Emperor Guangwu of Han China

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Emperor Guangwu of Han China
Birth and death:Jan. 15, 5 BC–Mar. 29, 57
Family name:Liu (劉)
Given name:Xiu (秀)</small>
Courtesy name (字):Wenshu (文叔)</small>
Dates of reign:Aug. 5, 25¹–Mar. 29, 57
Dynasty:Han (漢)
Temple name:Shizu (世祖)
Posthumous name:
Emperor Guangwu (光武帝)
Posthumous name:
Emperor Guangwu (光武皇帝)
General note: Dates given here are in the
proleptic Julian calendar.
They are not in the proleptic Gregorian calendar
1. Proclaimed himself emperor on August 5 25, but was not in
control of the whole of China until December 25, 36 when the
last city escaping his control, Chengdu, surrendered to his army.

Emperor Guangwu (January 15, 5 BC - March 29, 57), born Liu Xiu, was an emperor of the Chinese Han Dynasty, restorer of the dynasty in AD 25 and thus founder of the Latter Han (the name of the restored Han Dynasty), who ruled over the whole of China from 36 until 57.

Liu Xiu was the 6th generation descendant of Emperor Jing of the Former Han. He was the son of Liu Qin (劉欽), magistrate (county head) of Nandun county (南頓令). Liu Qin was the son of Liu Hui (劉回), vice governor in charge of military affairs for Julu commandery (鉅鹿都尉). Liu Hui was the son of Liu Wai (劉外), governor of Yulin commandery (鬱林太守). Liu Wai was the son of Liu Mai (劉買), known posthumously as Marquess Jie of Chongling (舂陵節侯). Liu Mai was the son of Liu Fa (劉發), known posthumously as Prince Ding of Changsha (長沙定王). The prince of Changsha was the brother of Emperor Wu, the famous emperor of the Former Han, and he was the son of Emperor Jing.

Liu Xiu was one of the many descendants of the Han imperial family. Following the "usurpation" of Wang Mang and the ensuing civil war, he emerged as one of several descendants of the fallen dynasty claiming the imperial throne. After assembling forces and proclaiming himself emperor in the face of competitors, he was able to defeat his rivals, destroy the peasant army of the Red Eyebrows (赤眉) who were wreaking havoc in the country, and finally reunify the whole of China in AD 36.

He established his capital in Luoyang, 335 km./210 miles (as the crow flies) east of the former capital Chang'an, ushering in the Latter Han Dynasty, also known as the Eastern Han Dynasty. He implemented some reforms (notably land reform, albeit not very successfully) aimed at correcting some of the structural imbalances responsible for the downfall of the Former Han. His reforms gave a new 200-year lease on life to the Han Dynasty.

Personal information

Preceded by:
Dynasty established
Eastern Han Dynasty Succeeded by:
Emperor Ming



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