Qi was founded shortly after the Zhou overthrow of Shang in the 11th century BC. Its first marquis was Jiang Ziya, minister of King Wen and a legendary figure in Chinese culture. His family ruled Qi for several centuries before it was replaced by the Tian family in 386 BC. In 221 BC, Qi was the final major state annexed by Qin during its unification of China.
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During the Zhou conquest of Shang, Jiang Ziya served as the chief minister to King Wu. After Wu's death, Jiang remained loyal to the Duke of Zhou during the Three Guards' failed rebellion against his regency. The Shang prince Wu Geng had joined the revolt along with the Dongyi states of Yan, Xu, and Pugu. These were suppressed by 1039 BC and Jiang was given the Pugu lands in what is now western Shandong as the march of Qi. Little information survives from this period, but the Bamboo Annals suggest that the native people of Pugu continued to revolt for about another decade before being destroyed a second time c. 1026.
In the mid-9th century BC, King Yi (r. 865–58 BC) attacked Qi and boiled Duke Ai to death. Under the reign of King Xuan (r. 827–782), there was a local succession struggle. During this time, many of the native Dongyi peoples were absorbed into the Qi state.
In 706 BC, Qi was attacked by the Shan Rong. Qi rose to prominence under Duke Huan of Qi (685–43 BC). He and his minister Guan Zhong strengthened the state by centralizing it. He annexed 35 neighboring states including Tan and brought others into submission. In 667 BC, Duke Huan met with the rulers of Lu, Song, Chen and Zheng and was elected leader. Subsequently, King Hui of Zhou made him the first Hegemon. He attacked Wei for supporting a rival of the Zhou king and intervened in the affairs of Lu. In 664 BC, he protected Yan from the Rong. In 659 BC, he protected Xing and in 660, Wei, from the Red Di. In 656 he blocked the northward expansion of Chu. After his death, a war of succession broke out among his sons, greatly weakening Qi. The hegemony consequently passed to Jin.
In 632 BC, Qi helped Jin defeat Chu at the Battle of Chengpu. In 589 BC, Qi was defeated by Jin. In 579 BC, the four great powers of Qin (west), Jin (center), Chu (south) and Qi (east) met to declare a truce and limit their military strength. In 546 BC, a similar four-power conference recognized several smaller states as satellites of Qi, Jin and Qin.
Early in the period, Qi annexed a number of smaller states. Qi was one of the first states to patronize scholars. In 532 BC, the Tian clan destroyed several rival families and came to dominate the state. In 485 BC, the Tian killed the ducal heir and fought several rival clans. In 481 BC, the Tian chief killed a puppet duke, most of the ruler's family, and a number of rival chiefs. He took control of most of the state and left the Duke with only the capital of Linzi and the area around Mount Tai. In 386 BC, the House of Tian fully replaced the House of Jiang as rulers of Qi. In 221 BC, Qi was the last of the warring states to be conquered by Qin, thereby putting an end to the wars and uniting China under the Qin Dynasty.
Before Qin unified China, each state had its own customs and culture. According to the Yu Gong or Tribute of Yu, composed in the 4th or 5th century BC and included in the Book of Documents, there were nine distinct cultural regions of China, which are described in detail in this book. The work focuses on the travels of the titular sage, Yu the Great, throughout each of the regions. Other texts, predominantly military, also discussed these cultural variations.
One of these texts was The Book of Master Wu, written in response to a query by Marquis Wu of Wei on how to cope with the other states. Wu Qi, the author of the work, declared that the government and nature of the people were reflective of the terrain of the environment in which they inhabited. Of Qi, he said:
Although Qi's troops are numerous, their organization is unstable.— Wuzi, Master Wu
The people of Qi are by nature unyielding and their country prosperous, but the ruler and officials are arrogant and care nothing for the people. The state's policies are not uniform and not strictly enforced. Salaries and wages are unfair and unevenly distributed, causing disharmony and disunity. Qi's army is arrayed with their heaviest hitters at the front while the rest follow behind, so that even when their forces appear mighty, they are in reality fragile. To defeat them, we should divide our army into three columns and have two attack the left and right flanks of Qi's army. Once their battle formations are thrown into disarray, the central column should be in position to attack and victory will follow.— Wuzi, Master Wu
During the Warring States period, Qi was famous for its capital's academy Jixia, renowned scholars of the era from all over China visited the academy.
The state of Qi was known for having well organized cities that were nearly rectangular in shape, with roads that were neatly knit into a grid-like pattern. The palace was strategically positioned facing the south. To the left (eastwardly direction) of the palace resided the ancestral temple, to its right (westward) the temple of the gods, both one hundred paces away. This ensured that balance was achieved. In front of the palace was the court also one hundred paces away and to the back of the palace was the city. This type of layout influenced greatly the way cities were designed in subsequent generations.
Smaller cities known as chengyi (城邑) were abundant throughout Qi. They typically stretched 450 meters from south to north and 395 meters from east to west. The perimeter was usually surrounded by a wall with the living headquarters situated within and a nearly perfect square-shaped courtyard occupying the center.
Qi is represented by the star Chi Capricorni in the "Twelve States" asterism in the "Girl" lunar mansion in the "Black Turtle" symbol. Qi is also represented by the star 112 Herculis in the "Left Wall" asterism in the "Heavenly Market" enclosure.
|11th century||Enfeoffed by King Wu of Zhou, with capital at Yingqiu|
|10th century||5th-generation descendant of Duke Tai||Traditionally believed to be son of Duke Tai|
|10th century||Son of Duke Ding|
|c. 10th century||Son of Duke Yǐ|
|9th century||Son of Duke Gui||Boiled to death by King Yi of Zhou|
|9th century||Son of Duke Gui||Moved capital to Bogu, killed by Duke Xian|
|859?–851||Son of Duke Gui||Moved capital back to Linzi|
|850–825||Son of Duke Xian|
|824–816||Son of Duke Wu||Killed by supporters of Duke Hu's son.|
|815–804||Son of Duke Li|
|803–795||Son of Duke Wen|
|Duke Zhuang I
|794–731||Son of Duke Cheng||Reigned for 64 years|
|730–698||Son of Duke Zhuang I|
|697–686||Son of Duke Xi||Committed incest with sister Wen Jiang, murdered her husband Duke Huan of Lu, conquered the state of Ji, murdered by cousin Wuzhi|
|686||Cousin of Duke Xiang, grandson of Duke Zhuang I||Killed by Yong Lin.|
|685–643||Younger brother of Duke Xiang||First of the Five Hegemons, when Qi reached zenith of its power. Starved to death by ministers|
|none||Wukui or Wugui
無虧 or 無詭
|643||Son of Duke Huan||Killed by supporters of Duke Xiao|
|642–633||Son of Duke Huan||Crown prince of Qi|
|632–613||Son of Duke Huan||His supporters murdered the son of Duke Xiao|
|613||Son of Duke Zhao||Murdered by uncle Shangren|
|612–609||Uncle of She, son of Duke Huan||Killed by two ministers|
|608–599||Son of Duke Huan||Defeated Long Di invaders|
|598–582||Son of Duke Hui||Defeated by Jin at the Battle of An|
|581–554||Son of Duke Qing||Annexed the State of Lai; defeated by Jin at the Battle of Pingyin, capital Linzi burned|
|Duke Zhuang II
|553–548||Son of Duke Ling||Ascended throne by killing Prince Ya with the help of Cui Zhu; committed adultery with Cui's wife, killed by Cui|
|547–490||Half brother of Duke Zhuang II||Killed Cui Zhu. Had famous statesman Yan Ying as prime minister|
|489||Youngest son of Duke Jing||Deposed by Tian Qi and killed by Duke Dao. Also called Yan Ruzi|
|488–485||Son of Duke Jing||Killed by a minister, possibly Tian Heng|
|484–481||Son of Duke Dao||Killed by Tian Heng|
|480–456||Brother of Duke Jian|
|455–405||Son of Duke Ping|
|404–386||Son of Duke Xuan||Deposed by Duke Tai of Tian Qi, died in 379|
|Posthumous name||Personal name||Leadership (BC)||Relationship||Notes|
|Son of Duke Li of Chen||Exiled to Qi from the State of Chen|
|Son of Chen Wan|
|Son of Mengyi|
|Son of Mengzhuang|
|Son of Wenzi|
|?–516||Son of Huanzi|
|Brother of Wuzi||Deposed An Ruzi|
|Son of Xizi||Killed Duke Jian, became de facto ruler of Qi|
|Son of Chengzi|
|?–411||Son of Xiangzi|
|unknown||410–405||Son of Zhuangzi|
|404–384||Son of Tian Bai||Officially recognized as Qi ruler in 386 BC|
|383–375||Son of Duke Tai||Killed by Duke Huan.|
|374–357||Brother of Tian Yan|
|356–320||Son of Duke Huan||Most powerful Qi ruler of the Warring States.|
|319–300||Son of King Wei|
|300–283||Son of King Xuan||Temporarily declared himself "Emperor of the East".|
|283–265||Son of King Min|
|264–221||Son of King Xiang||Qi conquered by Qin|