Thursday, September 4, 2008

Emperor Ai of Tang

Emperor Tang Aidi , born Li Zhu, was the last emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. He reigned from 904 to 907. Aidi was the son of .

Aidi ascended the throne at the age of 13 after his father, the Zhaozong was murdered by Zhu Wen in 904. Under Zhu Wen's regency, Aidi was only a puppet emperor. In 905, seeing the timing was ripe, Zhu Wen forced Aidi to issue an edict and ordered the execution of all remaining handful of ministers still loyal to the imperial Li family. The ministers were brought to a river and summarily executed after which their bodies were thrown into the river. Less than two years later, Zhu made his final move against Aidi himself and the emperor was forced to abdicate and demoted to Ji Yin Wang whilst Zhu Wen proclaimed the Later Liang Dynasty thus ending 290 years of rule by the Tang dynasty.

In 908, Aidi was poisoned to death by Zhu Wen. He was only 17.

Emperor Xizong of Tang

Emperor Tang Xizong , born Li Xuan, was the 18th emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. He reigned from 873 to 888. Xizong was the fifth son of emperor and elder brother of emperor .

Xizong's reign was dominated by eunuchs and governmental affairs was delegated to corrupt officials such as Tian Lingmu while Xizong totally ignored his duties. Ordinary citizens suffered under the heavy burden of taxes while famines caused by natural disaster became widespread across the country. In 874, the Wang Xianzhi rebellion broke out followed in 875 by the infamous Huang Chao rebellion that would haunt Xizong's reign for the next decade. In 880, the Huang Chao rebellion even captured the imperial capital of Chang'an and Xizong quickly fled to Sichuan. Both rebellions would ultimately be suppressed however it would cost the Tang dynasty dearly and hasten its downfall.

Xizong died in 888 after reigning for 15 years. He was only 27.

Emperor Daizong of Tang

Emperor Tang Daizong 唐代宗李豫 , born Li Chu ; in 758 he renamed himself Li Yu . He was the eighth emperor of the Tang dynasty and reigned from the fifth month of 762 to the fifth month of 779. He was the son of Emperor Suzong. During the An Lushan Rebellion, he acted as a general and was the representative of the royal family at the two capitals . At the beginning of his reign, general prefect-king of Fenyang Guo Ziyi successfully quelled the Anshi Rebellion, which had plagued the dynasty for over seven years. In 763, while both Daizong and Guo were in Luoyang, Tibetan forces suddenly occupied the capital of Chang'an. The Tibetan forces were, however, defeated within a few days.

Other notable events during Daizong's reign included a plot by a corrupt eunuch named Li Fuguo to gain control of the administration by murdering Daizong's stepmother. Li subsequently tried to confine Daizong to the palace while he controlled affairs of state. Daizong realized Li's motives and had Li assassinated along with numerous other corrupt eunuchs. Daizong was a devout and spent huge sums of money on building temples and shrines. Later this would prove to be a financial burden for the empire and hastened the decline of the dynasty.

Emperor Dezong of Tang

Emperor Tang Dezong , born Li Kuo, was the 9th emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. He reigned from 779 to 805. Dezong was the eldest son of emperor Emperor Daizong of Tang.

Created crown prince in 764, Dezong ascended the throne in the sixth month of 779. Dezong's long reign was one of stability during the middle period of the Tang dynasty. He was a diligent and frugal emperor and he tried to reform the governmental finances by introducing new tax laws. With his minister, Yang Yan, Dezong implemented some of the most sweeping reforms of China's bureaucracy and taxation in decades, but prompted clashes with the aristocracy.

In addition, Dezong realized the importance to limit the strength of the Fanzhen 藩镇, a situation where regional military governors or Jiedushi have sprung up after the An Lushan rebellion, to take control of huge border areas of the empire. These fiefs were a direct challenge to the central administration of the Tang empire but when Dezong's attempted to limit its power, these fiefs revolted and Dezong was forced to flee the capital of Chang An. As a result, Dezong eventually decreed that he would not limit their power. Dezong's inability to control the Fanzhen weakened the centralized power of the Tang dynasty and would contribute to a series of rebellions in the middle of the 9th century and ultimately lead to its downfall early in the 10th century.

Dezong died in the first month of 805 in the Daming Palace at the age of 63 after reigning for almost 26 years. He was succeeded by his son.

Emperor Shunzong of Tang

Emperor Tang Shunzong , born Li Song, was the tenth emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. He was created crown prince in 779 and reigned in 805 and lasted less than a year . Shunzong was the eldest son of emperor Emperor Dezong of Tang.

Shunzong was a hardworking and diligent emperor and he employed capable individuals such as Liu Zongyuan, Liu Shunchi, Han Tai, Han Hua as well as many others who supported Shunzong in reforming and rejuvenating the administration. Shunzong also tried to subdue the powers of corrupt eunuchs and its initial result, albeit shortlived, was quite successful thus earning Shunzong's short reign Era of the Yong Zhen Reformation . It gave the Tang dynasty brief stability but in August of 805, Shunzong fell ill after a stroke and was forced by corrupt officials to abdicate in favour of his son.

Shunzong died in the first month of the next year in the Xingqing Palace. It was rumoured he was murdered by corrupt officials. He was 46.

Emperor Xianzong of Tang

Emperor Tang Xianzong , born Li Chun, was the 11th emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. He reigned from 805 to 820. Xianzong was the eldest son of emperor Shunzong. He was created crown prince in 805 after the ascension of his father emperor Shunzong but was forced to abdicate within a year by corrupt eunuchs. In August of 805, Xianzong was quickly replaced as emperor.

Xianzong realized the growing threat of the Fanzhen and was determined to rid the empire of all them by waging battles against them. His initial campaigns were quite successful and Xianzong's army defeated Jiedushi such as Liu Peng, Yang Huilin in 806 and in 807. In 813, military governor Tian Xing quickly surrendered to the Tang army. Xianzong's first set back was in 813 when he failed to defeat military governor Wang Chenzong. However by 817, almost all the regional military governors have agreed in principal to submit to the Tang dynasty.

Xianzong's reign briefly stabilized the Tang dynasty from the destructive forces of the military governors however by the middle of the 9th century, unattentive emperors controlled by corrupt eunuchs gradually weakened the centralized power of the Tang dynasty. During his reign, Xianzong even bestowed military authorities to eunuchs which set the stage for eunuchs to gain power and the ability to arbitrary remove and murder any emperor they do not like. Xianzong himself was allegedly murdered by the eunuch Chen Hongzheng in the first month of 820. He was 42.

Emperor Muzong of Tang

Emperor Tang Muzong , born Li Heng, was the 12th emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. He reigned from 820 to 824. Muzong was the son of emperor Xianzong. He was created crown prince in 812 during the reign of his father but after his father was allegedly poisoned by corrupt officials, Muzong was proclaimed emperor in the firsth month of 820.

After succeeding the throne, Muzong spent his time throwing parties and heavy drinking thereby neglected his duties as emperor. Meanwhile, the temporarily subdued regional military governors began to start challenging the central Tang government. Internally, corruptions was rife however Muzong all but ignored the situation.

Muzong brief reign came to an end in the first month of 824. He was only thirty. His reign would mark the downward spiral of the Tang dynasty.