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Mamikonian Dynasty Timeline

Mamikonian Dynasty Timeline


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  • c. 387 CE

    Roman emperor Theodosius I and Shapur III of Persia agree to formally divide Armenia between the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and the Sasanian Empire.

  • c. 410 CE - c. 490 CE

    Life of the Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi.

  • c. 428 CE - 652 CE

    Persia rules one half of Armenia as the Marzpanate, that is with marzpan viceroys.

  • c. 439 CE

    Mamikonian prince Hamazasp marries Sahakanyush and so unifies the estates of the Mamikonians and descendants of Saint Gregory the Illuminator.

  • 451 CE

    Battle of Avarayr between Armenian forces and those of the Sasanian Empire.

  • 484 CE

    The Treaty of Nvarsak is signed between Persia and Armenia giving the latter a greater political autonomy and freedom of religious thought.

  • 485 CE

    Vahan Mamikonian is made marzpan of Armenia.

  • c. 554 CE

    The Council of Dvin declares the Armenian Church's adherence to the doctrine of monophysitism.

  • 627 CE

  • 640 CE - 650 CE

  • 651 CE

  • 701 CE

    Armenia is formally annexed as a province of the Umayyad Caliphate.


Stamboom Homs » Hamazasp I Mamikonian of Taraun, Sparapet of Armenia (± 380-± 432)

Mamikonian or Mamikoneans (Armenian: . ) was a noble family which dominated Armenian politics between the 4th and 8th centuries. They ruled the Armenian regions of Taron, Sasun, Bagrevand and others.

The origin of the Mamikonians is shrouded in the mists of antiquity. Moses of Chorene in his Primary History of Armenia (5th or 6th century) claims that three centuries earlier two Chinese noblemen, Mamik and Konak, rose against their half-brother, Chenbakur, the Emperor of Chenk, or China. They were defeated and fled to the king of Parthia who, braving the Emperor's demands to extradite the culprits, sent them to live in Armenia, where Mamik became the progenitor of the Mamikonians.

Another 5th-century Armenian historian, Pawstos Buzand, seconded the story. In his History of Armenia, he twice mentions that the Mamikonians descended from the Han dynasty of China and as such were not inferior to the Arshakid rulers of Armenia. This genealogical legend may have been part of the Mamikonians' political agenda, as it served to add prestige to their name. Although it echoes the Bagratids' claim of Davidic descent and the Artsruni's claim of the royal Assyrian ancestry, some Armenian historians tended to interprete it as something more than a piece of genealogical mythology.[1] A theory from the 1920s postulated that the Chenk mentioned in the Armenian sources were not the Chinese but a different ethnic group from Transoxania, such as the Tocharians.[1] Edward Gibbon in his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire also believed that the founder of Mamikonian clan was not Chinese but merely from the territory of the Chinese Empire and ascribes a Scythian origin to Mamgon stating that at the time the borders of the Chinese Empire reached as far West as Sogdiana.[2]

Today, some historians are of the opinion that the Mamikonians were probably descended from chieftans of the Tzans (Chanik - . /. - in medieval Armenian, Tzannoi in medieval Greek). The Tzans[3] were a tribe that once inhabited a mountainous region to the south of Trebizond. They postulate that the tradition of the Chinese origin arose out of the similarity of the name Chanik to the Armenian word for China, Chen-k.[4]

The first known Mamikonid lord, or nakhararq, about whom anything certain is known was a certain Vatche Mamikonian (fl. 330-339). The family reappears in chronicles in 355, when the bulk of their lands lay in Tayk. At that point the family chief was Vasak Mamikonian, a commander-in-chief (sparapet) of Armenia. Later, the office of sparapet would become hereditary possession of the Mamikonians. Vasak was in charge of the Armenian defense against Persia but was eventually defeated through the treachery of Marujan Ardzruni (c. 367-368).

Following that defeat, Vasak's brother Vahan Mamikonian and multiple other feudal lords defected to the Persian side. The Emperor Valens, however, interfered in Armenian affairs and had the office of sparapet bestowed on Vasak's son Mushegh Mamikonian in 370. Four years later Varazdat, a new king, confirmed Musel in office. The latter was subsequently assassinated on behest of Sembat Saharuni who replaced him as sparapet of Armenia.

On this event, the family leadership passed to Mushegh's brother, Enmanuel Mamikonian, who had been formerly kept as a hostage in Persia. The Mamikonids at once broke into insurrection and routed Varazdat and Saharuni at Karin. Enmanuel, together with his sons Hemaiak and Artches, took the king prisoner and put him in a fortress, whence Varazdat escaped abroad. Zarmandukht, the widow of Varazdat's predecessor, was then proclaimed queen. Enmanuel came to an agreement with the powerful Sassanids, pledging his loyalty in recompense for their respect of the Armenian autonomy and laws.

Upon the queen's demise in 384, Enmanuel Mamikonian was proclaimed Regent of Armenia pending the minority of her son Arsaces III and had the infant king married to his daughter Vardandukh. It was Enmanuel's death in 385 that precipitated the country's conquest by the Persians in 386-387.

Hamazasp Mamikonian was recorded as the family leader in 393. His wife is known to have been Sahakanoush, daughter of Saint Sahak the Great and descendant of the Arsacid kings. They had a son, Saint Vartan Mamikonian, who is revered as one of the greatest military and spiritual leaders of ancient Armenia.

After Vartan became Sparapet in 432, the Persians summoned him to Ctesiphon, forcing him to convert to Zoroastrianism. Upon his return to home in 450, Vartan repudiated the Persian religion and instigated a great Armenian rebellion against their Sassanian overlords. Although he died in the doomed Battle of Vartanantz (451), the continued insurrection led by Vahan Mamikonian, the son of Vartan's brother, resulted in the restoration of Armenian autonomy with the Nvarsak Treaty (484), thus guaranteeing the survival of Armenian statehood in later centuries. Saint Vartan is commemorated by an equestrian statue in Yerevan.

After the country's subjugation by the Persians, Mamikonians sided with the Roman Empire, with many family members entering Byzantine service. Not only did they rise to the highest offices of Constantinople, but even some of the emperors - conceivably Leo the Armenian and Basil I - could have been their descendants. Theodora the Byzantine regent and her brothers Bardas and Petronas the Patrician were also of Mamikonian heritage. Unsurprisingly, Mamikonians form a crucial link in the postulated descent of modern European nobility from antiquity.

The history of Mamikonians in the Early Middle Ages is quite obscure. In the period between 655 and 750 they are not documented at all. What follows below is their reconstructed genealogy between the 5th and 7th centuries.

Vardan Mamikonian leading Armenians in the Battle of Vartanantz (451).Hamazasp I Mamikonian, married to Sahankanoysh of Armenia


Dawith l Mamikonian

The family of Dawith ou David (tg) MAMMIKONIDÈS and ..

[128937] MAMMIKONIDÈS, Dawith ou David (tg) (Vahan & .. [128936]), nakharar en Taron ?, born about 580 married about 605 . .. (..)

1) Hamazasp III, curopalate d'Arménie, born about 610, died 658, married about 645 ..Bibliographie : Traité de génບlogie (René Jetté)

Mamikonian or Mamikoneans (Armenian: . ) was a noble family which dominated Armenian politics between the 4th and 8th centuries. They ruled the Armenian regions of Taron, Sasun, Bagrevand and others.

The origin of the Mamikonians is shrouded in the mists of antiquity. Moses of Chorene in his Primary History of Armenia (5th or 6th century) claims that three centuries earlier two Chinese noblemen, Mamik and Konak, rose against their half-brother, Chenbakur, the Emperor of Chenk, or China. They were defeated and fled to the king of Parthia who, braving the Emperor's demands to extradite the culprits, sent them to live in Armenia, where Mamik became the progenitor of the Mamikonians.

Another 5th-century Armenian historian, Pawstos Buzand, seconded the story. In his History of Armenia, he twice mentions that the Mamikonians descended from the Han dynasty of China and as such were not inferior to the Arshakid rulers of Armenia. This genealogical legend may have been part of the Mamikonians' political agenda, as it served to add prestige to their name. Although it echoes the Bagratids' claim of Davidic descent and the Artsruni's claim of the royal Assyrian ancestry, some Armenian historians tended to interprete it as something more than a piece of genealogical mythology.[1] A theory from the 1920s postulated that the Chenk mentioned in the Armenian sources were not the Chinese but a different ethnic group from Transoxania, such as the Tocharians.[1] Edward Gibbon in his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire also believed that the founder of Mamikonian clan was not Chinese but merely from the territory of the Chinese Empire and ascribes a Scythian origin to Mamgon stating that at the time the borders of the Chinese Empire reached as far West as Sogdiana.[2]

Today, some historians are of the opinion that the Mamikonians were probably descended from chieftans of the Tzans (Chanik - . /. - in medieval Armenian, Tzannoi in medieval Greek). The Tzans[3] were a tribe that once inhabited a mountainous region to the south of Trebizond. They postulate that the tradition of the Chinese origin arose out of the similarity of the name Chanik to the Armenian word for China, Chen-k.[4]

The first known Mamikonid lord, or nakhararq, about whom anything certain is known was a certain Vatche Mamikonian (fl. 330-339). The family reappears in chronicles in 355, when the bulk of their lands lay in Tayk. At that point the family chief was Vasak Mamikonian, a commander-in-chief (sparapet) of Armenia. Later, the office of sparapet would become hereditary possession of the Mamikonians. Vasak was in charge of the Armenian defense against Persia but was eventually defeated through the treachery of Marujan Ardzruni (c. 367-368).

Following that defeat, Vasak's brother Vahan Mamikonian and multiple other feudal lords defected to the Persian side. The Emperor Valens, however, interfered in Armenian affairs and had the office of sparapet bestowed on Vasak's son Mushegh Mamikonian in 370. Four years later Varazdat, a new king, confirmed Musel in office. The latter was subsequently assassinated on behest of Sembat Saharuni who replaced him as sparapet of Armenia.

On this event, the family leadership passed to Mushegh's brother, Enmanuel Mamikonian, who had been formerly kept as a hostage in Persia. The Mamikonids at once broke into insurrection and routed Varazdat and Saharuni at Karin. Enmanuel, together with his sons Hemaiak and Artches, took the king prisoner and put him in a fortress, whence Varazdat escaped abroad. Zarmandukht, the widow of Varazdat's predecessor, was then proclaimed queen. Enmanuel came to an agreement with the powerful Sassanids, pledging his loyalty in recompense for their respect of the Armenian autonomy and laws.

Upon the queen's demise in 384, Enmanuel Mamikonian was proclaimed Regent of Armenia pending the minority of her son Arsaces III and had the infant king married to his daughter Vardandukh. It was Enmanuel's death in 385 that precipitated the country's conquest by the Persians in 386-387.

Hamazasp Mamikonian was recorded as the family leader in 393. His wife is known to have been Sahakanoush, daughter of Saint Sahak the Great and descendant of the Arsacid kings. They had a son, Saint Vartan Mamikonian, who is revered as one of the greatest military and spiritual leaders of ancient Armenia.

After Vartan became Sparapet in 432, the Persians summoned him to Ctesiphon, forcing him to convert to Zoroastrianism. Upon his return to home in 450, Vartan repudiated the Persian religion and instigated a great Armenian rebellion against their Sassanian overlords. Although he died in the doomed Battle of Vartanantz (451), the continued insurrection led by Vahan Mamikonian, the son of Vartan's brother, resulted in the restoration of Armenian autonomy with the Nvarsak Treaty (484), thus guaranteeing the survival of Armenian statehood in later centuries. Saint Vartan is commemorated by an equestrian statue in Yerevan.

After the country's subjugation by the Persians, Mamikonians sided with the Roman Empire, with many family members entering Byzantine service. Not only did they rise to the highest offices of Constantinople, but even some of the emperors - conceivably Leo the Armenian and Basil I - could have been their descendants. Theodora the Byzantine regent and her brothers Bardas and Petronas the Patrician were also of Mamikonian heritage. Unsurprisingly, Mamikonians form a crucial link in the postulated descent of modern European nobility from antiquity.

The history of Mamikonians in the Early Middle Ages is quite obscure. In the period between 655 and 750 they are not documented at all. What follows below is their reconstructed genealogy between the 5th and 7th centuries.

Vardan Mamikonian leading Armenians in the Battle of Vartanantz (451).Hamazasp I Mamikonian, married to Sahankanoysh of Armenia


Stamboom Homs » Hmayeak II Mamikonian (± 490-± 555)

Mamikonian or Mamikoneans (Armenian: . ) was a noble family which dominated Armenian politics between the 4th and 8th centuries. They ruled the Armenian regions of Taron, Sasun, Bagrevand and others.

The origin of the Mamikonians is shrouded in the mists of antiquity. Moses of Chorene in his Primary History of Armenia (5th or 6th century) claims that three centuries earlier two Chinese noblemen, Mamik and Konak, rose against their half-brother, Chenbakur, the Emperor of Chenk, or China. They were defeated and fled to the king of Parthia who, braving the Emperor's demands to extradite the culprits, sent them to live in Armenia, where Mamik became the progenitor of the Mamikonians.

Another 5th-century Armenian historian, Pawstos Buzand, seconded the story. In his History of Armenia, he twice mentions that the Mamikonians descended from the Han dynasty of China and as such were not inferior to the Arshakid rulers of Armenia. This genealogical legend may have been part of the Mamikonians' political agenda, as it served to add prestige to their name. Although it echoes the Bagratids' claim of Davidic descent and the Artsruni's claim of the royal Assyrian ancestry, some Armenian historians tended to interprete it as something more than a piece of genealogical mythology.[1] A theory from the 1920s postulated that the Chenk mentioned in the Armenian sources were not the Chinese but a different ethnic group from Transoxania, such as the Tocharians.[1] Edward Gibbon in his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire also believed that the founder of Mamikonian clan was not Chinese but merely from the territory of the Chinese Empire and ascribes a Scythian origin to Mamgon stating that at the time the borders of the Chinese Empire reached as far West as Sogdiana.[2]

Today, some historians are of the opinion that the Mamikonians were probably descended from chieftans of the Tzans (Chanik - . /. - in medieval Armenian, Tzannoi in medieval Greek). The Tzans[3] were a tribe that once inhabited a mountainous region to the south of Trebizond. They postulate that the tradition of the Chinese origin arose out of the similarity of the name Chanik to the Armenian word for China, Chen-k.[4]

The first known Mamikonid lord, or nakhararq, about whom anything certain is known was a certain Vatche Mamikonian (fl. 330-339). The family reappears in chronicles in 355, when the bulk of their lands lay in Tayk. At that point the family chief was Vasak Mamikonian, a commander-in-chief (sparapet) of Armenia. Later, the office of sparapet would become hereditary possession of the Mamikonians. Vasak was in charge of the Armenian defense against Persia but was eventually defeated through the treachery of Marujan Ardzruni (c. 367-368).

Following that defeat, Vasak's brother Vahan Mamikonian and multiple other feudal lords defected to the Persian side. The Emperor Valens, however, interfered in Armenian affairs and had the office of sparapet bestowed on Vasak's son Mushegh Mamikonian in 370. Four years later Varazdat, a new king, confirmed Musel in office. The latter was subsequently assassinated on behest of Sembat Saharuni who replaced him as sparapet of Armenia.

On this event, the family leadership passed to Mushegh's brother, Enmanuel Mamikonian, who had been formerly kept as a hostage in Persia. The Mamikonids at once broke into insurrection and routed Varazdat and Saharuni at Karin. Enmanuel, together with his sons Hemaiak and Artches, took the king prisoner and put him in a fortress, whence Varazdat escaped abroad. Zarmandukht, the widow of Varazdat's predecessor, was then proclaimed queen. Enmanuel came to an agreement with the powerful Sassanids, pledging his loyalty in recompense for their respect of the Armenian autonomy and laws.

Upon the queen's demise in 384, Enmanuel Mamikonian was proclaimed Regent of Armenia pending the minority of her son Arsaces III and had the infant king married to his daughter Vardandukh. It was Enmanuel's death in 385 that precipitated the country's conquest by the Persians in 386-387.

Hamazasp Mamikonian was recorded as the family leader in 393. His wife is known to have been Sahakanoush, daughter of Saint Sahak the Great and descendant of the Arsacid kings. They had a son, Saint Vartan Mamikonian, who is revered as one of the greatest military and spiritual leaders of ancient Armenia.

After Vartan became Sparapet in 432, the Persians summoned him to Ctesiphon, forcing him to convert to Zoroastrianism. Upon his return to home in 450, Vartan repudiated the Persian religion and instigated a great Armenian rebellion against their Sassanian overlords. Although he died in the doomed Battle of Vartanantz (451), the continued insurrection led by Vahan Mamikonian, the son of Vartan's brother, resulted in the restoration of Armenian autonomy with the Nvarsak Treaty (484), thus guaranteeing the survival of Armenian statehood in later centuries. Saint Vartan is commemorated by an equestrian statue in Yerevan.

After the country's subjugation by the Persians, Mamikonians sided with the Roman Empire, with many family members entering Byzantine service. Not only did they rise to the highest offices of Constantinople, but even some of the emperors - conceivably Leo the Armenian and Basil I - could have been their descendants. Theodora the Byzantine regent and her brothers Bardas and Petronas the Patrician were also of Mamikonian heritage. Unsurprisingly, Mamikonians form a crucial link in the postulated descent of modern European nobility from antiquity.

The history of Mamikonians in the Early Middle Ages is quite obscure. In the period between 655 and 750 they are not documented at all. What follows below is their reconstructed genealogy between the 5th and 7th centuries.

Vardan Mamikonian leading Armenians in the Battle of Vartanantz (451).Hamazasp I Mamikonian, married to Sahankanoysh of Armenia


European Ships Reach China

Starting in the 16th century, European power in Asia grew—along with trade and their attempts to win Christian converts. The Catholic supremacist mindset of the early Portuguese adventurers regarded the “heathen” as inferior and expendable. Like their Dutch and English counterparts, many of these early sailors thought nothing of murdering their way to riches.

Not surprisingly, the Ming government—who were used to the gentler behavior of Arab and Indian merchants—tried to exclude or at least contain these “red haired” barbarians.

1514: Portuguese traders first land in China. They soon bought tea, which started catching on as a fashionable drink in European society. By 1550, Macau had effectively become their colony.

Trade developed gradually 16th and early 17th. Most problems were not with China, but instead resulted from rivalry between European powers.

1522: The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is published (I’m hoping for a spoof movie with Paul Rudd: “The Bromance of the Three Kingdoms“)

1540-60s: Raids by Japanese pirates intensify. In 1555, they venture as far up the Yangzi River as Nanjing, where the pillage at will for 10 weeks. In 1560, several thousand Japanese pirates land in Fujian province and loot for several months.

1600: China’s population exceeds 150 million.

1642: In Tibet, the 5th Dalai Lama—nominally under Ming protection—asserts his temporal power and orders the construction of the Potala Palace in Lhasa.

Corruption, greed, and abuse progressively weaken the Ming (another familiar pattern). Peasant uprisings sprout up. Meanwhile, in the north, the (non-Chinese) Manchu become a serious threat.

1644: Rebels overtake Beijing whereupon the last Ming emperor hangs himself. Meanwhile, the Manchu armies of the north march towards the Great Wall, at Shanhaiguan (the First Pass Under Heaven). They encounter a Ming general who ultimately allies with the Manchus—allowing them to march through the gates towards Beijing. The Manchu take control and the Ming dynasty comes to an end.


When the Qin dynasty started, civilizations of Egypt and Greece were in deep decline while the emergent state of Rome barely controlled the Italian peninsula. In Africa, Hannibal’s power—like that of the Qin—was gaining strength. But only 15 years later, Hannibal’s dreams of a European kingdom lay in ruins….coincidentally, almost the same time the Qin dynasty was unraveling.

The Qin (pronounced “Chin”) was China’s first unified empire and directly controlled huge geographical areas. Although one of shortest-lived dynasties, the Qin left an indelible mark on Chinese history. For 21 centuries, China lived under the template set by the First Emperor Qin Shi Huang (“First Sovereign Qin Emperor”). His basic model of central government persists to this day.

From the capital of Xianyang (near modern day Xi’an), he wielded more power than any other man since Alexander the Great. Though his ambitions were legendary and contributions great, he was a ruthless tyrant who didn’t know how to back off. Ruling with an iron fist, he dragooned hundreds of thousands into a series of massive projects– ultimately leading to the fall of the Qin.

CENTRALIZATION & STANDARDIZATION:

Eliminating regional differences, his central government standardized everything from money to weights & measures. For instance, he mandated that all cart axles all have the same length. This might seem control-freakish, but it actually made sense: the dirt roads developed deep grooves that sped up trade.

One huge contribution: He started a standardized system of written Chinese.

RADICAL POLITICAL & SOCIAL REFORMS:

Government bureaucracy in China is born. His well-ordered state was organized into 36 administrative divisions and further subdivisions—all accountable to strong central government (basic system survives today). Ranks in society were also clearly defined. All household occupants are registered (surviving today in China and other Asian countries as the “hukou” household registration system).

MASSIVE PROJECTS:

Under the First Emperor, the Qin built a network of roads—thousands of miles—joining their capital to distant outposts of empire. Waterways and sophisticated irrigation systems were also constructed. Significantly, the Qin also connected existing northern walls to protect against the growing threat of nomads. These became the first version of the Great Wall of China.

[ Click here for more on the Great Wall History and Construction ]

He was also responsible for China’s other top tourist attraction: the Terracotta Army, which he believed would protect him in the afterlife from his numerous enemies.

And during his harsh rule, he did gain a lot of enemies. He became more paranoid and ruthless after he survived several assassination attempts (including one by a blind musician wielding a lead harp).

An example of his harsh methods was his zero-tolerance policy for tardiness—even his own generals were executed. In fact, it was this policy that sparked the beginning of a revolt (by peasants who were delayed by heavy rains).

210 BC: Qin dies at age of 50. Rebellion spreads fast and furiously. The Qin disintegrates and is eventually replaced by the HAN Dynasty….

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1298: Battle of Jalandhar

During their brief, 30-year reign, the Khilji Dynasty successfully fended off a number of incursions from the Mongol Empire. The final, decisive battle that ended Mongol attempts to take India was the Battle of Jalandhar in 1298, in which the Khilji army slaughtered some 20,000 Mongols and drove the survivors out of India for good.


Medieval China (581–1368)

China's Middle Ages saw steady growth through a series of regime changes.

The Grand Canal, representing China's huge civil engineering feats, is another feature of China's history.

China went from having four warring kingdoms to being the most culturally sophisticated and technologically developed nation. Finally, it was consumed by the rise and fall of the phenomenal Mongol Empire, which stretched to Europe.

The Sui Dynasty (581–618)

In 581, Yang Jian usurped the throne in the north and, as Emperor Wen, united the rest of China under the Sui Dynasty.

It was a short, intense dynasty, with great conquests and achievements, such as the Grand Canal and the rebuilding of the Great Wall.

One of Emperor Wen’s most prominent achievements was to create the imperial examination system to select talented individuals for bureaucratic positions.

Most of this dynasty’s government institutions were adopted by later dynasties. It's considered, along with the following Tang Dynasty, to be a great Chinese era.

Tri-colored glazed pottery

The Tang Dynasty (618-907)

After the short-lived Sui Dynasty, the powerful and prosperous Tang Dynasty unified China once again. The Tang Dynasty continued with the Sui’s imperial examination system and optimized it.

It ruled for three centuries, and it was also the golden age for poetry, painting, tricolored glazed pottery, and woodblock printing.

In the middle of the Tang Dynasty, an immense rebellion appeared and some regions refused to follow the state’s authority. This situation continued to the end of the Tang Dynasty.

After the Tang Dynasty came half a century of division in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907–960). This ended when one of the northern kingdoms defeated its neighbors and established the Song Dynasty.

The Song Dynasty (960–1297)

The Song Dynasty unified the Central Plain and Southern China. However, the territory under the Northern Song Dynasty's (960–1127) control was smaller than the Tang Dynasty's.

The modern-day northern Hebei Province was occupied by the Khitan and was under the control of the Liao Dynasty (907–1125). In the northwest, the Western Xia Dynasty (1038–1227) – ruled by the Tanguts – controlled the modern-day Gansu and northwestern Shaanxi.

Until the first half of the 12th century, the Jurchens (ancestors of modern-day Manchus) annihilated the Liao Dynasty and invaded the Northern Song's capital.

China's invention of printing influenced not only China history but world history.

Then the Song government moved and reestablished the capital in Hangzhou, establishing the Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279). The Jurchens established the Jin Dynasty at the Yellow River Basin until it was conquered by the Mongols in 1271.

The Song era was a period of technological advances and prosperity. During the Song Dynasty, the handicraft industry as well as domestic and foreign trade boomed. Many merchants and travelers came from abroad.

The "four great inventions" of the Chinese people in ancient times (paper, printing, the compass, and gunpowder) were further developed in the Song Dynasty.

The Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368) — Mongol Rule

Genghis Khan changed China's history by bringing the nation under foreign (Mongol) rule.

In 1206, Genghis Khan unified all the tribes in Mongolia, founded the Mongol khanate, and conquered an unprecedented swathe of Asia.

At the end of the 12 th century, Mongolian rule grew steadily. With Genghis Khan and his descendants expanding their territory, the Mongol Empire extended all the way to Eastern Europe.

The part of the Mongolian khanate that ruled China was known as the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368).

From 1271 to 1279, his grandson, Kublai Khan, finally conquered the Song Dynasty and founded the Yuan Dynasty. He made Dadu (modern-day Beijing) the capital of the first foreign-led dynasty in China.

Trade, technological development, and China’s introduction to foreign countries continued under Mongol rule. Marco Polo from Venice traveled extensively in China, and later described China's culture and marvels in his book, Travels.


Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms

The Tang Dynasty’s domination of China officially ended in 907 with the death of the puppet Emperor Ai of Tang. The long road to its decline started during the time of the An Lushan rebellion (755-763). The Tang emperors had lost the Mandate of Heaven, but their legitimacy to rule was not the only casualty of the disintegration. China lost its domination of the Central Asian frontier to the Tanguts after the Tang lost many soldiers during the years of war. The troops loyal only to the different military generals increased, which meant that the power in the provinces now shifted to the local governors. The Five Dynasties and the Ten Kingdoms that came later are recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History between 907 – 960 AD.

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The weak central government was unable to curb corruption committed by the government officials. The common people suffered from severe oppression and poverty so that many were forced to resort to banditry. Huang Chao, a former soldier, and trader, turned into a prolific bandit and rebel after the oppression he experienced during the last years of the Tang. He started his career in Guangzhou. The rebellion he launched quickly spread to the other parts of China until his troops captured Chang’an in 881. He was the first and last king of this “kingdom of Qi” as Huang Chao died in 884 and a new Tang Dynasty was reinstated. The reinstatement, however, was short-lived as its last emperor, Ai of Tang, was ousted by the military commander Zhu Wen in 907 AD.

Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms

The tumultuous period between the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the Song Dynasty (960-1279) was called the era of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms.

The Five Dynasties which flourished during this period were:

Later Liang (907-923)

Zhu Wen, the founder of the Later Liang Dynasty, served as a high-ranking officer in Huang Chao’s rebel army during the last years of the Tang dynasty. He rose to prominence when he helped capture the city of Chang’an in 881. He maintained the control of the imperial family thereafter. Zhu Wen installed Ai of Tang as puppet emperor in 905, but removed the young figurehead two years later and declared himself the new emperor of the brand new Later Liang Dynasty.

He established the city of Kaifeng as the Later Liang capital, but he also controlled the main capital Chang’an and the secondary capital Luoyang. The Later Liang held the greater part of northern China except for the territories dominated by other dynasties and kingdoms. Three kings had ruled Later Liang before the dynasty fell apart. It was later overpowered by the Shatuo Turks from the State of Jin, as well as Later Tang in 923.

Later Tang (923-936)

The Later Tang Dynasty was founded by Li Cunxu (Emperor Zhuangzong), and it rose after the dissolution of its rival dynasty, the Later Liang. Its rulers originated from the Shatuo Turks who had a strong alliance with their northern neighbors, the Khitans. Li Cunxu took over the territories once controlled by the collapsed Later Liang dynasty, then established his capital at Luoyang, and extended his rule from the Shanxi region to as far west as Sichuan. The Later Tang Dynasty ended when it was overpowered by the Liao dynasty of the Khitans.

Later Jin (936-947)

Shi Jingtang, the son-in-law of the Later Tang emperor Li Cunxu, rebelled against his father-in-law and declared himself as the emperor of a new dynasty, the Later Jin. Upon the dissolution of the Later Tang, the Later Jin dynasty took over its territories except for the Sichuan region which was ceded to the Kingdom of Later Shu. Its rulers further lost the Sixteen Prefectures it previously held to the powerful Liao dynasty of the Khitans. It was dissolved by the Liao after Shi Jingtang’s successor rebelled against them.

Later Han (947-951)

The Later Han Dynasty was founded by a former military governor of Bingzhou, Liu Zhiyuan, who rebelled against the Later Jin after its dissolution by the Liao dynasty. He took advantage of Later Jin dynasty’s weakness and the Khitans’ succession issues to declare himself emperor of the Later Han. He ruled from the city of Kaifeng and took over the territories of the Later Jin, but the dynasty’s domination was cut short when Liu Zhiyuan’s son and heir, Liu Chengyou, was ousted in 951 by Guo Wei.

Later Zhou (951-960)

The Later Zhou dynasty was established after a successful coup led by the Han Chinese military commander named Guo Wei against the Later Han’s Liu Chengyou. Guo Wei declared himself the emperor of the Later Zhou and proved to be a capable ruler who provided relative stability to his domain. He died in 954 and was succeeded by his adoptive son, Guo Rong, whose promising reign was cut short when he died in 959. The deceased Guo Rong was succeeded by his young son, but the boy was later deposed by the general Zhao Kuangyin (later Emperor Taizu of Song) in a coup d’etat in 960.

The Ten Kingdoms:

The kingdom of Wu rose right after the collapse of the Tang dynasty in 907. It was established by the soldier-turned-governor Yang Xingmi of Luzhou prefecture. Before the fall of the Tang, Emperor Zhongzong appointed Yang Xingmi as the Prince of Wu and refused to recognize Zhu Wen’s legitimacy as emperor of the Later Liang after the removal of the last Tang emperor. Yang Xingmi, however, later declared Wu as an independent kingdom and proclaimed himself as its king. He then ruled from the city of Guangling and controlled parts of present-day provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, and Hubei. The last king of Wu was deposed by Xu Zhigao, the adopted son of the powerful director of the guard Xu Wen in 937, who then founded the kingdom of Southern Tang.

Wuyue (907-978)

The coastal kingdom of Wuyue was under the control of the powerful Qian family whose members rose to prominence in the military during the last years of the Tang dynasty. It was founded by Qian Liu, the Prince of Yue and Wu, who took advantage of the Tang collapse in 907 to declare himself king of the independent kingdom of Wuyue. He ruled from the coastal city of Hangzhou and controlled present-day Shanghai, Zhejiang, parts of Jiangsu province, and Fujian after the fall of the kingdom of Min. The coastal kingdom of Wuyue benefited from the maritime trade with Korea and Japan. Unlike its neighbors, its citizens enjoyed a measure of stability until it was absorbed by the Song Dynasty in 978.

Located south of Wuyue in present-day Fujian province, the less prosperous kingdom of Min rose to become one of China’s Ten Kingdoms in 909. It was founded by the former military officer Wang Shenzi who established the city of Fuzhou as his capital and declared himself the Prince of Min when the Tang dynasty collapsed. Although Fujian is located near the coast, its rugged landscape made it isolated and less prosperous than the neighboring Wuyue. When the kingdom of Southern Tang rose to prominence and threatened its delicate independence, the king of Min had no choice but to seek an alliance its northern neighbor, the kingdom of Wuyue. Both kingdoms, however, were unable to resist the Southern Tang which conquered Min in 945.

The Chu kingdom was founded by Ma Yin, a governor who named himself the Prince of Chu when the Tang Dynasty collapsed. He established the kingdom’s capital in Changsha and controlled the Hunan province as well as parts of Guangxi. Ma Yin’s kingdom was relatively peaceful and prosperous. However, its decline started after his death and the rise of the kingdom of the Southern Tang. The kingdom of Chu was later folded into the Song Dynasty domain in 963.

Southern Han (917-971)

The Southern Han Kingdom was established after Liu Yin, a governor, and military officer, became Prince of Nanping two years after the fall of the Tang Dynasty. He declared himself king in 917 and called his domain the Great Han in 918. The king ruled from Guangzhou and controlled the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, as well as parts of northern Vietnam and the island of Hainan. Just like neighboring kingdoms, it fell to the Song in 971.

Former Shu (907-925)

Wang Jian, the governor of Western Sichuan, declared himself the king of Shu when the Tang collapsed in 907. Its capital was in Chengdu and the Former Shu dominated Sichuan, Chongqing, as well as parts of Shaanxi, Hubei, and Gansu. It was conquered by Later Tang ruler Li Cunxu, but it retained it brief independence for some time after the Later Tang’s collapse and until it was conquered by the Later Shu.

Later Shu (934-965)

One of the many military governors who took power during the Ten Kingdoms period was Meng Zhixiang. He was a Later Tang governor who was assigned to govern the Former Shu Kingdom until he rebelled and founded his own kingdom which he christened Later Shu (a different ruling family from the Former Shu). It had the same capital and territories as the Former Shu, but it fell to the Song in 965.

Jingnan (924-963)

Also known as Nanping, the kingdom of Jingnan was founded by Gao Jixing who was the military governor of Jiangling County. It was established when the Later Liang fell to the Later Tang in 924. Jingnan’s domain was known to be the smallest and the weakest among the Ten Kingdoms. The Song Dynasty acquired it in 963.

Southern Tang (937-975)

Xu Zhigao was the adopted son of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Wu. He declared himself king in 937 and renamed his little domain as the kingdom of Southern Tang. Its later rulers absorbed the kingdom of Min in 945 and added the kingdom of Chu in 951. The Southern Tang became a vassal state of Later Zhou but fell to the Song in 976.

Northern Han (951-979)

Years before the domination of the Song, a man named Liu Min tried to revive the glory days of the Han dynasty by folding in the Later Han territories into his own when the dynasty fell in 971. He established his kingdom’s capital in Taiyuan and the Northern Han ruler controlled the Shanxi region which was wedged between the more powerful Khitan Liao territory and the Song. It later fell to the Song in 979.


Yu the Great

Yu the Great was a famous leader of China known for his flood control technique and establishing the Xia Dynasty. He was one of the few leaders in China honored with the title “the Great” putting him in line with Han Wu the Great and Kangxi the Great. He was also a member of the Three Sage Kings and Five Virtuous Emperors. He is located on the Biblical Timeline with world history around 2000 BC

There was little-recorded history during the era when Yu ruled in China. Most of the facts collected and preserved about the personal life and career of Yu came from the collection of oral tradition and stories shared from generation to generation. Until the recent excavations of palaces, mausoleum, and bronze that showed evidence about the existence of the Xia Dynasty we had only those oral traditions.

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He was believed to be a descendant of the Yellow Emperor and born in the Year of the Tiger at Mount Wen, presently located in Beichuan County, Sichuan Province. His parents were a woman who was a descendant of the Youxin clan and a man named Gun. He was married to a woman who dwelt in Mount Tu, and they became the parents of a son they named Qi.

Emperor Shun was so impressed with the result of Yu’s flood control technique and his attitude towards work that he chose Yu to be the successor to the throne after him. Yu was hesitant to accept the crown at first but with the encouragement of the local leaders and people he finally decided to accept the position. He reigned as China’s emperor at age 53.

Yu on Flood Control

Yu was usually identified by how he was able to control the floods along the lakes and rivers in China. He did it through channeling and dredging. Learning from the mistakes of his father Gun who was executed by Emperor Shun because of his unsuccessful methods, he abandoned the techniques of using large blockades and dams.

With the help and support of the locals, he dug canals on the usually flooded areas and dredged the rivers with outlets leading to the sea. For 13 years, he dedicated his time and strength to this project without going home even when his wife gave birth to their son Qi. For this, he was admired and became the epitome determination and perseverance among the future Chinese leaders. (One of the world’s first workaholics.)

To further avoid casualties among the inhabitants he divided the Han Chinese territory into nine provinces, and the people into nine groups, then designated each group to live in one of the nine provinces.

Yu: the founder of Xia Dynasty

Emperor Yu started China’s dynastic period by establishing the Xia Dynasty. He built the heartland of his kingdom at Yangcheng, presently located at Dengfeng, Henan Province. Xia Dynasty was said to have lasted for more than 400 years. It only ended with the defeat of its last emperor, the cruel tyrant Jie to Shang Tang, who then started the Shang Dynasty.

One account stated that to strengthen his power over the title, Yu killed Fangfeng, a tribal leader from the north. After overseeing the success of his flood control technique and winning the cooperation of the local groups, he abdicated the throne and passed it to his son, Qi. Emperor Qi was the one who founded the slave-owning state, Xia.

Before Qi, all the rulers of China were chosen by abdication system, a system based on one’s ability and nobility to become a leader. It was Qi who started the hereditary succession and marked the clan control on the throne.

Yu the Great reigned for about 45 years and were said to have died because of an illness while hunting at Kuaiji Mountain. He was also buried on that site.


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Comments:

  1. Ordway

    All of the above is true. Let's discuss this issue.

  2. Burleigh

    You are not right. Email me at PM, we'll talk.

  3. Waldrom

    cool pictures

  4. Golkis

    I agree, a wonderful thing

  5. Machum

    the graceful question



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