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The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (), from 907 to 979 was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century
Imperial China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and ...

Imperial China
. Five states quickly succeeded one another in the Central Plain, and more than a dozen concurrent states were established elsewhere, mainly in
South China South China () is a geographical and cultural region that covers the southernmost part of China. Its precise meaning varies with context. A notable feature of South China in comparison to the rest of China is that most of its citizens are not ...
. It was the last prolonged period of multiple political divisions in Chinese imperial history. Traditionally, the era is seen as beginning with the fall of the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organiza ...
in 907 and reaching its climax with the founding of the dominant
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kua ...
in 960. In the following 19 years, Song gradually subdued all remaining states. Many states had been ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' independent kingdoms long before 907 as the Tang dynasty's control over its officials waned, but the key event was their recognition as sovereign by foreign powers. After the Tang collapsed, several
warlord A warlord is a person who exercises military, economic, and political control over a region in a country without a strong national government; largely because of coercive control over the armed forces. Warlords have existed throughout much of hi ...
s of the crowned themselves emperor. During the 70-year period, there was near constant warfare between the emerging kingdoms and alliances they formed. All had the ultimate goal of controlling the Central Plain, which would win nationwide legitimacy as Tang’s successor. The last of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms regimes was
Northern Han The Northern Han () was a dynastic state of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly s ...
, which held out until Song conquered it in 979, thereby reclaiming all the territory of the former Tang dynasty.


Background

Towards the end of the Tang dynasty, the imperial government granted increased powers to the ''
jiedushi The ''jiedushi'' (), or jiedu, was a title for regional military governors in China which was established in the Tang dynasty, Tang dynasty and abolished in the Yuan dynasty, Yuan dynasty. The post of ''jiedushi'' has been translated as "milit ...
'', the regional military governors. The
An Lushan An Lushan or An Lu-shan (20th day of the 1st month (February), 703 – 25/29 January 757) was a general in the and is primarily known for instigating the . An Lushan was of n and origin,Yang, Zhijiu, "An Lushan". ' (Chinese History Edition), 1 ...
(755–763) and
Huang Chao Huang Chao (835 – July 13, 884) was a Chinese smuggler, soldier, and rebel, and is most well known for being the leader of a major rebellion that severely weakened the Tang dynasty. Huang was a Salt in Chinese history, salt smuggler before j ...

Huang Chao
rebellions weakened the imperial government, and by the early 10th century the ''jiedushi'' commanded ''de facto'' independence from its authority. In the last decades of the Tang dynasty, they were not even appointed by the central court any more, but developed hereditary systems, from father to son or from patron to protégé. They had their own armies rivaling the "palace armies" and amassed huge wealth, as testified by their sumptuous tombs. The information was taken from Richard L. Davis's introduction. Due to the decline of Tang central authority after the An Lushan Rebellion, there was growing tendency to superimpose large regional administrations over the old districts and prefectures that had been used since the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Francis Wade, during the mid-19th ...

Qin dynasty
(221–206 BC). These administrations, known as circuit commissions, would become the boundaries of the later Southern regimes; many circuit commissioners became the emperors or kings of these states. The historian Hugh Clark proposed a three-stage model of broad political trends during this time period. The first stage (880–910) consists of the period between the Huang Chao Rebellion and the formal end of the Tang dynasty, which saw chaotic fighting between warlords who controlled approximately one or two prefectures each. The second stage (910–950) saw the various warlords stabilise and gain enough legitimacy to proclaim new dynasties. The third stage (950–979) saw the forceful reunification of China by the
Later Zhou dynasty The Later Zhou (; ) was the last in a succession of five Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasties that controlled most of northern China during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which lasted from 907 to 960 and bridged the gap between t ...

Later Zhou dynasty
and its successor the Song dynasty, and the demilitarisation of the provinces. Southern China, divided into several independent dynastic kingdoms, was more stable than the North which saw constant regime change. Consequently the Southern kingdoms were able to embark on trade, land reclamation and infrastructure projects, laying the groundwork for the Song dynasty economic boom. This economic shift to the south also led to a vast southward migration.


North

According to Nicholas Tackett, the three provinces of Hebei: Chengde, Youzhou, Weibo, were able to maintain much greater autonomy from the central government in the aftermath of the An Lushan rebellion. With their administration under local military control, these provinces never submitted tax revenues and governorships lapsed into hereditary succession. They engaged in occasional war with the central government, or against each other, and Youzhou seemed to conduct its own foreign policy. This meant that the culture of these northeastern provinces started diverging from the capital. Many of the elites in post-Tang China, including the future emperors of the Song Dynasty, came from this region. The administrations of the Five Dynasties and the early Song dynasty shared a pattern of being disproportionately drawn from the families of military governors in northern and northwestern China (
Hebei Hebei (; alternately Hopeh) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, f ...
,
Shanxi Shanxi (; ; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China and is part of the North China region. The capital and largest city of the province is ...

Shanxi
,
Shaanxi Shaanxi (; , ; Chinese postal romanization, alternately Shensi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Officially part of Northwest China, it borders the province-level divisions of Shanxi (NE, ...

Shaanxi
), their personal staff, and the bureaucrats who served in the capitals of the Five dynasties. These families had risen to prominence due to the unraveling of central authority after the An Lushan Rebellion, despite lacking esteemed ancestry. The historian
Deng Xiaonan Deng Xiaonan (born 1950) is a professor of history at Peking University, Peking University's Centre for Research on Ancient Chinese History. She is known for her research on Song Dynasty, Song history, History of China#Imperial China, Ancient Chin ...
argued that many of these military families, including the Song imperial family, were of mixed Han Chinese-Turkic-
Kumo Xi The Kumo Xi (Xu Elina-Qian, p.296b), also known as the Qay or Tatabi, were a Mongolic steppe File:Steppe of western Kazakhstan in the early spring.jpg, Steppe in Kazakhstan In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion character ...
ancestry. The term "Five Dynasties" was coined by Song dynasty historians and reflects the view that the successive regimes based in
Kaifeng Kaifeng () is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, China. It is one of the Historical capitals of China, Eight Ancient Capitals of China, having been the capital seven times in history, and is best known for being the Chinese ...

Kaifeng
possessed the
Mandate of Heaven The Mandate of Heaven () is a Chinese political philosophy that was used in ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsAztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of cont ...
. Yet three of these dynasties were founded by barbarian Shatuo Turks, and the Southern regimes generally had more stable and effective government during this period. The Qing historian
Wang Fuzhi Wang Fuzhi (), 1619–1692) courtesy name Ernong (), pseudonym Chuanshan (), was a Chinese essayist, historian, and philosopher of the late Ming Dynasty, Ming, early Qing Dynasty, Qing dynasties. Life Born to a scholarly family in Hengyang in Hu ...

Wang Fuzhi
(1619–1692) wrote that this period can be compared to the earlier
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period i ...
of ancient China, remarking that none of the rulers could be described as "
Son of Heaven Son of Heaven, or ''Tianzi'' (), was the sacred monarchical title of the Chinese sovereign The Chinese sovereign was the ruler of a particular regime in History of China#Ancient China, ancient China and History of China#Imperial China, imper ...
". These rulers, despite claiming the status of
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roma ...
, sometimes dealt with each other on terms of diplomatic equality out of pragmatic concern. This concept of "sharing the Mandate of Heaven" as "sibling states" was the result of the brief balance of power. After the reunification of China by the Song dynasty, the Song embarked on a special effort to denounce such arrangements.


South

Even the rulers of the Southern states were almost all military leaders from the north with their key officers and elite forces also hailing from the north, since the bulk of the Tang army was based in the north. The founders of Wu and Former Shu were 'rogues' from
Huainan Huainan () is a prefecture-level city A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. A prefectural-level municip ...

Huainan
and
Xuchang Xuchang (; postal: Hsuchang) is a prefecture-level city A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. A prefectu ...

Xuchang
respectively, the founder of Min was a minor government staffer from Huainan, the founder of Wuyue was a 'rogue' from
Hangzhou Hangzhou (, , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca A lingua franca (; ...

Hangzhou
, the founder of Chu was (according to one source) a carpenter from Xuchang, the founder of Jingnan was a slave from Shanzhou and the founder of Southern Han was a southern tribal chief. The Southern kingdoms were founded by men of low social status who rose up through superior military ability, who were later scorned as "bandits" by future scholars. However, once established, these rulers took great pains to portray themselves as promoters of culture and economic development so as to legitimise their rule; many wooed former Tang courtiers to help administer their states. The economies of each of the southern regions had prospered in the late Tang. Guangdong and Fujian were the sites of important port cities trading exotic goods, the middle Yangtze and Sichuan were centres of tea and porcelain production, and the Yangtze delta was a center of extremely high agricultural production and an entrepot for the other regions. The regions were economically interdependent. Sui and Tang policies, while paying little attention to developing the south, gave the south room to innovate free of tight administrative controls. The dominant northern officials had been unwilling to serve in the south during the Tang, and so southerners were recruited by the Tang to serve in a local capacity under the "Southern Selection" supplemental system. These southern officials became the administrative core of the Ten Kingdoms and later dominated the bureaucracy by the mid-Song.


Significant ''jiedushi''

North China North China, or Huabei ( ) is a List of regions of China, geographical region of China, consisting of the provinces of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia. Part of the larger region of Northern China (''Beifang''), it lies north ...

North China
*
Zhu Wen Emperor Taizu of Later Liang (), personal name Zhu Quanzhong () (December 5, 852 – July 18, 912), né Zhu Wen (), name later changed to Zhu Huang (), nickname Zhu San (朱三, literally, "the third Zhu"), was a ''Jiedushi'' (military governor) ...
at Bianzhou (modern
Kaifeng Kaifeng () is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, China. It is one of the Historical capitals of China, Eight Ancient Capitals of China, having been the capital seven times in history, and is best known for being the Chinese ...

Kaifeng
,
Henan Henan (; ; alternatively Honan) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of China, in the Central China, central part of the country. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (), which literally means "central plain" or "midlan ...

Henan
), precursor to
Later LiangLater Liang may refer to the following states in Chinese history: * Later Liang (Sixteen Kingdoms) (後涼; 386–403), one of the Sixteen Kingdoms * Western Liang (555–587) The Liang (555–587), known in historiography as the Western Liang () ...
*
Li Keyong Li Keyong () (October 24, 856 – February 24, 908) was a Shatuo military governor (''Jiedushi'') during the late Tang Dynasty and was key to developing a base of power for the Shatuo in what is today Shanxi Province in China. His son, Emperor ...

Li Keyong
and
Li Cunxu Emperor Zhuangzong of Later Tang (), personal name Li Cunxu (), nickname Yazi (), stage name A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers such as actors, comedians, singers, and musicians. Such titles are adopted for a wide ...
at
Taiyuan Taiyuan (; ; Mandarin pronunciation: ; also known as (), ()) is the capital and largest city of Shanxi Province Shanxi (; ; formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division ...

Taiyuan
(modern Taiyuan,
Shanxi Shanxi (; ; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China and is part of the North China region. The capital and largest city of the province is ...

Shanxi
), precursor to
Later Tang Tang, known in historiography as the Later Tang, was a short-lived imperial dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford Unive ...

Later Tang
*
Liu RengongLiu Rengong () (died 914) was a warlord late in the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded ...
and
Liu Shouguang Liu Shouguang () (died February 12, 914) was a warlord early in the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial C ...
at
Youzhou You Prefecture or You Province, also known by its Chinese language, Chinese name Youzhou, was a prefecture (''Zhou (country subdivision), zhou'') in North China, northern China during its imperial era. "You Province" was cited in some ancient s ...
(modern
Beijing Beijing ( ), as Peking ( ), is the of the . It is the world's , with over 21 million residents within an of 16,410.5 km2 (6336 sq. mi.). It is located in , and is governed as a under the direct administration of the with .Figures ...

Beijing
), precursor to
Yan Yan may refer to: Chinese states * Yan (state) Yan (; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, official ...
*
Li Maozhen Li Maozhen (; 856 – May 17, 924), born Song Wentong (), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, in ...
at Fengxiang (modern
Fengxiang County Fengxiang County () is a county administered by Baoji () is a prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.jpg, A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply "Huangshi" (). This is a useful distinc ...
,
Shaanxi Shaanxi (; , ; Chinese postal romanization, alternately Shensi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Officially part of Northwest China, it borders the province-level divisions of Shanxi (NE, ...

Shaanxi
province), precursor to Qi * Luo Shaowei at Weibo (modern
Daming County Daming County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and ...
,
Hebei Hebei (; alternately Hopeh) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, f ...
province) * Wang Rong at Zhenzhou (modern Zhengding County,
Hebei Hebei (; alternately Hopeh) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, f ...
province) * Wang Chuzhi at Dingzhou (modern
Dingzhou Dingzhou, or Tingchow in Postal Map Romanization, and formerly called Ding County or Dingxian, is a county-level city in the prefecture-level city of Baoding, Hebei, Hebei Province. As of 2009, Dingzhou had a population of 1.2 million. Dingzhou ...

Dingzhou
,
Hebei Hebei (; alternately Hopeh) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, f ...
) *Li Sigong at Dingnan circuit *
Zhang Yichao Zhang Yichao (; 799-872) was a Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on 2013- ...
at
GuiyiGuiyi () (Kweiyi) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origi ...

Guiyi
South China South China () is a geographical and cultural region that covers the southernmost part of China. Its precise meaning varies with context. A notable feature of South China in comparison to the rest of China is that most of its citizens are not ...
*
Yang Xingmi Yang Xingmi (; 852'' Spring and Autumn Annals of the Ten Kingdoms''vol. 1 – December 24, 905Academia Sinica Academia Sinica (AS, la, 1=Academia Sinica, 3=Chinese Academy; ), headquartered in Nangang, Taipei, is the national academy of Taiwan ...
at
Yangzhou Yangzhou, Postal Map Romanization, postal romanization Yangchow, is a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu Province (Suzhong), East China. Sitting on the north bank of the Yangtze, it borders the provincial capital Nanjing to the southwest, H ...

Yangzhou
(modern Yangzhou,
Jiangsu Jiangsu (; ; Postal romanization, formerly romanized Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal Provinces of the People's Republic of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. It is one of the leading provinces in finance, education, ...

Jiangsu
), precursor to Wu * at
Hangzhou Hangzhou (, , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca A lingua franca (; ...

Hangzhou
(modern Hangzhou,
Zhejiang Zhejiang (, ; , Chinese postal romanization, also romanized as Chekiang) is an East China, eastern, coastal Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Its capital and largest city is Hangzhou. Zhejiang is bordered ...

Zhejiang
), precursor to
Wuyue Wuyue (; Shanghainese: ), 907–978, was an independent coastal kingdom founded during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–960) of Chinese history. It was ruled by the Haiyan County, Zhejiang, Haiyan Qian (surname), Qian clan (海 ...
*
Ma Yin Ma Yin (; c. 853-December 2, 930), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere, includi ...
at Tanzhou (modern
Changsha Changsha (; ; ; Changshanese pronunciation: (), Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese, in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a Mandarin Chinese#Subgrouping, dialect of Mandar ...

Changsha
,
Hunan Hunan (, ; ) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdi ...

Hunan
), precursor to
Chu Chu or CHU may refer to: Chinese history * Chu (state) (c. 1030 BC–223 BC), a state during the Zhou dynasty * Western Chu (206 BC–202 BC), a state founded and ruled by Xiang Yu * Chu Kingdom (Han dynasty) (201 BC–70 AD), a kingdom of the Han ...
*
Wang Shenzhi Wang Shenzhi (; 862 – December 30, 925), courtesy name Xintong () or Xiangqing (), formally Prince Zhongyi of Min () and later further posthumously honored as Emperor Taizu of Min (), was the founder of Min Kingdom on the southeast coastal provi ...
at
Fuzhou Fuzhou (; , Fuzhounese The Fuzhou dialect (, FR: ), also Foochow, Hokchew, Hok-chiu, or Fuzhounese, is the prestige Prestige refers to a good reputation or high esteem; in earlier usage, ''prestige'' meant "showiness". (19th c.) Prest ...

Fuzhou
(modern Fuzhou,
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, sub ...

Fujian
), precursor to Min * Liu Yin at
Guangzhou Guangzhou (, ; ; or ; ), also known as Canton and alternatively romanized as Kwongchow or Kwangchow, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the ...

Guangzhou
(modern Guangzhou,
Guangdong Guangdong (, ), alternately romanized as Canton Province or Kwangtung, is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admin ...

Guangdong
), precursor to
Southern Han Southern Han (; 917–971), officially Han (), originally Yue (), was one of the ten kingdoms that existed during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheav ...
* Wang Jian at
Chengdu Chengdu (, ; simplified Chinese Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representa ...

Chengdu
(modern Chengdu,
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admini ...

Sichuan
), precursor to
Former Shu Great Shu (Chinese: 大蜀, Pinyin: Dàshǔ) called in retrospect Former Shu (Chinese: 前蜀, Pinyin: Qiánshǔ) or occasionally Wang Shu (王蜀), was one of the Ten Kingdoms formed during the chaotic period between the rules of the Tang dynast ...


Five Dynasties


Later Liang (907–923)

During the Tang Dynasty, the warlord
Zhu Wen Emperor Taizu of Later Liang (), personal name Zhu Quanzhong () (December 5, 852 – July 18, 912), né Zhu Wen (), name later changed to Zhu Huang (), nickname Zhu San (朱三, literally, "the third Zhu"), was a ''Jiedushi'' (military governor) ...
held the most power in northern China. Although he was originally a member of
Huang Chao Huang Chao (835 – July 13, 884) was a Chinese smuggler, soldier, and rebel, and is most well known for being the leader of a major rebellion that severely weakened the Tang dynasty. Huang was a Salt in Chinese history, salt smuggler before j ...

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 Luoyang is a city located in the confluence area of Luo River and Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin Chinese, Jin: uə xɔ Standard Beijing Mandarin, Mandarin: ''Huáng hé'' ) is the second-longest river in China, afte ...

Luoyang
, which was within his region of influence. In 904, he executed
Emperor Zhaozong of Tang Emperor Zhaozong of Tang (March 31, 867 – September 22, 904), né Li Jie, name later changed to Li Min and again to Li Ye, was the penultimate emperor of the of . He reigned from 888 to 904 (although he was briefly deposed by the in 900 a ...
and made Zhaozong's 13-year-old son, Ai Di (
Emperor Ai of Tang An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), ...
), a subordinate ruler. Three years later, he induced the boy emperor to abdicate in his favour. He then proclaimed himself emperor, thus beginning the
Later LiangLater Liang may refer to the following states in Chinese history: * Later Liang (Sixteen Kingdoms) (後涼; 386–403), one of the Sixteen Kingdoms * Western Liang (555–587) The Liang (555–587), known in historiography as the Western Liang () ...
.


Later Tang (923–937)

In 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 Keyong Li Keyong () (October 24, 856 – February 24, 908) was a Shatuo military governor (''Jiedushi'') during the late Tang Dynasty and was key to developing a base of power for the Shatuo in what is today Shanxi Province in China. His son, Emperor ...

Li Keyong
was the jiedushi for the Hedong circuit in present Shanxi, forming a polity called Jin (晉). His son
Li Cunxu Emperor Zhuangzong of Later Tang (), personal name Li Cunxu (), nickname Yazi (), stage name A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers such as actors, comedians, singers, and musicians. Such titles are adopted for a wide ...
and
Liu Shouguang Liu Shouguang () (died February 12, 914) was a warlord early in the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial C ...
fiercely fought the regime forces to conquer northern China;
Li Cunxu Emperor Zhuangzong of Later Tang (), personal name Li Cunxu (), nickname Yazi (), stage name A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers such as actors, comedians, singers, and musicians. Such titles are adopted for a wide ...
succeeded. He defeated Liu Shouguang (who had proclaimed a
Yan Yan may refer to: Chinese states * Yan (state) Yan (; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, official ...
Empire in 911) in 915, and declared himself emperor in 923; within a few months, he brought down the Later Liang regime. Thus began the
Shatuo The Shatuo (also transcribed as Sha-t'o, Sanskrit Sart Sart is a name for the settled inhabitants of Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and f ...
Later Tang—the first in a long line of conquest dynasties. After reuniting much of northern China, in 924 Cunxu received the submission of Shaanxi's Qi kingdom, and in 925 Cunxu conquered the
Former Shu Great Shu (Chinese: 大蜀, Pinyin: Dàshǔ) called in retrospect Former Shu (Chinese: 前蜀, Pinyin: Qiánshǔ) or occasionally Wang Shu (王蜀), was one of the Ten Kingdoms formed during the chaotic period between the rules of the Tang dynast ...
, a regime that had been set up in
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admini ...

Sichuan
.


Later Jin (936–943)

The Later Tang had a few years of relative calm, followed by unrest. In 934, Sichuan again asserted independence. In 936,
Shi Jingtang Shi Jingtang () (30 March 892 – 28 July 942''Zizhi Tongjian'', :zh:s:資治通鑑/卷283, vol. 283.), also known by his temple name Gaozu (), was the founding emperor of China, emperor of history of China, imperial China's short-lived Later Jin ...
, a
Shatuo The Shatuo (also transcribed as Sha-t'o, Sanskrit Sart Sart is a name for the settled inhabitants of Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and f ...
jiedushi The ''jiedushi'' (), or jiedu, was a title for regional military governors in China which was established in the Tang dynasty, Tang dynasty and abolished in the Yuan dynasty, Yuan dynasty. The post of ''jiedushi'' has been translated as "milit ...
from
Taiyuan Taiyuan (; ; Mandarin pronunciation: ; also known as (), ()) is the capital and largest city of Shanxi Province Shanxi (; ; formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division ...

Taiyuan
, was aided by the ethnic- Khitan
Liao dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan language, Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China that ex ...
in a rebellion against the Later Tang. In return for their aid, Shi Jingtang promised annual tribute and the
Sixteen Prefectures The Sixteen Prefectures () comprise a historical region in northern China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous co ...

Sixteen Prefectures
(modern northern
Hebei Hebei (; alternately Hopeh) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, f ...
and
Beijing Beijing ( ), as Peking ( ), is the of the . It is the world's , with over 21 million residents within an of 16,410.5 km2 (6336 sq. mi.). It is located in , and is governed as a under the direct administration of the with .Figures ...

Beijing
) to the Khitans. The rebellion succeeded; Shi Jingtang became emperor in this same year. Not long after the founding of Later Jin, the Khitans came to regard the emperor as a proxy ruler for
China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Manchu The Manchu (; ) are an officially recognized ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym a ...

China proper
. In 943, the Khitans declared war and within three years seized the capital,
Kaifeng Kaifeng () is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, China. It is one of the Historical capitals of China, Eight Ancient Capitals of China, having been the capital seven times in history, and is best known for being the Chinese ...

Kaifeng
, 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.


Later Han (947–951)

To fill the power vacuum, the jiedushi
Liu Zhiyuan Liu Zhiyuan () (March 4, 895 – March 10, 948), later changed to Liu Gao (), formally Emperor Gaozu of (Later) Han (), was the ethnically-Shatuo founder of the Later Han (Five Dynasties), Later Han, the fourth of the Five Dynasties in the Five Dy ...
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 Guo Wei () (10 September 904 – 22 February 954), also known by his temple name Taizu (), was the founding emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an emp ...

Guo Wei
, a
Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four ...
, was enthroned, thus beginning the
Later Zhou The Later Zhou (; ) was the last in a succession of five dynasties A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (b ...

Later Zhou
. However,
Liu Chong Liu Min (劉旻) ( 895 – 954), named Liu Chong (劉崇) before 951, also known by his temple name Shizu (世祖), was the founding emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, so ...
, a member of the Later Han imperial family, established a rival
Northern Han The Northern Han () was a dynastic state of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly s ...
regime in
Taiyuan Taiyuan (; ; Mandarin pronunciation: ; also known as (), ()) is the capital and largest city of Shanxi Province Shanxi (; ; formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division ...

Taiyuan
and requested Khitan aid to defeat the Later Zhou.


Later Zhou

After the death of
Guo Wei Guo Wei () (10 September 904 – 22 February 954), also known by his temple name Taizu (), was the founding emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an emp ...

Guo Wei
in 954, his adopted son
Chai Rong Chai Rong () (27 October 921 – 27 July 959) or Guo Rong (), also known by his temple name Shizong (), was the second emperor of China, emperor of history of China, imperial China's short-lived Later Zhou during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdo ...
succeeded the throne and began a policy of expansion and reunification. One month after Chai Rong took the throne, Liu Chong, Emperor of
Northern Han The Northern Han () was a dynastic state of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly s ...
, colluded with
Liao Dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan language, Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China that ex ...
to launch an assault on Later Zhou. Against the advice of Minister Feng Dao, Chai Rong decided to lead his army against the incursion. When Chai Rong engaged Liu Chong at Gao Ping (in modern Jincheng), two of Chai's generals, Fan Aineng and He Hui, fled from the battlefield along with their troops. At this critical moment, Chai Rong risked his life to break through the defense and crushed Liu’s forces. After this campaign, Chai Rong consolidated his power. Between 956 and 958, forces of Later Zhou conquered much of
Southern Tang Southern Tang () was a state in Southern China that existed during Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which proclaimed itself to be the successor of the former Tang Dynasty. The capital was located at Jinling, Nanjing in present-day Jiangsu ...
, the most powerful regime in southern China, which ceded all the territory north of the
Yangtze The Yangtze or Yangzi ( or ) is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises at Jari Hill in the Tanggula Mountains The Tanggula ( Chinese:  ...
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 Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kuangyin, courtesy name Yuanlang, was the founder and first emperor of the Song dynasty in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a ...

Zhao Kuangyin
staged a coup and took the throne for himself, founding the
Northern Song Dynasty #REDIRECT Northern Song Dynasty#REDIRECT Northern Song Dynasty The Northern Song (北宋; 4 February 960 – 20 March 1127) is an era during the Song dynasty, Song Dynasty. It came to an end when its capital city, the city of Kaifeng, was conquere ...
. This is the official end of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. During the next two decades, Zhao Kuangyin and his successor Zhao Kuangyi defeated the other remaining regimes in China proper, conquering
Northern Han The Northern Han () was a dynastic state of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly s ...
in 979, and reunifying China completely in 982.


Ten Kingdoms

Unlike the dynasties of northern China, which succeeded one another in rapid succession, the regimes of
South China South China () is a geographical and cultural region that covers the southernmost part of China. Its precise meaning varies with context. A notable feature of South China in comparison to the rest of China is that most of its citizens are not ...
were generally concurrent, each controlling a specific geographical area. These were known as "The Ten Kingdoms" (in fact, some claimed the title of Emperor, such as
Former Shu Great Shu (Chinese: 大蜀, Pinyin: Dàshǔ) called in retrospect Former Shu (Chinese: 前蜀, Pinyin: Qiánshǔ) or occasionally Wang Shu (王蜀), was one of the Ten Kingdoms formed during the chaotic period between the rules of the Tang dynast ...
and
Later Shu Later may refer to: * Future The future is the time after the past and present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics. Due to the apparent nature of reality and the unavoidability of the fut ...
). Each court was a center of artistic excellence. The period is noted for the vitality of its poetry and for its economic prosperity. Commerce grew so quickly that there was a shortage of metallic currency. This was partly addressed by the creation of bank drafts, or "flying money" (''feiqian''), as well as by certificates of deposit. Wood block printing became common during this period, 500 years before
Johannes Gutenberg Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (; – 3 February 1468) was a German inventor, printer (publisher), printer, publisher, and goldsmith who introduced printing to Europe with his mechanical movable type, movable-type printing press ...

Johannes Gutenberg
's press. The Ten Kingdoms were: *
Yang Wu Wu (), also referred to as Huainan (), Hongnong (), Southern Wu (), or Yang Wu (楊吳), was one of the Ten Kingdoms in eastern China which was in existence from 907 to 937. Its capital was Jiangdu Municipality () (modern Yangzhou Yangzhou, P ...
(907–937) *
Wuyue Wuyue (; Shanghainese: ), 907–978, was an independent coastal kingdom founded during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–960) of Chinese history. It was ruled by the Haiyan County, Zhejiang, Haiyan Qian (surname), Qian clan (海 ...
(907–978) * Min (909–945) *
Ma Chu Chu (), often referred to as Ma Chu () or Southern Chu () to distinguish it from other historical states called Chu, was a kingdom in south China South China () is a geographical and cultural region that covers the southernmost part of China ...
(907–951) *
Southern Han Southern Han (; 917–971), officially Han (), originally Yue (), was one of the ten kingdoms that existed during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheav ...
(917–971) *
Former Shu Great Shu (Chinese: 大蜀, Pinyin: Dàshǔ) called in retrospect Former Shu (Chinese: 前蜀, Pinyin: Qiánshǔ) or occasionally Wang Shu (王蜀), was one of the Ten Kingdoms formed during the chaotic period between the rules of the Tang dynast ...
(907–925) *
Later Shu Later may refer to: * Future The future is the time after the past and present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics. Due to the apparent nature of reality and the unavoidability of the fut ...
(934–965) *
Jingnan Jingnan (), also known as Nanping (南平; alternatively written as Southern Ping) and Northern Chu () in historiography, was one of the Ten Kingdoms in south-central China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a countr ...
(924–963) *
Southern Tang Southern Tang () was a state in Southern China that existed during Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which proclaimed itself to be the successor of the former Tang Dynasty. The capital was located at Jinling, Nanjing in present-day Jiangsu ...
(937–976) *
Northern Han The Northern Han () was a dynastic state of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly s ...
(951–979) Only ten are traditionally listed, hence the era's name. Some historians, such as
Bo Yang Bo Yang (; 7 March 1920
Yan Yan may refer to: Chinese states * Yan (state) Yan (; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, official ...
and Qi but not the
Northern Han The Northern Han () was a dynastic state of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly s ...
, viewing it as simply a continuation of Later Han. This era also coincided with the founding of the
Liao dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan language, Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China that ex ...
in the north, and the
Dali Kingdom The Dali Kingdom, also known as the Dali State (; Bai: Dablit Guaif), was a dynastic state situated in modern Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic of Chi ...

Dali Kingdom
in the southwest. Other regimes during this period include Zhao, Yiwu Jiedushi, Dingnan Jiedushi, Wuping Jiedushi,
Qingyuan Jiedushi ''Qingyuan Jiedushi'' () (i.e., the ''Jiedushi'' of Qingyuan Circuit) was a military/governance office late in History of China, China's Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, later renamed to ''Pinghai Jiedushi'' (). It was an office created i ...
, Yin,
Ganzhou Uyghur Kingdom The Ganzhou Uyghur Kingdom (), also referred to as the Hexi Uyghur Khaganate, Uyghurs, was established in 894 around Zhangye, Gan Prefecture in modern Zhangye. The kingdom lasted from 894 to 1036; during that time, many of Ganzhou's residents conve ...
,
Guiyi Circuit The Guiyi Circuit, also known as the Guiyi Army (, 848–1036 AD), was a regional military command and later autonomous regime nominally subordinate to the Chinese Tang dynasty and later on the Five_Dynasties and Ten_Kingdoms period, Five Dynasti ...

Guiyi Circuit
, and Xiliangfu.


Yang Wu

The
Yang Wu Wu (), also referred to as Huainan (), Hongnong (), Southern Wu (), or Yang Wu (楊吳), was one of the Ten Kingdoms in eastern China which was in existence from 907 to 937. Its capital was Jiangdu Municipality () (modern Yangzhou Yangzhou, P ...
(902–937) was established in modern-day
Jiangsu Jiangsu (; ; Postal romanization, formerly romanized Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal Provinces of the People's Republic of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. It is one of the leading provinces in finance, education, ...

Jiangsu
,
Anhui Anhui (; Postal romanization, formerly romanized as Anhwei) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, part of the East China region. Its provincial capital and largest city is Hefei. The province is l ...

Anhui
, and
Jiangxi Jiangxi (; ; alternately romanized as Kiangsi or Chianghsi, Gan Chinese Gan, Gann or Kan is a group of Sinitic languages spoken first language, natively by many people in the Jiangxi province of China, as well as significant populations in ...

Jiangxi
. It was founded by
Yang Xingmi Yang Xingmi (; 852'' Spring and Autumn Annals of the Ten Kingdoms''vol. 1 – December 24, 905Academia Sinica Academia Sinica (AS, la, 1=Academia Sinica, 3=Chinese Academy; ), headquartered in Nangang, Taipei, is the national academy of Taiwan ...
, who became a
Tang Dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organiza ...
military governor in 892. The capital was initially at Guangling (present-day
Yangzhou Yangzhou, Postal Map Romanization, postal romanization Yangchow, is a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu Province (Suzhong), East China. Sitting on the north bank of the Yangtze, it borders the provincial capital Nanjing to the southwest, H ...

Yangzhou
) and later moved to Jinling (present-day
Nanjing Nanjing (; , Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Nanking, is the capital of Jiangsu Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, a sub-provincial city, a megacity and the List ...

Nanjing
). The kingdom fell in 937 when it was taken from within by the founder of the
Southern Tang Southern Tang () was a state in Southern China that existed during Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which proclaimed itself to be the successor of the former Tang Dynasty. The capital was located at Jinling, Nanjing in present-day Jiangsu ...
.


Wuyue

The
Wuyue Wuyue (; Shanghainese: ), 907–978, was an independent coastal kingdom founded during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–960) of Chinese history. It was ruled by the Haiyan County, Zhejiang, Haiyan Qian (surname), Qian clan (海 ...
was the longest-lived (907–978) and among the most powerful of the southern states. Wuyue was known for its learning and culture. It was founded by , who set up his capital at Xifu (modern-day
Hangzhou Hangzhou (, , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca A lingua franca (; ...

Hangzhou
). It was based mostly in modern Zhejiang province but also held parts of southern
Jiangsu Jiangsu (; ; Postal romanization, formerly romanized Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal Provinces of the People's Republic of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. It is one of the leading provinces in finance, education, ...

Jiangsu
. Qian Liu was named the Prince of Yue by the Tang emperor in 902; the Prince of Wu was added in 904. After the fall of the Tang Dynasty in 907, he declared himself king of Wuyue. Wuyue survived until the eighteenth year of the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kua ...
, when Qian Shu surrendered to the expanding dynasty.


Min

The Min (909–945) was founded by Wang Shenzhi, who named himself the Prince of Min with its capital at Changle (present-day
Fuzhou Fuzhou (; , Fuzhounese The Fuzhou dialect (, FR: ), also Foochow, Hokchew, Hok-chiu, or Fuzhounese, is the prestige Prestige refers to a good reputation or high esteem; in earlier usage, ''prestige'' meant "showiness". (19th c.) Prest ...

Fuzhou
). One of Shenzhi’s sons proclaimed the independent state of Yin in the northeast of Min territory. The
Southern Tang Southern Tang () was a state in Southern China that existed during Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which proclaimed itself to be the successor of the former Tang Dynasty. The capital was located at Jinling, Nanjing in present-day Jiangsu ...
took that territory after the Min asked for help. Despite declaring loyalty to the neighboring
Wuyue Wuyue (; Shanghainese: ), 907–978, was an independent coastal kingdom founded during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–960) of Chinese history. It was ruled by the Haiyan County, Zhejiang, Haiyan Qian (surname), Qian clan (海 ...
, the Southern Tang finished its conquest of Min in 945.


Southern Han

The
Southern Han Southern Han (; 917–971), officially Han (), originally Yue (), was one of the ten kingdoms that existed during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheav ...
(917–971) was founded in
Guangzhou Guangzhou (, ; ; or ; ), also known as Canton and alternatively romanized as Kwongchow or Kwangchow, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the ...

Guangzhou
by
Liu YanLiu Yan may refer to: * Liu Yan (Xin dynasty) (died 23 AD), rebel leader against the Xin dynasty * Liu Yan (Han dynasty warlord) (died 194), Eastern Han nobleman and warlord * Liu Yan (Shu Han) (died 234), general of Shu Han during the Three Kingdom ...
. His brother, Liu Yin, was named regional governor by the Tang court. The kingdom included
Guangdong Guangdong (, ), alternately romanized as Canton Province or Kwangtung, is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admin ...

Guangdong
, Guangxi, and Hainan.


Ma Chu

The
Ma Chu Chu (), often referred to as Ma Chu () or Southern Chu () to distinguish it from other historical states called Chu, was a kingdom in south China South China () is a geographical and cultural region that covers the southernmost part of China ...
(927–951) was founded by
Ma Yin Ma Yin (; c. 853-December 2, 930), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere, includi ...
with the capital at
Changsha Changsha (; ; ; Changshanese pronunciation: (), Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese, in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a Mandarin Chinese#Subgrouping, dialect of Mandar ...

Changsha
. The kingdom held Hunan and northeastern Guangxi. Ma was named regional military governor by the Tang court in 896, and named himself the Prince of Chu with the fall of the Tang in 907. This status as the Prince of Chu was confirmed by the Southern Tang in 927. The
Southern Tang Southern Tang () was a state in Southern China that existed during Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which proclaimed itself to be the successor of the former Tang Dynasty. The capital was located at Jinling, Nanjing in present-day Jiangsu ...
absorbed the state in 951 and moved the royal family to its capital in
Nanjing Nanjing (; , Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Nanking, is the capital of Jiangsu Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, a sub-provincial city, a megacity and the List ...

Nanjing
, although Southern Tang rule of the region was temporary, as the next year former Chu military officers under the leadership of Liu Yan (Ten Kingdoms), Liu Yan seized the territory. In the waning years of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, the region was ruled by Zhou Xingfeng.


Northern Han

Though considered one of the ten kingdoms, the
Northern Han The Northern Han () was a dynastic state of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly s ...
was based in the traditional Shatuo stronghold of
Shanxi Shanxi (; ; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China and is part of the North China region. The capital and largest city of the province is ...

Shanxi
. It was founded by Liu Min (), formerly known as Liu Chong (), after the Later Han fell to the Han Chinese-led
Later Zhou The Later Zhou (; ) was the last in a succession of five dynasties A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (b ...

Later Zhou
in 951. With the protection of the powerful Liao dynasty, the Northern Han maintained nominal independence until the Song dynasty wrested it from the Khitans in 979.


Jingnan (also known as Nanping)

The smallest of the southern states,
Jingnan Jingnan (), also known as Nanping (南平; alternatively written as Southern Ping) and Northern Chu () in historiography, was one of the Ten Kingdoms in south-central China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a countr ...
(924–963), was founded by Gao Jichang, a former general of Liang. It was based in Jiangling and held two other districts southwest of present-day Wuhan in Hubei. Gao was in the service of the
Later LiangLater Liang may refer to the following states in Chinese history: * Later Liang (Sixteen Kingdoms) (後涼; 386–403), one of the Sixteen Kingdoms * Western Liang (555–587) The Liang (555–587), known in historiography as the Western Liang () ...
(the successor of the Tang in North China). Gao’s successors claimed the title of King of Nanping after the fall of the Later Liang in 924. It was a small and weak kingdom, and thus tried to maintain good relations with each of the Five Dynasties. The kingdom fell to advancing armies of the Song in 963.


Former Shu

Former Shu Great Shu (Chinese: 大蜀, Pinyin: Dàshǔ) called in retrospect Former Shu (Chinese: 前蜀, Pinyin: Qiánshǔ) or occasionally Wang Shu (王蜀), was one of the Ten Kingdoms formed during the chaotic period between the rules of the Tang dynast ...
(907–925) was founded after the fall of the Tang Dynasty by Wang Jian, who held his court in
Chengdu Chengdu (, ; simplified Chinese Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representa ...

Chengdu
. The kingdom held most of present-day
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admini ...

Sichuan
, western Hubei, and parts of southern Gansu and
Shaanxi Shaanxi (; , ; Chinese postal romanization, alternately Shensi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Officially part of Northwest China, it borders the province-level divisions of Shanxi (NE, ...

Shaanxi
. Wang was named military governor of western Sichuan by the Tang court in 891. The kingdom fell when his son surrendered in the face of an advance by the
Later Tang Tang, known in historiography as the Later Tang, was a short-lived imperial dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford Unive ...

Later Tang
in 925.


Later Shu

The
Later Shu Later may refer to: * Future The future is the time after the past and present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics. Due to the apparent nature of reality and the unavoidability of the fut ...
(935–965) is essentially a resurrection of the previous Shu state that had fallen a decade earlier to the
Later Tang Tang, known in historiography as the Later Tang, was a short-lived imperial dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford Unive ...

Later Tang
. Because the Later Tang was in decline and Li Cunxu was killed in a revolt , Meng Zhixiang found the opportunity to reassert Shu’s independence. Like the Former Shu, the capital was at Chengdu and it basically controlled the same territory as its predecessor. The kingdom was ruled well until forced to succumb to Song armies in 965.


Southern Tang

The
Southern Tang Southern Tang () was a state in Southern China that existed during Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which proclaimed itself to be the successor of the former Tang Dynasty. The capital was located at Jinling, Nanjing in present-day Jiangsu ...
(937–975) was the successor state of Wu as Emperor Liezu of Southern Tang, Li Bian (Emperor Liezu) took the state over from within in 937. Expanding from the original domains of Wu, it eventually took over Yin, Min, and Chu, holding present-day southern Anhui, southern Jiangsu, much of Jiangxi, Hunan, and eastern Hubei at its height. The kingdom became nominally subordinate to the expanding Song in 961 and was invaded outright in 975, when it was formally absorbed into Song China.


Transitions between the Ten Kingdoms

Although more stable than northern China as a whole, southern China was also torn apart by warfare. Wu quarreled with its neighbours, a trend that continued as Wu was replaced with Southern Tang. In the 940s Min and Chu underwent internal crises which Southern Tang handily took advantage of, destroying Min in 945 and Chu in 951. Remnants of Min and Chu, however, survived in the form of
Qingyuan Jiedushi ''Qingyuan Jiedushi'' () (i.e., the ''Jiedushi'' of Qingyuan Circuit) was a military/governance office late in History of China, China's Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, later renamed to ''Pinghai Jiedushi'' (). It was an office created i ...
and Wuping Jiedushi for many years after. With this, Southern Tang became the undisputedly most powerful regime in southern China. However, it was unable to defeat incursions by the Later Zhou between 956 and 958, and ceded all of its land north of the Yangtze River. The Song dynasty, established in 960, was determined to reunify China. Jingnan and Wuping Jiedushi were swept away in 963, Later Shu in 965, Southern Han in 971, and Southern Tang in 975. Finally, Wuyue and Qingyuan Jiedushi gave up their land to Northern Song in 978, bringing all of southern China under the control of the central government. In common with other periods of fragmentation, the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period resulted in a division between northern and southern China. The greater stability of the Ten Kingdoms, especially the longevity of Wuyue and Southern Han, would contribute to the development of distinct regional identities within China. The distinction was reinforced by the ''Old History of the Five Dynasties, Old History'' and the ''Historical Records of the Five Dynasties, New History''. Written from the northern viewpoint, these chronicles organized the history around the Five Dynasties (the north), presenting the Ten Kingdoms (the south) as illegitimate, self-absorbed and indulgent.


Culture

The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period turned away from the international cultural mood of the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organiza ...
and appears as a transition towards the solidified national culture of the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kua ...
. Throughout the period, there was marked cultural and economic growth, rather than decline. Dudbridge actually quotes Edwin O. Reischauer, Reischauer's ''Ennin's Travels''. Several Northern dynasties originated in the northeast, and centralisation of the north led to a migration of provincial elites into the capital, particularly northeasterners, creating a new metropolitan culture. After the unification of China by the Song dynasty, the culture, arts and literature of the Southern states were incorporated into the new regime. The Song dynasty adopted a distinctively Southern Chinese cultural outlook. The preserved cultural traditions of Southern Tang, Wu Yue and Later Shu were used to rebuild the cultural landscape of the north. Southern libraries were transported north, Southeastern architecture was promoted in the new capital, and Southeastern Buddhist icons, clergy and relics were concentrated in the new capital so as to reintegrate these traditions into the imperial culture. This was distinct from the five Northern dynasties, who never supported extended monastic lineage networks but instead typically sought to restrict them and draw on their economic and military resources. Although short, the period saw cultural innovations in different areas. Pottery saw the appearance of "white ceramics"/ In painting, the "varied landscape" of China was inspired by Taoism. It emphasized the sacredness of mountains as places between heaven and earth and depicted the natural world as a source of harmony.


Law

In later tradition, the Five Dynasties is viewed as a period of judicial abuse and excessive punishment. This view reflects both actual problems with the administration of justice and the bias of Confucian historians, who disapproved of the decentralization and militarization that characterized this period. While Tang procedure called for the delaying executions until appeals were exhausted, this was not generally the case in the Five Dynasties.John W. Chaffee, Denis Twitchett, ''The Cambridge History of China: Volume 5, The Five Dynasties and Sung China, 960–1279 AD, Part 2'', Cambridge University Press, 5 Mar 2015, McKnight, Brian, "Chapter 4: Chinese law and the legal system" Other abuses included the use of severe torture. The Later Han was the most notorious dynasty in this regard. Suspects could be tortured to death with long knives and nails. The military officer in charge of security of the capital is said to have executed suspects without inquiry. The Tang code of 737 was the basic statutory law for this period, together supplemental edicts and collections. The Later Liang promulgated a code in 909. This code was blamed for delays in the administration of justice and said to be excessively harsh with respect to economic crimes. The Later Tang, Later Jin, and Later Zhou also produced recompilations. The Later Han was in power too briefly to make a mark on the legal system


See also

* Timeline of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms * Annam (province), Annam (Chinese province) * Chinese sovereign * Song conquest of Southern Tang, Conquest of Southern Tang by Song * Chinese emperors family tree (middle)#Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, Family trees of the emperors of the Five Dynasties *
Liao dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan language, Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China that ex ...
*
Dali Kingdom The Dali Kingdom, also known as the Dali State (; Bai: Dablit Guaif), was a dynastic state situated in modern Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic of Chi ...

Dali Kingdom
* Old History of the Five Dynasties * Zizhi Tongjian *Tibetan Empire


References


Further reading

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External links

{{DEFAULTSORT:Five Dynasties And Ten Kingdoms Period Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms, Dynasties in Chinese history Former countries in Chinese history 10th century in China 10th-century conflicts Imperial China Geography of China Medieval Asia 10th-century establishments in China 907 establishments 960 disestablishments 10th-century disestablishments in China Historical eras