The Later Zhou (//; simplified Chinese: 后周; traditional Chinese: 後周; pinyin: Hòu Zhōu) was the last in a succession of five dynasties that controlled most of northern China during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which lasted from 907 to 960 and bridged the gap between the Tang Dynasty and the Song Dynasty.
Guo Wei, a Han Chinese, served as the Assistant Military Commissioner at the court of the Later Han, a regime ruled by Shatuo Turks. A teenager came to the throne of the Later Han in 948 after the death of the founding emperor, Gaozu. Guo Wei led a successful coup against the teenage emperor and declared himself emperor of the new Later Zhou on New Year’s Day in 951.
Guo Wei, posthumously known as Emperor Taizu of Later Zhou, was the first Han Chinese ruler of northern China since 923. He is regarded as an able leader who attempted reforms designed to alleviate burdens faced by the peasantry. His rule was vigorous and well-organized. However, it was also a short reign. His death from illness in 954 ended his three-year reign.
Guo Rong, posthumously known as Emperor Shizong of Later Zhou, was the adoptive son of Guo Wei. Born Chai Rong, he was the son of his wife’s elder brother. He ascended the throne on the death of his adoptive father in 954. His reign was also effective and was able to make some inroads in the south with victories against the Southern Tang in 956. However, efforts in the north to dislodge the Northern Han, while initially promising, were ineffective. He died an untimely death in 959 from an illness while on campaign.
Guo Rong was succeeded by his seven-year-old son upon his death. Soon thereafter Zhao Kuangyin usurped the throne and declared himself emperor of the Great Song Dynasty, a dynasty that would eventually reunite China, bringing all of the southern states into its control as well as the Northern Han by 979.
|Temple names (Miao Hao 廟號)||Posthumous names (Shi Hao 諡號)||Personal names||Period of reigns||Era names (Nian Hao 年號) and their according range of years|
|Tàizŭ (太祖)||Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign||郭威 Guō Weī||951–954||Guǎngshun (廣順) 951–954
Xiande (顯德 xian3 de2) 954
|Shìzōng (世宗)||Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign||柴榮 Chái Róng||954–959||Xiǎndé (顯德) 954–959|
|Did not exist||恭帝 Gōngdì||柴宗訓 Chái Zōngxùn||959–960||Xiǎndé (顯德) 959–960|
|Later Zhou emperors family tree|