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Home > Wuyue Kingdom

Wuyue Kingdom

Emperor Taizu of Song

Wuyue Kingdom (simplified Chinese: 吴越国; traditional Chinese: 吳越國; pinyin: Wúyuè Guó), 907-978, was a small independent coastal kingdom founded during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960) of Chinese history. It was ruled by the Qian family, which remains widespread in the kingdom's former territory.

Founding The Qian family had been providing military leaders to the Tang Dynasty beginning in 887. Qian Liu was named Prince of Yue in 902, with the title of Prince of Wu added two years later. In 907, when the Tang Dynasty fell and was replaced in the north by the Later Liang Dynasty, military leaders in the south formed their own kingdoms. Qian Liu used his position to proclaim himself the King of Wuyue. This signaled the beginning of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period which would last until the founding of the Song Dynasty in 960

Origin of Name The name Wuyue comes from the combination of Wu Kingdom and Yue Kingdom, two ancient kingdoms during the Spring and Autumn Period from 770 to 476 BC.

Territorial Extent With its capital in Xifu, now known as Hangzhou, the kingdom included present-day Zhejiang,

Qián Liú
the first emperor
of Wuyue Kingdom

Shanghai, along with the southern portion of Jiangsu Province. It would also later absorb some of the northern part of Fujian when the Min Kingdom fell in 945. The territorial extent of Wuyue roughly corresponded to the territories of the ancient Yue, but not the ancient Wu -- which led to charges by the neighboring Wu (also known as Southern Wu) that Wuyue had designs on its territory, and the name was a source of tension for years between the two states.

In the early decades of its existence, Wuyue bordered the Min Kingdom on its south and the Southern Tang Kingdom on its west and north. With the rebellion of Yin from the Min from 943 to 945, it briefly gave Wuyue a third border. However, before long, Wuyue would be completely encircled (except for the East China Sea) as both Yin and Min were absorbed by the Southern Tang. Wuyue was not a large kingdom compared to many of its neighbors. It consisted of 13 prefectures and 86 counties or sub-prefectures. The population was approximately 550,700 households, with many people living in commercial centers and major seaports.

Fall of the Kingdom In 978, in the face of certain annihilation from northern imperial Chinese troops, the last king of Wuyue, Qian Chu, pledged allegiance to the Northern Song Dynasty, saving his people from war and economic destruction. While Qian Chu nominally remained king, Wuyue was absorbed into the Song Dynasty, effectively ending the kingdom. The last king died in 988.


Qian Chu, the Last King of Wuyue Kingdom

Originally named Hongchu, Qianchu(钱俶, 929—988) was born in Linan, today's Hangzhou and his courtesy name was Hu Zi or Wende. Qian Chu was the last King of Wuyue Kingdom. His father was Qian Yuanguan(钱元瓘)and elder brother was Qian Zong(钱倧).

Qian Chu, Last King of Wuyue Kingdom

At the year of 10 or so, he acted as the key position in Wuyue Kingdom, at the time the title was Nei Ya Zhu Jun Zhi Hui Shi (内衙诸军指挥使,roughly the royal troop leader) and Jian Jiao Si Kong(检校司空,The Superior Supervisor and Checker of Projects and Water Conservancy). He was called back from Taizhou when his elder brother, Qian Zong, succeeded the throne from his father. He took charge of the state council. In 948, Qianc Chu returned from suppressing the riots. On Dec. 30, 947, General Hu Jinsi(胡进思) launched the coup d'etat and Qian Zong was put on house arrest, when Qian Zong had the night dinner with generals. General Hu Jinsi welcomed Qian Chu back and promoted Qian Chu to be the king. But Qian Chu refused for many times and repeated: please make my elder brother safe, or I never accept your suggestion. Hu Jinsi agreed. In 948, Qian Chu became the new king of Wuyue Kingdom. During Qian Chu’s early reign, he remitted the taxes and gave He Chengxun(何承训, a high official of Qian Zong used to scheme kill General HE Jinsi with Qian Zong, because Qian Zong had a bad relationship with General He Jinsi) the death penalty. General Hu Jinsi also suggested Qian Chu to kill Qian Zong for many times, but Qian Chu did not agree at all and he also sent his trusted General Xue Wen(薛温) to protect Qian Zong. Before long, an assassin exceeded the wall to murder Qian Zong but this murderer was finally killed by General Xue Wen. This assassin was sent by Hu Jinsi. And this made Hu Jinsi in worry and uneasiness till his death.

After the enthronement of Qian Chu, he took many beneficial policies into practice and remitted the owed taxes of people in the past many years. Besides, he encouraged people assarting the wasteland without taxes. The people accepted him and respected him in heart. In 953, due to the serious drought, many people had to sell their children to live on. Qian Chu ordered the local governments to buy these children back and return children to their parents and open the governmental storehouses to the public to relieve the disaster of nature. In 975, Qian Chu agreed the request of Zhao Kuangyin(赵匡胤) and sent troops to join the war of integrating Southern Tang Kingdom with troops of Zhao Kuangyin. In 978, Qian Chu was summoned by Emperor Taizong(Zhao Kuangyin) of Northern Song Dynasty and was detained there. He had no choice but to attach the Wuyue Kingdom to be a part of Song Empire. Qian Chu was crowned to be King of Huaihai Kingdom, King of Hannan Kingdom, King of Nanyang Kingdom and King Xu and King Deng continually.

In August, 988, on his 60th birthday celebration, Emperor Taizong of Song Dynasty presented him the gifts and expressed the blessings. But at night, Qian Chu died unexpectedly, and someone suspected Qian Chu was poisoned to death. And Qian Chu’s Honorary Title of Death or Posthumous Name is Zhong Yi(忠懿) , and Qian Chu had seven sons. Among them, Qian Weiyan(钱惟演) was the most famous one in history of Chinese Literature.

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