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Chinese History - Cheng-Han Dynasty 成漢

Periods of Chinese History
The Cheng-Han dynasty 成漢 (304-347) ruled over one of the so-called Sixteen Barbarian States 五胡十六國 (300~430) that dominated northern China during the early Southern and Northern Dynasties period 南北朝 (300~600). It was founded by Li Te 李特 who belonged to the Cong 賨 tribe of the Di people 氐. From the capital Chengdu 成都 (modern Chengdu, Sichuan), the dynasty controlled the region of the modern province of Sichuan, as well as parts of northern Yunnan and Guizhou.
Several years of drought in the provinces of Qinzhou 秦州 and Yongzhou 雍州 (modern Shaanxi) had driven people towards the south in search for a life subsistance, among them a lot of native peoples. The provinces of Yizhou 益州 and Liangzhou 粱洲 (modern Sichuan and Chongqing) thus saw a huge amount of immigrants during the Western Jin period 西晉 (265-316). The local government could not or wanted not to deal with the immigrants, and so the leader of the Cong from Lüeyang 略陽, Li Te, overthrew local officials from 301 on and ruled independently. In 303 he even attacked the capital of Yizhou, Chengdu. The regional inspector (cishi 刺史) Luo Shang 羅尚 managed to kill him with the support of the local gentry. His son Li Liu 李流 took continuted the fight againt the Jin officals, but he died soon. Li Te's son Li Xiong 李雄 took revenge and soon took Chengdu. He proclaimed himself King of Chengdu and in 306 adopted the title of emperor (Emperor Wu 成漢武帝, r. 303-334). After a long and quiet reign, his nephew Li Ban 李班 (Emperor Ai 成漢哀帝, r. 334) took over the throne in 334, but Li Xiong' son Li Qi 李期 killed his cousin and made himself emperor (r. 334-337). He was dethroned in 338 by Li Shou 李壽 (Emperor Zhaowen 成漢昭文帝, r. 338-343), a cousin of Li Xiong. Li Shou changed the name of the realm from "Chengdu" to "Han". The dynasty is therefore known as Cheng-Han. He died in 343 and was succeeded by his son Li Shi 李勢. In 347 general Huan Wen 桓溫 of the Eastern Jin dynasty 東晉 (317-420) conquered the region and ended the Cheng-Han dynasty. Li Shi was enfeoffed as Marquis of Guiyi 歸義侯.
The tribe of Li Te was not the only native community. Others played and important role in the foundation of the dynasty. Only the submission of Xu Yu 徐轝 and Fan Changsheng 范長生 enabeled Li Xiong to have a grip on all part of the provinces of Yizhou and Liangzhou. Fan Changsheng was not only a powerful local leader who disposed of a considerably large private army, but was also an adherent of Daoism that had proved to be a decisive power in the whole region. Li Xiong made Fan Changsheng his Counsellor-in-chief (chengxiang 丞相). He was enfeoffed as Marquis of Xishan 西山侯 and allowed to bear the title of "Grand master of Heaven and Earth" (tiandi dashi 天地大師). He was furthermore exempted from all taxes and could collect his own taxes in his own fief. Such an eminent position helped the two families Li and Fan to establish intimate relationships, and it also contributed generally to a growing power of local potentates and their adherents and retainers.
The economic situation of the Cheng-Han empire was quite favourable. The relatively peaceful period and comparatively low taxes contributed to the welfare of the empire. The internal struggels at the court did not affect this situation. Yet with the reign of Li Shou the situation deteriorated by a mismanagement of the state finances.


Rulers of the Cheng-Han Dynasty 成漢 (304-347)
Capital: Chengdu 成都, Sichuan
Ethnicity: Di 氐, Cong 賨
dynastic title {temple name}
-----reign periods
personal name
Cheng-Han Jingdi 成漢景帝 {Shizu 始祖} r. 303
-----Jianchu 建初 303
Li Te 李特
King Qin Wenwang 秦文王 r. 303 Li Liu 李流
Cheng-Han Wudi 成漢武帝 {Taizong 太宗} r. 303-334
-----Jianxing 建興 304-305
-----Yanping 晏平 (Xuanping 宣平, Taiwu 太武 or Dawu 大武) 306-310
-----Yuheng 玉衡 311-334
306 Emperor of Dacheng 大成.
Li Xiong 李雄
Cheng-Han Aidi 成漢哀帝 {Prince Li 戾太子} r. 334 Li Ban 李班
The Deposed Ruler (Feizhu) 成漢廢主 (Deposed Emperor, Feidi 廢帝), Duke Qiongdu Yougong 邛都幽公 r. 334-337
-----Yuheng 玉恆 335-337
Li Qi 李期
Cheng-Han Zhaowendi 成漢昭文帝 {Zhongzong 中宗} r. 338-343
-----Hanxing 漢興 338-343
Dynasty renamed Han 漢.
Li Shou 李壽
The Last Ruler (Houzhu) 成漢後主 (Last Emperor, Houdi 後帝), Marquis of Guiyi 歸義侯 r. 343-347
-----Taihe 太和 344-345
-----Jianing 嘉寧 346-347
Li Shi 李勢
347 Cheng-Han conquered by Eastern Jin 東晉.

Sources: Lu Caiquan 魯才全 (1992), "Cheng-Han 成漢", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, pp. 99-100. ● Zhongguo lishi da cidian bianzuan weiyuanhui 中國歷史大辭典編纂委員會 (ed. 2000), Zhongguo lishi da cidian 中國歷史大辭典 (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe), Vol. 2, pp. 3317-3318.

October 30, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail

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