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Chinese History - Former Liang Dynasty 前涼 (314-376)

Periods of Chinese History
The Former Liang dynasty Qianliang 前涼 (314-376) 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 Chinese Zhang Gui 張軌 and is thus actually not a "barbarian" state. The empire included the modern province of Gansu, as well as parts of Xinjiang, Qinghai and Inner Monglia. The capital was Guzang 姑臧 (modern Wuwei 武威, Gansu).
During the reign of Emperor Hui 晉惠帝 (r. 290-306) of the Jin dynasty 晉 (265-420) Zhang Gui was regional inspector (cishi 刺史) of the province of of Liangzhou 涼州. His administration was well functioning, and he contributed to the economical prosperity of that region. The political unrest in the central region of the Yellow River basin therefore caused a migration of lots of people towards the west. Left alone with the administration of the province, Zhang Gui established the commandery (jun 郡) of Wuxing 武興 to settle down the immigrants. He also promulgated the introduction of a five-zhu coin 五銖錢 to be circulated in the province of Liangzhou. When Zhang Gui died, the Jin court appointed his son Zhang Shi 張寔 (r. 314-320) as regional inspector and commander-in-chief (dudu 都督) and bestowed upon him the title of Duke of Xiping 西平公. When the court of the Jin dynasty fled to the lower Yangtze region, Zhang Shi was virtually independant from the Jin dynasty, but he continued to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Jin emperors and used the reign motto Jianxing 建興 in his administrative documents. Zhang Shi was succeeded by his brother Zhang Mao 張茂 (r. 320-324) and then his son Zhang Jun 張駿 (r. 324-346). Zhang Jun and his son Zhang Chonghua 張重華 (r. 346-353) expanded the territory of their domain towards the west and divided it into the provinces of Liangzhou, Shazhou 沙州 and Hesanzhou 河三州. They appointed a permanent embassador (? changshi 長史) in Haitou 海頭 and set up the commandery of Gaochang 高昌 in Turfan. After Zhang Chonghua's death succession struggels among his brothers and quarrels with the powerful families of the region ended the peaceful reign of their inofficial dynasty. In 376 the armies of the Former Qin empire 前秦 (351-395) forced Zhang Tianxi 張天錫 (r. 363-376) into submission.
Except Zhang Zuo 張祚 (r. 354-355), all members of the Zhang family had accepted the suzerainty of the Jin dynasty and ruled with the title of regional inspector and regional governor (mu 牧). Zhang Jun only accepted the overlordship of Li Xiong 李雄, ruler of the Cheng-Han empire 成漢 (304-347), in order to ensure the peaceful travel of an ambassador to the court of the Eastern Jin 東晉 (317-420). Zhang Zuo was the only one who adopted the title of a king or emperor (King Wei 前涼威王). The military power of the Former Liang empire was limited, so that the rulers of the Zhang family had to declare their submission to the Former Zhao 前趙 (304-329) and Later Zhao 後趙 (319-350) empires, inspite of temporary military successes on the battlefield.


Rulers of the Former Liang Dynasty 前涼 (314-376)
Capital: Guzang 姑臧 (modern Wuwei 武威, Gansu)
dynastic title {temple name}
-----reign periods
personal name
Qianliang Wumuwang 前涼武穆王 (Wuwang 武王) {Taizong 太宗 I} Zhang Gui 張軌
Qianliang Chengliewang 前涼成烈王, Zhaowang 昭王 {Taizong 太宗 II} 317-319
-----Jianxing 建興 317-319
Zhang Shi 張寔 (Yan 宴)
Qianliang Chengwang 前涼成王 r. 320-323 Zhang Mao 張茂
Qianliang Wenwang 前涼文王 r. 323-345 Zhang Jun 張駿
Qianliang Huanwang 前涼桓王, Mingwang 明王 {Shizu 世祖} r. 345-353 Zhang Chonghua 張重華
Qianliang Aigong 前涼哀公 353 Zhang Yaoling 張耀靈 (Yao 耀)
Qianliang Weiwang 前涼威王 or Qianwang 前王 353-354
-----Heping 和平 354
Zhang Zuo 張祚
Qianliang Chongwang 前涼沖王 or Chonggong 沖公 r. 354-362 Zhang Xuanjing 張玄靚 (Yuanjing 元靖, Xuan 玄)
The Last Ruler (Houzhu) 前涼後主, Duke Daogong 悼公 r. 362-376 Zhang Tianxi 張天錫
376 Former Yan conquered by Former Qin 前秦.

Sources: Lu Caiquan 魯才全 (1992), "Qianliang 前涼", 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. 2, p. 770. ● 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. 3317, 3319, 3321.

October 30, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail

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