An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

The Five Dynasties 五代 (907-960)

Later Liang 後梁 (907-923)

Later Tang 後唐 (923-936)

Later Jin 後晉 (936-946)

Later Han 後漢 (947-950)

Later Zhou 後周 (951-960)

The Five Dynasties (Wudai 五代, 907-960) were short-lived empires that were founded in the north as successor states of the great Tang dynasty 唐 (618-907). Their main or eastern capital was in Kaifeng 開封 (today in Henan), the western capital was Luoyang 洛陽 (also Henan). Three of the Five Dynasties were founded by non-Chinese persons, namely the Turk Li Keyong 李克用, founder of the Later Tang (Houtang 後唐, 923-936), Shi Jingtang 石敬瑭, founder of the Later Jin (Houjin 後晉, 936-946), and Liu Gao 劉暠, founder of the Later Han (Houhan 後漢, 947-950). The dynastic succession, as well as the internal politics of the Five Dynasties were deeply influenced by the khans of the steppe federation of the Kitans 契丹 in the north that founded the Liao empire 遼 (907-1125). In 960 a general of the Later Zhou dynasty (Houzhou 後周, 951-960), Zhao Kuangyin 趙匡胤, founded the Song dynasty 宋 (960-1279) and conquered southern China, thus partially reuniting China.

This chapter of the encyclopaedia gives an overview of the political and economic history of the Five Dynasties, an overview on the administation and the political strucure, the geography of that time, the trends in literature, and provides a list of all rulers.