Emperor Jingzong of Western Xia
Emperor Jingzong of Western Xia (1003–1048), born Li Yuanhao (Chinese: 李元昊), or Tuoba Yuanhao (Chinese: 拓跋元昊), was the first emperor of the Western Xia Empire located in central China, reigning from 1038 to 1048. He was the eldest son of the Tangut ruler Li Deming.
|Emperor Jingzong of Western Xia|
|Emperor of Western Xia Dynasty|
|Reign||10 November 1038 – 19 January 1048|
|Actual reign||1032 – 19 January 1048|
|Born||7 June 1003|
|Died||19 January 1048 (aged 44)|
|Father||Li Deming 李德明 (posthumously honored as Emperor Taizong)|
|Mother||Lady Weimu 卫慕氏 (posthumously honored as Empress Huicidun'ai)|
After his father died in 1032, he became the leader of the Tangut. He was described as a talented army general and had always wanted to establish a country for the Tanguts.
Early in his leadership, Jingzong banished the surname Zhao which had been given by the Song dynasty, replacing it with the surname Weiming (Chinese: 嵬名, Tangut: 𗼨𗆟 ).
He had also started a revolution, changing the lifestyles of the Tangut people. He ordered Tangut men to shave their heads or they would face public execution. He also ordered a change of clothing and writing.
He took an aggressive stance with the Song dynasty. At its height, he claimed an army of 500,000 men.
In 1034 Jingzong attacked the Huanqing territories. He captured Song general Qi Zongju.
At this point, he changed his target to the Uyghur peoples of the West, and his efforts against them began in 1036.
In 1038 he declared himself the emperor of the Western Xia Dynasty whose capital was situated in Xingqing. Afterwards, he launched a campaign against the Song. Although the Tangut empire won a series of three large battles, the victories proved to be very costly and they found their forces depleted, due in part to a scorched earth policy by the Song. In 1044 the Tangut Empire signed a treaty with the Song dynasty resulting in the nominal acknowledgment of Song sovereignty by the Tangut and the payment of tribute by the Song.
Culture and politicsEdit
The Emperor led to a reorganization of much of the Empire with the help of Chinese advisors. The Empire created new departments and administrative services. The Emperor also knew Chinese and had Chinese works translated into his people's language. He accomplished this by supporting the development of a written language for the Tangut people.
Nevertheless, Emperor Jingzong had strong opposition to the people imitating the Song dynasty too closely. He emphasized the value of their traditional nomadic way of life and discouraged any dependence on Song luxury items. Trade with the Song was minimized or cut off before the peace treaty that came four years before his death. Although Li used talented Song workers, to retain his own power and dynasty, he did not want to be conquered by the Song dynasty.
Later on the Tangut Li emperors would switch between multiple sides, Mongols, Jurchen Jin, and the Song in order to retain their power. Li's attacks weakened the Jin and Song dynasties to the extent that the Mongols would later be able to conquer China. For vacillating between multiple sides, colluding with Mongols and Jurchen, and launching attacks against the Song, Li Yuanhao is considered a traitor to the Chinese people.
However, the Mongols ultimately crushed the Western Xia dynasty, destroyed nearly any vestige of the empire, and ended Li's reign in Ningxia. The Mongols would then reunify China under the Yuan dynasty.
Succession and deathEdit
In 1048, both the Prime Minister, Mozang Epang (沒藏訛龐), and Prince Ninglingge (寧令哥) conspired to assassinate Jingzong. Prince Ninglingge attempted to kill Jingzong with a sword, but he only managed to slice off Jingzong's nose. Frightened by what he had done, Prince Ninglingge fled to Mozang for backup, but Mozang betrayed Ninglingge by turning him in as the assassin.
Although Jingzong initially survived the assassination, he succumbed to his wounds a few days later.