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Chinese History - Xia Dynasty 夏 (407-431)

Periods of Chinese History
The Xia dynasty 夏 (407-431) 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 Helian Bobo 赫連勃勃 who belonged to the people of the Xiongnu 匈奴. The empire covered the northern part of the modern province of Shaanxi as well as parts of Gansu and Inner Mongolia. The capital was Tongwan 統萬 (modern Nanbaichengzi 南白城子 near Wushenqi 烏審旗, Inner Mongolia).
The Tiefu tribe 鐵弗 of the Xiongnu federation was led by the chieftain Liu Weichen 劉衛辰. He was killed in 391 in a battle with troops of the kingdom of Dai 代, the predecessors of the Northern Wei dynasty 北魏 (386-534). His son Helian Bobo 赫連勃勃 (he is never called Liu Bobo but is also known by the name of Tiefu Qujie 鐵弗屈孑) fled to the court of the Later Qin dynasty 後秦 (384-417) where he was appointed General for the Pacification of the North (anbei jiangjun 安北將軍). He commanded the garrison of Shuofang 朔方 (modern Yan'an 延安, Shaanxi) and commanded a large contingent of Xianbei 鮮卑 and other Non-Chinese troops. In 407 Helian Bobo killed Duke Moyiyu 沒奕于 and proclaimed himself Heavenly King of the Great Xia (Da-Xia tianwang 大夏天王) and Great Khan (da chanyu 大單于). In the first years he did not set up a capital but was constantly travelling his kingdom from battlefield to battlefield. Only in 413 he set up his capital in Tongwan. In 417 Liu Yu 劉裕, general of the Eastern Jin empire 東晉 (317-420) in the south, destroyed the Later Qin empire and appointed his son Liu Yizhen 劉義真 to commander of the garrison in Chang'an 長安 (modern Xi'an 西安, Shaanxi). Helian Bobo used this chance to conquer Chang'an. The victor proclaimed himself emperor (Emperor Wulie 夏武烈帝, r. 407-425). He died in 425 and was succeeded by his son Helian Chang 赫連昌 (r. 425-427). In his second year of his rule the newly established empire of Dai invaded the Xia empire, conquered Chang'an and forced Helian Chang to flee to Shanggui 上邽 (modern Tianshui 天水, Gansu), yet he was captured there in 428. His younger brother Helian Ding 赫連定 commanded the rest of the Xia troops and withdrew to Pingliang 平涼 (modern Pingliang, Gansu) where he adopted the title of emperor (r. 428-432). He was able to destroy the empire of Western Qin 西秦 (385-431) and planned to advance to the west, but his forces were destroyed by an army of the Tuyuhun 吐谷渾 (sic!), a Tangut tribe living in the region of modern Qinghai.
Helian Bobo had never established a regular government in his capitals. His main activity were military campaigns, for the support of which large amounts of the population of conquered areas were forced to settle down around the capital. Larger cities were defended by military garrisons, and the population was registered in military households that had to deliver recruits for the army. Helian Bobo is described by historian as a very cruel ruler who risked the death of hundreds of people for the erection of the city walls of Tongwan.

Rulers of the Xia Dynasty 夏 (407-431)
Capitals: Tongwan 統萬 (modern Nanbaichengzi 南白城子 near Wushenqi 烏審旗, Inner Mongolia), Chang'an 長安 (modern Xi'an 西安, Shaanxi)
Ethnicity: Xiongnu 匈奴
dynastic title {temple name}
-----reign periods
personal name
Liu Weichen 劉衛辰
Xia Wuliedi 夏武烈帝 {Shizu 世祖} r. 407-424
-----Longsheng 龍升 (龍昇) 407-412
-----Fengxiang 鳳翔 413-417
-----Changwu 昌武 418
-----Zhenxing 真興 419-424
Helian Bobo 赫連勃勃 (Tiefu Qujie 鐵弗屈孑)
The Deposed Ruler (Feizhu) 夏廢主, Prince of Qin 秦王 r. 424-427
-----Yongguang 永光 425-427
Helian Chang 赫連昌
The Last Ruler (Houzhu) 夏後主, Prince of Pingkang 平康王 r. 427-431
-----Shengguang 勝光 428-431
Helian Ding 赫連定
431 Xia conquered by Northern Liang 北涼.

Sources: Lu Caiquan 魯才全 (1992), "Xia 夏", 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. 1297. ● 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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