The THREE KINGDOMS (AD 184/220–280) was the tripartite division of
Academically, the period of the
Technology advanced significantly during this period. Shu chancellor
Zhuge Liang invented the wooden ox , suggested to be an early form of
the wheelbarrow, and improved on the repeating crossbow . Wei
Ma Jun is considered by many to be the equal of
Although relatively short, this historical period has been greatly
romanticized in the cultures of China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. It
has been celebrated and popularized in operas, folk stories, novels
and in more recent times, films, television, and video games. The best
known of these is
Luo Guanzhong 's _
Romance of the Three Kingdoms _, a
* 1 Periodization
* 2 History
* 2.3 Collapse of central power
* 2.4 Final years of the dynasty * 2.5 Emergence of the tripartite
* 2.6 The three states
* 2.6.1 Shu * 2.6.2 Wu * 2.6.3 Wei
* 2.7 Decline and end
* 2.7.1 Fall of Shu * 2.7.2 Fall of Wei * 2.7.3 Fall of Wu
* 3 Impact
* 3.1 Population * 3.2 Economy
* 4 Literature * 5 Legacy in popular culture * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 Bibliography * 10 Further reading * 11 External links
There is no set time period for the era, and many arbitrary
definitions are given. The strictest rule of dating would be to deem
the era to be from the point where all three states coexisted as
independent states (229, with the proclamation of the
The three kingdoms formed when the Han royal house declined. The Han royal house declined when the eunuchs abused the sovereign and officials subverted the government.
In doing so, he suggests that the historiography of the Three Kingdoms should begin at the rise of the Ten Eunuchs to power. He further argues that the _Romance of the Three Kingdoms_ defines the end of the era as 280, the downfall of Wu, justifying:
As the novel focuses on Han, it could have ended with the fall of Han. But Wei usurped Han. To end the tale before Han's enemy had itself met its fate would be to leave the reader unsatisfied. The novel could have ended with the fall of Wei, but Han's ally was Wu. To end the tale before Han's ally had fallen would be to leave the reader with an incomplete picture. So the tale had to end with the fall of Wu.
Chinese historians have different views about the starting point of
YELLOW TURBAN REBELLION
Main article: Yellow Turban Rebellion A Chinese Three Kingdoms era decorated brick taken from the wall of an underground tomb, with miniature paintings depicting people in domestic scenes
The power of the Eastern
In the third month of 184, Zhang Jiao , leader of the Way of Supreme
"The firmament has perished, the Yellow Sky will soon rise; in this year of _jiazi _, let there be prosperity in the world!" (蒼天已死，黃天當立。歲在甲子，天下大吉。)
Emperor Ling dispatched generals
Huangfu Song , Lu Zhi , and Zhu Jun
to lead the Han armies against the rebels, and decreed that local
governments had to supply soldiers to assist in their efforts. It is
at this point that the historical novel _Romance of the Three Kingdoms
_ begins its narrative. The Yellow Turbans were ultimately defeated
and its surviving followers dispersed throughout China, but due to the
turbulent situation throughout the empire, many were able to survive
as bandits in mountainous areas, thus continuing their ability to
contribute to the turmoil of the era. Map of Chinese provinces in
the prelude of Three Kingdom period
(In the late
With the widespread increase in bandits across the Chinese nation, the Han army had no way to repel each and every raiding party. In 188, Emperor Ling accepted a memorial from Yi Province governor Liu Yan suggesting he grant direct administrative power over feudal provinces and direct command of regional military to local governors, as well as promoting them in rank and filling such positions with members of the Liu family or court officials. This move made provinces (_zhou_) official administrative units, and although they had power to combat rebellions, the later intragovernmental chaos allowed these local governors to easily rule independently of the central government. Soon after this move, Liu Yan severed all of his region's ties to the Han imperial court, and several other areas followed suit.
DONG ZHUO IN POWER
In the same year, Emperor Ling died, and another struggle began
between the court eunuchs for control of the imperial family. Court
Jian Shuo planned to kill General-in-Chief
He Jin , a relative
of the imperial family, and to replace the crown prince Liu Bian with
his younger brother Liu Xie , the Prince of Chenliu (in present-day
On the evening of 24 September 189, General
Dong Zhuo observed that
In East China, in an attempt to restore the power of the Han, a large coalition against Dong Zhuo began to rise, with leaders such as Yuan Shao, Yuan Shu, and Cao Cao. Many provincial officials were compelled to join or risk elimination. In 191, Sun Jian (Yuan Shu's subordinate) led an army against Dong Zhuo and drove him from Luoyang to Chang'an. In the following year (192), Lü Bu , Dong Zhuo's former bodyguard, assassinated Dong Zhuo.
COLLAPSE OF CENTRAL POWER
_ A portrait of Cao Cao from Sancai Tuhui_
In 192, there was some talk among the coalition of appointing Liu Yu
, an imperial relative, as emperor, and gradually its members began to
fall out. Most of the warlords in the coalition, with a few
exceptions, sought the increase of personal military power in the time
of instability instead of seriously wishing to restore the Han
dynasty's authority. The Han empire was divided between a number of
regional warlords. As a result of the complete collapse of the central
government and eastern alliance, the North
Dong Zhuo, confident in his success, was slain by his follower Lü Bu , who plotted with minister Wang Yun . Lü Bu, in turn, was attacked by Dong Zhuo's subordinates: Li Jue , Guo Si , Zhang Ji and Fan Chou . Wang Yun and his whole family were executed. Lü Bu fled to Zhang Yang , a northern warlord, and remained with him for a time before briefly joining Yuan Shao, but it was clear that Lü Bu was far too independent to serve another.
Yuan Shao operated from Ye city in Ji Province, extending his power north of the Yellow River. Han Fu had formerly been the Governor of Ji Province, but he came under the control of Yuan Shao and was replaced by him.
Between the Yellow and Huai rivers, a conflict had erupted between
Yuan Shu, Cao Cao, Tao Qian (Governor of Xu Province), Lü Bu, and Liu
Bei (a man with a poor background who claimed imperial descent). Cao
Cao forced the Yellow Turbans to surrender in 192, drove Yuan Shu to
the south of the
Huai River in 193, inflicted devastation upon Tao
Qian in 194, received the surrender of
Liu Bei in 196, and captured
Lü Bu in 198. Cao was now in complete control of the
southern part of the North
In the northeast, Gongsun Du held control of southern Manchuria, where he had established a state. He was succeeded by his son Gongsun Kang in 204. In the north across the frontier, since the fall of imperial control, the region had become chaotic as the Xiongnu remnants came into conflict with the Xianbei. In Liang Province (present-day Gansu), rebellion had erupted in 184 . In the west, Liu Yan had been Governor of Yi Province since his appointment in 188. He was succeeded by his son Liu Zhang in 194. Directly north of Liu Zhang's territory, Zhang Lu (leader of the Five Pecks of Rice ) led a theocratic government at Hanzhong commandary (on the upper Han River). Liu Biao held control over his province as the Governor of Jing Province. Sun Quan held control over the lower Yangtze.
Xu And Yan Provinces
In 194, Cao Cao went to war with Tao Qian of Xu Province , because Tao's subordinate Zhang Kai had murdered Cao Cao's father Cao Song . Tao Qian received the support of Liu Bei and Gongsun Zan, but even then it seemed as if Cao Cao's superior forces would overrun Xu Province entirely. Cao Cao received word that Lü Bu had seized Yan Province in his absence, and accordingly he retreated, putting a halt to hostilities with Tao Qian for the time being. Tao Qian died in the same year, leaving his province to Liu Bei. A year later, in 195, Cao Cao managed to drive Lü Bu out of Yan Province. Lü Bu fled to Xu Province and was received by Liu Bei, and an uneasy alliance began between the two.
Afterwards, Lü Bu betrayed Liu Bei and seized Xu Province, forming an alliance with Yuan Shu's remnant forces. Liu Bei, together with his followers Zhang Fei and Guan Yu , fled to Cao Cao, who accepted him. Soon, preparations were made for an attack on Lü Bu, and the combined forces of Cao Cao and Liu Bei invaded Xu Province. Lü Bu's men deserted him, Yuan Shu's forces never arrived as reinforcements, and he was bound by his own subordinates Song Xian and Wei Xu and executed on Cao Cao's order.
Main article: Campaign against Yuan Shu
Yuan Shu, after being driven south in 193, established himself at his new capital Shouchun (present-day Anhui). He attempted to regain lost territory north of the Huai River. In 197, Yuan Shu declared himself emperor of his own dynasty. The move was a strategic blunder, as it drew the ire of many warlords across the land, including Yuan Shu's own subordinates who almost all abandoned him. Cao Cao issued orders to Sun Ce to attack Yuan Shu. Sun Ce complied, but first convinced Cao Cao to form a coalition against Yuan Shu, of which Liu Bei and Lü Bu were members. Attacked on all sides, Yuan Shu was defeated and fled into hiding. He perished in 199.
Emperor Xian\'s Fate
In August 195, Emperor Xian fled the tyranny of Li Jue at Chang'an
and made a year long hazardous journey east in search of supporters.
In 196, Emperor Xian came under the protection and control of Cao Cao
after he had succeeded in fleeing from the warlords of Chang'an.
Establishing the imperial court at
Xuchang in Henan, Cao Cao—who now
held the _de facto_ control—rigorously followed the formalities of
the court and justified his actions as a loyal minister of the Han.
By then, most of the smaller contenders for power had either been
absorbed by larger ones or destroyed. This was an extremely important
Cao Cao following the suggestion from his primary adviser,
Sculpture of a foreign soldier, Three Kingdoms, 3rd century AD,
Cao Cao, whose zone of control was the precursor to the state of Cao
Wei, had raised an army in 189. In several strategic movements and
battles, he controlled Yan Province and defeated several factions of
the Yellow Turban rebels. This earned him the aid of other local
militaries controlled by
Zhang Miao and
In 200, Dong Cheng , an imperial relative, received a secret edict from Emperor Xian to assassinate Cao Cao. He collaborated with Liu Bei on this effort, but Cao Cao soon found out about the plot and had Dong Cheng and his conspirators executed, with only Liu Bei surviving and fleeing to join Yuan Shao in the north.
After settling the nearby provinces, including a rebellion led by former Yellow Turbans, and internal affairs with the court, Cao Cao turned his attention north to Yuan Shao, who himself had eliminated his northern rival Gongsun Zan that same year. Yuan Shao, himself of higher nobility than Cao Cao, amassed a large army and camped along the northern bank of the Yellow River.
In mid-200, after months of preparations, the armies of
Cao Cao and
Yuan Shao clashed at the
Battle of Guandu
Cao Cao took advantage of Yuan Shao's death in 202, which resulted in
division among his sons, and advanced to the north. In 204, after the
Battle of Ye ,
Cao Cao captured the city of Ye . By the end of 207,
after a victorious campaign beyond the frontier against the Wuhuan
culminating in the
Battle of White Wolf Mountain ,
Cao Cao achieved
complete dominance of the North
South Of The Yangtze
In 191, Yuan Shu sent Sun Jian to
Liu Biao in the Jing province,
where Sun was killed by the defence under
Huang Zu . In 194, Sun Ce
(aged 18) came into the military service under Yuan Shu. He was given
the command of some troops who formerly had been commanded by his late
father Sun Jian. In the south, he defeated the warlords of Yang
Province , including Liu Yao ,
Wang Lang , and
Yan Baihu . In 198, Sun
Ce (aged 23) declared his independence from Yuan Shu who recently had
declared himself emperor. He held control over Danyang, Wu, and
Kuaiji commandaries (from present-day
Sun Quan (aged 18) succeeded him and quickly established his authority. By 203, he was expanding westward. In 208, Sun Quan defeated Huang Zu (Liu Biao's subordinate commander) around present-day Wuhan. He now held control over the territories south of the Yangtze (below Wuhan, Poyang region, and Hangzhou Bay). His navy established local superiority over the Yangtze. Nevertheless, he would soon come under the threat of Cao Cao's larger armies.
During Dong Zhuo's reign over the Han government, Liu Biao had been appointed as the Governor of Jing Province. His territory was located around his capital Xiangyang and the territory to the south around the Han and Yangtze River. Beyond his eastern border was the territory of Sun Quan.
In 200, during the time of the campaign around Guandu between Cao Cao and Yuan Shao, Liu Bei's forces had been defeated by a detachment of Cao Cao's army, forcing Liu Bei to flee and seek refuge with Liu Biao in Jing Province . In this exile, Liu Bei maintained his followers who had accompanied him and made new connections within Liu Biao's entourage. It was during this time that Liu Bei also met Zhuge Liang.
In late 208,
Liu Biao died and was succeeded by his youngest son Liu
Zong over the eldest son Liu Ji through political maneuvering. Liu
Bei had become the head of the opposition to a surrender when Cao
Cao's army marched southward to Jing. After the advice of his
supporters, Liu Zong surrendered to Cao Cao.
Cao Cao took control of
the province and began appointing scholars and officials from Liu
Biao's court to the local government. Meanwhile, Liu Ji had joined
Liu Bei to establish a line of defense at the
Battle Of Red Cliffs
Main article: Battle of Red Cliffs One traditional site of Red Cliffs (Chinese : 赤壁), whose actual location is a matter of intense debate
In 208, Cao Cao marched south with his army hoping to quickly unify the empire. Liu Biao 's son Liu Cong surrendered Jing Province and Cao was able to capture a sizable fleet at Jiangling. Sun Quan , the successor to Sun Ce in the lower Yangtze , continued to resist. His advisor Lu Su secured an alliance with Liu Bei , himself a recent refugee from the north, and Zhou Yu was placed in command of Sun Quan's navy, along with a veteran general who served the Sun family, Cheng Pu . Their combined armies of 50,000 met Cao Cao's fleet and 200,000-strong force at Red Cliffs that winter. After an initial skirmish, an attack beginning with a plan to set fire to Cao Cao's fleet was set in motion to lead to the decisive defeat of Cao Cao, forcing him to retreat in disarray back to the north. The allied victory at Red Cliffs ensured the survival of Liu Bei and Sun Quan, and provided the basis for the states of Shu and Wu.
FINAL YEARS OF THE DYNASTY
In 209, Zhou Yu captured Jiangling, establishing the south's complete dominance over the Yangtze River. Meanwhile, Liu Bei and his principal adviser Zhuge Liang captured the Xiang River basin commandaries, establishing control over the southern territories of Jing province. Sun Quan was forced to cede the territory around Jiangling to Liu Bei, because he could not establish a proper authority over it after Zhou Yu's death in 210.
In 211, Cao Cao defeated a warlord coalition in the Wei valley, ending in the Battle of Huayin, capturing the territory around Chang'an. In 211, Liu Bei accepted an invitation from Liu Zhang to come to Yi province for aiding the latter against a threat from the north, namely Zhang Lu of Hanzhong. Liu Bei met people within Liu Zhang's court who wished that he would replace Liu Zhang as the ruler of Yi Province. A year after his arrival, Liu Bei came into conflict with Liu Zhang and turned against him. In mid-214, Liu Bei received the surrender of Liu Zhang, capturing Yi province, and established his regime at Chengdu. In 215, Cao Cao captured Hanzhong after attacking and receiving the surrender of Zhang Lu. He had launched the attack from Chang'an through the Qinling Mountain passes to Hanzhong. The conquest threatened Liu Bei's territory located directly to the south. Cao Cao progressively increased his titles and power under the puppet Emperor Xian. He became the Chancellor in 208, the Duke of Wei in 214, and the King of Wei in 217. He also compelled Sun Quan to accept suzerainty to Wei, but it had no real effect in practice.
After Liu Bei had captured Yi province from Liu Zhang in 214, Sun Quan—who had been engaged with Cao Cao in the southeast at the region between the Huai and Yangtze rivers during the intervening years—turned his attention to the middle Yangtze. Cao Cao and Sun Quan had gained no success in breaking each other's positions. Liu Bei had established agricultural garrisons at Hefei and Shouchun to defend Cao Cao's territory near the Huai river. Sun Quan resented the fact that Liu Bei, a weaker ally, had gained so much territory west of him and demanded a larger share of the Xiang River basin. In 215, Lü Meng's (Sun Quan's officer) was sent to capture Jing province's southern commanderies, but Guan Yu (Liu Bei's general) launched a counterattack. Later that year, Liu Bei and Sun Quan reached a settlement that the Xiang River would serve as the border between their territories.
In 219, Liu Bei seized Hanzhong by defeating and killing General Xiahou Yuan, who served Cao Cao. Cao Cao sent reinforcements in an unsuccessful attempt to reclaim the territory. Liu Bei had now secured his territory against the north and declared himself the King of Hanzhong. In the east, Sun Quan attempted to capture Hefei from Cao Cao, but he did not succeed.
While Lu Su had been chief commander for Sun Quan in Jing Province, their policy was to maintain the alliance with Liu Bei while Cao Cao was still a threat. This changed when Sun Quan appointed Lü Meng when Lu Su died in 217. In 219, Guan Yu sailed from Jiangling up the Han River towards the city of Fan (near Xianyang), but was unable to capture it. In late 219, Lü Meng launched a surprise attack by sailing up the Yangtze towards Jiangling, resulting in its capture. Guan Yu was unable to hold his position as most of his army surrendered. He was captured and executed on Sun Quan's order. Cao Cao regained the Han valley, while Sun Quan captured all the territory east of the Yangtze Gorges.
EMERGENCE OF THE TRIPARTITE
A stone-carved head of a Chinese dragon , from the Three Kingdoms period
At the beginning of 220, Cao Cao died and was succeeded by his son Cao Pi. On 11 December, Emperor Xian abdicated and Cao Pi ascended the imperial throne by proclaiming the heavenly mandate as the Emperor of Wei. On 15 May 221, Liu Bei responded by proclaiming himself as the Emperor of Han. His state would become generally known as Shu Han. Sun Quan continued to recognize his _de jure_ suzerainty to Wei and was enfeoffed as the King of Wu.
At the end of 221, Shu invaded Wu in response for Guan Yu's killing and the loss of Jing Province by Wu. In early 222, Liu Bei arrived at the scene to personally take command of the invasion. Sun Quan dispatched Lu Xun to command over the defense of Wu against the invasion by Shu. In the sixth month of 222, waiting until Liu Bei was committed along the Yangtze below the Yangtze Gorges against the advice of his subordinates, Lu Xun launched a series of fire attacks against the flank of Liu Bei's extended position which caused disorder in the Shu army and Liu Bei's retreat to Bodi (near present-day Fengjie ). Afterwards in 222, Sun Quan renounced his suzerainty to Wei and declared the independence of Wu. In 223, Liu Bei perished at Bodi. Zhuge Liang now acted as a regent for Liu Shan (aged 17) and held control of the Shu government. Shu and Wu resumed their diplomatic relations by re-establishing peace and alliance in 223. On 23 June 229, Sun Quan proclaimed himself as the Emperor of Wu.
Shu controlled the upper Han valley and the territory west of the Yangtze Gorges. The Qinling Mountains divided Shu and Wei. Wei held control over the Wei and Huai valley, where agricultural garrisons were established at Shouchun and Hefei to defend Huai. Sun Quan controlled all of the Yangtze valley. The territory between the Huai and Yangtze was a desolate area, where a largely-static frontier between Wei and Wu had formed at the lower Han valley.
THE THREE STATES
Main article: Shu Han See also: Zhuge Liang\'s Southern Campaign and Zhuge Liang\'s Northern Expeditions
In 223, Liu Shan rose to the throne of Shu following his father's defeat and death. From 224 to 225, during his southward campaigns, Zhuge Liang conquered the southern territories up to Lake Dian in Yunnan.
In 227, Zhuge Liang transferred his main Shu armies to Hanzhong , and opened up the battle for the northwest with Wei. The next year, he ordered Zhao Yun to attack from Ji Gorge as a diversion while Zhuge himself led the main force to Mount Qi. The vanguard Ma Su suffered a tactical defeat at Jieting and the Shu army was forced to withdraw. In the next six years Zhuge Liang attempted several more offensives, but supply problems limited the capacity for success. In 234 he led his last great northern offensive, reaching the Battle of Wuzhang Plains south of the Wei River . Due to the death of Zhuge Liang (234), the Shu army was forced once again to withdraw, but were pursued by Wei. The Shu forces began to withdraw; Sima Yi deduced Zhuge Liang's demise and ordered an attack. Shu struck back almost immediately, causing Sima Yi to second guess and allow Shu to withdraw successfully.
Sun Quan turned to the aborigines of the southeast, whom the Chinese
collectively called the "Shanyue ". A collection of successes against
the rebellious tribesmen culminated in the victory of 224. In that
Zhuge Ke ended a three-year siege of Danyang with the surrender
of 100,000 Shanyue. Of these, 40,000 were drafted as auxiliaries into
the Wu army. Meanwhile, Shu was also experiencing troubles with the
indigenous tribes of their south. The southwestern
Nanman peoples rose
in revolt against Shu authority, captured and looted cities in Yi
Province. Zhuge Liang, recognizing the importance of stability in the
south, ordered the advance of the Shu armies in three columns against
the Nanman. He fought a number of engagements against the chieftain
Meng Huo , at the end of which
Meng Huo submitted. A tribesman was
allowed to reside at the Shu capital
In the times of
Zhuge Liang 's northern offensives, the state of Wu
had always been on the defensive against invasions from the north. The
Hefei was the scene of many bitter battles and under
constant pressure from Wei after the Battle of Red Cliffs. Warfare had
grown so intense that many of the residents chose to migrate and
resettle south of the
Sun Quan 's long reign is regarded as a time of plenty for his
southern state. Migrations from the north and the settlement of the
Shanyue increased manpower for agriculture, especially along the lower
reaches of the Yangtze and in
Kuaiji Commandery along the southern
Hangzhou Bay . River transport blossomed, with the
construction of the Zhedong and Jiangnan canals. Trade with Shu
flourished, with a huge influx of Shu cotton and the development of
celadon and metal industries. Ocean transport was improved to such an
extent that sea journeys were made to
Main article: Cao Wei
In 226, Cao Pi died (aged 40) and was succeeded by his eldest son Cao Rui (aged 22). Minister Chen Qun, General Cao Zhen, General Cao Xiu, and General Sima Yi were appointed as regents, even though Cao Rui was able to manage the government in practice. Eventually the former three died, leaving only Sima Yi as the senior minister and military commander. In 226, Sima Yi successfully defended Xiangyang against an offensive from Wu; this battle was the first time he had command in the field. In 227, Sima Yi was appointed to a post at Chang'an where he managed the military affairs along the Han River.
In 238, Sima Yi was dispatched to command a military campaign against Gongsun Yuan of Manchuria, resulting in Sima Yi's capture of his capital Xiangping and massacre of his government. Between 244 and 245, General Guanqiu Jian was dispatched to invade Goguryeo and severely devastated that state. The northeastern frontier of Wei was now secured from any possible threats.
In 238, Cao Rui perished at age 35. He was succeeded by his adopted son Cao Fang (aged 7), who was a close member of the imperial family. Cao Rui had appointed Cao Shuang and Sima Yi to be Cao Fang's regents, even though he had contemplated to establish a regency council dominated by imperial family members. Cao Shuang held the principal control over the court. Meanwhile, Sima Yi was received the honorific title of Grand Tutor, but had virtually no influence at the court.
DECLINE AND END
From the late 230s, tensions began to become visible between the
imperial Cao clan and the Sima clan. Following the death of
Cao Zhen ,
factionalism was evident between
Cao Shuang and the Grand Tutor Sima
Yi . In deliberations,
Cao Shuang placed his own supporters in
important posts and excluded Sima Yi, whom he regarded as a dangerous
threat. The power of the Sima clan, one of the great landowning
families of the Han dynasty, was bolstered by Sima Yi's military
Sima Yi was an extremely capable strategist
and politician. In 238 he crushed the rebellion of
Gongsun Yuan and
Fall Of Shu
Main article: Conquest of Shu by Wei
The decreasing strength of the Cao clan was mirrored by the decline
of Shu. After
Zhuge Liang 's death, his position as chancellor fell to
Jiang Wan ,
Fei Yi and
Dong Yun , in that order. But after 258, Shu
politics became increasingly controlled by the eunuch faction and
corruption rose. Despite the energetic efforts of
Jiang Wei , Zhuge
Liang's protege , Shu was unable to secure any decisive achievement.
In 263, Wei launched a three-pronged attack and the Shu army was
forced into general retreat from Hanzhong.
Jiang Wei hurriedly held a
position at Jiange but he was outflanked by the Wei commander Deng Ai
, who force-marched his army from Yinping through territory formerly
considered impassable. By the winter of the year, the capital Chengdu
fell due to the strategic invasion of Wei by
Deng Ai who invaded
Fall Of Wei
Cao Huan succeeded to the throne in 260 after Cao Mao was killed in a failed coup against Sima Zhao . Soon after, Sima Zhao died and his title as Duke of Jìn was inherited by his son Sima Yan . Sima Yan immediately began plotting to become emperor but faced stiff opposition. Following advice from his advisors, Cao Huan decided the best course of action would be to abdicate, unlike his predecessor Cao Mao. Sima Yan seized the throne in 264 after forcing Cao Huan's abdication, effectively overthrowing the Wei dynasty and establishing the successor Jin dynasty . This situation was similar to the deposal of Emperor Xian of Han by Cao Pi 40 years earlier.
Fall Of Wu
Main article: Conquest of Wu by Jin _ A celadon candle lamp in the shape of a bixie _, a mythological lion-like creature, Western Jin period, 265–316 AD
Sun Quan 's death and the ascension of the young Sun Liang
to the throne in 252, the state of Wu went into steady decline.
Successful Wei suppression of rebellions in the southern Huai River
Sima Zhao and
Sima Shi reduced any opportunity of Wu
influence. The fall of Shu signalled a change in Wei politics. After
Liu Shan surrendered to Wei, Sima Yan (grandson of Sima Yi), overthrew
the Wei emperor and proclaimed his own dynasty of Jin in 264, ending
46 years of Cao dominion in the north. After Jin's rise, emperor Sun
Xiu of Wu died, and his ministers gave the throne to
Sun Hao . Sun Hao
was a promising young man, but upon ascension he became a tyrant,
killing or exiling all who dared oppose him in the court. In 269 Yang
Hu , a Jin commander in the south, started preparing for the invasion
of Wu by ordering the construction of a fleet and the training of
Yellow Turban Rebellion , serious famine followed in the
Central Plains of China. After his coming to power,
Dong Zhuo gave
full swing to his army to plunder, and to rape women. When the
Guandong Coalition was starting the campaign against Dong Zhuo, he
embarked upon a scorched earth campaign, proclaiming that "all the
The following table shows the severe decrease of population during
that period. From the late
THREE KINGDOMS PERIOD POPULATIONS YEAR HOUSEHOLDS POPULATION NOTES
Shu Han , 221 200,000 900,000
Shu Han, 263 280,000 1,082,000 At Shu's demise, the population contained 102,000 armed soldiers and 40,000 various officials.
Eastern Wu, 280 530,000 2,535,000 At Wu's demise, the population had 32,000 officials, 230,000 soldiers, and 5,000 imperial concubines.
Cao Wei , 260 663,423 4,432,881
Western Jin dynasty , 280 2,495,804 16,163,863 After reuniting China, the Jin dynasty's population was greatest around this time.
From Zou Jiwan (Chinese: 鄒紀萬), _Zhongguo Tongshi – Weijin Nanbeichao Shi_ 中國通史·魏晉南北朝史, (1992).
While it is clear that warfare undoubtedly took many lives during
this period, the census figures do not support the idea that tens of
millions were wiped out solely from warfare. Other factors such as
mass famines and diseases, due to the collapse of sustaining
governance and migrations out of
In the late
In economic terms the division of the
Cao Cao , the founder of the Wei kingdom and his four sons were influential poets , especially Cao Zhi (192-232) and Cao Pi (187-226) Cao Pi wrote the earliest work of literary criticism, the _Essay on Literature_. Cao Zhi, together with Xu Gan , spnsored a resurgence of the Jian\'nan style of lyric poetry . Cao Zhi is considered by most modern critics to be the most important Chinese writer between Qu Yuan and Tao Qian .
Chen Shou 's _ Records of the Three Kingdoms _, as annotated by Pei Songzhi is the official history of the three states. The literary scholar Victor Mair remarks that "among its biographies is to be found some of the most interesting writing in the dynastic histories."
LEGACY IN POPULAR CULTURE
Further information: List of media adaptations of Romance of the
Numerous people and affairs from the period later became Chinese
legends. The most complete and influential example is the historical
Romance of the Three Kingdoms _, written by Luo Guanzhong
* v * t * e
Conflicts at the end of the
* Yellow Turbans
* Liang Province
Dong Zhuo (Xingyang )
* Xu Province
* Yan Province
* Yuan Shu
* v * t * e
Wars of the
* ← _End of
Battle of Hulao Pass
* End of the
* ^ Referring to the
* ^ Theobald (2000) .
* ^ Tanner, Harold Miles (13 March 2009). _China: A History_.
Indianapolis, Indiana : Hackett Publishing . pp. 141–142. ISBN
* ^ Ward (2008) , p. 15.
* ^ San (2014) , p. 145.
* ^ Nicola Di Cosmo and Robin D. S. Yates. Military Culture in
Imperial China. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674031098 .
* ^ Hans Bielenstein. Chinese historical demography A.D. 2-1982.
Östasiatiska museet. p 17
* ^ Tseng, Jane (20 January 2015). "This Man Is Riding a
Masterpiece Like Zhuge Liang’s on the Street!". _The Vision Times_.
Retrieved 31 March 2015. the wooden ox (literally wooden ox and
flowing horse) was first created by chancellor
Zhuge Liang during the
* de Crespigny, Rafe (1991). "The
* Sima, Guang (1952). _The Chronicle of the
_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to THREE KINGDOMS PERIOD _.
* Guide to Reading "Three Kingdoms."
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Xia → Shang → Zhou → Qin → Han → 3 Kingdoms → Jìn / 16 Kingdoms → N. & S. Dynasties → Sui → Tang → 5 Dynasties position: absolute;" /> Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Three_Kingdoms additional terms may apply. By