Kingdom of Wu

The Kingdom of Wu (Chinese: 吳, pinyin: w) refers to a historical nation and several states in a region of China. The original capital of Wu was the city of Suzhou, some 60 kilometers west of present-day Shanghai.

The first Wu Kingdom was united by Taibo during the Spring and Autumn Period. Originally considered a part of the Eastern Barbarians, the people of the Wu Kingdom became sinicized during the Warring States Period. Ambassadoral visits to Japan by the later Northern Chinese dynasties Wei and Jin (Encounters of the Eastern Barbarians, Wei Chronicles) recorded that the Japanese people claimed to be descendents of Taibo of Wu, refugees after the fall of Wu. (History books do have records of Wu Taibo sending 4000 males and 4000 females to Japan.)

晉書:「自謂太伯之後,又言上古使詣中國,皆自稱大夫。」 列傳第六十七 四夷
Missing image
Jar with modeled figurines, Kingdom of Wu, 222-280 CE, Shanghai Museum.

From AD 222 - 280, the Wu Kingdom was one of the Three Kingdoms competing for control of China after the fall of the Han Dynasty. During the decline of the Han dynasty, the State of Wu - a region in the south of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), surrounding Nanjing - was under the control of the warlord Sun Quan. Sun Quan succeeded his brother as the King of Wu and considered the area under his rule subject to the Han emperor. Unlike his competitors, he did not really have the ambition to be Emperor of China. However, after Cao Pi of the Kingdom of Wei and Liu Bei of the Kingdom of Shu each declared themselves to be the Emperor, Sun Quan decided to follow suit in 222, claiming to have founded the Wu Dynasty.

Under the rule of Wu, Southern China, regarded in early history as a barbaric "jungle" developed into one of the commercial, cultural, and political centers of China. Within five centuries, during the Five Dynasties and Ten States, the development of Southern China had surpassed that of the north. The achievements of Wu marked the beginning of the cultural and political division between Northern and Southern China that would repeatedly appear in Chinese history well into modernity. The term Southern China as used here does not include Guangdong and other provinces in the far south, which were not incorporated into China proper until the Tang Dynasty and remained for the most part economically and culturally backward until the late 19th century.

The island of Taiwan was also first recorded during the Three Kingdoms. Contacts with the native population and the dispatch of officials to Taiwan by the Wu Kingdom eventually paved the road for the immigration of Chinese settlers into Taiwan.

The Kingdom of Wu was finally conquered by the first Jin emperor, Sima Yan, in 280. With a lifespan of 58 years, it was the longest-lived of the three kingdoms.

Important figures:

List of sovereigns

Kingdom of Wu 222-280
Posthumous Names ( Shi Hao 諡號) Personal names Year(s) of Reigns Era Names (Nian Hao 年號) and their range of years
Convention: use personal name
Da Di (大帝 da4 di4) Sun Quan (孫權 sun1 quan2) 222-252

Huangwu (黃武 huang2 wu3) 222-229
Huanglong (黃龍 huang2 long2) 229-231
Jiahe (嘉禾 jia1 he2) 232-238
Chiwu (赤烏 chi4 wu1) 238-251
Taiyuan (太元 tai4 yuan2) 251-252
Shenfeng (神鳳 shen2 feng4) 252

Kuai Ji Wang (會稽王 kuai4 ji1 wang2) Sun Liang (孫亮 sun1 liang4) 252-258

Jianxing (建興 jian4 xing1) 252-253
Wufeng (五鳳 wu3 feng4) 254-256
Taiping (太平 tai4 ping2) 256-258

Jing Di (景帝 jing3 di4) Sun Xiu (孫休 sun1 xiu1) 258-264 Yongan (永安 yong3 an1) 258-264
Wu Cheng Hou (烏程侯 wu1 cheng2 hou2) Sun Hao (孫皓 sun1 hao4) 264-280

Yuanxing (元興 yuan2 xing1) 264-265
Ganlu (甘露 gan1 lu4) 265-266
Baoding (寶鼎 bao3 ding3) 266-269
Jianheng (建衡 jian4 heng2) 269-271
Fenghuang (鳳凰 feng4 huang2) 272-274
Tiance (天冊 tian1 ce4) 275-276
Tianxi (天璽 tian1 xi3) 276
Tianji (天紀 tian1 ji4) 277-280

de:Wu-Dynastie fi:Wu-kuningaskunta ja:呉 (三国) zh:吴 (三国)


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