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Chinese History - Northern Liang Dynasty 南涼

Periods of Chinese History
The Northern Liang dynasty Beiliang 北涼 (398-439/460) ruled over one of the so-called Sixteen Barbarian States 五胡十六國 (300~430) that dominated northern China during the early Southern and Northern Dynasties period 南北朝 (300~600). It was founded by the tribesleader Juqu Mengxun 沮渠蒙遜, chieftain of the Xiongnu 匈奴 of Lushui 盧水, also called Lushui barbarians 盧水胡. From their capital Zhangyi 張掖 (modern Zhangyi, Gansu), they controlled the region of what is today western Gansu, Qinghai, Ningjia and part of Xinjiang. The dynasty came into being after Lü Guang 呂光, ruler of the Later Liang dynasty 後涼 (386-403) killed general Juqu Luochou 沮渠羅仇 and his brothers after the military defeat against the Western Qin empire 西秦 (385-431). Luochou's nephew Mengxun swore to take revenge and appointed the governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Jiankang 建康 (modern Gaotai 高臺, Gansu), Duan Ye 段業, regional governor (mu 牧) of the province of Liangzhou 涼州 and enfeoffed him as Duke of Jiankang 建康. Instigated by this unexpected rise, Duan Ye took the capital Zhangyi and proclaimed himself King of Liang. Two years later he killed Juqu Nancheng 沮渠男成, Mengxun's older brother. Mengxun attacked the capital, killed Duan Ye and took over the regency of the dynasty himself. He concurrently adopted prestigious titles like area commander-in-chief (da dudu 大都督), General-in-chief (da jiangjun 大將軍), regional governor of Liangzhou and Duke of Zhangyi 張掖.
Juqu Mengxun undertook several campaigns against the empire of Southern Liang 南涼 (397-414) and tried to conquer the city of Guzang 姑臧 (modern Wuwei 武威, Gansu). He succeeded, and in 412 Guyang became capital of the Northern Liang empire. At that occasion he adopted the title of King of Hexi 河西. In 421 he extinguished the empire of Western Qin towards the east, and in the west, he conquered the cities of Jiuquan 酒泉 and Dunhuang 敦煌.
Juqu Mengxun died in 433 and was succeeded by his son Juqu Mujian 沮渠牧犍 (also called Maoqian 茂虔). In 439 a large army of the Northern Wei empire 北魏 (386-534) conquered Guzang, and Mujian surrendered and abdicated. His brother Juqu Wuhui 沮渠無諱 fled with a remaining contingent of riders to the west, where he was able to establish his rule of the city-state of Gaochang 高昌. His small empire survived until 460 when it was conquered by the Rourans 柔然.
The administration of the commanderies and districts seems to have been run by Chinese officials. Under the reign of Juqu Mengxun, the region in the west experienced a rise in Buddhist activities, expressed by an intensive translation work. There were also inter-state relationships with the Liu-Song dynasty 劉宋 (420-479) in southern China. The conquest of the western region by the Northern Wei dynasty was followed by a forced resettlement of 300,000 persons to the east around the city of Pingcheng 平城 (modern Datong 大同, Shanxi). This was common practice during that time and was a useful method to stablize the economy of capital regions by settling down a larger population. Among these people a lot of Chinese officials were included, and these might have contributed to the cultural and economic prosperity of the Northern Wei empire.


Rulers of the Northern Liang Dynasty 北涼 (398-439/460)
Capitals: Zhangyi 張掖 (modern Zhangyi, Gansu), Guzang 姑臧 (modern Wuwei 武威, Gansu)
Ethnicity: Xiongnu 匈奴
dynastic title {temple name}
-----reign periods
personal name
Beiliang Jiankanggong 北涼建康公 r. 397-400
-----Shenxi 神璽 397-398
-----Tianxi 天璽 399-400
Duan Ye 段業
Beiliang Wuxuanwang 北涼武宣王 {Taizu 太祖} r. 400-432
-----Yongan 永安 401-411
-----Yuanshi 元始 (Xuanshi 玄始) 412-427
-----Chengxuan 承玄 428-430
-----Yihe 義和 431-432
Juqu Mengxun 沮渠蒙遜
Beiliang Aiwang 北涼哀王 r. 432-439
-----Yonghe 永和 (Chenghe 承和) 433-439
Juqu Mujian 沮渠牧犍 (Maoqian 茂虔)
r. 443, in Gaochang 高昌
-----Chengping 承平
Juqu Wuhui 沮渠無諱
r. 444-460, in Gaochang 高昌 Juqu Anzhou 沮渠安周
460 Northern Liang conquered by Northern Wei 北魏.

Sources: Lu Caiquan 魯才全 (1992), "Beiliang 北涼", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 32. ● Zhongguo lishi da cidian bianzuan weiyuanhui 中國歷史大辭典編纂委員會 (ed. 2000), Zhongguo lishi da cidian 中國歷史大辭典 (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe), Vol. 2, pp. 3320, 3322.

October 30, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail

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