The Northern Zhou (; ) followed the Western Wei, and ruled 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 country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
from 557 to 581 AD. The last of the
Northern Dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding ...
of China's Northern and Southern dynasties period, it was eventually overthrown by the
Sui Dynasty The Sui dynasty (, ) was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China of pivotal significance. The Sui unified the Northern and Southern dynasties and reinstalled the rule of ethnic Han in the entirety of China proper, along with sinicization ...

Sui Dynasty
. Like the preceding Western and
Northern Wei Maitreya Maitreya (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Euro ...
dynasties, the Northern Zhou emperors were of
Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were an ancient nomadic people that once resided in the eastern Eurasian steppes in what is today Mongolia Mongolia (, Mongolian language, Mongolian: , Mongolian script, Traditional Mongolian: ') is a landlocked coun ...


The Northern Zhou's basis of power was established by Yuwen Tai, who was paramount general of Western Wei, following the split of Northern Wei into Western Wei and
Eastern Wei The Eastern Wei (;"Wei"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''. ) followed the disintegration of the Northern Wei Dynast ...
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 Emperor Xiaomin of Northern Zhou ((北)周孝閔帝) (542–557), personal name Yuwen Jue (宇文覺), nickname Dharani (陀羅尼), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou (although he used the alternative title "Heavenly Prince" (''Ti ...
(Emperor Xiaomin), establishing Northern Zhou. The reigns of the first three emperors (Yuwen Tai's sons) Emperor Xiaomin, Emperor Ming, and 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 The Northern Qi (), also called Later Qi and Gao Qi, was one of the Northern dynasties of imperial China history and ruled northeastern China from 550 to 577. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Wenxuan of Northern Qi, Emperor Wenxuan, and it was en ...
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 greatly weakened the state. After his death in 580, when he was already nominally retired (''
Taishang Huang In Chinese history, a Taishang Huang or Taishang Huangdi is an honorific and institution of retired emperorship. The former emperor had, at least in name, abdicated in favor of someone else. Although technically no longer the reigning sovereign, ...
''), Xuan's father-in-law Emperor Wen of Sui, Yang Jian took power, and in 581 seized the throne from Emperor Xuan's son Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou, 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.


Emperors' family tree

See also

* List of pre-modern great powers





* ''Book of Zhou'' * ''History of Northern Dynasties'' * ''Zizhi Tongjian''

External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Zhou Northern Zhou, Dynasties in Chinese history Former countries in Chinese history 557 establishments 581 disestablishments 6th-century establishments in China 6th-century disestablishments in China