Thursday, September 4, 2008

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.

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