Northern Zhou

Zhou (//), known in historiography as the Northern Zhou (Chinese: 北周; pinyin: Běi Zhōu), was a Xianbei-led dynasty of China that lasted from 557 to 581. One of the Northern dynasties of China's Northern and Southern dynasties period, it succeeded the Western Wei dynasty and was eventually overthrown by the Sui dynasty.

Zhou
557–581
Northern Zhou territories in light blue
Northern Zhou territories in light blue
Administrative divisions as of 572
Administrative divisions as of 572
CapitalChang'an
GovernmentMonarchy
Emperor 
• 557
Emperor Xiaomin of Northern Zhou
• 557–560
Emperor Ming of Northern Zhou
• 560–578
Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou
• 578–579
Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou
• 579–581
Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou
History 
• Established
15 February[1] 557
• Disestablished
4 March[2] 581
Area
577[3]1,500,000 km2 (580,000 sq mi)
CurrencyChinese coin,
Chinese cash
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Western Wei
Northern Qi
Sui dynasty
Today part ofChina
Mongolia

HistoryEdit

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 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), 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 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), Xuan's father-in-law Yang Jian took power, and in 581 seized the throne from Emperor Xuan's son Emperor Jing, establishing Sui. The young Emperor Jing and the imperial Yuwen clan, were subsequently slaughtered by Yang Jian.[4][5]

The area was known as Guannei 關內. The Northern Zhou drew upon the Zhou dynasty for inspiration.[6] The Northern Zhou military included Han Chinese.[7]

Cultural artifactsEdit

EmperorsEdit

Posthumous name Personal name Period of Reigns Era name
Xiaomin Yuwen Jue 557
Ming, Xiaoming Yuwen Yu 557–560 Wucheng (武成) 559–560
Wu Yuwen Yong 561–578 Baoding (保定) 560–565
Tianhe (天和) 566–572
Jiande (建德) 572–578
Xuanzheng (宣政) 578
Xuan Yuwen Yun 578–579 Dacheng (大成) 579
Jing Yuwen Chan 579–581[note 1] Daxiang (大象) 579–581
Dading (大定) 581

Emperors' family treeEdit

Northern Zhou emperors family tree
Yuwen Gong
宇文肱 (d.526)
Yuan Huai 元怀
(488–517)
Yuwen Hao
宇文顥
(d. 524)
Princess
Fengyi
(d. 541)
Yuwen Tai
宇文泰
(507–556)
Emp. Xiaowu
of Northern Wei
r. 532–535
Dugu Xin
獨孤信
504–557
Yuwen Hu
宇文護
(513–572)
Yuwen Jue 宇文覺
(542–557)

Xiaomin
(r. 557)
1
Yuwen Xian
宇文憲 545–578
Yuwen Yong
宇文邕 (543–578)

Wu
(r. 560–578)
3
Yuwen Yu 宇文毓
(534–560)

Ming
(r. 557–560)
2
Empress
Dugu

獨孤王后
d.558
Dugu Qieluo
獨孤伽羅
544–602
Emperor
Wen of Sui

r. 581–604
Duchess
Dugu
Yuwen Yun 宇文贇
(559–580)

Xuan
(r. 578–579)
4
Yang Lihua
楊麗華
561–609
Sui dynastyEmperor
Gaozu of Tang

r. 618–626
Yuwen Yan 宇文衍
(573–581)

Jing
(r. 579–581)
5
Tang dynasty


See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ In 580, after Emperor Xuan's death, the general Yuchi Jiong, believing that the regent Yang Jian was about to seize the throne, rose against Yang and declared a son of Emperor Wu's brother Yuwen Zhao (宇文招) the Prince of Zhao, whose name is lost to history, emperor, but as Yuchi was soon defeated, and nothing further was known about the emperor that he declared, that son of Yuwen Zhao is usually not considered an emperor of Northern Zhou.

ReferencesEdit

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 167.
  2. ^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 175.
  3. ^ Rein Taagepera "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.", Social Science History Vol. 3, 115-138 (1979)
  4. ^ Patricia Buckley Ebrey; Anne Walthall (1 January 2013). East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History. Cengage Learning. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-1-133-60647-5.
  5. ^ Patricia Buckley Ebrey; Anne Walthall (1 January 2013). Pre-Modern East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Volume I: To 1800. Cengage Learning. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-1-133-60651-2.
  6. ^ Charles Holcombe (2011). A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilization to the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge University Press. pp. 97–. ISBN 978-0-521-51595-5.
  7. ^ Micklewright, Nancy (1986). ARS ORIENTALIS. p. 42. ISBN 9780934686440.
  8. ^ Wu, Mandy Jui-man (2004). "Exotic Goods as Mortuary Display in Sui Dynasty Tombs--A Case Study of Li Jingxun's Tomb". Sino-Platonic Papers. 142: 55.

SourcesEdit

External linksEdit