Zhao Kuangyin
Chinese history

Zhao Kuangyin

Zhao Kuangyin, known as Emperor Taizu of Song in history, was born in Luoyang, Henan province.

Zhao Kuangyin‘s early experience

When  he was young, he traveled widely and was persuaded by a monk in a temple in Xiangyang.

After listening to the advice of the monks, Zhao Kuangyin went north and took refuge with Guo Wei in 948 A.D. Then he followed Guo Wei to the battle.

In 951, Guo Wei established the later Zhou Dynasty.

After the establishment of the later Zhou Dynasty, he got more promotions from Guo Wei.

In 954, Chai Rong, Guo Wei’s adopted son, succeeded to the throne and put Zhao Kuangyin in charge of the forbidden army.

Zhao Kuangyin’s contribution to the Later Zhou Dynasty

In that year, the allied forces of the Northern Han dynasty and the Khitan invaded the later Zhou. Chai Rong led his troops to resist the allied forces and met the northern Han troops at Jincheng, Shanxi.

At the beginning of the battle, part of Chai Rong’s army was immediately scattered.

But Zhao Kuangyin did not escape at this time, but shouted to fight to the death.

Later, he and zhang Yongde, a general of the Forbidden Army, fought bravely and defeated the Northern Han army.

After the war, he was promoted by Chai Rong and became one of his trusted generals.

In 956, he followed Chai Rong to crusade against the Southern Tang Dynasty.

In this war, he won many battles and captured many important figures of the Southern Tang Dynasty.

After the war, Zhao Kuangyin was promoted again.

In the following years, he made many more achievements and became one of the most important people around Chai Rong.

Zhao kuangyin founded the song dynasty by military mutiny at Chenqiao

When Chai Rong died in 959, his seven-year-old son, Chai Zongxun, succeeded to the throne.

On the first day of the second year, the court of the later Zhou dynasty got the news that the troops of the Khitan and the Northern Han were coming.

Then the prime Minister Fan Zhi immediately sent Zhao Kuangyin to lead the army to resist.

The next night, he led his army to camp at Chenqiao, 20 kilometers away from the capital Kaifeng.

That night, his trusted followers began to say in the camp that the emperor was still a child and could not handle government affairs by himself.

Now we were going to protect our country.

Who will know our contribution?

Hearing these remarks, the soldiers in the camp began to get excited.

The next day, his brother, Zhao Kuangyi, and his trusted aide, Zhao Pu, saw that the time was ripe, so they let the soldiers put the yellow robe on Zhao Kuangyin who pretended to be drunk.

Then the people began to shout that he should be emperor.

At that time, he pretended to be forced and said to the crowd, “Since you have made me emperor, can you obey my orders?”

“You orders will be obeyed,” they shouted.

Then Zhao Kuangyin announced to the soldiers, “After returning to Kaifeng, you shall not disturb the queen mother and the original emperor, nor the ministers, nor rob the market. If you violate my orders, you will be beheaded.”

After listening to his order, they all agreed.

Then he led the army back to Kaifeng.

The generals who guarded Kaifeng were all sworn brothers of him.

When they heard that Zhao Kuangyin had been proclaimed emperor, they immediately opened the city gates to receive him.

Among the generals in Kaifeng at that time, only one named Han Tong tried to lead an army to resist.

But before he could summon his army, he was killed by zhao Kuangyin’s men.

Since then, he succeeded in taking control of Kaifeng.

At this time, the prime minister Fan Zhi knew that the information about the invasion of the foreign enemy was sent by Zhao Kuangyin.

However, he could not resist at this time, so he had to let all the ministers obey him, and announced that the emperor had abdicated in favor of Zhao Kuangyin.

Then he was enthroned as emperor in Kaifeng.

His original vassal town was located in Songzhou, so he took Song as his state title and made Kaifeng his capital.

The dynasty he founded is known in history as the Song Dynasty.

Zhao Kuangyin’s policy

After he became emperor, China was still divided.

In order to unify China, he decided to adopt the strategy of unifying the south first and then the north, doing the simple things first and doing the difficult things second, which laid a foundation for the future unification of China.

In addition, When Zhao Kuangyin became emperor, he strengthened the centralization of power and grasped all the power in his own hands, so as to prevent his subordinates from doing what they had done not long ago.

At that time, he created three new posts. For him, the most important role of these three posts was to divide the power of the prime minister.

In addition, he implemented a separation of powers between the military, civil affairs and finance.

At the local level, Zhao Kuangyin appointed civil officials to serve as governors and set up a new position of mutual restraint between them.

In terms of economy, he encouraged farming and promoted the development of social economy.

Such a series of measures made the newly established Song show a relatively stable situation.

Zhao Kuangyin’s views on civil servants and military generals

Compared with other dynasties, the Song dynasty was a dynasty that valued literature over military force.

Later people believe that the song dynasty tradition of emphasizing literature over martial arts originated from Zhao Kuangyin.

In fact, he did not pay much attention to civil officials even though he restrained his military generals.

Why is that?

Because he said that using civilian officials would not harm his regime, but if he used a military general, he would probably do what he did.

Zhao Kuangyin’s reform of the imperial examination

He learned from the methods of cheating in examination during the Tang Dynasty, the five Dynasties and ten Kingdoms period, and took several measures to prevent cheating.

1. After you confirm the examiner, cut off the examiner and the outside world before the test.

2.The names and places of origin written on the test papers will be hidden until the results are published.

3. After the implementation of the second system, the examinee wrote mark code words on the examination paper. To stop this, the court hired a group of scribes to transcribe the examination papers and hand them over to the examiners.

4. The examiner’s child takes the test is required to take the test in a special venue and is invigilated by a different examiner.

5. The children of the powerful take the exam and need to take the second exam.

Zhao Kuangyin’s management of the Yellow River

When he was in power, he managed the Yellow River for many times.

During that period, the Yellow River often burst its banks, flooding villages and farmland.

In 962, he ordered banks to be built along the Yellow River and trees to be planted in abundance.

In addition, three months of the year is the Yellow River banks routine construction period.

Since then, the Yellow River has burst its banks only more than ten times during his 17 years on the throne.

Besides the Yellow River, he also harnessed several other rivers.

These actions contributed greatly to the stabilization of the agricultural economy and the circulation of the commercial economy.

The story of Zhao Kuangyin and Zhao Jingniang

When he was young, he had to flee from one place to another because he offended the imperial court, so he traveled around most of China.

When he was passing through Huashan mountain, he save a lady named Zhao Jingniang from a group of bandits.

Later, he and the lady became brother and sister and sent her home.

On the way home, he cares about Zhao Jingniang very much and makes her fall in love with him.

When Zhao Jingniang expressed her love to him, he refused politely and inscribed a poem.

Because of the rejection, Zhao Jingniang sadly jumped into the river and committed suicide.

After seeing her commit suicide by jumping into the river, Zhao Kuangyin was very regretful.

When he became emperor, he canonized Zhao Jingniang as Lady Zhen Yi.

Zhao Kuangyin hat

When he listened to the ministers’ report on government affairs, he found that many ministers were whispering.

Zhao Kuangyin was very angry at this time, but he didn’t show any signs.

Later, he ordered long wings to be added to the back of the official cap.

These long wings use pieces of iron as a skeleton, allowing more than a foot to grow on each side.

After wearing it, ministers can only talk face to face.

Since then, ministers have been unable to whisper.


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