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Chinese History - Sui Empire Geography

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The Sui dynasty was, after long centuries of division, the first to reconquer the whole territory of China. The old cities of Chang'an 長安 (modern Xi'an 西安, Shaanxi) and Luoyang 洛陽 (modern Luoyang, Henan) were again chosen as the capitals, but the economical overweight of the Yangtze River delta region led to the founding of a third capital, Jiangdu 江都 (modern Yangzhou 揚州, Jiangsu). The imperial canal stretched from the lower Yangtze area to the capitals in the north to ensure their supply with grain.
The Sui government took over the traditional local administration in regions or provinces (zhou 州) and subordinated commanderies (jun 郡) that had been in common use since Qin 秦 (221-206 BCE) and Han 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) times. Although most names of commanderies had not been changed since, the names of the regions were altered now under the Sui administration, many of these names were later used as names of provinces.

The regions or provinces (zhou 州) of the Sui empire
region modern location
Guan-Long 關隴 Shaanxi
Hexi 河西 Gansu, Ningxia
Hedong 河東 Shanxi
Hebei 河北 Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin
Henan 河南 Henan, Shandong
Liaoxi 遼西 Liaoning
Huainan-Jiangbiao 淮南江表 Jiangsu, Shanghai, Anhui, Zhejiang, Fujian
Ba-Han 巴漢 eastern Sichuan, Chongqing
Min-Shu 岷蜀 western Sichuan
Jiang-Han-Yuan-Xiang 江漢沅湘 Hubei, Hunan, Guandong, Jiangxi
Lingnan 嶺南 Guangxi, Hainan, north of modern Vietnam
General Prefecture Nanning 南寧州總管府 Yunnan, Guizhou

Map Sui DynastyMap Sui DynastyMap Sui Dynasty
Map Sui DynastyMap Sui DynastyMap Sui Dynasty
Map Sui DynastyMap Sui DynastyMap Sui Dynasty
Map Sui DynastyMap Sui DynastyMap Sui Dynasty
The Sui dynasty was the first to establish regular commanderies beyond the Gansu corridor in Yiwu 伊吾 (modern Hami 哈密, Xinjiang), Shanshan 鄯善 (Ruoqiang 若羌), Qiemo 且末, Xihai 西海 (Lake Qinghai 青海), and Heyuan 河源 (Xinghai 興海, Qinghai). The mountainous region of modern Yunnan was loosely administered as General Prefecture of Nanning 南寧州總管府. In this area the kingdom of Nanzhao 南詔 took shape. The Sui territory now stretched from the eastern Tarim Basin in the west to the Liaodong Peninsula in the east and from the northern loop of the Yellow River down south to the northern parts of Vietnam and Hainan Island 海南島.
In the last decade of the Sui, between 611 and 623, numerous uprisings and rebellions took place, especially in the area of the lower Yellow River course (in the map yellow dots). Here, military leaders proclaimed their own dynasties, like Wei 魏 (by Li Mi 李密), Chu 楚, Xia 夏 (Dou Jiande 窦建德), Yan 燕, Zheng 鄭, Liang 梁, and Tang (Li Yuan 李淵).
Neighbours of the Sui empire in the north were the Turkish empire (Tujue 突厥) that fell apart into the Eastern and the Western Turkish empires in 581. More to the east were the inhabitants of the Northeastern Plain, the Khitans 契丹, the Xi 奚, and the Shiwei 室韋. The Changbaishan Mountain Range was inhabited by people of the Mohe 靺鞨. On the Korean Peninsula the Three Kingdoms (Samguk 三國) had taken shape: Koguryŏ/Gaogouli 高句麗, Paekche/Baiji 百濟, and Silla/Xinluo 新羅. In modern Qinghai, the state of the proto-Mongol Tuyuhun 吐谷渾 controled the region.


2000 ff. © Ulrich Theobald · Mail

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