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SUI - TANG DYNASTIES
With the unification of China by Sui Emperor Yang Jian in AD 589, traces of the five nomadic groups had largely melted away. Both Emperor Yang Jian and later Tang Emperor Li Yuan were said to be semi-Tuoba. This would have to do with their families marrying with the Dugu family of Toba heritage. Dugu is a Tuoba [Toba or To'pa] name, with characters 'du' meaning lonely and 'gu' orphaned. The Tuoba dynasty possessed a famous general called Dugu Xin who bore two daughters. Sui Emperor Wendi (Yang Jian) married with one of the Dugu daughters, and the other Dugu daughter was the mother of Tang Dynasty founder (Li Yuan). Tuoba considered themselves successors of the Chinese culture. Emperor Toba Hong had decreed that their royal family name be changed to 'Yuan' when he relocated his capital to Luoyang of today's Henan Province. The only remaining trace of Tuoba, a sub-branch of Tungunzic Xianbei, would be the group who had mixed up with Di and Qiang nomads in today's Gansu-Qinghai-Ningxia area. They established a state called 'Tuyuhun' which would be in constant fightings with the Tibetans for control of the area called Inner Tibet [against Frontal Tibet or Outer Tibet], namely, today's Qinhai-Gansu Province during the Tang Dynasty.
Sui Dynasty, for its short life duration of 37 years and the despotic ruling of Sui Emperor Yangdi, was treated as part of the Northern Dynasties by Tang historian Li Yanshou. Similar to Qin Dynasty, Sui Dynasty had given itself away to the later Tang dynasty as Qin did to the later Han dynasty. Tang Dynasty lasted 290 years thereafter, considered a great international empire in the scale of Rome and Greece. The Tang Dynasty was full of inter-racial exchanges, with Koreans (Heichichang-zi & Kao Hsien-chih), Turks (Geshu Han, Qibi Heli and Pogu Huai'en) and many other barbarians and aliens serving as the generals in wars with the Turkic Khanates and the Arabs. One Japanese (Nakamaro) was given a post as a civil service official in the court. The Arabs, Persians and other Central Asians constantly travelled to China. Numerous campaigns had brought the relocation of hundreds of thousands of the Turkic tribesmen to the whole northern frontier as well as the capital city of Chang'an. Tang army general Su Dingfang was famous for fighting on both the front in the Oxus valley and on the Korean Peninsula. The Tang army heavily employed the barbarians, which eventually turned into the An-Shi Rebellion when barbarian-background generals staged revolts. Famous Tang general Li Guangbi's father was said to be a Khitan. With the weakening of Tang, the allied Tibetans and Uygurs encroached upon the Tang territories, and even invaded the Tang capital at one time. The consequence of the An-Shi Rebellion will be the abandonment of garrisons west of the Yellow River and the emergence of various governor-generals across China, which led to disintegration of the dynatic rule. When the Tang Court was plagued by the eunuchs, Zhu Wen, who first betrayed rebel leader Huang Chao, led an army against the Tang capital and exterminate all eunuchs. Soon after that, Zhu Wen usurped the Tang dynasty and started the era of Five Dynasties by proclaiming the founding of his Posterior Liang Dynasty. Three dynasties of the Five Dynasties time period, in between Posterior Liang and Posterior Zhou, were said to be of the alien nature, founded by generals who belonged to a group of barbarians called Shatuo (Sha'to), a Turkic tribe. That would be Posterior Tang (AD 923-936), Posterior Jin (AD 936-946) and Posterior Han.
In A.D. 577, Northern Zhou destroyed Northern Qi. Northern Zhou (AD 557-581) Emperor Xuandi (Yuwen Yun), a Xianbei, in order to indulge himself in leisure and sex, had decreed in AD 578 that his seven-year-old son (Yuwen Yan or Yuwen Chan) be put on the throne. The first year of the Dacheng Era became the first year of the Daxiang Era. Xuandi had altogether four empresses, with the primary empress being the daughter of Yang Jian. Xuandi did not take over his step-mother who was an Ashina Turkic woman. Xuandi later grabbed the wife of Duke Xiyang-gong (Yuwen Wen) and made her into the fifth empress by killing the whole family of Yuwen Wen. Xuandi promised to marry over the daughter of King Zhao to the Turkic khan as Princess Qianjin for sake of having the Turks deliver Gao Shaoyi of former Northern Qi (AD 550-577) from the asylum in the Turkic territories. Xuandi also ordered a campaign against Chen Dynasty (557-589) in southern China. Yang Su, in A.D. 598, commanded the Sui army in defeating the western Turks; and the next year, as "xingjun zongguan" of Lingzhou-dao Circuit, launched a campaign against Western Turkic Khan Datou, for which he was compared with Wei Qing and Huo Qubing of Han Dynasty. In 602, Yang Su defeated the eastern Turks, and captured Turkic yijin Shi-si-li at Yunnei (Datong of Shanxi).
Usurpation By Sui Dynasty (581-618)
When Xuandi died at the age of 22, after being in a kind of self-abdicated reign for less than three years, Yang Jian was made 'grand leftside prime minister' for assisting the young emperor, i.e., Jingdi (Yuwen Yan, reign AD 578-581). Yang Jian sent over Princess Qianjin to the Turks; Turkic Khan Tabo cheated Gao Baoyi out for a hunting trip and delivered Gao into Yang Jian's hands; Gao was exiled to today's Sichuan by Yang. For sake of ursurping Northern Zhou, Yang Jian recalled various Yuwen-family kings of Northern Zhou to the capital in the name of imperial burial. A Northern Zhou duke, Shuguo-gong Yuchi Jiong, opposed Yang Jian. Yang Jian killed the Yuewen king (King of Bi, Yuwen Xian) of Yongzhou Prefecture. King of Zhao (Yuwen Zhao) failed to assassinate Yang Jian in a home banquet. Yuwen Zhao was being restricted to his residency in Chang'an. Yang Jian ordered that Grand General Yuan Zhou (who forced Yang Jian out of the banquet earlier) to lay siege on the residencies of King Zhao/King Yue and slaughtered the two families. Duke Shuguo-gong Yuchi Jiong called upon the various Yuwen kings and governors to oppose Yang Jian, and contacted a remnant Southern Liang (AD 502-557) lord for forming an alliance. Governor Wang Qian of Yizhou Prefecture in today's Sichuan Province and Duke Yingyang-gong Sima Xiaonan joined Yuchi Jiong's rebellion.
Yang Jian dispatched Marshal Wei Xiaokuan to fighting Yuechi Jiong at the Qin-shui River (which originated from Shanxi Province and flowed into the Yellow River in Henan Province). The son of Yuechi Jiong, Yuechi Dun, with a 100,000 strong army, intended to attack Wei Xiaokuang when Wei's army were half crossing the river. But Wei Xiaokuang managed to cross the river and then dismantled the bridges to show to his soldiers that they had no way out but to charge forward against the rebels, utilizing an ancient tactic of fighting without an exit. After being defeated, Yuechi Dun fled back to the Ye-cheng city (Anyang, Henan Province). While the two parties were fighting, numerous civilians, by the tens of thousands, were watching the fight on the sidelines. Wei Xiaokuan ordered that his soldiers shoot arrows at the civilians to make them panic and flee and then shouted that the enemy had fled. Yuechi Jiong's soldiers were shaken by the fleeing crowd and hence Yuechi Jiong lost the battle 68 days after he first rebelled against Yang Jian. Wei Xiaokuan killed Yuechi Jiong and his son, and sent their heads to Yang Jian. Duke Yingyang-gong (Sima Xiaonan) fled to the Chen dynasty domain in the south. Governor Wang Qian of Yizhou Prefecture was betrayed by his own men to Yang Jian. Yang Jian then forced the two remaining Northern Zhou kings to commit suicide, forced Northern Zhou Emperor Jingdi to confer the post of Prime Minister onto him, and upgraded the hereditary title of Duke Sui to King Sui. One year later, in A.D. 581, Yang Jian forced Northern Zhou Emperor Jingdi into abdication and declared the founding of Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618).
Sui Emperor Wendi (Yang Jian or Yang Chien, r. 581-604)
Sui's founder, Yang Chien (Jian), was said to be the descendant of a Han Dynasty official called Yang Zheng, while Tang's founder, Li Yuan, was said to be the 7th granson of an emperor of Western Liang (AD 400-421), one of the few Chinese nations among the nomadic "Sixteen Nations" preceding the North-South Dynasties (AD 386-589). Yang Jian and Li Yuan were relatives. Li Yuan's wife was the sister of Sui Dynasty's Empress Dugu.
Sui Emperor Yangdi (Yang Guang, r. AD 605-618)
Sui Emperor Yangdi (Yang Guang) was commonly said to have killed his own father after the divulsion of his affairs with his father's concubine. When he got enthroned, King Han-wang Yang Liang rebelled at Bingzhou. Yang Su, with the later famous Sui general Zhang Xutuo, led a campaign to quell the rebellion.
In A.D. 610, Sui Emperor Yangdi (Yang Guang) toured Jiangdu a second time. In February of 611, the emperor took ride of the dragon boat in the Yongji-qu Canal for Zhuo-jun. He issued an order to campaign against Koguryo. He ordered Yuan Hongsi to build 300 ships in Donglai (Yexian of Shandong), and ordered the nationwide field army and water-born army to assemble in Zhuo-zhou, including 10,000 fishermen industry people from teh Huai and Yangtze river area, 30,000 bowmen, and 30,000 shield-spearsmen from southern China. At Zhuozhou, Yang Guang further ordered the construction of 50,000 carts and chariots for shipping the supply to the north. In autumn, flooding erupted in today's Shandong-Hebei. Rebellions erupted over the extraction of manpower and grain supply etc.
In A.D. 612, Emperor Yangdi's first Koguryo campaign was defeated. In A.D. 613, Emperor Yangdi ordered a second campaign. The campaign aborted when Yang Xuan'gan, son of court minister Yang Su (Duke Yueguo-gong), rebeled at the hind. Yang Xuan'gan, who succeeded his father's title and was conferred the court minister title and post of 'honglu-qing' and 'libu shangshu', was assigned the task of collecting the military grains in Junxian when he rebelled in spring of A.D. 613, at the time when Sui launched the second campaign against Koguryo. Li Mi, a descendant of the Pushan-gong hereditary title, came to the aid of rebellion. Yang Xuan'gan befriended Li Mi after Yang Su met Li Mi in the countryside where the latter was seeking refuge. Li Mi first proposed to Yang Xuan'gan to attack Youzhou to cut off the return path of the expedition army from the Liao-dong area, and when not taken, advised to attack Chang'an. But on both occasions, Yang Xuan'gan did not heed the advise, and attacked Luoyang instead but failed to sack the heavily-fortified city. Luoyang, i.e., the central prefecture, was a fort that was called by 'ss zhan zhi di', namely, a vulnerable land that had to be defended on four sides. Yang Xuan'gan incurred three defeats in face of the Sui relief army which returned from the expedition, with the expedition army soldiers eager to rescue their family members. Yang Xuan'gan asked to be killed by brother Yang Jishan after a defeat in the hands of Yuwen Shu's army at the Battle of Dongduyuan. Li Mi, after escaping alive, fled to seek refuge in the countryside a second time in his life, with his first escape being the incident of fleeing the Sui court where he was an imperial attache. In A.D. 614, Emperor Yangdi ordered a third futile campaign against Koguryo. Emperor Yangdi, while touring Yanmen (Shanxi) in A.D. 615, was surrounded by the Turks. The Turks came to aid Koguryo. However, Yangdi broke the promise to the Turks and reissued the decree to assemble an army to attack Koguryo. In A.D. 616, Yangdi, against the advice, left the capital for the Yangtze riverbank again.
Rebellion against the Sui Rule
Sui Dynasty's demise was very much to do with its two defeats in the campaign against Koguryo. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese never returned from the Koguryo battlefield. Koguryo erected monuments at the site of Sui Dynasty soldiers' mass graves. Dozen years later, Tang Emperor Taizong dispatched troops for dismantling the Koguryo monuments at the site of Sui Dynasty soldiers' mass graves, scaring Koguryo King Jianwu into building the defense walls from Fuyu to the seaside in the Koguryo coast. It would be in A.D. 668, during Tang Emperor Gaozong's reign, that China would defeat Koguryo, with 30,000 Koguryo people exiled to the Yangtze and Huai-shui River area as well as Shan-nan (i.e., south of the mountain, i.e., south of today's Qin-ling ridge).
The Wagang-jun Rebels
Over a dozen rebellions erupted against Sui Dynasty. In A.D. 611, the 7th year of the Daye era, rebellion first erupted in today's Zouping, Shandong, where heavy extractions for manpower, grains and ship building were ordered for the Koguryo campaign. In Mt. Changbai-shan (Zhangqiu of Shandong), Wang Bo, a rebel, called for the people to rebel against the emperor rather than to die in the campaign east of the Liao-he River of today's Manchuria. Liu Badao, a wealthy local hegemony, led a rebellion in Pingyuan (Pingyuan of Shandong), called his army by the Uncle's Army, and set the base at Douzihang (Huimin of Shandong). Gao Shida, in Xindu (Jingxian of Hebei), staged a Qinghe rebellion, and set the base at Gaojipo. In Zhangnan of Qinghe, Sun Anzu, being forced to join the expedition army for the Koguryo battles, killed the county magistrate, and led the rebels to Gaojipo. Zhang Jincheng, in Shuxian of Qinghe (Xiajin of Shandong), staged a rebellion and set his base at Hequ (the Daqing-he River inflexion point). Sun Anzu, Gaoshida and Zhang Jincheng's bands later all went under Dou Jiande's command. (Sun Anzu was killed by Zhang Jincheng, while Gao Shida and Zhang Jincheng were killed by Sui generals Guo Xun and Yang Yichen, respectively, in A.D. 616.)
Meanwhile, in Weicheng of Dong-jun (today's Huaxian of Henan), Zhai Rang, a prefecture executioner, led a rebellion of hunters and fishermen, and together with Shan Xiongxin and Xu Shiji et al., amassed an army of over 10,000 on Mt. Wagang [tile hill]. The rebels intercepted the government transportation on the Yongji-qu Canal. In Zhangnan of Qinghe (Wucheng of Shandong), Dou Jiande, a chief of 200 people, staged a rebellion after being wanted by the government for aiding rebel Sun Anzu. Dou Jiande took his rebels to Gaojipo (Gucheng of Hebei) to join Gao Shida's rebellion. In Qijun (Shandong), Du Fuwei and Fu Gongtuo staged a rebellion, and led the rebels south to the area of the Huai and Yangtze rivers.
Du Fuwei and Fu Gongtuo's rebels pressed on against the Sui emperor's temporary capital, Jiangdu (Yangzhou). The rebels defeated Sui general Chen Leng. After taking over Gaoyou and Liyang, the rebels declared the establishment of a regime.
In AD 611, Sui general Zhang Xutuo, who was in charge of Qi-jun (Ji'nan) as 'cheng', cracked down on the Wang Bo rebellion, pressing the rebels on a flee southward to Lu-jun (Yanzhou). Zhang defeated the rebels, chasing them back to the north. In A.D. 613 and 614, Zhang Xutuo, in small numbers, repeatedly engaged with the rebels and defeated them. After defeating the rebels in today's Shandong, Zhang set his eyes on the Wagang-jun rebels to the west. Zhang Xutuo defeated the Wagang-jun rebels over 30 times.
In A.D. 616, Wang Bodang, in Jiyin-jun (Dingtao of Shandong), staged a rebellion. In A.D. 616, rebels Wang Bodang and Li Mi came to Mt. Wagang to join the rebels. With Li Mi's strategy, the Wagang-jun Army planned to attack the Luokoucang grain barn. The rebels sacked Jinti-guan, a gateway to Xingyang. Zhang Xutuo was promoted to be head ('tong shou') of Xingyang (Henan), in place of 'tai shou' Yang Qing, i.e., Sui King Huan-wang, who failed to fight the rebels. Several times, Zhang Xutuo defeated Zhai Rang when the rebels attempted to raid the Luokou-cang grain barn; however, Zhang Xutuo was ambushed in the forests north of Dahaishi (large sea monastery) at the Battle of Dahaishi in Jintiguan by a small band of over 1,000 cavalry army arranged by rebel Li Mi. In Dahaishi of Xingyang, the rebls defeated a Sui army of 20,000, and killed Sui general Zhang Xutuo. Zhang Xutuo, who broke out of the siege, went back into the battlefield to save his troops, a bravery that history recorded to be four times in and out of the encirclement. About 5000 remnants of Zhang's fighters, who cried days over Zhang's death, were taken in by Pei Renji (imperial 'guanglu dafu') at Hulaoguan. The Wagang-jun Army took over the imperial Xingluocang grain barn. The Wagang-jun rebels took over Xingyang. Qin Shubao, a Sui general under Zhang Xutuo, who defeated numerous rebels including rebel Lu Mingyue in Xiapi in A.D. 614 and rebel Sun Xuanya in Haiqu (seaside curve), was taken in by Sui general Pei Renji after the death of Zhang Xutuo. At about the same time, Cheng Zhijie (Cheng Yaoji), a regional militia leader in Dong'a of Jizhou, came to Wagang to join the ranks of Li Mi. Sui King Yue-wang Yang Jiong ordered Pei Renji to take in Zhang Xutuo's troops for garrison at Hulaoguan.
In A.D. 616, Dou Jiande, who succeeded Gao Shida, defeated an attack led by Sui's Zhuojun general ('tong shou'), Guo Xun, and killed him. Dou, in 617, declared himself King of Changle-wang in Loushou (Xianxian of Hebei). At Hejian, Dou Jiande at one time destroyed a Sui relief army to Luoyang, about 30,000 troops led by Xue Shixiong ('liu shou' of Zhuo-jun). Xu Yuanlang, who staged a rebellion in Jan, joined Li Mi but later went to Dou Jiande's side after Li Mi's defeat. The rebels defeated an attack led by Sui General Xue Shixiong. In 618, Dou changed his title to King Xia-wang.
In early A.D. 617, the rebels took over the Luokou-cang grain barn which was to the west of Xingyang. Emperor Yangdi decreed to have Wang Shichong organize an army against the rebels at Luokou. Sui general Wang Shichong was defeated by the rebels and fled back to Luoyang. Yang Jiong forgave Wang's defeat and ordered him to set up the camp at Hanjiacang. The rebels consecutively took over the Hui-luo-cang grain barn to the north of Luoyang and the Liyang-cang barn of Weizhou. Meng Rang and Hao Xiaode et al., joined the Wagang-jun rebels. In 617, Sui King Yue-wang (Yang Jiong), a Sui royal in charge of Luoyang, dispatched Liu Changgong and Pei Renji on another campaign against the rebels. At this time, Li Mi had formed the Pushan-gong-ying core troops within the Wagang-jun army. The rebels, forming ten columns, defeated the Sui army. Liu Changgong fled back to Luoyang, while Pei Renji, who guarded the Hulao-guan [lock-up tiger] pass, surrendered to the rebels. Qin Shubao, who served under Pei Renji, also surrendered to the Wagang-jun army. The Wagang-jun rebels declared the dynasty of Wei, with three ministries and six military wings. After the victory, Zhai Rang very much yielded the command to Li Mi for his exceptional military talents. Li Mi was conferred the title of Duke Wei-gong, and set his capital at Luokou of Xingyang, and declared the dynastic era of Yongping. In April, Li Mi laid siege of Luoyang and obtained the defection of Pei Renji at Hulaoguan. The rebels took over the Liyang-cang grain barn.
Zigzag battles with Wang Shichong continued. Rebels across the country, including Meng Rang, Dou Jiande, Zhu Can, Yang SHilin, Meng Haigong, Xu Yuanlang, Lu Zushang and Zhou Faming et al., called on Li Mi to be an emperor. Li Yuan, who took over Chang'an, sent a messenger to call Li Mi by brother. Later in the year, in November, Li Mi instigated the killing of the Zhai Rang brothers, and took over the Wagang-jun army leadership completely. The trigger came from the resentment expressed by Zhai Rang over the loss of power that he previously enjoyed. Wang Bodang, who became Li Mi's confidante and was conferred the title of Laya-jun-gong, stopped the mutineers from killing Xu Shiji. In 617, Wang Bodang defeated the Sui army led by Wang Shichong.
In March of A.D. 618, Yuwen Huaji had Sui Emperor Yangdi killed by strangle in Jiangdu, and placed Yang Hao, King Qin-wang and a nephew of Sui Emperor Yangdi, on the throne as the new emperor while he himself acted as the prime minister. Yuwen Huaji masscared numerous Sui royals and ministers to solidify the control of the Jiangdu temporary capital. Yuwen Huaji, with over 100,0000 troops, pushed north. Yuwen Huaji first sailed to Xuzhou via the canal, and then took over Dongjun to the north. Yuwen Huaji intended to take the Liyangcang grain barn to the west so as to overpower the competing Sui court. In Luoyang, the seven elite Sui ministers (Duan Da, Wang Shichong, Yuan Wendu, Wei Jin, Huangfu Wuyi, Lu Chu, Guo Wenyi and Zhao Changwen) made Yang Jiong into the new emperor, declaring the era of Huangtai. Yang Hao, to impede Yuwen Huaji, offered to pacify Li Mi's Wagang-jun rebels, inducing the rebels to fight against Yuwen Huaji. Li Mi took the conferral as "tai wei" (imperial captain). In Jun, Yuwen Huaji's army reached Liyang (Junxian of Henan). Li Mi and the Wagang-jun rebels, at a great loss, defeated Yuwen Huaji, with Li Mi wounded in battle. However, at Luoyang, Wang Shichong staged a mutiny, killing Yuan Wendu et al., and hijacking the Sui court. Li Mi hence refused to enter the Sui court as agreed upon earlier. Li Mi set his camp at Mt. Mangshan, outside of Luoyang.
Yuwen Huaji, after defeat in the hands of the Wagang-jun rebels, fled north to Weixian (Daming of Hebei). His followers continued to desert him for the Li Mi rebels' camp. In September of A.D. 618, Yuwen Huaji, seeing his imminent defeat, ordered to have the proxy emperor, Yang Hao, and other Sui royals killed, while he himself next declared himself to be an emperor, with the state name of Xu and the era of Tianshou (heaven's longevity). In 619, Li Shentong, an uncle of Li Yuan, defeated Yuwen Huaji and pressed him on a flee to Liaocheng (Shandong). In February of 619, Dou Jiande defeated and caught Yuwen Huaji, and executed him and his sons at Xiangguo-jun (Xingtai of Hebei). Yuwen's ancestor was formerly a Hun with the name of Poyetou who sought protection with the Yuwen Xianbei tribe. Dou Jiande retrieved Empress Xiao-hou, the former Sui empress who was taken in by Yuwen Huaji after the killing of Emperor Yangdi, and escorted the empress and the Sui Emperor's grandson (Yang Zhengdao) to the Turkic territories for protection under Princess Yicheng. In August 619, Dou Jiande moved his capital to Luozhou (Yongnian of Hebei). At this time, Dou Jiande had formed an alliance with Wang Shichong as well as with the Turks.
In September of A.D. 618, the Sui army, under the command of Wang Shichong, defeated the Wagang-jun army. Li Mi, after a defeat, took the army to Yanshi, rather than taking Pei Renji's advice to launch a stealthy raid against Luoyang. Wang Shichong defeated the rebels, and caught Pei Renji, Zu Junyan and Cheng Zhijie (Cheng Yaoji). Shan Xiongxin, Cheng Yaojin and Qin Shubao surrendered to Yang Jiong, while Li Mi and Wang Bodang, with about 20,000 remnants, escaped to seek asylum with the Tang army, leading to the demise of the Wagang-jun's Wei dynasty regime.
Months later, Li Mi and Wang Bodang obtained the Tang's approval to leave for pacifying the Wagang-jun army remnants at Liyang (Junxian of henan), but Tang emperor Li Yuan changed mind and recalled the entourage. Li Mi and Wang Bodang, fearing for their life, hence broke away from Tang, taking over Yaolin (Lingbao of Henan) and marching south through the Xiongershan mountain towards Xiangcheng-jun for combining forces with former subordinate Zhang Shanxiang. To the south of Mt. Xiongershan, Li Mi and Wang Bodang were ambushed at the Xinggong-xian steep-hill pass (Luhun of Henan) by Tang generals Shi Wanbao and Sheng Yanshi, and got killed. Wang Bodang, a legendary figure in the romance novel of Sui-Tang Romance, to save Li Mi, was shot by arrows first. Xu Shiji, upon seeing Li Mi's decapitated head, surrendered Liyang (Junxian of Henan) to the Tang army. (Li Mi had left a poem about having tears after reflecting upon the ancient history [Zhan jin he suo wei, chang ran huai gu yi] and vowing to let all contenders of the world to know he was not to squander his life away for nothing [Ji yan shi shang xiong, xu sheng zhen ke kui]. Later, Tang minister Wei Zheng wrote a remembrance article, pointing out that Li Mi died for his over-sensitivity as to the lord's suspicion of his ambition. Li Mi first fled the Sui court for the countryside when he learnt that Sui emperor had inquired about him over his exceptinal appearance.)
In 619, Zhu Can, a notorious cannibal rebel, also surrendered to Wang Shichong after killing a Tang emissary. Dou Jiande nominally was pacified by Wang Shichong as well. In April of 619, Wang Shichong killed Yang Jiong and declared himself an emperor with the state of Zheng and the era of Kaiming (transparent).
In 619, Cheng Zhijie (Cheng Yaojin), Qin Shubao, Wu Heita (?) and Niu Jingda et al., left Wang Shichong's camp prior to the Battle of Jiuqu (nine winding) and defected to the Tang side. Shan Xiongxin stayed on with Wang Shichong, to be defeated, caught and executed by Tang later, on which occasion blood-brother Xu Shiji (Li Ji) cut off a part of his buttocks to feed into the mouth of Shan Xiongxin as forever farewell.
In May of 618, Li Yuan declared the founding of Tang Dynasty and set the capital in Chang'an. In June, Xue Ju attacked east against Tang. Xue, a colonel ('xiao wei') in Jincheng of western China, hijacked the Sui official ('ling') of Jincheng and rebelled against the Sui rule in A.D. 617; declared himself the western Qin hegemony king of Xi-Qin-bang-wang, with an era of Qinxing; and upgraded himself to being an emperor in today's Lanzhou area. In 617, Xue Ju's first attack against the Guan-zhong area was repelled by Li Shimin. Li managed to buy over the Turkic ruler Mo-he-duo-she, an ally of Xue Ju's. In June of 618, Xue Ju led another attack to the east, reaching Binzhou (Binxian) and Qizhou (Fengxiang of Shenxi). Li Shimin, who was conferred a marshal post, led eight 'zong guan' generals against Xue Ju. With Li Shimin being ill, Xue Jue defeated the Tang army led by Liu Wenjing and Yin Kaishan et al., and captured some Tang 'zong guan' generals. In August, Xue Ju died of illness; and son Xue Ren'gao succeeded. In November, Li Shimin adopted a defense strategy at Gaozhi (Changwu), leading to the drain-up of grains among the Xue army. After over 60 days' confrontation, the Tang army counterattacked Xue Ren'gao, defeated him at Qianshuiyuan (shallow water plateau), and captured and killed Xue Ren'gao.
In May of 618, Li Yuan declared the founding of Tang Dynasty and set the capital in Chang'an. The Tang dynasty was noted for the same destabilizing symptoms as the Han dynasty, i.e., empress intervention, eunuch power corruption, and warlord turmoils. Li Yuan was said to have rebelled against Sui Dynasty after he slept with Sui Emperor Yangdi's concubines in the imperial Jinyang Palace as a result of son Li Shimin's plot in intoxicating his father for sake of offending the Sui Dynasty emperor. Historians commented that the Tang Dynasty emperors were all womonizers who were doomed in losing their throne to their wives or concubines. Cai Dongfan commented that Tang Emperor Taizong's admonition official, Wei Zheng, never mentioned abstinence in sex in his "Ten Admonitions". After the death of Empress Zhangsun (again a Tuoba woman), Tang Emperor Taizong took in a young girl called Wu Zhao, i.e., later Empress Wu Zetian, someone who would kill two of her four own sons for sake of usurping the Tang Dynasty rule. Wu Zhao, being almost put to death by Tang Emperor Taizong for her affairs with heir Gaozong, had survived by begging to be a nun. After Tang Emperor Gaozong's enthronement, Wu Zhao was retrieved from the monastery. Tang Dynasty's decline started with the An-Shi Rebellion during Emperor Xuanzong's reign, with Concubine Yang Gui-fei being the scapegoat in history. Cai Dongfan called the Tang emperors by "turtles" for the apparent "incest" within the royal family.
Tang Emperor Gaozu (reign AD 618-626)
Tang Dynasty's founder, Li Yuan, rebelled against Sui Dynasty as a result of his son Li Shimin's masterminding. Li Yuan, for sake of fighting Sui Dynasty, colluded with the Turks. Li Yuan would sent his minister (Liu Wenjing) to the Eastern Turks (ruled by Khan Shibi) for borrowing 2000 horses and 500 cavalry.
At this time, Turkic Khan Shibi subjugated Tuyuhun in Gansu-Qinghai, Gaochang near Turpan, Khitans and Shiwei in northwestern Manchuria and eastern Mongolia. Khan Shibi intervened in China's civil wars and assisted Li Yuan's rivals, such as Liu Wuzhou & Liang Shidu. After the death of Khan Shibi, his brother, Chuluo Khan (same name as Chuluo Khan during Sui Dynasty time period but a different person), would be enthroned. Chuluo Khan assisted another Tang rival, Wang Shichong. Later, Chuluo Khan retrieved ex-Sui Empress Xiaohou and ex-Sui royal family from still another Tang rival called Dou Jiande. Chuluo Khan erected an ex-Sui royal member as the new Sui King. Chuluo Khan was determined to fight Tang on behalf of dethroned Sui Dynasty, saying that he wanted to return favor to Sui for Sui's helping his ancestors in the restoration of the Turkic khanate. Later, Chuluo Khan died and his brother, Khan Xieli, would be enthroned. Khan Xieli was disuaded from an alliance with another Tang rival called Xue Ju. Khan Xieli would erect his cousin, i.e., Shibi Khan's son, as Khan Tuli (same name as Tuli during Sui Dynasty time period) in the east, and Tuli would take charge of the ancient tribes of Khitans and Mohe (ancestors of Jurchens. Khan Xieli would take over Princess Yicheng as his wife. Princess Yicheng's brother (Yang Sanjing) and Wang Shichong's emissary would somehow pursuade Khan Xieli into challenging Tang Dynasty on behalf of dethroned Sui. In AD 621, Khan Xieli invaded Yanmenguan Pass and Dai Prefecture.
In July of 619, Xu Yuanlang defected to the Tang side and received the conferral as the high official in charge of the Shandong peninsula, Duke Lujun-gong and 'zong guan' of Yanzhou. Later in August 621, Xu Yuanlang echoed the rebellion of Liu Heita's Zhangnan rebellion as a result of the execution death of Dou Jiande, i.e., their former leader, in the hands of Tang.
In July of 620, Li Shimin commanded a Tang army in a campaign against the central plains. Li Shimin took over numerous cities and laid siege of Wang Shichong at Luoyang. Wang called on Dou Jiande for sending a relief army.
In AD 621, i.e., the 4th year of Tang's Wude era, Li Shimin, at the Battle of Yuke, was almost killed by Shan Xiongxin. Yuchi Jingde and Xu Shiji intervened to save Li Shimin. At the siege battle of Funiushan the Tang army captured Shan Xiongxin.
In AD 621, Dou Jiande, with 100,000 army, came to the aid of Wang Shichong in the battles against the Tang army for the control of central China of the time. Dou Jiande rebutted an advice to cross the Yellow River to take over the Tang army's old base. In May, at Hulao-guan, northwest of Xingyang, the Tang army defeated Dou Jiande's relief army and captured Dou Jiande. During the duel against the Wang Shichong-Dou Jiande allied army, Qin Shubao, commanding a commando cavalry team, raided into Dou Jiande's camp to defeat the enemy. Li Shimin rebuked Dou Jiande for coming a long distance to take part in the war. Dou Jiande sarcastically replied that he came here so that Li Shimin would not have to go a long distance to fight him. Dou Jiande was decapitated in Chang'an. Pei Ju, i.e., Dou Jiande's subordinate, surrendered Luozhou to the Tang army. Wang Shichong, en route of exile, was killed by feud Dugu Xiude at Yongzhou, while the rest of his family were killed before reaching the Sichuan basin, i.e., the land of exile. Wang was from the Yuezhi family of the western territories and took the family name after his mother was remaried.
Liu Heita, an old aquaitance of Dou Jiande, first followed Hao Xiaode in joining the Wangang-jun army; after the Wanggang-jun's defeat in the hands of Wang Shichong, fled to join Dou Jiande's army; and after Dou Jiande's defeat, returned to the countryside for farming before rebelling again as a result of death of Dou Jiande. Liu's rebels at the beginning defeated an allied Tang army led by Li Shentong and Luo Yi, repelled a Tang army attack led by Xu Shiji, and captured the Xue Wanjun brothers. In A.D. 622, Liu Heida declared himself King Handong-wang and set his capital at Luozhou, i.e., Dou Jiande's former capital. At Luoshui (Quzhou of Hebei), the Tang army led by Li Shimin defeated Liu Heida by breaking the dyke of the Luoshui-yan River. Liu Heida fled to seek help with the Turks. With reinforcements, Liu Heida returned south, and at Xiabo (Shenxian of Hebei), defeated and killed Li Daoxuan, i.e., Tang's King Huaiyang-wang and 'xingjun da zong guan' for the Hebei-dao Circuit. In AD 623, Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji defeated Liu Heita at the Battle of Changle (Nanle of Henan). The two Tang princes adopted Wei Zheng's advice to set free the prisoners to sow dissension among Liu Heida's army. Liu Heida thereafter lost control of his army and was defeated.
Du Fuwei and Fu Gongtuo's rebels, who controlled today's Anhui-Jiangsu area, had a split in the face of the Tang attacks. Du Fuwei surrendered to Tang in 622, while Fu Gongtuo fought on at Danyang for another ten months till captured and killed.
For several years, Tang and the Turks fought numerous battles across the northern border areas. By the 7th year of Tang Emperor Gaozu, in AD 626, Li Shimin or Li Shih-min (i.e., King Qin of Tang Dynasty and later Tang Emperor Taizong or Tai-tsung, AD 597-649), sowed a dissension among Xieli Khan and Tuli Khan. Unable to call upon Tuli to fight Tang further, Xieli Khan sent Tuli Khan and Simo to Tang for sake of striking a peace treaty with Tang. Tuli Khan and King Qin promised to be brothers, while Tang Emperor Gaozu said to Simo that he felt he had seen Khan Xieli by meeting with Simo. In the following two years, Tang was busy building ships around the North Bend of the Yellow River for defence against the Turks, while the Turks broke the peace and kept attacking Tang.
Tang Emperor Taizong (reign AD 627-649)
Li Shimin [aka Li Shih-min], being merely 16 years old at the time of rebellion against Sui, was credited as the real initiator and founder of the Tang state and the mastermind of rebellion against the Sui. During the 22 years of reign, Li Shimin, i.e., Tang Emperor Taizong, was able to build a grand-scale empire extending from Koguryo to Central Asia. Taizong defeated the Turks of Mongolia in AD 630, and the Tibetans in two campaigns of AD 639–40 & AD 647–48. However, Taizong's two wars against Koguryo during AD 640s failed. In the matter of Tibet, Taizong pacified King Srong-tsan-sgam-po of Tibet by marrying over a princess in AD 641 and helping to convert Tibet to Buddhism. Taizong was credited with propogating the civil service exam system that was well developed during Sui Dynasty. Though people attributed the developments of various religions, including Daoism, Buddhism and Nestorian Christian, to Emperor Taizong, do note that Tang Dynasty forbade travelling overseas. Note that Tang famous monk Xuanzang [Hsüan-tsang] had stealthily crossed the border, with no government sanctions. And, Tang Dynasty often resorted to forceful conversion of monks and nuns to civilians for sake of raising taxes and depriving religious facilities of their "tax-exempt" status.
In AD 626, Tang Emperor Taizong killed two brothers (i.e., Li Jiancheng & Li Yuanji) and later forced Emperor Gaozu into abdication. This is called the 'Xuanwumen Coup' in Tang's history. History stated that Li Yuanji, a culprit, intended to hire over Li Shimin's generals by proposing to elder brother Li Jiancheng that a gift (i.e., "silver cart") be given to Yuchi Jingde. This is because Li Yuanji, having at one time lost three rounds of "shuo" (long spear) contest against Yuchi Jingde, was afraid of Yuchi Jingde (i.e., a general of To'pa clan origin). Yuchi Jingde declined Li Jiancheng's offer and moreover informed Li Shimin of it. Li Jiancheng brothers then dispatched an assassin againt Yuchi Jingde, but the assassin retreated after seeing that Yuchi Jingde deliberately left the door of his residency open. Ji Jiancheng brothers petitioned Tang Emperor Gaozu in 1) killing Yuchi Jingde, 2) banishing Cheng Zhijie to the Kangzhou prefecture as a satrap, and 3) removing the rest of Li Shimin cronies (like Fang Xuanling, and Du Ruhui et al.) from Li Shimin's King Qin Office.
Fang Xuanling hence asked Zhangsun Wuji in relaying a message to Li Shimin for an initiative against Li Jiancheng brothers. Among Li Shimin's cronies, Li Jing & Li Shiji were said to have had no opinion as to coup. Using the Turkic invasion as an excuse, Li Jiancheng recommended Li Yuanji for the expedition job for sake of segregating those cronies away from Li Shimin. Li Yuanji requested for Yuchi Jingde and King Qin's cronies for joining the campaign against the Turks. When Li Shimin heard that Li Jiancheng brothers intended to assassinate him at the scene of seeing Li Yuanji off, Li Shimin instructed Yuchi Jingde and Zhangsun Wuji to arrange a coup. Li Shimin first went to see his father-emperor with accusation that Li Jiancheng brothers had sex with concubines inside the imperial palace. Tang Emperor Gaozu called on Li Jiancheng brothers to come to the court for an explanation. When Li Jiancheng brothers came, they fell into Li Shimin's ambush and were killed. The followers of Li Jiancheng brothers, after failing to come into palace, went to attack King Qin Li Shimin's residency. Yuchi Jingde took the heads of Li Jiancheng brothers to those followers and quelled/dispursed them. Thereafter, Yuchi Jingde rode to the palace to have Tang Emperor Gaozu decree that King Qin be the crown price to be in charge of the military. All sons of Li Jiancheng brothers were ordered to be executed.
Wei Zheng, a counsellor (i.e., "si ma") of Li Jiancheng, was called over by Li Shimin. Li Shiming rebuked Wei Zheng for his constant advice to Li Jiancheng in getting rid of Li Shimin as well as for Wei Zheng's refusal to bow down in front of Li Shimin. After Wei Zheng cited the story of Guan Zhong of Qi Principality, Li Shimin pardoned Wei Zheng and retained him as a counsellor (i.e., "zhu bu"). A few more officials were retained by Li Shimin. At Youzhou (Peking), King Lujiangwang, a brother of Tang Emperor Gaozu, was sold out by his inlaw-general Wang Junkuo for the implication with Li Jiancheng. At the urge of Wei Zheng, an amnesty was issued to pardon the followers of Dong-gong (the Eastern Palace of Li Jiancheng), King Qi-wang, and King Lujiang-wang. Wei Zheng was dispatched to the east for pacification. A concubine of Li Yuanji was taken over by Li Shimin, and mourning and posthumous titles were given for the two slain brothers. Soon, Tang Emperor Gaozu abdicated.
Once Li Shimin enthroned as Tang Emperor Taizong, he issued a general amnesty, including no taxation for two years for the capital area, an imperial bestowal of grain and cloth for the elder people above age 80, and the release of 3000 palace maids and concubines. Modest and economical Zhangsun-shi was made into the empress: she advised against his brother Zhangsun Wuji's taking up more imperial posts as well as abstained from interfering in politics.
Just twenty days after Taizong got enthroned, Eastern Turkic Khan Xieli attacked Tang under the instigation of Liang Shidu (i.e., Emperor Liang-di). Over 100,000 Turks attacked the Jingzhou & Wugong area. Yuchi Jingde was dispatched to the front as "xingjun [travelling column] zongguan [commander]" for the Jingzhou-dao Circuit. After a defeat in the hands of Yuchi Jingde, Khan Xieli circumvented to the Wei-shui River, just a dozen miles away from the Tang capital. Turkic official Zhi-shi-si-li entered Chang'an to see Tang Emperor Taizong for extracting more Chinese tributes. Emperor Taizong then personally led the garrison troops to Wei-shui bank and rebuked Khan Xieli for disrupting peace. Khan Xieli sent over an emissary for peace. Emperor Taizong (T'ai-tsong) sought peace with the Eastern Turks by using the blood of a white horse for writing a sworn testament on "bian qiao" (i.e., a convenience bridge). Emperor Taizong explained to Xiao Yu that he had sought for peace by loosening the guard of the Turks. Khan Xieli later sent in 3000 horses and 10000 sheep, but Taizong declined the offer but requested for repatriation of the Chinese taken captives by the Turks. Taizong also encouraged the practice of military exercises and training right inside of the palaces for sake of preparing for a future conflict with the Turks. Son Chengqian was made into a Tang Dynasty crown prince.
On the new year day of A.D. 627, Taizong ordered the music "King Qin Stampeding the Enemy Positions". Days later, King Yanjun-wang Li Yi rebelled at Jingzhou with an attempt at grabbing Binzhou. On the way of fleeing to the Turks, Li Yi was killed by his bodyguards. Li Yi's family was executed at the capital. Wang Junkuo, who had sold out his master before, was recalled to the capital; and on the road to the capital, he fled to the Turks and was also killed while en route to the Turks.
Taizong often consulted with his counsellors for admonishing his behaviors. Aside from Wei Zheng, a justice official, i.e., dali shaoqing, Dai Zhou, was put in charge. Sun Fujia was made into an admonition official. Li Qianyou was made into "waitering censor". Zu Xiaosun was empowered with ridding the court music of "lascivious tones". Wang Gui was conferred the post as "shi zhong" (i.e., imperial attache). Wang Gui advised against Taizong's taking over King Lujiang-wang's concubine because this woman was previously grabbed by King Lujiang-wang after the killing of the woman's old man.
After rezoning the country into ten circuits, Taizong ordered that Cai Shao (i.e., husband of Tang Princess Pingyang) and Xue Wanjun campaign against rival Liang Shidu. Liang Shidu colluded with the Turks for defence against the Tang army. Cai Shao, the Xue Wanjun brothers, and Liu Lancheng thoroughly defeated Liang Shidu and the Turks. After the Turks retreated northward, Liang Shidu's brother killed Liang Shidu and surrendered to Tang. China was completely reunited with Liang Shidu's demise. This would be after Liang Shidu's first rebelling against Sui 12 years before. The Shuofang fort was renamed the Xiazhou prefecture.
This year, the Tiele Tribes, including Xueyantuo, Huihe and Bayegu, rebelled against the Turks. Khan Xieli accused Khan Tuli of failing to quell the Tiele rebellion. Being attacked by Khan Xieli, Khan Tuli requested for help with Tang Emperor Taizong in AD 628. The next year, Xueyantuo proclaimed themselves as a khan and sought an allianace with Tang. In November of A.D. 629, Li Ling was empowered with leading campaigns against the Turks with over 100,000 soldiers. Khan Tuli came to the court to see Emperor Taizong prior to the campaign. Taizong said that his father (Emperor Gaozu) had sought help and vasslage with the Turks because Tang was weak earlier, right after emerging victorious from a rebellion against Sui Dynasty and fighting long years of civil wars with the contenders. The Tang army defeated the Turks, with General Li Shiji (Xu Shiji) capturing over 50,000 Turks. Li Shiji was assigned the garrison post at Bingzhou for the following 16 years. A barbarian chieftan, Xie-yuan-shen, together with chieftans, came to see the emperor with tributes. Yan Shigu proposed to make a drawing of "the emperor receiving the [barbarian] chieftans". In the winter, a census was made, and China was added an addition of 1.2 million people as a result of the Chinese returnees from outside of the borders as well as numerous barbarians seeking vassalage with the Tang court.
In the spring of the fourth year of Taizong' reign, A.D. 630, Tang Taizong received the victory news from Ling Jing: General Li Jing, on a full campaign against Khan Xieli with six columns of armies, captured Khan Xieli by taking advantage of the Turkic internal strife. General Li Jing, departing from Mayi, led 3000 cavalry into the Turk camp at Dingxiang and defeated Khan Xieli's army via a surprise strategy, and then led 10,000 soldiers all the way to the Yinshan Mountains (located in today's Inner Mongolia) in pursuit of Khan Xieli. A Turkic chieftan called Kang Sumi surrendered to the Tang army, together with former Sui Empress Xiaohou and a Sui descendant (Yang Zhengdao). General Li Jing retrieved the ex-empress of Sui and gave her to emperor Taizong who later took in as his mistress. General Li Jing killed princess Yicheng for her 4-time marriages without knowing 'shame'. Khan Xieli, after being defeated again, sought peace with Tang. Li Jing, thinking that the Turks might not be on alert while the Tang emissary was in their camp, attacked Khan Xieli again. Xieli alone fled to the territory of another chieftan called Shabolue-she, but he was arrested and surrendered to the Tang army by his own cousin. Hence, the Chinese occupied Eastern Turkic Khanate (Mongolia).
The remnant eastern Turks either fled to the Western Khanate or northward to the Tiele Tribe of Xueyantuo (Mandarin spelling, Turkic name unknown). Emperor Taizong, rebutting the advice of his minister Wei Zheng (who cited the Hunnic ravaging of China during the late Jinn Dynasty as a result of their dwelling to the south of the Yellow River, the Hetao [sheath] area), relocated over 100,000 eastern Turks to the border areas, all the way from today's Shaanxi-Shanxi to today's Beijing city. Taizong did accept the advice of Yan Shigu, Du Chuke and Li Baiyao in having the Turks settle down north of the Yellow River line. Taizong set up four more prefectures, i.e., Shunzhou, Youzhou, Huazhou, Changzhou, along the Great Wall, and made Khan Tuli governor-general in charge of the Shunzhou prefecture. Tuli Khan was conferred the title of King of Beiping-jun. Tuli died at the age of 29, and his son, Heluohu, succeeded the same title. During the attacks on the Eastern Turks, Emperor Taizong won over the support of eleven Tiele tribes including the Uygurs (Huihe), Bayegu, Tongluo and Pugu. The Huihe clan ranked second to the Xueyantuo tribe among the eleven tribes who had helped Tang in defeating the Eastern Turkic Khanate in AD 630-640. Under the sponsorship of Huihe, the tribal leaders devised a name called "Tian Ke-han" (the Heavenly Khan) for Emperor Taizong.
Taizong subdivided the Eastern Khanate into altogether 10 "zhou" (an administartive unit larger than prefectures). He also allowed Khan Xieli and his officials to live in Chang'an the Tang capital, and altogether close to 10,000 Turk families moved in. A Turkic chieftan called Sijie-sijin surrendered to Tang with 40,000 people. (Sijin, a title having origin in the Xianbei and Ruruan eras, was a Turkic title equivalent to governorship. Among ten Turkic families, for example, Nushibi khan possesseed five sijin. The Turks also conferred a sijin post on the Tiele Tribes and the Khitans [who mutaed the name to their governor title of yilijin in the later Khitan empire era].) One brother of Khan Xieli, who first fled to Tuyuhun, came to submit to Tang, too. The Turkic chieftan at Yiwu surrendered his 7 forts to Tang, and Tang made it into Western Yizhou Prefecture. Shabolue-she, with 50,000 people, was conferred the title of King Huaide (possessing virtues). Shabolue-she relocated to north of Ningzhou Prefecture by vacating the land to the south of the desert.
Tang Emperor further exchanged money and silk for 80,000 Sui Chinese refugees who had earlier fled to the Turkic chieftans for asylum. Tang allowed those Chinese to come back to China as civilians.
Tang's General Li Jing (a military strategist who once fled with a mistress of Sui prime minister Yang Su while being invited as a guest at the home of Yang) was later sent on another expedition to today's Qinhai-Gansu and the Tarim Basin to quell rebellion of the Tuyuhun, a group of the Qiangic people mixed with Xianbei. Tang married a princess over to the Tuyuhun king to pacify them. With the help of the Uygurs and other Tiele Tribes, the Tang Chinese subdued the Tarim Basin in 630-40.
During this time, AD 629-645, a famous Tang Monk, Chen Hui, travelled to India and returned to Chang'an in 16 years, passing dozens of countries and tribal states in between, which include the so-called Gaochang State (near east of today's Turpan) where he was received by king Qu Wentai. Also in year AD 640, Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, learning of Tuyuhun's intermarriage with Tang, initiated a war against Tang and requested intermarriage with the Tang princess. Tibetan Prime Minister Ludongzan was sent to Chang'an and passed imperial inquiries and tests. Princess Wencheng arrived in Tibet one year later.
King of the Gaochang State, Qu Wentai, colluded with Western Turkic Khanate in subjugating small tribal states in today's Xinjjiang (New Dominion) area and rebelled against Tang. In AD 639, with the help of Xueyantuo [or Sheyanto] tribe (one component of the Tiele Tribes), a Tang army of 100,000 travelled 7,000 li distance to fight the Gaochang State, scaring Qu Wentai to death. Qu Wentai's son surrenderred after learning that a relief army of the Western Khanate Turks had fled home half way. Emperor Taizong renamed Gaochang to Xizhou, and made it the locality for the governor-general office in charge of Yutian, Suiye, Shule and Chouci. (Later, Xizhou or Anxi Protector-General Office was relocated to Chouci in A.D. 659.) In AD 702, Tang would set up the Beiting [north court] 'Protector-General (Marshal Presidio)' office in Tingwai or Tingzhou (present-day Jimsar), a place located to the east of Suiye (Tokmok), to the south of Xizhou (Turpan), and to the west of Yizhou (Hami).
By AD 648, Tang subdued the remnan eastern Turks north of the Gobi. Meantime, Tang defeated the Khitans in today's Mongolia-Manchuria area, and controlled central and eastern Mongolia, thus stretching 9,510 li east to west and 10,918 li south to north in its territories. The Xueyantuo tribe, differentiated in the Chinese chronicle as a separate tribe from the Uygur tribe, was in charge of today's north Mongolia. (Non-Chinese historical accounts, including the U.S. Library of Congress website, however, stated that the Uygur vassal controlled west and north Mongolia, from Lake Alltaid to Lake Balkash.) The Uygurs would gain control of north Mongolia at a later time.
Tuli Khan's son, Heluohu, was targeted by his Turkic tribesmen for abduction back to the Turkic land. They fled to north of China and disturbed peace in the border areas. Taizong defeated the rebellion and exiled Heluohu to southern China. Emperor Taizong decided to send Simo (the cousin? of ex-khan Xieli) back to the land of the Eastern Khanate as ruler, thus making Simo into a rival of the Tiele Tribe (Xueyantuo). The Xueyantuo tribe, an ex-ally, now rebelled against Tang for Tang's dispatchment of Simo. Simo was commented to have looked like a 'Hu' [a former name for the Huns] versus the Turkic Ashina family. Hence, he was previously not employed for the high posts. He once served as a khan north of the desert when Khan Qimin fled to Sui Dynasty. When Qimin returned, Simo relinquished the khan title. Simo was frequently sent to Tang as a peace emissary. Simo was previously caught together with Khan Xieli. Simo was conferred the title of King Hedejun and governor-general of Huazhou Prefecture.
Hearing that Simo led the Turks (100 thousand people, 40 thousand army and 90 thousand horses) in crossing the Yellow River in A.D. 641, the Xueyantuo Tribe tried to fight the Turks to stop them from returning north. Xueyantuo wrote to Tang saying that the Turks did not know to keep promise or peace. Tang said to Xueyantuo that the Turks could control south of the desert while Xueyantuo was to control north of the desert. Three years later, Simo, unable to harness his people, returned to the Tang court, later followed Taizong in the Koguryo campaign (on which occasion Taizong sucked the blood from the arrow wound that Simo incurred), and in the final died in the Tang capital. Simo's Youxianwang (rightside virtuous king), son of the late Sunishi, would have tears everytime a Tang emissary arrived at north of the desert, and he was allowed to return to the Tang court. Some of Simo's people relocated south of the Yellow River and settled in Shengzhou and Xiazhou Prefectures.
Replacing Simo would be the Turkic Khan called Chebi. Chebi at first fled to Xueyantuo. When being threatened by Xueyantuo, he fled from Xueyantuo. Xueyantuo chased him all the way westward. Chebi soom amassed 30 thousand people and asserted control over the Karlaks in the west and the Qigu in the north. Chebi often harassed the Xueyantuo tribe thereafter. The Xueyantuo tribe hence resented Tang and rebelled against Tang. Tang general Xu Shiji defeated the Xueyantuo tribe at the Battle of Nuozhenshui (Wulanchabu of Inner Mongolia).
In late 630s, Tang intervened in the civil wars of Koguryo. A son of the khan of Xueyantuo took advantage of emperor Taizong's first Koguryo expedition in attacking Tang south of the Yellow River. (Gen. Li Shiji participated in Emperor Taizong's A.D. 644 campaign against Koguryo.) The Xueyantuo tribe fled when they heard of Taizong's return from today's Manchuria. But, at this moment, tribes of the Huihe (Uygur), who were appointed to the Hanhai [desert sea] prefecture, came to the aid of Tang and attacked the Xueyantuo tribe together with a Tang army consisting of several columns of various barbarians from the Liang and Dai prefectures. Around AD 640, the Huihe (Uygurs) helped the Tang army in successfully quelling the rebellion of Xueyantuo. Tribes of the Uygur killed the Xueyantuo tribe's khan and hence controlled north Mongolia where Xueyantuo once held control. Emperor Taizong re-zoned the northwestern territories into six fu (prefecture or province) and seven zhou (prefecture).
After the north was settled, in AD 639, Tang Emperor Taizong attacked the Chouci State in the west, which wavered in its loyalty between Tang Dynasty and the Western Khanate. In AD 641-648, Tang defeated the Western Khante and controlled today's New Dominion Province and areas west of the Pamir Mountains. However, in the north, there arose, after the defeat of Xueyantuo, a remnant eastern Turkic khan.
In AD 649, Emperor Taizong, again with help from the Uygurs, campaigned against the north. In the same year, Emperor Taizong (T'ai-tsong) died. Altogether images of 14 khans had been inscribed on the stones and stood beside Taizong's tomb after one khan's request to be a funerary object buried alive was rejected by the succeeding emperor, Gaozong.
Tang Emperor Gaozong
Gen. Li Shiji, who participated in Emperor Taizong's A.D. 644 campaign against Koguryo, in A.D. 668, led a prong of the Tang army to cross the Yalu River against Koguryo, and made an injunction with Gen. Xue Rengui's army at today's Pyongyong.
After Taizong's death, General Gao Kan, under Emperor Gaozong, would soon capture the last remnant eastern khan and the Eastern Khanate was put to rest for the time being.
Eastern and western Turks would rebell against Tang several times thereafter. During Gaozong's Xianqing Era (655-657), Cheng Zhijie, as 'xingjun zongguan' of Congshan-dao (onion mountain) Circuit, was ordered on a second campaign against the Western Turks headed by Ashina Helu. In September of 657, Cheng defeated Helu's son, Ashina Xiyun. Cheng conducted a masscre at Hengwucheng, and lost the time to chase Helu, over which Su Dingfang replaced him in December under an imperial decree.
For almost a hundred years, the Uygurs would assert control over north Mongolia in competition with the remaining Turks who re-established Eastern Khanate in AD 682/683 in Mongolia. Tang's civil minister Fei Xingjian would be responsible for quelling the Eastern Turkic rebellion in AD 680 and in AD 681 via strategies like 'hiding soldiers inside the grain carts' and 'offering 10,000 liang (a unit of weight similar to ounce) gold for the head of the khan'. Fei, earlier, escorted Persian Prince on his way Persia and captured the western Turkic khan who sought suzerainty from the Tibetans. Persian Prince, however, was afraid of going further to Persia. He stayed around Suiye, failed to organize any army, and then returned to Chang'an where he spent the rest of his life. Remnant Western Turks, under Tibetan suzerainty, would set up Turkic Khanate in the Tarim Basin in AD 691, to be defeated in AD 692 by Governor-General Tang Xiujing of Xizhou prefecture who re-took the four cities of Chouci (Kuqa), Yutian (Hotan), Shule (Kashi) and Suiye (today's Tokmok in Kyrgyzstan).
The eastern Turks would ally with the Khitans in attacking Tang. Khitans were given royla family name of Li by Emperor Taizong in early times and once followed Taizong in his Koguryo campaigns. Khitans first rebelled against Tang in AD 656-661 and again in AD 696. The eastern Turks (namely, Orkhon Turks) would ally with the Khitans in attacking Tang. Certainly, the Turks and Khitans were adversaries as well. Orchon Turks, under Khan Muchuo, would attack the Khitans as well. Tang mobilized an army of hundreds of thousands and defeated the Khitans. Hence, the Khitans fled to the Turks for protection.
Empress Wu Zetian & the Wu-zhou Era
In AD 697, the Eastern Turks obtained from Empress Wu Zetian the old Turkic territories of six Tang prefectures: Pingzhou, Shenzhou, Lingzhou, Xiazhou, Suozhou and Dai (Daizhou), and moreover, sought for his daughter the marriage with Chinese royal family. When Empress Wu Zetian sent her family's prince to the Turks, Khan Muchuo got angry after learning that his duaghter was not to marry the Tang royal family of Li. Khan Muchuo held Prince Wu as a hostage and campaigned against Wu Zetian on behalf of Tang's emperors (two Li emperors, both Wu's sons, who were deprived of rights and placed in palace arrest). Khan Muchuo killed 80-90 thousand people in two prefectures of Dingzhou and Zhaozhou and retreated.
In AD 700, two Tang nomadic generals defeated the Khitans again. In AD 712, Khitans submitted to Tang and was conferred King of Songmuo Prefecture. Heads of eight Khitan tribes were conferred general posts as well. A Tang royal family princess, Princess Yongle, was sent to Khitan khan as wife.
The Turks and the Tang Chinese had seesaw warfare, till dethroned Emperor Zhongzong got restored in AD 705. Emperor Xuanzong, in AD 712, defeated the Eastern Turkic Khan Muchuo and won over the defection of Muchuo's brother-in-law. However, the glorious days under Emperor Taizong were gone.
Further details of Turkic history will be covered in Eastern Khnanate and Western Khnanate.
Near the end of Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), Toba Sigong, a Dangxiang descendant carrying the Toba name of Toba and later the Toba last name of 'Yuan', would come to the aid of Tang Emperor during the Huang Chao rebellion, and hence was conferred the title of Duke Xia and the Tang family name of 'Li'. His descendant, Yuan Hao, would proclaim himself emperor of Xixia Dynasty (AD 1032-1227), namely, Western Xia, with an army of 500 thousand.
The Tang Mercenary Armies
The Second Forced Migration Of Chinese
Like many historians, Scholar Luo Xianglin, in History of Chinese Nationalities (Chinese Culture Publishing Enterprise Co, Taipei, Taiwang, May 1953 edition), traced the cause of the Second Forced Migration Of Chinese to the invasion by Nan-zhao of Southwestern China. Nan-zhao, consisting of elements from the Hundred Yue family and Western Qiang descendants, began to encroach on Tang Dynasty after the era of Tang Emperor Taizong. In 6, Nanzhao-guo attacked An-nam, i.e., Annam, three times, and sacked Jiaozhi, i.e., today's Hanoi. The Tang court stationed the garrison troops in Yongning of Guilin [Guangxi Prov], and Ya'an & Songfan [Sichuan Prov] against Nan-zhao. Suceeding Tang Emperor Xuanzong would be two lascivious emperors of Emperor Yizong and Emperor Xizong (Li Xuan1). During the Xiantong Era of Tang Emperor Yizong (Li Cui), who was notorious for gambling on the polo kind of game and the goose-fighting, two major incidents erupted. In today's eastern Zhejiang Province, Qiu Fu led a rebellion of 30,000 people, ravaging the Yuezhou territory. In southwestern China, in A.D. 868, a grains officer in charge of supplying soldiers from the Xhzhou-Sizhou area, by the name of Pang Xun (?-869), rebelled at the Guilin garrison. What happened was that Xu Xin, a "du yu hou" imperial guard officer, and eight others, killed the garrison column chief, Wang Zhongfu, and supported Pang Xun as the rebel leader. Over 800 soldiers, who were from the area of today's Xuzhou, Shandong Province, resented the extension of the military service beyond the three years to more than five years, and decided to fight their way back to home on the Shandong peninsula from southwestern China. (Another 1200 Xuzhou-Sizhou soldiers stationed at the Jiaozhi [Vietnam] territory.) The Pang Xun rebels departed Guilin for today's Hunan Province in the same way as the later Taiping Heavenly Kingdom rebels. The rebels, along the way, sacked and pillaged the areas of the Yangtze River and Huai-shui River. Passing today's Hunan, the rebels first entered today's western Zhejiang via Jiangxi, then north to the area south of the Huai River, sacked Suzhou (Suxian of Anhui), crossed the Suishui River to take Pengcheng (Xuzhou of Jiangsu). When the rebels reached hometown Xuzhou, they developed into a force of 200,000 people. Further, the rebels took over Haozhou, Tuzhou and Hezhou etc. The Tang court dispatched Tang Chengxun and Zhuye Chixing (Li Guochang) to quelling the rebellion. At Liangcheng, north of Xuyi, the rebels destroyed a 20000 plus government force led by Dai Keshi. Linghu Tao, "jie du shi" for Huai'nan, managed to persuade Pang into seeking pardon with the court so as to delay the rebels' move. Government troops re-amassed to attack the rebels via three routes. Defector general Zhang Xuanren surrendered to the imperial army at Xuzhou, leading to the loss of Xuzhou and Suzhou consecutively. Pang Xun was killed in battle in Qixian (south of Suxian) after an aborted counterattack against the government army. The last stronghold of Haozhou was taken by the government troops in Oct of 869. After this rebellion, the Tang societal weakness began to emerge.
Another rebellion by the name of Wang Xianzhi and Huang Chao assembled Pang Xun's remnants for a new round of pillage. Back in 874, Wang Xianzhi, a salt vendor who called himself a grand general of equalization ordained by the heaven , staged a rebellion in Changyuan of Puzhou, near today's Fanxian, Henan. In Yuanju (Caoxian, Shandong), Huang Chao echoed the rebellion. Another salt vendor, Huang Chao, a prodigy when still a child, once wrote a poem stating that when his flower was to blossom, all other hundred flowers would die out (wo hua kai shi baihua sha). The rebels sacked Qizhou (Qchun of Hubei). The two had a split over Wang's accepting the government conferral. Splitting into the two prongs, Wang attacked west and Huang the east. In Jan of 877, Wang took over Ezhou (Wuchang); in July, Wang joined forces with Huang in attacking Songzhou (Shangqiu); and after setback, sacked Anzhou, Suizhou, Fuzhou and Yingzhou. After another failure to get pacified and at the cost of losing rebel leader Shang Junzhang, Wang returned to attack south, and crossed the Han-shui River to attack Jingnan (Jiangling). In Jan of 878, the rebels took over Luocheng. With the Shato cavalry coming, the rebels burnt Luocheng and fled. The government troops converged upon the rebels. In the Huangmei area, Wang was defeated and killed by the government army led by Zeng Yuanyu in Feb of A.D. 878, while the remnants, led by Shang Rang, went to join the Huang gang and another group crossed the Yangtze for fleeing southward.
Huang called himself the grand general who charged against the heaven. Huang unsuccessfully attacked north against Luoyang. When attacking Bianzhou (Kaifeng)and Songzhou in March of 878, Zhu Wen, and his brother, joined the Huang Chao rebels. Impeded by Zhang Zimian's government troops, the rebels attacked Weinam (Huaxian), Ye and Yangdi (Yuxian). Seeing that the imperial "yi cheng jun" took defense of the Yique and Wulao passes around Luoang, Huang Chao intruded into south of the Huai-shui River from today's Henan Prov, attacked eastern Zhejiang Prov, took over Yuezhou and Quzhou (Quxian of Zhejiang), changed direction to sack Jiangxi Prov, swept south into the 700-li Fujian Province mountains and took over Jianzhou (Jian'ou of Fujian), returned to Jiangxi Prov, further entered Hunan Prov, touched eastern Guangxi Prov, rerouted southward to Guangzhou [Canton] of Guangdong Prov, where they eradicated a 200,000 Arab-Persian paramilitary regime [that earlier overthrew the local Chinese rule and rendered terror to the local Chinese population], returned to Hunan Province after incurring pestilence south of the Nanling Ridge, went north to today's Hubei Province after defeating Wang Duo ("jie du shi" for Jingnan), crossed the Yangtze and defeated Gao Pian ("jie du shi" for Huainan) and harassed today's Anhui Province.
In A.D. 880, Huang Chao's army of 600,000, which snowballed along the way, crossed the Huai-shui River to take over Luoyang of Henan Prov, and pressed against the Tongguan Pass. After taking over Tongguan, the emperor and eunuch leader Tian Lingzi fled towards the Sichuan basin. The rebels finally took over the capital of Chang'an [Shenxi Prov]. Huang declared the dynasty of Da-qi in the Daminggong Palace. At one time, the government troops counterattacked the rebels and entered Chang'an again, over which the Huang Chao rebels conducted a masscare of the city population for siding with the government troops. At Tongzhou (Dali), north of Chang'an, a rebel general, Zhu Wen, resenting the indifference to his fighting efforts, defected to the government side. The Tang court further called in Li Keyong's 40,000 Shatuo cavalry. Under the attacks of both Zhu Wen and Li Keyong, Huang Chao fled the Chang'an capital, and after a defeat in the siege of Chenzhou (Huaiyang of Henan), escaped east towards the Shandong peninsula, where he was killed in the Langhugu (wolf-tiger valley) of Mt. Taishan. The Huang Chao Rebellion lasted a dozen years. The Tang court had to rely upon nomadic mercenaries, including the Shatuo and the Tanguts, for quelling the rebellion. The end result of the Huang Chao Rebellion would be the usurpation of Tang Dynasty by Zhu Wen who defected to the government side from from Huang Chao's camp. Zhu Wen's establishing Posterior Liang Dynasty would throw northern China into the turmoil time period called the "Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms".
Scholar Luo Xianglin, stating that Chinese had been fleeing Huang Chao's rebellion throughout the territories sacked by the rebels, summarized the following safe havens: refugees to today's Sichuan Prov where Wang Jian established the Shu Regime; refugees to Hunan Prov where Ma Yin established the Chu Regime; refugees to Guangdong & Guangxi provinces where Liu Yin established the Southern Han Regime; refugees to Fujian Prov where Wang Shenzhi established the Min Regime; refugees to Zhejiang Prov where Qian Mu established the Wu-Yue Regime; and refugees to Anhui-Jiangsu provinces where Yang Xingmi & Li Zhigao established the Yang-Wu and Southern Tang regimes.
Zhu Wen's Liang Dynasty
In A.D. 883, Zhu Wen was appointed the post as "jie du shi" for Xuanwu. Li Maozhen (Soong Wentong), "zhi hui shi" for the "shen ce jun" [Divine Tactics Garrison], defeated Shang Rang's Huang Chao rebels.
Rebels Huang Chao and Qin Zongquan combined forces in attacking he nan (south of the river). In AD 884, Li Keyong led the he dong (east of the Yellow River) and dai bei (north of Dai) soldiers southward. Li Keyong chased enemies to Bei-cao-zhou (north Caozhou prefecture); when returning via Bian (Kaifeng), Zhu Wen (Zhu Quanzhong) invited him for a stay; Li Keyong left his soldiers at the outskirts and went to the Shangyuan-guan Guest-house. At night, Zhu Wen (Zhu Quanzhong) personally served the dinner, offered the treasures, and held hands as a show of condolence for Li's war efforts. Zhu Wen fed Li Keyong into intoxication; Zhu Wen, meantime, arranged his troops to have the guest house surrounded for sake of eradicating Li Keyong. Zhu Wen was jealous of Li Keyong's ferociousness and intended to kill Li so that he would usurp the Tang dynasty in an easy way. When Zhu Wen's soldiers attacked the guest house, Li Keyong's bodyguard general (Guo Jingzhu) blew off the candles and walked Li Keyong off by putting his arms around Li; still intoxicated, Li pulled his bow and shot arrows at the enemies. Utilizing the heavy smoke from the fires and lightening in the skies, Li Keyong and Xue Zhiqin escaped from the guest house, climbed the city gate of the Nan-qiao-men (watch-tower gate at the south of the city), threw down a thread and climbed down the wall. Li Keyong, seeing that hundreds of his followers had died, would re-assemble his troops and retreat to Taiyuan for the preparation of revenge. Li Keyong then ordered that his brother Li Keqin to station the troops at he zhong (area in the middle segment of the river). Li Keyong petitioned with the emperor to attack Zhu Wen. Emissaries exchanged messages and condolences eight times between the emperor and Li Keyong. The Tang emperor conferred the titles of jianxiao taifu and King of Longxi-jun-wang onto Li Keyong to pacify him.
In 886, Li Maozhen (Soong Wentong) was assigned the post of "jie du shi" for Wuding and granted the royal name for his contribution to defeating rebel "jie du shi" generals like Zhu Mei et al. Li protected Tang emperor Xizong in 887 when the emperor was en route of return to Chang'an from Fengxiang. Li was given the posts of "jie du shi" for Longyou and Fengxiang. In 890, Li was further assigned the title of King Longxi-jun-wang. After the new emperor was enthroned, Li became arrogant and showed disprespect. From 893 onward, Li repeatedly beat back the imperial army. The Tang court had to offer Li further titles such as King Qi-wang. In 901, Tang Emperor Zhaozong (Li Ye) was hijacked by eunuch Haan Quanhui, and moved to Fengxiang where Li Maozhen (Soong Wentong) was in charge. In 902, Zhu Wen led an attack at Fengxiang but failed to sack the fort after about one year's fightings. Gao Jixing proposed to induce Li Maozhen out of the city by spreading rumor that Zhu Wen's army had retreated. With Li Maozhen lured out of Fengxiang, Zhu Wen managed to defeat the city defenders and forced Li Maozhen into handing over the emperor. The emperor returned to the throne in Chang'an. In 907, Zhu Wen usurped the Tang dynasty, forced Emperor tang Aidi into abdication and then killed him, and declared the founding of the Liang dynasty in Kaifeng which was the ancient Liang city. Zhu Wen, who was lascivious and conducted incest in his later life, was later killed by his third son Zhu Zhen (Zhu Yougui) in 912. The end of the 289-year Tang dynasty led to the turmoil period called the Five Dynasties and Ten Nations.
Written by Ah Xiang
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