The five dynasties

The five dynasties

The time from 907 to 960 is known as the time of the five dynasties. The five dynasties allude to the five northern dynasties.

  1. Liang dynasty (907 – 923)
  2. Later Tang dynasty (923 – 936)
  3. Later Jin dynasty (936 – 947)
  4. Later Han dynasty (947 - 950)
  5. Later Zhou dynasty (950 - 960)

In the south, the “ten empires” dominated in successive order: earlier Shu, later Shu, Chu, Jing Nan, southern Han, northern Han, Min, Wu Yue, Wu, southern Tang. The Liang dynasty was founded by Zhu Wen, who essentially took power in 904 but officially took the title of emperor in 907. The time of the five dynasties and the ten empires was affected by wars, uprisings, and governmental disorder. None of the empires lasted long. Nonetheless, the later Zhou dynasty united all of northern China, except for a small area in modern Shanxi, where the northern Han dynasty held tenaciously on.

After the death of the second Zhou emperor and the forced abdication of his son, the Song dynasty was founded by General Zhao Kuang-yin. This first emperor of the Song dynasty was enthroned by his own troops in Kaifeng, and he gradually reconquered all of China. First he overthrew the empire Chu, then Shu in Szechuan, next south China and in the 970s the other small empires. The unification was completed in 979 with the occupation of the northern Han empire.

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