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Chinese History - The Five Dynasties 五代 (907-960)
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The Five Dynasties and Ten States
|period before (Tang)|
-- Ten Kingdoms
next period (Song)
After the disappearance of the Tang Dynasty 唐 central government the empire was controlled by military commissioners that ruled independently and finally founded their own empires and dynasties. Northern China was largely controlled by a succession of short-lived dynasties called the Five Dynasties (Wudai 五代) while the south was occupied by several relatively enduring empires called the Ten Kingdoms (Shiguo 十國; actually one of these kingdoms was located in the north). The capital of the Five Dynasties was Kaifeng 開封/Henan, secondary capital Henan Prefecture 河南府, the modern Luoyang 洛陽/Henan - except the Later Tang Dynasty (Houtang 後唐) that chose Luoyang and Chang'an 長安 (Jingzhao Prefecture 京兆府; Xi'an 西安/Shaanxi) as seats of government. While the Later Liang Dynasty (Houliang 後梁) had to accept the existence of several independant area commands in the north (Lulong 盧龍, Yichang 義昌, Yiwu 義武, Zhao 趙, Jin 晉, Dingnan 定難, Shuofang 朔方, and Qi 岐) the Later Tang could defeat all of them except Dingnan. Furthermore, the Later Tang armies were able to occupy the realm of Former Shu (Qianshu 前蜀) in Sichuan but only for a short while. Dangerous neigbors of the Five Dynasties area was the Khitan people (Qidan 契丹) that had founded the Liao empire 遼 in 907. In the south we find the kingdoms of Former Shu, Nanping 南平 (also called Jingnan 荊南), Wu 吳, Wu-Yue 吳越, Min 閩, Chu 楚, and Southern Han (Nanhan 南漢). In 937 the state of Wu was replaced by Southern Tang (Nantang 南唐).
In the second phase of the Five Dynasties period the northern area remained relatively stable except the northern border that was permanently attacked by the Liao troops. Three dynasties followed each other: Later Jin (Houjin 後晉), Later Tang (Houtang 後唐), and Later Zhou (Houzhou 後周). In 951 a military commissioner founded the Northern Han empire (Beihan 北漢) that occupied the northern region of modern Shanxi. In Sichuan, the Later Shu (Houshu 後蜀) followed the Former Shu. The empire of Southern Tang began to dominate the south of China, destroying the states of Min and Chu. Nonetheless the area of Min, the modern Fujian province, was controlled by two independant military commissioners in the states of Yin 殷 and Qingyuan 清源 (see history of Min).
The western territories were totally lost for the Chinese empires and stayed under the control of Uighurs (Huigu 回鶻) and Tibetians (Tubo 吐藩). At the upper course of the Yellow River the Tanguts (Dangxiang 黨項) should later found the Western Xia empire (Xixia 西夏). In the southeast the empire of Dali 大理 emerged. Vietnam was finally really independent China, ruled by the Ngô 吳氏 and Đinh Dynasties 丁氏. Korea was now governed by the Koryŏ Dynasty 高麗.
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