi the Han dynasty General Li Guang and Western Liang ruler Li Gao; this family was known as the Longxi Li lineage. The Tang Emperors had Xianbei maternal ancestry, from Emperor Gaozu of Tang's Xianbei mother, Duchess Dugu. Li Yuan was Duke of Tang and governor of Taiyuan, modern Shanxi, during the Sui dynasty's collapse, caused in part by the Sui failure to conquer the northern part of the Korean peninsula during the Goguryeo–Sui War, he had prestige and military experience, was a first cousin of Emperor Yang of Sui. Li Yuan rose in rebellion in 617, along with his son and his militant daughter Princess Pingyang, who raised and commanded her own troops. In winter 617, Li Yuan occupied Chang'an, relegated Emperor Yang to the position of Taishang Huang or retired emperor, acted as regent to the puppet child-emperor, Yang You.
On the news of Emperor Yang's murder by General Yuwen Huaji on June 18, 618, Li Yuan declared himself the emperor of a new dynasty, the Tang. Li Yuan, known as Emperor Gaozu of Tang, ruled until 626, when he was forcefully deposed by his son Li Shimin, the Prince of Qin. Li Shimin had commanded troops since the age of 18, had prowess with bow and arrow and lance and was known for his effective cavalry charges. Fighting a numerically superior army, he defeated Dou Jiande at Luoyang in the Battle of Hulao on May 28, 621. In a violent elimination of royal family due to fear of assassination, Li Shimin ambushed and killed two of his brothers, Li Yuanji and Crown prince Li Jiancheng, in the Xuanwu Gate Incident on July 2, 626. Shortly thereafter, his father abdicated in his favor and Li Shimin ascended the throne, he is conventionally known by his temple name Taizong. Although killing two brothers and deposing his father contradicted the Confucian value of filial piety, Taizong showed himself to be a capable leader who listened to the advice of the wisest members of his council.
In 628, Emperor Taizong held a Buddhist memorial service for the casualties of war, in 629 he ha
Later Han (Five Dynasties)
The Later Han was founded in 947. It was the fourth of the Five Dynasties, the third consecutive sinicized Shatuo ethnicity state, other sources indicate that the Later Han emperors claimed patrilineal Han Chinese ancestry, it was among the shortest-lived of all Chinese regimes, lasting for under four years before it was overcome by a rebellion that resulted in the founding of the Later Zhou. Liu Zhiyuan was military governor of Bingzhou, an area around Taiyuan in present-day Shanxi that had long been a stronghold of the sinicized Shatuo. However, the Later Jin he served was weak and little more than a puppet of the expanding Khitan empire to the north; when the Later Jin did decide to defy them, the Khitan sent an expedition south that resulted in the destruction of the Later Jin. The Khitan force made it all the way to the Yellow River before the emperor decided to return to his base in present-day Beijing, in the heart of the contentious Sixteen Prefectures. However, following constant harassment from the Chinese on the return route, he died of an illness in May 947.
The combination of the fall of the Later Jin and the succession crisis among the Khitan resulted in a power vacuum. Liu Zhiyuan founded the Later Han. Sources conflict as to the origin of the Later Han and Northern Han Emperors, some indicate Shatuo ancestry while another claims that the Emperors claimed patrilineal Han Chinese ancestry. Liu Zhiyuan established his capital at present day Kaifeng; the Later Han held the same territory as the Later Jin. Its southern border with the southern states stretched from the East China Sea about halfway between the Yellow River and the Yangtze River before dipping south toward the Yangtze at its mid reaches before turning northwest along the northern border of Sichuan and extending as far west as Shaanxi. In the north, it included much of Shaanxi and Hebei except the Sixteen Prefectures, which were lost by the Later Jin to what was by this time known as the Liao Dynasty; the Later Han was among the shortest-lived regimes in the long history of China. Liu Zhiyuan died the year following the founding of the dynasty, to be succeeded by his teenaged son.
The dynasty was overthrown two years when a Han Chinese named Guo Wei led a military coup and declared himself emperor of the Later Zhou. The remnants of the Later Han returned to the traditional Shatuo stronghold of Shanxi and established the Northern Han kingdom, sometimes referred to as the Eastern Han. Under Liao dynasty protection, it was able to remain independent of the Later Zhou; the Song Dynasty emerged from the ashes of the Later Zhou in 960 and emerged as a strong, stabilizing presence in northern China. Though they had been successful in bringing the southern states under its control, a process completed in 978, the Northern Han were able to hold out due to help from the Liao Dynasty. In fact, the continued existence of the Northern Han was one of the two thorns in the side of Liao-Song relations; the Song Dynasty was able to incorporate the Northern Han into its territory in 979 completing the reunification of China, with the exception of the Sixteen Prefectures, which would remain in the hands of the Liao dynasty.
Mote, F. W.. Imperial China. Harvard University Press. Pp. 11, 13, 16, 69
Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion or Han folk religion or Shenism is the religious tradition of the Han Chinese, including veneration of forces of nature and ancestors, exorcism of harmful forces, a belief in the rational order of nature which can be influenced by human beings and their rulers as well as spirits and gods. Worship is devoted to a multiplicity of gods and immortals, who can be deities of phenomena, of human behaviour, or progenitors of lineages. Stories regarding some of these gods are collected into the body of Chinese mythology. By the 11th century, these practices had been blended with Buddhist ideas of karma and rebirth, Taoist teachings about hierarchies of gods, to form the popular religious system which has lasted in many ways until the present day. Chinese religions have a variety of sources, local forms, founder backgrounds, ritual and philosophical traditions. Despite this diversity, there is a common core that can be summarised as four theological and moral concepts: Tian, the transcendent source of moral meaning.
Yin and yang is the polarity that describes the order of the universe, held in balance by the interaction of principles of growth and principles of waning, with yang preferred over yin in common religion. Ling, "numen" or "sacred", is the inchoate order of creation. Both the present day government of China and the imperial dynasties of the Ming and Qing tolerated village popular religious cults if they bolstered social stability but suppressed or persecuted those that they feared would undermine it. After the fall of the empire in 1911, governments and elites opposed or attempted to eradicate folk religion in order to promote "modern" values, many condemned "feudal superstition"; these conceptions of folk religion began to change in Taiwan in the late 20th century and in mainland China in the 21st. Many scholars now view folk religion in a positive light. In recent times Chinese folk religions are experiencing a revival in Taiwan; some forms have received official understanding or recognition as a preservation of traditional Chinese culture, such as Mazuism and the Sanyi teaching in Fujian, Huangdi worship, other forms of local worship, for example the Longwang, Pangu or Caishen worship.
Chinese "popular religion" or "folk religion" or "folk belief" have long been used to indicate the local and communal religious life and complexities of Han local indigenous cults of China in English-language academic literature, though the Chinese language has not had a concept or overarching name for this. In Chinese academic literature and common usage "folk religion" refers to specific organised folk religious sects. "Folk beliefs" is a technical term with little usage outside the academia, in which it entered into usage at first among Taiwanese scholars from Japanese language during Japan's occupation, between the 1990s and the early 21st century among mainland Chinese scholars. With the rise of the study of traditional cults and the creation of a government agency to give legal status to this religion and philosophers in China have proposed the adoption of a formal name in order to solve the terminological problems of confusion with folk religious sects and conceptualise a definite field for research and administration.
The terms that have been proposed include "Chinese native religion" or "Chinese indigenous religion", "Chinese ethnic religion", or simply "Chinese religion" viewed as comparable to the usage of the term "Hinduism" for Indian religion, "Shenxianism" inspired by the term "Shenism", used in the 1950s by the anthropologist Allan J. A. Elliott; the Qing dynasty scholars Yao Wendong and Chen Jialin used the term shenjiao not referring to Shinto as a definite religious system, but to local shin beliefs in Japan. Other definitions that have been used are "folk cults","spontaneous religion", "lived religion", "local religion", "diffused religion"."Shendao" is a term used in the Yijing referring to the divine order of nature. Around the time of the spread of Buddhism in the Han period, it was used to distinguish the indigenous religion from the imported religion. Ge Hong used it in his Baopuzi as a synonym for Taoism; the term was subsequently adopted in Japan in the 6th century as Shindo Shinto, with the same purpose of identification of the Japanese indigenous religion.
In the 14th century, the Hongwu Emperor used the term "Shendao" identifying the indigenous cults, which he strengthened and systematised."Chinese Universism", not in the sense of "universalism", a system of universal application, Tian in Chinese thought, is a coinage of Jan Jakob Maria de Groot that refers to the metaphysical perspective that lies behind the Chinese religious tradition. De Groot calls Chinese Universism "the ancient metaphysical view that serves as the basis of all classical Chine
Taiyuan is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province in China. It is one of the main manufacturing bases of China. Throughout its long history, Taiyuan was the capital or provisional capital of many dynasties in China, hence the name Lóngchéng; the two Chinese characters of the city's name are 太 and 原, referring to the location where the Fen River leaves the mountains and enters a flat plain. Throughout its long history, the city had various names, including Jìnyáng and Lóngchéng. During the Tang dynasty and subsequent Five Dynasties, the status of the city of Taiyuan was elevated to be the Northern Capital, hence the name Běidū, Běijīng. Taiyuan is an ancient city with more than 2500 years of urban history, dating back from 497 BC, it was the capital or secondary capital of Zhao, Former Qin, Eastern Wei, Northern Qi, Northern Jin, Later Tang, Later Jin, Later Han, Northern Han. Its strategic location and rich history make Taiyuan one of the economic, political and cultural centers of Northern China.
From about 859 BC the area around modern-day Taiyuan was occupied by the Rong people. In 662 BC the Rong were driven out by the Di people. During the Spring and Autumn period, the state of Jin emerged to the south of Taiyuan. In 541 BC, the Jin army led by General Xun Wu, drove out the Di Tribes, Taiyuan became part of the state of Jin. In 497 BC, the first ancient city of Jinyang was built around the southern Jinyuan District of present-day Taiyuan, by Dong Anyu, a steward of Zhao Jianzi, an upper-level official of the state of Jin. During the Battle of Jinyang in 453 BC, Zhi Yao diverted the flow of the Fen River to inundate the city of Jinyang, caused significant damage to the Zhao. Zhao Xiangzi alerted Wei and Han, who both decided to ally with Zhao. On the night of May 8, 453 BC, Zhao troops broke the dams of the Fen River and let the river flood the Zhi armies, annihilated the Zhi army, with the help from Wei and Han; the Tripartition of Jin happened in 403 BC, when the state of Jin a strong power in Northern China, was divided into three smaller states of Han and Wei.
This event is the watershed between the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods in Chinese history. Jinyang, was chosen as the capital of Zhao, by Zhao Ji; the capital of Zhao was moved to Handan. In 248 BC, the state of Qin attacked Zhao under General Meng'ao, obtained the area around Jinyang from Zhao. Qin set up the Commandery of Taiyuan, with the city of Jinyang as its administrative center. Although, the name Taiyuan had appeared in historic records before referring to different regions in nowadays southern and central Shanxi, this was the first time Taiyuan was used to refer to present-day Taiyuan. In 246 BC, there was an uprising in Jinyang, it was quelled by Meng'ao. In 221 BC, Qin conquered the rest of China, started the first imperial dynasty of China. Qin established thirty-six commanderies on its territory, Taiyuan was one of them; the capital of commandery of Taiyuan is Jinyang. In 206 BC, Emperor Gaozu Liu Bang established the Han dynasty. During that period, the Qin administrative system of commanderies was abolished, the two Commanderies of Taiyuan and Yanmen were combined as the vassal state of Han under the rule of King Xin of Han.
King Xin of Han moved the capital from Jinyang to Mayi with the approval from the emperor Gaozu. However, King Xin of Han conspired with the Xiongnu against Gaozu, attacked Han for many years. In 196 BC, King Xin of Han was killed, and the vassal state of Han was replaced by the vassal state of Dai, with Jinyang as the administrative center of Dai. During the tumultuous Three Kingdoms, the population of Taiyuan decreased due to constant warfares. Taiyuan was ruled by Gongsun Zan, Yuan Shao, by Cao Cao, was part of Cao Wei afterwards. During the Jin dynasty, Taiyuan was again changed into a vassal state. Following the ending of the Jin dynasty, ethnic minority peoples settled a series of short-lived sovereign states in northern China referred to as Sixteen Kingdoms. Taiyuan was part of Former Zhao, Later Zhao, Former Qin, Former Yan, Former Qin again, Western Yan, Later Yan chronologically. In 304, Liu Yuan founded the Xiongnu state of Former Zhao, whose army raided the area around Taiyuan for years and obtained Taiyuan in 316.
In 319, Taiyuan became part of Later Zhao, founded by Shi Le. Taiyuan was obtained by Former Yan in 358, by Former Qin in 370. Former Qin was founded by Fu Jian in 351 with capital of Chang'an. Fu Jian died in 384, his son Fu Pi declared himself an emperor in 385, with Jinyang as the capital. But the next year, Fu Pi was defeated by the Western Yan prince Murong Yong in 386, Taiyuan became part of Western Yan. In 394, Taiyuan was conquered by Later Yan army. In 386, Tuoba Gui founded Northern Wei. In 396, Northern Wei expanded to Taiyuan. In 543, Eastern Wei was founded by Gao Huan, with the capital at the city of Ye, Taiyuan as the alternative capital, where the Mansion of the "Great Chancellor" Gao Huan was located. In 550, Northern Qi was founded by Gao Yang, who maintained his father Gao Huan's choice of Taiyuan as the alternative capital; the Buddhist Tianlongshan Grottoes of Taiyuan started during this period, continued for many centuries afterwards. In 577, Taiyuan was conquered and became part of
Confucianism known as Ruism, is described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or a way of life. Confucianism developed from what was called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who considered himself a recodifier and retransmitter of the theology and values inherited from the Shang and Zhou dynasties. In the Han dynasty, Confucian approaches edged out the "proto-Taoist" Huang–Lao as the official ideology, while the emperors mixed both with the realist techniques of Legalism. A Confucian revival began during the Tang dynasty. In the late Tang, Confucianism developed in response to Buddhism and Taoism and was reformulated as Neo-Confucianism; this reinvigorated form was adopted as the basis of the imperial exams and the core philosophy of the scholar official class in the Song dynasty. The abolition of the examination system in 1905 marked the end of official Confucianism; the intellectuals of the New Culture Movement of the early twentieth century blamed Confucianism for China's weaknesses.
They searched for new doctrines to replace Confucian teachings. In the late twentieth century Confucian work ethic has been credited with the rise of the East Asian economy. With particular emphasis on the importance of the family and social harmony, rather than on an otherworldly source of spiritual values, the core of Confucianism is humanistic. According to Herbert Fingarette's conceptualisation of Confucianism as a religion which regards "the secular as sacred", Confucianism transcends the dichotomy between religion and humanism, considering the ordinary activities of human life—and human relationships—as a manifestation of the sacred, because they are the expression of humanity's moral nature, which has a transcendent anchorage in Heaven and unfolds through an appropriate respect for the spirits or gods of the world. While Tiān has some characteristics that overlap the category of godhead, it is an impersonal absolute principle, like the Dào or the Brahman. Confucianism focuses on the practical order, given by a this-worldly awareness of the Tiān.
Confucian liturgy led by Confucian priests or "sages of rites" to worship the gods in public and ancestral Chinese temples is preferred on certain occasions, by Confucian religious groups and for civil religious rites, over Taoist or popular ritual. The worldly concern of Confucianism rests upon the belief that human beings are fundamentally good, teachable and perfectible through personal and communal endeavor self-cultivation and self-creation. Confucian thought focuses on the cultivation of virtue in a morally organised world; some of the basic Confucian ethical concepts and practices include rén, yì, lǐ, zhì. Rén is the essence of the human being, it is the virtue-form of Heaven. Yì is the upholding of the moral disposition to do good. Lǐ is a system of ritual norms and propriety that determines how a person should properly act in everyday life in harmony with the law of Heaven. Zhì is the ability to see what is right and fair, or the converse, in the behaviors exhibited by others. Confucianism holds one in contempt, either passively or for failure to uphold the cardinal moral values of rén and yì.
Traditionally and countries in the Chinese cultural sphere are influenced by Confucianism, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Korea and Vietnam, as well as various territories settled predominantly by Chinese people, such as Singapore. Today, it has been credited for shaping East Asian societies and Chinese communities, to some extent, other parts of Asia. In the last decades there have been talks of a "Confucian Revival" in the academic and the scholarly community, there has been a grassroots proliferation of various types of Confucian churches. In late 2015 many Confucian personalities formally established a national Holy Confucian Church in China to unify the many Confucian congregations and civil society organisations. Speaking, there is no term in Chinese which directly corresponds to "Confucianism". In the Chinese language, the character rú 儒 meaning "scholar" or "learned" or "refined man" is used both in the past and the present to refer to things related to Confucianism; the character rú in ancient China had diverse meanings.
Some examples include "to tame", "to mould", "to educate", "to refine". Several different terms, some of which with modern origin, are used in different situations to express different facets of Confucianism, including: Chinese: 儒 家. Three of them use rú; these names do not use the name "Confucius" at all, but instead focus on the ideal of the Confucian man. The use of the term "Confucianism" has been avoided by some modern scholars, who favor "Ruism" and "Ruists" instead. Robert Eno argues that the term has been "burdened... with the ambiguities and irrelevant
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period
The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period was an era of political upheaval in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states succeeded one another in the Central Plain, more than a dozen concurrent states were established elsewhere in South China, it was the last prolonged period of multiple political division in Chinese imperial history. Traditionally, the era started with the fall of the Tang dynasty in 907 AD and ended with the founding of the Song dynasty in 960. Many states had been de facto independent kingdoms long before 907. After the Tang had collapsed, the kings who controlled the Central plain crowned themselves as emperors. War between kingdoms occurred to gain control of the central plain for legitimacy and over the rest of China; the last of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms states, the Northern Han, was not vanquished until 979. Towards the end of the Tang, the imperial government granted increased powers to the jiedushi, the regional military governors; the An Lushan and Huang Chao Rebellion weakened the imperial government, by the early 10th century the jiedushi commanded de facto independence from its authority.
In the last decades of the dynasty, they were not appointed by the court any more, but developed hereditary systems, from father to son or from patron to protégé. They had their own armies rivalling the "palace armies" and amassed huge wealth, as testified by their sumptuous tombs, thus ensued the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. North China Zhu Wen at Bianzhou, precursor to Later Liang Li Keyong and Li Cunxu at Taiyuan, precursor to Later Tang Liu Rengong and Liu Shouguang at Youzhou, precursor to Yan Li Maozhen at Fengxiang, precursor to Qi Luo Shaowei at Weibo Wang Rong at Zhenzhou Wang Chuzhi at Dingzhou South China Yang Xingmi at Yangzhou, precursor to Wu Qian Liu at Hangzhou, precursor to Wuyue Ma Yin at Tanzhou, precursor to Chu Wang Shenzhi at Fuzhou, precursor to Min Liu Yin at Guangzhou, precursor to Southern Han Wang Jian at Chengdu, precursor to Former Shu During the Tang Dynasty, the warlord Zhu Wen held the most power in northern China. Although he was a member of Huang Chao's rebel army, he took on a crucial role in suppressing the Huang Chao Rebellion.
For this function, he was awarded the Xuanwu Jiedushi title. Within a few years, he had consolidated his power by destroying neighbours and forcing the move of the imperial capital to Luoyang, within his region of influence. In 904, he made his 13-year-old son a subordinate ruler. Three years he induced the boy emperor to abdicate in his favour, he proclaimed himself emperor, thus beginning the Later Liang. During the final years of the Tang Dynasty, rival warlords declared independence in the provinces they governed—not all of which recognized the emperor's authority. Li Cunxu and Liu Shouguang fiercely fought, he defeated Liu Shouguang in 915, declared himself emperor in 923. Thus began the Shatuo Later Tang — the first in a long line of conquest dynasties. After reuniting much of northern China, in 925 Cunxu conquered the Former Shu, a regime, set up in Sichuan; the Later Tang had a few years of relative calm, followed by unrest. In 934, Sichuan again asserted independence. In 936, Shi Jingtang, a Shatuo jiedushi from Taiyuan, was aided by the ethnic-Khitan Liao dynasty in a rebellion against the Later Tang.
In return for their aid, Shi Jingtang promised annual tribute and the Sixteen Prefectures to the Khitans. The rebellion succeeded. Not long after the founding of the Later Jin, the Khitans came to regard the emperor as a proxy ruler for China proper. In 943, the Khitans declared war and within three years seized the capital, marking the end of Later Jin, but while they had conquered vast regions of China, the Khitans were unable or unwilling to control those regions and retreated from them early in the next year. To fill the power vacuum, the jiedushi Liu Zhiyuan entered the imperial capital in 947 and proclaimed the advent of the Later Han, establishing a third successive Shatuo reign; this was the shortest of the five dynasties. Following a coup in 951, General Guo Wei, a Han Chinese, was enthroned, thus beginning the Later Zhou. However, Liu Chong, a member of the Later Han imperial family, established a rival Northern Han regime in Taiyuan and requested Khitan aid to defeat the Later Zhou.
After the death of Guo Wei in 951, his adopted son Chai Rong succeeded the throne and began a policy of expansion and reunification. In 954, his army defeated combined Khitan and Northern Han forces, ending their ambition of toppling the Later Zhou. Between 956 and 958, forces of Later Zhou conquered much of Southern Tang, the most powerful regime in southern China, which ceded all the territory north of the Yangtze in defeat. In 959, Chai Rong attacked the Liao in an attempt to recover territories ceded during the Later Jin. After many victories, he succumbed to illness. In 960, the general Zhao Kuangyin staged a coup and took the throne for himself, founding the Northern Song Dynasty; this is the official end of Ten Kingdoms period. During the next two decades, Zhao Kuangyin and his successor Zhao Kuan