Friday, December 1, 2017

Kingdom of Shu - Three Kingdoms

With only two emperors Liu Bei and his son Liu Chan, the reign of Kingdom of Shu was much shorter than that of the Kingdom of Wei. As for the national strength, Kingdom of Shu was the weakest of the three kingdoms.

In 188, a member of the imperial clan of Han Dynasty (206 BC-220), Liu Yan, was appointed the chief executive of Yizhou (which includes present-day Sichuan Province, Chongqing City, southern Shaanxi Province and northwest Yunnan Province). After Liu Yan died, his son Liu Zhang succeeded.

In 212, Liu Zhang invited Liu Bei and his court to Yizhou, persuading him to attack Hanzhong. In 215, Liu Bei occupied Yizhou and then captured Hanzhong, after which he proclaimed himself as 'King of Hanzhong'. In the same year, Jingzhou was captured and Guan Yu was killed by Sun Quan's army. The following year, hoping to recapture Jingzhou, Liu Bei fought with the Wu army in the Battle of Yiling. Unfortunately, he did not achieve his goal and soon died of illness. Following Liu Bei's death, his son Liu Chan succeeded.
During the reign of Liu Chan, the Chengxiang (ancient trm for secretary of state) of Shu Kingdom - Zhuge Liang (titled Wuhou or Marquis Wu) played an indispensable role in governing the country. He assisted under the circumstances that Liu Chan was very young and the Kingdom of Shu was in great difficulties. He ruled the country by law and established a system of strict discipline to manage the army. During this period, the agriculture and handicraft industry recovered and became well developed. Another contribution by Zhuge Liang was his eagerness to develop the regions inhabited by the Yi people, thus enhancing the unity of different ethnic groups.
As a loyal chancellor, Zhuge Liang never gave up the chance to realize Liu Bei's ambition - to restore the Han Dynasty and regain the former capital. He led Shu's army to attack Wei many times. However, during the last northern expedition, Zhuge Liang died of illness on the march.
After 258, political power fell into the hands of eunuchs and the government became corrupt. In 263, Kingdom of Shu was completely overpowered by the Wei army.

Liu Bei - Emperor of Shu Kingdom

Liu Bei, better known as Xuan De, was born in Zhuo County in Hebei Province. His ancestor was Liu Sheng, son of Emperor Jing in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD).Judging by his position in the family hierarchy, he was the last emperor of Eastern Han (25 - 220) - Emperor Xian's uncle. He founded the Kingdom of Shu and was regarded as a great statesman and strategist in the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280).

Liu Bei lost his father while he was still young. After that, he existed by selling straw sandals and weaving straw mats with his mother. At the age of 15, he went out to pursue his studies. In 188 after the Yellow Turban Rebellion broke out, he, along with his two sworn brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, began to organize his own troops to fight against the insurrectionists.

After the battle, Liu formally set up his military group and was soon appointed as a county governor. Later, he was successively promoted to chief executive of Xuzhou, Zhendong General, and chief executive of Yuzhou. However, because it was weaker militarily than other groups and without a stable military base, Liu Bei's group sought support temporarily under the domain of big warlords such as Cao Cao, Yuan Shao and Liu Biao.

In 207, after paying three visits to the thatched cottage of the great sage, Zhuge Liang, Liu received advice crucial to his subsequent role in political and military affairs. With Zhuge Liang as his military counselor, Liu Bei followed his strategic guidance to capture Jingzhou, with support from The Kingdom of Wu, by attacking Cao Cao's troops and to driving into Sichuan Province.

In 221, Liu Bei reclaimed himself emperor in Chengdu, establishing the Kingdom of Shu. As one of three kingdoms, The Kingdom of Shu covered the area of Sichuan Province, Yunnan Province, the northern part of Guizhou Province and the southern part of Shaanxi Province.

As an emperor, Liu Bei loved his people and treasured talented people very much. As an individual, he was fair and sincere, humane and righteous. The main features of his political characters embodied Chinese traditional political thoughts, especially Confucianism. Because of this, he always received courteous reception and deep respect wherever he arrived.

In 223, Liu Bei launched a battle against The Kingdom of Wu to avenge the death of his sworn brother Guan Yu. Unfortunately, he was defeated and had to draw back into the domain of Shu. In April of the same year, he died in Baidi City (currently Fengjie in Chongqing). On his death bed, he entrusted his son Liu Shan to Zhuge Liang.

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