Liao Dynasty 辽朝


Chinese Name: 辽朝

English Name: Liao Dynasty

Duration: About 907 AD – 1125 AD

Other Name: The Great Liao 大辽, The Great Khitan大契丹

King:Emperor Taizu of Liao 辽太祖, Emperor Taizong of Liao 辽太宗, Emperor Jingzong of Liao 辽景宗, Emperor Shengzong of Liao 辽圣宗

Liao Dynasty 辽朝
Territory Map of Liao Dynasty 辽朝疆域图

Brief Introduction

The Liao Dynasty (907-1125) was a dynasty established by the Khitan nationality 契丹族in Chinese history. It was handed down to Nine Emperors and enjoyed 218 years.

In 907, Emperor Taizu of Liao Yelv Abaoji 辽太祖耶律阿保机 became Khitan Khan. Qidan was founded in 916. His capital was Shangjing linhuang mansion 上京临潢府 (now Balinzuoqi, Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia 内蒙古赤峰市巴林左旗).

In 947, Emperor Taizong of Liao Yelv Deguang 辽太宗耶律德光 led his army south to the Central Plains and occupied Bianjing 汴京 (now Kaifeng, Henan 河南开封). He ascended the throne in Bianjing and became emperor, changing the country’s name to Daliao.

Liao Dynasty 辽朝
Qidan People 契丹人

In 983, the country’s name was changed to grand Khitan. In 1007, Emperor Shengzong of Liao Yelv Lungxu 辽圣宗耶律隆绪 moved his capital to Dating Prefecture in Zhongjing 中京大定府 (now Ningcheng County, Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia 今内蒙古赤峰市宁城县).

In 1066, Emperor Daozong of Liao Yelv Hongji 辽道宗耶律洪基 changed the country name to “great Liao”. It was destroyed by the Jin Dynasty in 1125.

The military power and influence of the Liao Dynasty covered the western regions. Therefore, after the fall of the Tang Dynasty, Central Asia, West Asia, and Eastern Europe regarded the Liao Dynasty (Khitan) as the representative appellation of China.

Major Historical Events

The Taizu of Liao established the country 太祖建国

Liao Dynasty 辽朝
Emperor Taizu of Liao Yelv Abaoji 辽太祖耶律阿保机

During the Five Dynasties period, with the development of Khitan society and the improvement of the social stage, the Yaonian tribal 遥辇氏 alliance began to transform into the Yelu clan 耶律氏联盟.

Yelv Abaoji was born in 872 during the Tang Dynasty. A Baoji served as the bodyguard of Yaonian Khan and formed a bodyguard Pro army. Abaoji rose rapidly. He led his troops to defeat many neighboring small tribes.

After A Baoji’s uncle was killed, he inherited his uncle’s position. His position is second only to Khan, and he controls the military and administrative affairs of the alliance. And he defeated the tribe of Yelv Shilu 耶律释鲁 headed by Puguzhi 蒲古只.

Liao Dynasty 辽朝
Puguzhi 蒲古只

In 903, Abaoji became the actual operator of the tribal alliance. In 906, after the death of the then leader, A Baoji no longer chose Khan from the Yaonian family, and he served as the Khan of the Khitan department. Since then, the election of Khan has been transferred to the Yelu family.

After three counter-insurgencies, a Baoji basically eliminated the opposition forces of his family and consolidated the supreme rule. In 916, the ministers honored A Baoji as the great sage emperor, namely the Emperor Taizu of the Liao Dynasty. Since then, the Liao Dynasty has been established. He took in refugees caused by the war in Hebei. At the same time, he established a town on the grassland in accordance with the style of the Central Plains to accommodate them.

period of full bloom 全盛时期

During the reign of Emperor Jingzong of Liao 辽景宗, he was diligent in political affairs and placed a high value on virtuous officials. This led to political clarity in the Liao Dynasty. Emperor Jingzong sect adopted a relatively loose policy towards the royal family who rebelled during the Muzong period, so there were few people who planned chaos, and the upper class was relatively stable.

Liao Dynasty 辽朝
Emperor Jingzong of Liao 辽景宗

At this time, the foreign policy still adopted the policy of not actively attacking the Central Plains in the South and only assisting the northern Han Dynasty. In the early days of Liao Jingzong, the Liao Dynasty and the Northern Song Dynasty also exchanged gifts and celebrated festivals with each other.

In 982, Jingzong of Liao died of illness. Shengzong of Liao Yelv Lungxu succeeded to the throne and honored his mother Xiao Chuo 萧绰 as empress dowager. Empress Dowager Xiao was Regent in Liao Dynasty. At that time, Empress Dowager Xiao was 30 years old and Liao Shengzong was 12 years old.

Empress Dowager Xiao was regent for 27 years. During her reign, she carried out reforms and worked hard to govern. She paid attention to agriculture and mulberry, built water conservancy, reduced taxes, rectified the administration of officials, and trained the army. All these made the people of the Liao Dynasty rich and powerful.

Liao Dynasty 辽朝
Xiao Chuo 萧绰

By the time Liao Shengzong ruled the country in 1009, the Liao Dynasty had reached its peak. Basically, it continues the style of the Liao Dynasty when empress dowager Xiao was in power. He opposed severe punishment and laws and prevented corruption.

Towards extinction 走向灭亡

When Emperor Xingzong of the Liao Dynasty was in power, the power of the Liao Dynasty declined day by day. At this time, the treacherous and crafty were in power and the politics were corrupt. The people are suffering and the army is weak. Facing the declining national power, Xingzong fought for years and attacked Western Xia 西夏 for many times. And forced the Song Dynasty to pay more money.

But these instead made the people of the Liao Dynasty complain, and the people were in dire straits. Emperor Xingzong was also superstitious about Buddhism and was extremely extravagant.

Liao Dynasty 辽朝
Liao people 辽国人民

In 1120, the Jin army captured the capital of the Liao Dynasty, and the general guarding the city also surrendered. By 1121, the Liao Dynasty had lost half its territory. On March 26, 1125, Emperor Tianzuo of the Liao Dynasty 天祚帝 was captured by soldiers of the Jin Dynasty in Yingzhou 应州. Since then, the Liao Dynasty has perished. It lasted 210 years and experienced Nine Emperors.

Important Influences

Developed handicraft industry

The iron smelting industry was developed in Liao Dynasty. The eastern Liao was an important place for iron production in the Liao Dynasty, which promoted the development of the iron smelting Liao Dynasty.

Liao Dynasty 辽朝
Porcelain of Liao Dynasty 辽朝瓷器

Influenced by the Tang Dynasty, gold and silverware were made with metal striking and gold plating techniques of the Tang and Song dynasties. Liao Dynasty porcelain occupies an important position in is the history of Chinese ceramics.

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