The Northern Qi was one of the Northern dynasties of Chinese history and ruled northern China from 550 to 577. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Wenxuan, it was ended following attacks from Northern Zhou; the Chinese state of Northern Qi was the successor state of the Chinese/Xianbei state of Eastern Wei and was founded by Emperor Wenxuan. Emperor Wenxuan had a Han Chinese father Gao Huan, a Xianbei mother, Lou Zhaojun; as Eastern Wei's paramount general Gao Huan was succeeded by his sons Gao Cheng and Gao Yang, who took the throne from Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei in 550 and established Northern Qi as Emperor Wenxuan. Northern Qi was the strongest state of the three main Chinese states. Northern Qi however was plagued by violence and/or incompetent emperors, corrupt officials, deteriorating armies. In 571, an important official who guide the emperors Emperor Wucheng and Houzhu, He Shikai, was killed. Houzhu attempted to strengthen the power of throne, instead he triggered a series of purges that became violent in late 573.
In 577, Northern Qi was assaulted by a kingdom with poorer resources. The Northern Qi, with ineffective leadership disintegrated within a month, with large scale defections of court and military personnel. Both Houzhu and the last emperor Youzhu were captured, both died in late 577. Emperor Wenxuan's son Gao Shaoyi, the Prince of Fanyang, under protection by Tujue declared himself the emperor of Northern Qi in exile, but was turned over by Tujue to Northern Zhou in 580 and exiled to modern Sichuan, it is a matter of dispute whether Gao Shaoyi should properly be considered a Northern Qi emperor, but in any case the year 577 is considered by historians as the ending date for Northern Qi. Northern Qi ceramics mark a revival of Chinese ceramic art, following the disastrous invasions and the social chaos of the 4th century. Northern Qi tombs have revealed some beautiful artifacts, such as porcelain with splashed green designs thought to have been developed under the Tang dynasty. Markedly unique from earlier depictions of the Buddha, Northern Qi statues tend to be smaller, around three feet tall, columnar in shape.
A jar has been found in a Northern Qi tomb, closed in 576, is considered as a precursor of the Tang Sancai style of ceramics. Brown glazed wares designed with Sasanian-style figures have been found in these tombs; these works suggest a strong cosmopolitanism and intense exchanges with Western Asia, which are visible in metalworks and relief sculptures across China during this period. Cosmopolitanism was therefore current during the Northern Qi period in the 6th century before the advent of the notoriously cosmopolitan Tang dynasty, was associated with Buddhism; the Northern Qi, although founded by a ruler of mixed Han/Xianbei origin asserted their Xianbei ethnic cultural identity. They regarded surviving ethnic Tuoba and non-Chinese of the Northern Wei court and as well as literati of all ethnicities as near Chinese, referring to them as Haner; however they made use of sometimes Central Asian courtiers. While some Qi elite families had expressed anti-Chinese sentiments, they may lay claim to Chinese elite origin.
Emperor Wenxuan's father Gao Huan himself, reported as having said to his soldiers in the Xianbei language: "The Chinese are your slaves", was descended from the Han Chinese Gao family of Bohai in what is now modern Hebei. He had become Xianbeified as his family had lived for some time in Inner Mongolia after his grandfather was relocated from Bohai. A Chinese scholar translated the Buddhist text Nirvana Sutra text into a Turkic language during this era; some Zoroastrianism influences that went into previous states continued onto the state of Northern Qi court, such as the love for Persian dogs as they were taken as pets by nobles and eunuchs. The Chinese utilized a number of Persian products. Faced with the threat of the Göktürks from the north, from 552 to 556 the Qi built up to 3,000 li of wall from Shanxi to the sea at Shanhai Pass. In 552, the Great Wall was built, starting at the northwest frontier, starting from Lishi and expanding towards west Shuoxian, with total length of over 400 kilometers.
In 555, Emperor Wenquan commanded to rebuild the existing Great Wall of Northern Wei. Over the course of the year 555 alone, 1.8 million men were mobilized to build the Juyong Pass and extend its wall by 450 kilometres through Datong to the eastern banks of the Yellow River. In 557 a secondary wall was built inside the main one, starting from east of Pianguan, passing Yanmen Pass, Pingxing Pass, continuing to Xiaguan in Shanxi Province. In 563, Emperor Wucheng built a section of frontier wall along the Taihang Mountains on the border of Shanxi and Hebei provinces; these walls were built from local earth and stones or formed by natural barriers. Two stretches of the stone-and-earth Qi wall still stand in Shanxi today, measuring 3.3 metres wide at their bases and 3.5 metres high on average. In 577 the Northern Zhou in 580 made repairs to the existing Qi walls; the route of the Qi and Zhou walls would be followed by the Ming wall west of Gubeikou. Buddhism in China
The Northern Zhou followed the Western Wei, ruled northern China from 557 to 581 AD. The last of the Northern Dynasties of China's Northern and Southern dynasties period, it was overthrown by the Sui Dynasty. Like the preceding Western and Northern Wei dynasties, the Northern Zhou were members of the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei; the Northern Zhou's basis of power was established by Yuwen Tai, paramount general of Western Wei, following the split of Northern Wei into Western Wei and Eastern Wei in 535. After Yuwen Tai's death in 556, Yuwen Tai's nephew Yuwen Hu forced Emperor Gong of Western Wei to yield the throne to Yuwen Tai's son Yuwen Jue, establishing Northern Zhou; the reigns of the first three emperors – Emperor Xiaomin, Emperor Ming, Emperor Wu were dominated by Yuwen Hu, until Emperor Wu ambushed and killed Yuwen Hu in 572 and assumed power personally. With Emperor Wu as a capable ruler, Northern Zhou destroyed rival Northern Qi in 577, taking over Northern Qi's territory. However, Emperor Wu's death in 578 doomed the state, as his son Emperor Xuan was an arbitrary and violent ruler whose unorthodox behavior weakened the state.
After his death in 580, when he was nominally retired, Xuan's father-in-law Yang Jian took power, in 581 seized the throne from Emperor Xuan's son Emperor Jing, establishing Sui. The young Emperor Jing and the imperial Yuwen clan, were subsequently slaughtered by Yang Jian; the area was known as Guannei 關內. The Northern Zhou drew upon the Zhou dynasty for inspiration; the Northern Zhou military included Han Chinese. List of pre-modern great powers Book of Zhou History of Northern Dynasties Zizhi Tongjian
Jiang Zemin is a retired Chinese politician who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2004, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003. Jiang has been described as the "core of the third generation" of Communist Party leaders since 1989. Jiang came to power unexpectedly as a'compromise candidate' following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, when he replaced Zhao Ziyang as General Secretary after Zhao was ousted for his support for the student movement. With the waning influence of Eight Elders due to old age and with the death of Deng Xiaoping in 1997, Jiang consolidated his hold on power and became the "paramount leader" of the party and the country in the 1990s. Urged by Deng's southern tour in 1992 to accelerate "opening up and reform", Jiang introduced the term "socialist market economy" in his speech during the 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held that year, ending a period of ideological uncertainty and economic stagnation following 1989.
Under Jiang's leadership, China experienced substantial economic growth with the continuation of reforms, saw the peaceful return of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom in 1997 and Macau from Portugal in 1999, improved its relations with the outside world while the Communist Party maintained its tight control over the government. His contributions to party doctrine, known as the "Three Represents," were written into the party's constitution in 2002. Jiang vacated the post of party General Secretary and Politburo Standing Committee in 2002, but did not relinquish all of his leadership titles until 2005, continued to influence affairs until much later. At the age of 92 years, 239 days, Jiang is the longest-living paramount leader in the history of the PRC, surpassing Deng Xiaoping on 14 February 2019. Jiang Zemin was born in the city of Jiangsu, his ancestral home was Jiangwan in Jiangxi. This was the hometown of a number of prominent figures in Chinese academic and intellectual establishments. Jiang grew up during the years of Japanese occupation.
His uncle his foster father, Jiang Shangqing, died fighting the Japanese in World War II and is considered in Jiang Zemin's time to be a national hero. Since Shangqing had no heirs, Shangqing's elder brother, Jiang's biological father Jiang Shijun, the vice officer of the publicity department of Japanese-ruled Nanking government, let Jiang become the adopted son of Shangqing's wife, his aunt, Wang Zhelan, whom he referred to as "Niang". There is some doubt if Jiang was adopted at the time: Shangqing's daughter Zehui once said her family was too poor to have enough food after his death, which indicated that Jiang Zemin’s father, despite his wealth and power, never supported Shangqing’s family it was unlikely that Jiang Zemin’s father would have allowed Jiang Shangqing to adopt Zemin, because per Chinese traditions, Zemin, as an eldest son, could not be adopted Jiang attended the Department of Electrical Engineering at the National Central University in Japanese-occupied Nanjing before transferring to National Chiao Tung University.
He graduated there in 1947 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He claims. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Jiang received his training at the Stalin Automobile Works in Moscow in the 1950s, he worked for Changchun's First Automobile Works. He was transferred to government services, where he began to rise in prominence and rank becoming a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Minister of Electronic Industries in 1983. In 1985 he became Mayor of Shanghai, subsequently the Party Secretary of Shanghai. Jiang received mixed reviews as mayor. Many of his critics dismissed him as a "flower pot", a Chinese term for someone who only seems useful, but gets nothing done. Many credited Shanghai's growth during the period to Zhu Rongji. Jiang was an ardent believer, in Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms. In an attempt to curb student discontent in 1986, Jiang recited the Gettysburg Address in English in front of a group of student protesters. Jiang was described as having a passable command of several foreign languages, including Romanian and English.
One of his favorite activities was to engage foreign visitors in small talk on arts and literature in their native language, in addition to singing foreign songs in the original language. He became friends with Allen Broussard, the African-American judge who visited Shanghai in 1987 and Brazilian actress Lucélia Santos. Jiang was elevated to national politics in 1987, automatically becoming a member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee because it is customarily dictated that the Party Secretary of Shanghai would have a seat in the Politburo. In 1989, China was in crisis over the Tiananmen Square protest, the central government was in conflict on how to handle the protesters. In June, Deng Xiaoping dismissed liberal Zhao Ziyang, considered to be too conciliatory toward the student protestors. At the time, Jiang was the top figure in China's new economic center. In an incident with the World Economic Herald, Jiang closed down the newspaper, deeming it to be harmful; the handling of the crisis in Shanghai was noticed by Beijing, by paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.
As the protests escalated and Party general secretary Zhao Ziyang was removed from office, Jiang was selected by the Party leaders as a compromise candidate over Tianjin's Li
Mao Zedong known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he ruled as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. His theories, military strategies, political policies are collectively known as Maoism. Mao was the son of a wealthy farmer in Hunan, he had a Chinese nationalist and anti-imperialist outlook early in his life, was influenced by the events of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and May Fourth Movement of 1919. He adopted Marxism–Leninism while working at Peking University, became a founding member of the Communist Party of China, leading the Autumn Harvest Uprising in 1927. During the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and the CPC, Mao helped to found the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, led the Jiangxi Soviet's radical land policies, became head of the CPC during the Long March. Although the CPC temporarily allied with the KMT under the United Front during the Second Sino-Japanese War, China's civil war resumed after Japan's surrender and in 1949 Mao's forces defeated the Nationalist government, which withdrew to Taiwan.
On October 1, 1949, Mao proclaimed the foundation of the People's Republic of China, a single-party state controlled by the CPC. In the following years he solidified his control through land reforms and through a psychological victory in the Korean War, as well as through campaigns against landlords, people he termed "counter-revolutionaries", other perceived enemies of the state. In 1957, he launched a campaign known as the Great Leap Forward that aimed to transform China's economy from agrarian to industrial; this campaign led to the deadliest famine in history and the deaths of 20–45 million people between 1958 and 1962. In 1966, Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution, a program to remove "counter-revolutionary" elements in Chinese society which lasted 10 years and was marked by violent class struggle, widespread destruction of cultural artifacts, an unprecedented elevation of Mao's cult of personality; the program is now regarded as a "severe setback" for the PRC. In 1972, Mao welcomed U.
S. President Richard Nixon in Beijing, signalling the start of a policy of opening China to the world. After years of ill health, Mao suffered a series of heart attacks in 1976 and died at the age of 82, he was succeeded as paramount leader by Premier Hua Guofeng, sidelined and replaced by Deng Xiaoping. A controversial figure, Mao is regarded as one of the most important and influential individuals in modern world history, he is known as a political intellect, military strategist and visionary. Supporters credit him with driving imperialism out of China, modernising the nation and building it into a world power, promoting the status of women, improving education and health care, as well as increasing life expectancy as China's population grew from around 550 million to over 900 million under his leadership. Conversely, his regime has been called autocratic and totalitarian, condemned for bringing about mass repression and destroying religious and cultural artifacts and sites, it was additionally responsible for vast numbers of deaths with estimates ranging from 30 to 70 million victims through starvation, prison labour and mass executions.
Mao Zedong was born on December 1893, in Shaoshan village, Hunan Province, China. His father, Mao Yichang, was a impoverished peasant who had become one of the wealthiest farmers in Shaoshan. Growing up in rural Hunan, Mao described his father as a stern disciplinarian, who would beat him and his three siblings, the boys Zemin and Zetan, as well as an adopted girl, Zejian. Mao's mother, Wen Qimei, was a devout Buddhist. Mao too abandoned this faith in his mid-teenage years. At age 8, Mao was sent to Shaoshan Primary School. Learning the value systems of Confucianism, he admitted that he didn't enjoy the classical Chinese texts preaching Confucian morals, instead favouring popular novels like Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Water Margin. At age 13, Mao finished primary education, his father united him in an arranged marriage to the 17-year-old Luo Yixiu, thereby uniting their land-owning families. Mao refused to recognise her as his wife, becoming a fierce critic of arranged marriage and temporarily moving away.
Luo was locally disgraced and died in 1910. While working on his father's farm, Mao read voraciously and developed a "political consciousness" from Zheng Guanying's booklet which lamented the deterioration of Chinese power and argued for the adoption of representative democracy. Interested in history, Mao was inspired by the military prowess and nationalistic fervour of George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte, his political views were shaped by Gelaohui-led protests which erupted following a famine in Changsha, the capital of Hunan. The famine spread to Shaoshan, he claimed sympathy for their situation. At age 16, Mao moved to a higher primary school in nearby Dongshan, where he was bullied for his peasant background. In 1911, Mao began middle school in Changsha. Revolutionary sentiment was strong in the city, where there was widespread animosity towards Emperor Puyi's absolute monarchy and many were advocating republicanism; the republicans' figurehead was Sun Yat-sen, an American-educated Christian who led the Tongmenghui society.
In Changsha, Mao was influenced by Sun's
Hanyu Pinyin abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, written using Chinese characters; the system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters; the pinyin system was developed in the 1950s by many linguists, including Zhou Youguang, based on earlier forms of romanizations of Chinese. It was published by revised several times; the International Organization for Standardization adopted pinyin as an international standard in 1982, was followed by the United Nations in 1986. The system was adopted as the official standard in Taiwan in 2009, where it is used for international events rather than for educational or computer-input purposes, but "some cities and organizations, notably in the south of Taiwan, did not accept this", so it remains one of several rival romanization systems in use.
The word Hànyǔ means'the spoken language of the Han people', while Pīnyīn means'spelled sounds'. In 1605, the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci published Xizi Qiji in Beijing; this was the first book to use the Roman alphabet to write the Chinese language. Twenty years another Jesuit in China, Nicolas Trigault, issued his Xi Ru Ermu Zi at Hangzhou. Neither book had much immediate impact on the way in which Chinese thought about their writing system, the romanizations they described were intended more for Westerners than for the Chinese. One of the earliest Chinese thinkers to relate Western alphabets to Chinese was late Ming to early Qing dynasty scholar-official, Fang Yizhi; the first late Qing reformer to propose that China adopt a system of spelling was Song Shu. A student of the great scholars Yu Yue and Zhang Taiyan, Song had been to Japan and observed the stunning effect of the kana syllabaries and Western learning there; this galvanized him into activity on a number of fronts, one of the most important being reform of the script.
While Song did not himself create a system for spelling Sinitic languages, his discussion proved fertile and led to a proliferation of schemes for phonetic scripts. The Wade–Giles system was produced by Thomas Wade in 1859, further improved by Herbert Giles in the Chinese–English Dictionary of 1892, it was popular and used in English-language publications outside China until 1979. In the early 1930s, Communist Party of China leaders trained in Moscow introduced a phonetic alphabet using Roman letters, developed in the Soviet Oriental Institute of Leningrad and was intended to improve literacy in the Russian Far East; this Sin Wenz or "New Writing" was much more linguistically sophisticated than earlier alphabets, but with the major exception that it did not indicate tones of Chinese. In 1940, several thousand members attended a Border Region Sin Wenz Society convention. Mao Zedong and Zhu De, head of the army, both contributed their calligraphy for the masthead of the Sin Wenz Society's new journal.
Outside the CCP, other prominent supporters included Sun Fo. Over thirty journals soon appeared written in Sin Wenz, plus large numbers of translations, some contemporary Chinese literature, a spectrum of textbooks. In 1940, the movement reached an apex when Mao's Border Region Government declared that the Sin Wenz had the same legal status as traditional characters in government and public documents. Many educators and political leaders looked forward to the day when they would be universally accepted and replace Chinese characters. Opposition arose, because the system was less well adapted to writing regional languages, therefore would require learning Mandarin. Sin Wenz fell into relative disuse during the following years. In 1943, the U. S. military engaged Yale University to develop a romanization of Mandarin Chinese for its pilots flying over China. The resulting system is close to pinyin, but does not use English letters in unfamiliar ways. Medial semivowels are written with y and w, apical vowels with r or z.
Accent marks are used to indicate tone. Pinyin was created by Chinese linguists, including Zhou Youguang, as part of a Chinese government project in the 1950s. Zhou is called "the father of pinyin," Zhou worked as a banker in New York when he decided to return to China to help rebuild the country after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, he became an economics professor in Shanghai, in 1955, when China's Ministry of Education created a Committee for the Reform of the Chinese Written Language, Premier Zhou Enlai assigned Zhou Youguang the task of developing a new romanization system, despite the fact that he was not a professional linguist. Hanyu Pinyin was based on several existing systems: Gwoyeu Romatzyh of 1928, Latinxua Sin Wenz of 1931, the diacritic markings from zhuyin. "I'm not the father of pinyin," Zhou said years later. It's a lo
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
Emperor Taizong of Tang
Emperor Taizong of Tang Prince of Qin, personal name Li Shimin, was the second emperor of the Tang dynasty of China, ruling from 626 to 649. He is traditionally regarded as a co-founder of the dynasty for his role in encouraging Li Yuan, his father, to rebel against the Sui dynasty at Jinyang in 617. Taizong subsequently played a pivotal role in defeating several of the dynasty's most dangerous opponents and solidifying its rule over China. Taizong is considered to be one of the greatest emperors in China's history and henceforth, his reign became regarded as the exemplary model against which all future emperors were measured, his era, the "Reign of Zhenguan" is considered a golden age in Chinese history and was treated as required studying material for future crown princes. Under the Zhenguan era, Tang China flourished militarily. For more than a century after his death, China enjoyed prosperity and peace brought about by the solidification of imperial protection over the Chinese regions. In territorial extent, it covered most of the territories held by the Han dynasty, including parts of modern Vietnam and Central Asian regions as far as eastern Kazakhstan.
This era of consolidation and conquest laid the foundation for Xuanzong's reign, considered to be the height of the Tang dynasty. In 630, Emperor Taizong sent his general Li Jing against the Eastern Turks and capturing their Jiali Khan Ashina Duobi and destroying their power; this made Tang the dominant power in East and Central Asia, Emperor Taizong subsequently took the title of Tengeri Qaghan. He launched a series of campaigns against the oasis states of the Tarim Basin, against the armies of their main ally, the Western Turks. During his reign, Tang armies annexed Karakhoja in 640, Karasahr in 644 and Kucha in 648. Unlike many of the nobility of the time, Emperor Taizong was a frank rationalist and scholar of logic and scientific reason scorning superstitions and claims of signs from the heavens, he modified important rites in order to ease the burden of agricultural labour. The modern Chinese historian Bo Yang opined that Emperor Taizong achieved greatness by enduring criticism which others would find difficult to accept whilst trying hard not to abuse his absolute power, as well as through his employment of capable chancellors such as Fang Xuanling, Du Ruhui and Wei Zheng.
Emperor Taizong's wife Empress Zhangsun proved to be a capable assistant. Lǐ Shìmín was born in 598 at Wugong, in modern Xianyang, Shaanxi), his father Li Yuan the Duke of Tang was a general of the Sui Dynasty and a nephew, by marriage, to Sui's founding emperor Emperor Wen. Li Shimin's grandmother Duchess Dugu was a sister of Empress Dugu, both of whom were daughters of Dugu Xin, a major Xianbei general during Sui's predecessor dynasty Northern Zhou. Li Shimin's mother, Li Yuan's wife Duchess Dou, was a daughter of Dou Yi the Duke of Shenwu and his wife, Northern Zhou's Princess Xiangyang. Duchess Dou bore Li Yuan four sons—an older brother to Li Shimin, Li Jiancheng, two younger brothers, Li Yuanba, who would die in 614, Li Yuanji – and at least one daughter. Li Yuan named Li Shimin "Shimin" as a shortened form of the phrase "save the earth and pacify the people". Li Shimin showed talent early in his life, in 613, the official Gao Shilian, impressed with him, gave him a niece in marriage as his wife.
In 615, when Emperor Wen's son and successor Emperor Yang was ambushed by Eastern Turkish forces under Shibi Khan at Yanmen Commandery, a general call was made for men to join the army to help rescue the emperor. Li Shimin answered that call and served under the general Yun Dingxing doing so with distinction. In 616, when Li Yuan was put in charge of the important city of Taiyuan, Li Shimin followed his father to Taiyuan, while leaving at least three other sons—Li Jiancheng, Li Yuanji, Li Zhiyun —at the ancestral home Hedong. Emperor Yang was soon dissatisfied with Li Yuan and Wang Rengong, the governor of Mayi Commandery, over their inability to stop Eastern Turkish incursions and the growing strengths of agrarian rebels the Eastern Turkish-support Liu Wuzhou the Dingyang Khan, who soon rose against Wang and killed him and soon captured Emperor Yang's secondary palace near Taiyuan. Li Yuan became fearful that there had been prophecies throughout the empire that the next emperor would be named Li—and that Emperor Yang had killed another official, Li Hun and Li Hun's clan over his fears that Li Hun's nephew, Li Min, would seize the throne.
In fear, Li Yuan considered rebellion, at that point, he did not know that Li Shimin had been doing so—secretly discussing such plans with Li Yuan's associates Pei Ji and Liu Wenjing. Once Li Shimin's plans matured, he had Pei inform Li Yuan of them—and had Pei warn Li Yuan that if it were revealed that Li Yuan had had sexual relations with some of Emperor Yang's ladies in waiting at the secondary Jinyang Palace, all of them would be slaughtered. Li Yuan agreed to rebel, after secretly summoning Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji from Hedong and his son-in-law Chai Shao from the capital Chang'an, he declared a rebellion, claiming to want to support Empero