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Chinese History - Western Qin Dynasty 西秦 (385-431)

Periods of Chinese History
The Western Qin dynasty Xiqin 西秦 (385-431) 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 Qifu Guoren 乞伏國仁 who belonged to the people of the Xianbei 鮮卑 or "the barbarious" Zi 貲虜. The empire covered the modern province of Gansu as well as parts of Qinghai. The capital was Yuanchuan 苑川 (modern Yuzhong 榆中, Gansu).
The Xianbei migrated from north of the Gobi desert into the Gansu corridor during the 3rd century. The ruler of the Former Qin dynasty 前秦 (351-395), Fu Jian 苻堅 (r. 357-384), appointed the chieftain of the Qifu tribe 乞伏, a certain Sifan 司繁, General defender-of-the-west (zhenxi jiangjun 鎮國將軍). His son Guoren took over this office. After the defeat of the army of Former Qin in the battle of Feishui 肥水, Qifu Guoren began building up his own army. In 385 he adopted the title of General-in-chief (da jiangjun 大將軍), Great Khan (da chanyu 大單于) and regional governor of the provinces of Qinzhou 秦州 and Hezhou 河州 (west of modern Shaanxi and southeast of Gansu). His residence at that time was Yongshicheng 勇士城. In 387 he was succeeded by his son Qifu Qiangui 乞伏乾歸 who proclaimed himself King of Henan 河南 and took residence in Jincheng 金城 (near modern Lanzhou 蘭州, Gansu). When Fu Deng 苻登 (r. 386-393), ruler of the Former Qin, died, Qifu Qiangui occupied the eastern part of the Longxi 隴西 corridor and adopted the title of King of Qin 秦. In 400 he took residence Yuanchuan but was defeated by Yao Xing 姚興 (r. 393-415), ruler of the Later Qin 後秦 (384-417), and declared his submission. He was later forced by Yao Xing to take residence in Chang'an 長安 (modern Xi'an 西安, Shaanxi), capital of the Later Qin, but he returned in 409 and again called himself King of Qin. He died in 412 and was succeeded by his son Qifu Chipan 乞伏熾盤 (r. 412-427). He called himself King of Henan and resided in Baohan 枹罕 (near modern Linxia 臨夏, Gansu). He destroyed the state of the Southern Liang 南涼 (397-414) and adopted the title of King of Qin from this moment on. Chipan was succeeded in 428 by his son Qifu Mumo 乞伏暮末. Mumo was unable to defend his realm against the armies of Northern Liang 北涼 (398-439) and fled to Shanggui 上邽 (modern Tianshui 天水, Gansu) with the plan to submit to the emperor of the Northern Wei 北魏 (386-534). In 430 he was attacked by the armies of the state of Xia 夏 (407-432) and withdrew to Nan'an 南安 (modern Longxi 隴西, Gansu), where he was finally defeated by the Xia.
The state of the Western Qin never developed a regular bureaucracy for the administration. The sole activities seemed to be warfare either to defend the territory or to conquer new regions. In order to support the economic needs of warfare, large groups of the population were settled down in the capital region and had to work for the supply of the court and the army.


Rulers of the Western Qin Dynasty 西秦 (385-431)
Capitals: Yuanchuan 苑川 (modern Yuzhong 榆中, Gansu), Jincheng 金城 (near modern Lanzhou 蘭州,Gansu), Baohan 枹罕 (near modern Linxia 臨夏, Gansu),
Ethnicity: Xianbi 鮮卑, clan or subtribe of Qifu 乞伏
dynastic title {temple name}
-----reign periods
personal name
Xiqin Xuanliewang 西秦宣烈王 (Liewang 烈王) {Liezu 烈祖} r. 385-387
-----Jianyi 建義 385-387
Qifu Guoren 乞伏國仁
Xiqin Wuyuanwang 西秦武元王, The Prince of Henan 河南王 {Gaozu 高祖} r. 387-400, 408-411
-----Taichu 太初 388-400
-----Gengshi 更始 409-411
Qifu Qiangui 乞伏乾歸
Xiqin Wenzhaowang 西秦文昭王 {Taizu 太祖} r. 411-427
-----Yongkang 永康 412-419
-----Jianhong 建弘 420-427
Qifu Chipan 乞伏熾盤
The Last Ruler (Houzhu) 西秦後主 r. 427-431
-----Yonghong 永弘 428-431
Qifu Mumo 乞伏暮末
431 Western Qin conquered by Xia 夏.

Sources: Lu Caiquan 魯才全 (1992), "Xiqin 西秦", 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. 3, p. 1270. ● 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. 3321, 3323.

October 30, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail

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