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Han (; 221–263), known in historiography as Shu Han ( ; often shortened to Shu ;
pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan and Singapore. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin, ...

pinyin
: ''shŭ'' <
Middle Chinese Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country ...
: *''źjowk'' <
Eastern Han Chinese Eastern Han Chinese or Later Han Chinese is the stage of the Chinese language Chinese ( or also , especially for the written language) is a group of s that form the branch of the , spoken by the ethnic majority and many minority ethnic ...
: *''dźok'';) or Ji Han ( "Junior Han") to disambiguate from the preceding
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
, was one of the three major states that competed for supremacy over China in the
Three Kingdoms The Three Kingdoms () from 220 to 280 AD was the tripartite division of China among the states of Cao Wei, Wei, Shu Han, Shu, and Eastern Wu, Wu. The Three Kingdoms period started with the End of the Han dynasty, end of the Han dynasty#East ...

Three Kingdoms
period (220–280). The state was based in the area around present-day
Hanzhong Hanzhong (; abbreviation: Han) is a prefecture-level city A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. A prefect ...

Hanzhong
,
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admini ...

Sichuan
,
Chongqing Chongqing ( ; ; Sichuanese dialects, Sichuanese pronunciation: , Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Romanization, alternately romanized as Chungking, is a Direct-administered municipalities of China, municipality in southwest China. ...

Chongqing
,
Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic of China. The province spans approximately and has a population of 48.3 million (as of 2018). The capital of the province is Ku ...

Yunnan
,
Guizhou Guizhou (; alternately Kweichow) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational enti ...

Guizhou
, and north
Guangxi Guangxi (; alternately romanized as Kwanghsi; ; za, Gvangjsih), officially the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR), is an autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, uni ...

Guangxi
, an area historically referred to as "Shu" based on the name of the past ancient state of Shu, which also occupied this approximate geographical area. Its core territory also coincided with
Liu Bang's
Liu Bang's
Kingdom of Han, the precursor of the Han dynasty. Shu Han's founder,
Liu Bei Liu Bei (, ; ; 161 – Summer 223), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere ...

Liu Bei
, had named his state “Han”, as he considered it a
rump state A rump state is the remnant of a once much larger state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (n ...
of the Han dynasty and thus the legitimate successor to the Han throne, while the prefix “Shu” was first used by the rival state of
Cao Wei Wei (220–266), also known as Cao Wei or Former Wei, was one of the three major states that competed for supremacy over China in the Three Kingdoms The Three Kingdoms () from 220 to 280 AD was the tripartite division of China among the ...
to delegitimize the sovereignty claims of the Shu Han state. Later on when writing the
Records of the Three Kingdoms The ''Records of the Three Kingdoms'' is a Chinese historical text which covers the history of the late Eastern Han dynasty (c. 184–220 CE) and the Three Kingdoms The Three Kingdoms () from 220 to 280 AD was the tripartite division ...
, the historian,
Chen Shou Chen Shou (; 233–297), courtesy name Chengzuo (), was a Chinese historian, politician, and writer who lived during the Three Kingdoms period and Jin dynasty (265–420), Jin dynasty of China. Chen Shou is most known for his most celebrated wo ...
, also used the prefix “Shu” to describe Liu Bei's state of Han as a geographical prefix to differentiate it from the many other states named "Han" throughout Chinese history.


History


Beginnings and founding

Towards the end of the
Eastern Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...
,
Liu Bei Liu Bei (, ; ; 161 – Summer 223), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere ...

Liu Bei
, a warlord and distant relative of the Han imperial clan, rallied the support of many capable followers. Following the counsel of his advisor,
Zhuge Liang Zhuge Liang ( ; 181–234), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including China, Japan, Ko ...

Zhuge Liang
, and Zhuge's
Longzhong Plan 250px, Outline of the Longzhong Plan. The Longzhong Plan is the name given to a strategic plan by Zhuge Liang, a statesman of the Shu Han state in the Three Kingdoms The Three Kingdoms () from 220 to 280 AD was the tripartite division of C ...

Longzhong Plan
, Liu Bei conquered parts of
Jing Province Jingzhou or Jing Province was one of the Nine Provinces of ancient China referenced in Chinese historical texts such as the '' Tribute of Yu'', '' Erya'' and '' Rites of Zhou''. Jingzhou became an administrative division during the reign of Empe ...
(covering present-day
Hubei Hubei (; ; Hupeh) is a landlocked of the , and is part of the region. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of . The provincial capital, , serves as a major transportation hub and the political ...

Hubei
and
Hunan Hunan (, ; ) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdi ...

Hunan
) in 208 and 209, took over
Yi Province Yi Province or Yizhou (益州), was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level ...
(covering present-day
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admini ...

Sichuan
and
Chongqing Chongqing ( ; ; Sichuanese dialects, Sichuanese pronunciation: , Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Romanization, alternately romanized as Chungking, is a Direct-administered municipalities of China, municipality in southwest China. ...

Chongqing
) from the warlord Liu Zhang between 212 and 214, and wrestled control of
Hanzhong Hanzhong (; abbreviation: Han) is a prefecture-level city A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. A prefect ...

Hanzhong
from his rival,
Cao Cao Cao Cao (; ; ; – 15 March 220), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere ...
, in 219. Afterwards, Liu Bei proclaimed himself King of Hanzhong. From the territories he gained, Liu Bei established a position for himself in China during the final years of the Han dynasty. However, in 219, the alliance between Liu Bei and his ally,
Sun Quan Sun Quan (, Chinese: 孫權) (182 – 252), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including Chi ...

Sun Quan
, was broken when Sun sent his general,
Lü Meng Lü Meng () (178 – January or February 220), courtesy name Ziming, was a Chinese military general and politician who served under the warlord Sun Quan during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. Early in his career, he fought in several battl ...
, to invade Jing Province. Liu Bei lost his territories in Jing Province to Sun Quan.
Guan Yu Guan Yu (; died January or February 220), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sph ...

Guan Yu
, the general guarding Liu Bei's assets in Jing Province, was captured and subsequently executed by Sun Quan's forces. Cao Cao died in 220, and was succeeded by his son,
Cao Pi Cao Pi () ( – 29 June 226), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere ...
, who forced the last Han ruler, Emperor Xian, to abdicate the throne in his favour. Cao Pi then established the state of
Cao Wei Wei (220–266), also known as Cao Wei or Former Wei, was one of the three major states that competed for supremacy over China in the Three Kingdoms The Three Kingdoms () from 220 to 280 AD was the tripartite division of China among the ...
, and declared himself emperor. Liu Bei contested Cao Pi's claim to the throne, and proclaimed himself “Emperor of Han” in 221. Although Liu Bei is widely seen as the founder of Shu Han, he never claimed to be the founder of a new dynasty; rather, he viewed Shu Han as a continuation of the Han dynasty. To distinguish the state from other historical Chinese states of the same name, historians have added a relevant character to the state's original name: the state that called itself “Han” (漢) is also known as “Shu Han” (蜀漢) or just “Shu” (蜀).


Liu Bei's reign

Liu Bei ruled as emperor for less than three years. In 222, he launched a campaign against
Sun Quan Sun Quan (, Chinese: 孫權) (182 – 252), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including Chi ...

Sun Quan
to retake
Jing Province Jingzhou or Jing Province was one of the Nine Provinces of ancient China referenced in Chinese historical texts such as the '' Tribute of Yu'', '' Erya'' and '' Rites of Zhou''. Jingzhou became an administrative division during the reign of Empe ...
and avenge
Guan Yu Guan Yu (; died January or February 220), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sph ...

Guan Yu
, culminating in the
Battle of Xiaoting The Battle of Xiaoting, also known as the Battle of Yiling and the Battle of Yiling and Xiaoting, was fought between the state of Shu Shu may refer to: China * Sichuan, China, officially abbreviated as Shu (蜀) * Shu (state) (conquered by Qin ...
. However, due to grave tactical mistakes, Liu Bei suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Sun Quan's general,
Lu Xun Zhou Shuren (25 September 1881 – 19 October 1936), better known by his pen name Lu Xun (or Lu Sun, Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scien ...
, and lost the bulk of his army. He survived the battle and retreated to
Baidicheng Baidicheng or Baidi Fortress is an ancient fortress and temple complex on a hill on the northern shore of the Yangtze River in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of coun ...
, where he died from illness a year later.


Liu Shan's reign

Before Liu Bei's death, he appointed the
chancellor Zhuge Liang
chancellor Zhuge Liang
and the general Li Yan as regents to his son,
Liu Shan Liu Shan () (207–271), courtesy name Gongsi, was the second and last emperor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period. As he ascended the throne at the age of 16, Liu Shan was entrusted to the care of the Chancellor (China), ...

Liu Shan
. The young Liu Shan was only 16 years old, making him the youngest of the rulers of the Three Kingdom states, and Liu Bei expected the two regents to assist Liu Shan in managing state affairs. Zhuge Liang was the ''de facto'' head of the Shu government throughout Liu Shan's reign, and was responsible for most of Shu's policies during his regency. When Liu Shan succeeded his father, Shu was the weakest of the three major powers. Following his father's defeat in 221, the portion of Jing Province previously held by Shu was now firmly under the control of Wu. Shu only included the western lands of
Yi Province Yi Province or Yizhou (益州), was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level ...
, while Wei controlled all of the northern lands, and Wu controlled all the lands from the east of Yi Province to the southern and eastern coastlines. Meanwhile, Shu's population was not large enough to stand against the rival state of Wei. This greatly limited Shu in terms of resources and manpower; although the country could efficiently defend itself, Shu could not easily launch successful campaigns. As such, Zhuge Liang parleyed for peace with Wu, and reaffirmed the alliance between Sun Quan and Shu — with the former even recognising Sun Quan's legitimacy when the latter broke with Wei, and declared himself “Emperor of Wu” in 229. In order to strengthen the Shu Han state's authority in the remote southern region of
Nanzhong Nanzhong () is the ancient name for a region in southwest China that covers parts of present-day Yunnan, Guizhou and southern Sichuan provinces. During the Three Kingdoms period (220–280) of China, the Nanzhong region was part of the territory ...
, Zhuge Liang also
launched an expeditionary force
launched an expeditionary force
there in 225 to quell local rebellions, and the growing influence of the
Nanman The Man, commonly known as the Nanman or Southern Man (), or the Southern Barbarians, were ancient indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these t ...
(literal: southern barbarians) in the region. Zhuge Liang advocated an aggressive foreign policy towards Wei, because he strongly believed it was critical to the survival of Shu and its sovereignty. Between the years of 228 and 234, he launched a series of five military campaigns against Wei, with the aim of conquering
Chang'an Chang'an (; ) is the traditional name of Xi'an Xi'an ( , ; ; Chinese: ), sometimes romanized as Sian, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between ...
, a strategic city located on the road to the Wei capital,
Luoyang Luoyang is a city located in the confluence area of Luo River and Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin Chinese, Jin: uə xɔ Standard Beijing Mandarin, Mandarin: ''Huáng hé'' ) is the second-longest river in China, afte ...

Luoyang
. Most of the battles were fought around present-day
Gansu Gansu (, ; alternately romanized as Kansu) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnatio ...

Gansu
and
Shaanxi Shaanxi (; , ; Chinese postal romanization, alternately Shensi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Officially part of Northwest China, it borders the province-level divisions of Shanxi (NE, ...

Shaanxi
provinces. However, aside from gaining
Jiang Wei Jiang Wei (202 – 3 March 264), Boyue, was a military general of the state of during the period of China. Born in Ji County (present-day , ), Jiang Wei started his career as a military officer in his native , which was a territory of . In 2 ...
as an officer in 228, Shu failed to achieve any significant victories or lasting gains in the five expeditions. During his final campaign where he fought against the Wei general,
Sima Yi Sima Yi ( ; 179 – 7 September 251), courtesy name Zhongda, was a Chinese military general, politician, and regent of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He formally began his political career in 208 under the ...
, an already taxed and ill Zhuge Liang died under the strain of the long stalemate with the Wei forces at the
Battle of Wuzhang Plains The Battle of Wuzhang Plains was fought between the contending states of Cao Wei Wei (220–266), also known as Cao Wei or Former Wei, was one of the three major states that competed for supremacy over China in the Three Kingdoms period (2 ...
. After Zhuge Liang’s death, the Shu government was then headed by
Jiang Wan Jiang Wan (died November or December 246), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural spher ...
,
Fei Yi Fei Yi (died 16 February 253), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere ...
, and others, and Shu temporarily ceased its aggression towards Wei. In 244, the Wei regent,
Cao Shuang Cao Shuang (died 9 February 249), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere The ...
, launched an invasion of Hanzhong. Despite being outnumbered 2-to-1, the Shu forces defeated the invading combatants at the
Battle of Xingshi The Battle of Xingshi was fought between the states of Cao Wei Wei (220–266), also known as Cao Wei or Former Wei, was one of the three major states that competed for supremacy over China in the Three Kingdoms period (220–280). With its c ...
, with the humiliated Wei forces fleeing. Between 247 and 262, the Shu general,
Jiang Wei Jiang Wei (202 – 3 March 264), Boyue, was a military general of the state of during the period of China. Born in Ji County (present-day , ), Jiang Wei started his career as a military officer in his native , which was a territory of . In 2 ...
, resumed Zhuge Liang's legacy by leading a series of military campaigns against Wei, but also failed to make any significant territorial gains.


Fall of Shu

In 263, armies led by the Wei generals
Deng Ai Deng Ai (197 – March 264), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere, including Ch ...
and
Zhong Hui Zhong Hui (225 – 3 March 264), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere, includi ...
attacked Shu, and conquered its capital,
Chengdu Chengdu (, ; simplified Chinese Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representa ...

Chengdu
, without much struggle — the state having been exhausted by Jiang Wei's ill-fated campaigns. In the same year, Liu Shan surrendered to Deng Ai outside Chengdu, marking the end of Shu. In spite of this, Jiang Wei attempted to incite conflict between Deng Ai and Zhong Hui, in the hope of taking advantage of the situation to revive Shu. Zhong Hui captured Deng Ai, and openly rebelled against the Wei regent,
Sima Zhao Sima Zhao () (211 – 6 September 265), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere ...
, but the revolt was suppressed by Wei forces. Jiang Wei, Zhong Hui, and Deng Ai were killed in the struggle. Liu Shan was brought to
Luoyang Luoyang is a city located in the confluence area of Luo River and Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin Chinese, Jin: uə xɔ Standard Beijing Mandarin, Mandarin: ''Huáng hé'' ) is the second-longest river in China, afte ...

Luoyang
, where he met with Sima Zhao, and was awarded the title of “Duke of Anle.” He lived a comfortable and peaceful life in Luoyang until the end of his days.


Economy

Shu was not merely a nation at war. During peacetime, the Shu state began many irrigation and road-building projects designed to improve the economy. Many of these public works still exist and are widely used. For example, the
Zipingpu Dam
Zipingpu Dam
is still present near
Chengdu Chengdu (, ; simplified Chinese Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representa ...

Chengdu
,
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admini ...

Sichuan
. These works helped improve the economy of southwestern China, and can be seen as the beginning of economic activity in Sichuan. It also promoted trade with southern China, which was then ruled by Eastern Wu.


List of territories


List of emperors


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Han 221 establishments 263 disestablishments Dynasties in Chinese history Former countries in Chinese history