Coup at Chen Bridge
As the founding emperor of the Northern Song Dynasty, Zhao Kuangyin was originally a general of the Later Zhou Dynasty and made many contributions to it.
When Emperor Shizong of the Later Zhou Dynasty was alive, he trusted Zhao Kuangyin very much and sent him to be the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Army (the most powerful army in the Later Zhou Dynasty).
After Emperor Shizong died, his son became the new emperor.
Because his son is still very young, Zhao Kuangyin had the military power in the Later Zhou Dynasty.
During the Spring Festival in 960, when the court of the Later Zhou Dynasty held a ceremony, it suddenly received an urgent border defense report saying that the northern Han Dynasty and the Liao Dynasty jointly attacked the border areas of the later Zhou Dynasty.
The ministers were in a panic. Later, Fan Zhi and Wang Pu suggested that Zhao Kuangyin lead the army to resist.
After receiving the order to send troops, Zhao Kuangyin immediately dispatched troops. After two days, he took the army to set out from Bianjing (now Kaifeng).
That night, after arriving at Chen Qiao Yi, Ten kilometers away from Bianjing, Zhao Kuangyin ordered the army to camp on the spot and rest.
The soldiers fell asleep, but some generals gathered together to discuss it quietly.
Some people said: “the emperor is still a child and will not know our contribution at all. We should support Zhao Kuangyin as emperor now.”
After hearing this, everyone agreed with the opinion, so an official told Zhao Kuangyi (Zhao Kuangyin’s younger brother) and Zhao Pu (Zhao Kuangyin’s confidant) first.
Before the official finished speaking, the generals broke in, took out their swords and said, “we have agreed to ask Zhao Kuangyin to be emperor.”
Hearing this, Zhao Kuangyi and Zhao Pu were secretly happy. On the one hand, they urged everyone to stabilize their minds and not cause chaos. On the other hand, they quickly sent people to tell Shi Shouxin and Wang Shenqi, who were staying in the Bianjing.
Before long, the news spread all over the barracks.
After that, they crowded into Zhao Kuangyin’s room and waited until the sky turned white.
At this time, Zhao Kuangyin drank some wine and fell asleep.
When he woke up, he heard a lot of people outside.
Then someone opened the door and said in a loud voice,”please be emperor!”
Zhao Kuangyin got up quickly. Before he could speak, several people put a yellow robe on Zhao Kuangyin.
Later, they kowtowed to Zhao Kuangyin and called “long live”.
Then they asked Zhao Kuangyin to mount his horse and return to Bianjing.
Zhao Kuangyin rode on his horse and said, “since you let me be emperor, can you all obey my orders?”
“Listen to your Majesty’s orders,” the soldiers answered in unison.
Zhao Kuangyin issued an order saying: after arriving in Bianjing, we should protect the Empress Dowager and the emperor of the Later Zhou Dynasty, and should not infringe on the court ministers, and should not rob the state warehouse.
Zhao Kuangyin was the commander-in-chief of the forbidden army. With the support of generals, no one dares to disobey orders!
With the help of Shi Shouxin and Wang Shenqi. Zhao Kuangyin soon occupied Bianjing.
Later, Zhao Kuangyin established the Northern Song Dynasty and set Bianjing as the capital. (he was called Emperor Taizu of Song Dynasty in History)
When Zhao Kuangyin became emperor, his mother became empress dowager.
When the ministers congratulated the empress dowager, the Empress Dowager frowned and looked very sad.
After the minister left, the attendants asked the empress dowager, “Why are you not happy?”
The queen mother said, “I heard it’s not easy to be an emperor. If you can manage this country well, it is very honorable to be an emperor; if you don’t manage well, you may die. “
The Empress Dowager’s worry is not unreasonable.
Less than half a year after Zhao Kuangyin ascended the throne, two governors successively launched troops against the Song Dynasty.
Once, he and Zhao Pu discussed separately how to govern the country.
“The reason is very simple,” Zhao Pu said. The country is in chaos. The problem is that power is not centralized. If power is concentrated in the court, the country will be peaceful. “
Zhao Kuangyin nodded repeatedly and praised Zhao Pu for his good words.
Later, Zhao Pu said to Zhao Kuangyin: “the two generals, Shi Shouxin and Wang Shenqi, have too much military power. It is better to transfer them from the forbidden army.”
Zhao Kuangyin said: “you can rest assured that these two people are my old friends and will not oppose me.”
“I’m not worried about their defection,” Zhao pu said. But as far as I can see, these two men do not have the ability of commander-in-chief and can not control the soldiers below. One day, the people below will make trouble. I’m afraid they can’t help themselves! ”
Zhao Kuangyin knocked on his forehead and said, “thank you for reminding me.”
Zhao Kuangyin took back his military power
After a few days, song Taizu held a banquet in the palace, inviting Shi Shouxin, Wang Shenqi and other veteran generals to drink.
After a few rounds of wine, Emperor Taizu ordered the eunuchs to withdraw.
He took up a glass of wine, asked everyone to have a drink first, and then said, “if it were not for your help, I would not be emperor. But being emperor is not as easy as being governor. To tell you the truth, I haven’t had a good sleep since I was Emperor. “
After hearing this, Shi Shouxin and others were very surprised and asked why. Zhao Kuangyin said, “I don’t understand that yet? Who is not envious of the position of emperor.
Shi Shouxin and others heard the words. In a panic, they knelt on the ground and said, “why did your majesty say such a thing? Now that the world is stable, who dares to be indifferent to your majesty? “
Zhao Kuangyin shook his head and said, “I believe you, but I’m afraid that some of your subordinates are greedy for wealth and will put on yellow robes for you.”
Hearing this, Shi Shouxin and others felt that the disaster was coming. They kowtowed and said with tears: “we are all rude people. We didn’t expect this. Please show your majesty a way out.”
Zhao Kuangyin said, “you’d better hand over the military power, go to the place to be an idle official, buy some land and houses, leave some family property for your descendants, and enjoy your old age.”
Shi Shouxin and others said with one voice: “thank you, your majesty.”
As soon as the banquet was over, everyone went home.
The next day, people attending the party said they were old and weak and wanted to quit.
Zhao Kuangyin immediately took back their military power, rewarded them with a large amount of property, and sent them to various places to be governors.
After Zhao Kuangyin took back the military power, he established a new military system and stabilized the newly established Northern Song Dynasty.