Wei (state)
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Wei (; ;
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, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It i ...
: *') was one of the seven major
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
during the
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#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spri ...
of ancient China. It was created from the three-way
Partition of Jin The Partition of Jin (), the watershed between the Spring and Autumn and Warring States The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolida ...
, together with
Han Han may refer to: Ethnic groups * Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on ...
and Zhao. Its territory lay between the states of
QinQin may refer to: Dynasties and states * Qin (state) (秦), a major state during the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China * Qin dynasty (秦), founded by the Qin state in 221 BC and ended in 206 BC * Daqin (大秦), ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empi ...
and Qi and included parts of modern-day
Henan Henan (; ; alternatively Honan) is a landlocked province of China The provincial level administrative divisions () are the highest-level administrative divisions of China. There are 34 such divisions claimed by the People's Republic of ...

Henan
,
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
, and
Shandong Shandong (; alternately romanized as Shantung) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subn ...

Shandong
. After its capital was moved from Anyi to Daliang (present-day
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
) during the reign of King Hui, Wei was also called Liang ().


History


Foundation

Surviving sources trace the ruling house of Wei to the Zhou royalty: Gao, Duke of Bi (), was a son of
King Wen of Zhou King Wen of Zhou (; 1112–1050 BC, the Civilizing King) was Count of ZhouZhou may refer to: Chinese history * King Zhou of Shang () (1105 BC–1046 BC), the last king of the Shang dynasty * Predynastic Zhou (), 11th-century BC precursor to the Z ...

King Wen of Zhou
. His descendants took their
surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name A personal name, or full name, in onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, history, and use of proper names. An ''wikt ...
, Bi, from his
fief A fief (; la, feudum) was the central element of feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the hist ...
. After the destruction of Bi,
Bi Wan BI, Bi or bi may refer to: Prefix * Bi- Numeral or number prefixes are prefix A prefix is an which is placed before the of a word. Adding it to the beginning of one word changes it into another word. For example, when the prefix ''un-'' ...
() escaped to Jin, where he became a courtier of Duke Xian's, accompanying his personal carriage. After a successful military expedition, Bi Wan was granted Wei, from which his own descendants then founded the house of Wei.


Spring and Autumn period

Jin's political structure was drastically changed after the slaughter of its ruling dynasty during and after the
Li Ji Unrest The Li Ji Unrest or Rebellion (657–651 BCE) was a series of events that took place in the Jin (Chinese state), State of Jin during the Spring and Autumn period of ancient China, caused by Li Ji (concubine), Li Ji, the concubine of Duke Xian of Ji ...
. Afterwards, "Jin ha no princely house" () and its political power diffused into extended relations of the ruling family, including the Wei. In the last years of the
Spring and Autumn period #REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dyna ...
, the founders of Wei, Zhao, and
Han Han may refer to: Ethnic groups * Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on ...
joined to attack and kill the dominant house of Zhi () in 453 BCE, resulting in the
partition of Jin The Partition of Jin (), the watershed between the Spring and Autumn and Warring States The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolida ...
.
King Weilie of Zhou King Weilie of Zhou (), personal name Jī Wǔ, was the thirty-second king of the Chinese Zhou Dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chine ...
finally legitimized the situation in 403 BCE, when he elevated the three houses' heads to the rank of
marquess A marquess (; french: marquis ), es, marqués, pt, marquês. is a nobleman Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), arist ...
().


Warring States Period

The state reached its apogee during the reigns of its first two rulers,
Marquess Wen of Wei Marquess Wen of Wei (Wèi Wén Hóu; died 396 BCE) was the first Marquess to rule the Wei (state), State of Wei during the Warring States period of Chinese history (475–220 BCE). Born Wei Si (魏斯), he belonged to the House of Wei, one of ...
and
Marquess Wu of Wei Marquess Wu of Wei (died 370 BCE), was a ruler of the State of Wei Wei (; ; Old Chinese: *') was one of the seven major State (Ancient China), states during the Warring States period of ancient China. It was created from the three-way Partition o ...
. The third ruler,
King Hui of Wei King Hui of Wei (; 400-319 BC), originally called Marquis Hui of Wei, and after 344, King Hui of Liang () was the third ruler of the state of Wei during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese hist ...
, declared himself an independent sovereign and concentrated on economic developments, including irrigation projects at the
Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin: uə xɔ Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is ...
. Hui felt that
QinQin may refer to: Dynasties and states * Qin (state) (秦), a major state during the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China * Qin dynasty (秦), founded by the Qin state in 221 BC and ended in 206 BC * Daqin (大秦), ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empi ...
in the west was weak and their land a barren waste. He focused on conquering the well-settled eastern lands which were richer in known resources. However, a series of battles including the
battle of Maling The Battle of Maling () took place in Maling, currently Dazhangjia Town (), Shen County (), Henan, Henan Province, in 342 BC during the Warring States period (476–221 BC). The combatants were the State of Qi (state), Qi, who fought on behalf o ...

battle of Maling
in 341 BCE checked Wei's ambitions while Qin's expansion went largely unimpeded, boosting its economy and military strength. Early strengthening of the state of Wei resulted from adoption of
Legalist Legalist, Inc. is a Legal financing, litigation finance company based in San Francisco, California that funds commercial lawsuits on behalf of plaintiff attorneys, applying machine learning algorithms to evaluate its potential investments. History ...
reforms proposed by
Li KuiLi Kui may refer to: *Li Kui (legalist), government minister in the Wei state *Li Kui (chancellor), chancellor of the Tang Dynasty *Li Kui (Water Margin), fictional character in the ''Water Margin'' {{hndis, Li, Kui ), personal name Jia (假), son of King Jingmin, (228–225 BCE) According to
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu B ...

Sima Qian
's ''
Records of the Grand Historian The ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dep ...

Records of the Grand Historian
'' written in the 1st centuryBCE, the list of rulers is slightly different: King Hui died in 335BCE and was succeeded by his son King Xiang in 334BCE. King Xiang died in 319BCE and was succeeded by his son King Ai (), who died in 296BCE and was succeeded by his son King Zhao. However, the majority of scholars and commentators believe that King Ai, whose personal name is not recorded, never existed. It seems that Sima Qian assigned the second part of the reign of King Hui (starting in 334BCE, on which date Marquess Hui probably proclaimed himself King) to his son King Xiang and added King Ai to fill in the gap between 319 and 296BCE. On the other hand, a minority of scholars believe King Ai did indeed exist.


Family tree of Wei rulers


Notable people

*
Li KuiLi Kui may refer to: *Li Kui (legalist), government minister in the Wei state *Li Kui (chancellor), chancellor of the Tang Dynasty *Li Kui (Water Margin), fictional character in the ''Water Margin'' {{hndis, Li, Kui