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Chinese History - Southern Liang Dynasty 南涼 (397-414)

Periods of Chinese History
The Southern Liang Dynasty Nanliang 南涼 (397-414) 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 Tufa Wugu 禿髮烏孤 who belonged to the people of the Xianbei 鮮卑. The empire included the west of the modern province of Gansu, as well as a part of Ningxia. The capital was Lianchuanbao 廉川堡 (modern Minhe 民和, Qinghai).
The Tufa 禿髮 (which is a different transliteration for Taɣbač than the common Tuoba 拓跋) migrated to the region of Hexi 河西 during the Wei period 曹魏 (220-265). They were pastoral nomads but gradually became sedentary peasants. When Tufa Wugu became their chieftain they were part of the Later Liang empire 後涼 (386-403). Yet in 397 Wugu felt strong enough to break with the Later Liang and adopted the title of General-in-chief (da jiangjun 大將軍), Great Khan (da shanyu 大單于) and King of Xiping 西平 (King Wu 南涼武王, r. 397-399), later King of Wuwei 武威. In 399 he shifted his residence from Lianchuangbao to Ledu 樂都 (modern Ledu, Qinghai). He died in the same year. His brother Tufa Lilugu 禿髮利鹿孤 (King Kang 南涼康王, r. 399-401) took residence in Xiping 西平 (modern Xining 西寧, Qinghai). He adopted the title of King of Hexi. He died already a year later and was succeeded by his brother Tufa Rutanli 禿髮傉檀利 (King Jing 南涼景王, r. 401-414). Rutanli, also shortly called Rutan 傉檀, was the first to call himself King of Liang 涼. He resided again in Ledu. In 404 he could not but acknowledge the overlordship of the ruler of the Later Qin empire 後秦 (384-417). This step allowed him to be appointed regional inspector (cishi 刺史) of Liangzhou 涼州 after Yao Xing 姚興, ruler of the Later Qin, had conquered the Later Liang empire in the north. In 408 he again broke with Yao Xing and adopted the title of King of Liang. From then on the Gansu corridor was the target of permanent campaigns of all states of that region. Tufa Rutanli suffered defeat against the armies of Xia 夏 (407-432) in the east, but soon attacked the Northern Liang empire 北涼 (398-439/460), only to be defeated again. The city of Guzang had to be given up, and the capital was transferred to Ledu 樂都. A drought forced Tufa Rutanli to invade the territory of the Tuyuhun 吐谷渾 (sic!) in the west to seize cattle. At this time the armies of the Western Qin state 西秦 (385-431) invaded Ledu and forced Tufa Rutanli to submit
The rulers of the Southern Liang empire had never sufficient time to establish a civilian bureaucracy that ensured a sufficient state income. Instead, the Tufa family resorted to raids and plundering to keep their armies going. People from conquered regions were forced to settle down in the core lands of the empire to provide the capital with the necessary foodstuff and labour, and the armies with soliders. There was only a hesitating attempt under Tufa Lilugu to establish a national school for the education of state officials.

Rulers of the Southern Liang Dynasty 南涼 (397-414)
Capitals: Lianchuanbao 廉川堡 (modern Ledu 樂都, Qinghai), Xiping 西平 (modern Xining 西寧, Qinghai)
Ethnicity: Xianbi 鮮卑, clan or subtribe of Tufa 禿髮
dynastic title {temple name}
-----reign periods
personal name
Nanliang Wuwang 南涼武王 {Liezu 烈祖} r. 397-399
-----Taichu 太初 397-399
Tufa Wugu 禿髮烏孤
Nanliang Kangwang 南涼康王, Prince of Hexi 河西王 r. 399-401
-----Jianhe 建和 400-401
Tufa Lilugu 禿髮利鹿孤
Nanliang Jingwang 南涼景王 r. 401-414
-----Hongchang 弘昌 402-404
-----Jiaping 嘉平 408-414
Tufa Rutanli 禿髮傉檀利 (or Rutan 傉檀)
414 Southern Liang conquered by Western Qin 西秦.

Sources: Lu Caiquan 魯才全 (1992), "Nanliang 南涼", 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. 725. ● 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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