Northern Han

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For the state known as Northern Han during the Sixteen Kingdoms period, see Han Zhao.

Capital Taiyuan
Languages Chinese
Religion Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion
Government Monarchy
 -  951–954 Emperor Shizu
 -  954–968 Emperor Ruizong
 -  968 Emperor Shaozhu
 -  968–979 Emperor Yingwudi
Historical era Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period
 -  Established 951 951
 -  Ended by the Song Dynasty 979 979
Currency Chinese cash, Chinese coin, copper coins etc.
Today part of  China
History of the Turkic peoples
History of the Turkic peoples
Pre-14th century
  Chuban 160–490
  Wei (Dingling) 388–392
Turkic Khaganate 552–744
  Western Turkic
  Eastern Turkic
Avar Khaganate 564–804
Khazar Khaganate 618–1048
Xueyantuo 628–646
Great Bulgaria 632–668
  Danube Bulgaria
  Volga Bulgaria
Kangar union 659–750
Turgesh Khaganate 699–766
Tatar confederation 8th century–1202
Uyghur Khaganate 744–840
Karluk Yabgu State 756–940
Kara-Khanid Khanate 840–1212
  Western Kara-Khanid
  Eastern Kara-Khanid
Gansu Uyghur Kingdom 848–1036
Kingdom of Qocho 856–1335
Pecheneg Khanates
Kimek Khanate
Oghuz Yabgu State
Shatuo dynasties 923–979
  Later Tang
  Later Jin
  Later Han (Northern Han)
Ghaznavids 963–1186
Seljuk Empire 1037–1194
Khwarazmian Empire 1077–1231
Sultanate of Rum 1092–1307
Delhi Sultanate 1206–1526
  Mamluk dynasty
  Khilji dynasty
  Tughlaq dynasty
Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo) 1250–1517
  Bahri dynasty
Sufids 1361–1379

The Northern Han kingdom (simplified Chinese: 北汉; traditional Chinese: 北漢; pinyin: Běi Hàn) is a state of the Ten Kingdoms in the Period of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms. It was founded by Liu Min (劉旻), a Shatuo Turk, formerly known as Liu Chong (劉崇), and lasted from 951 to 979.

Founding of the Northern Han[edit]

The Shatuo Turks[1][2][3] had ruled most of northern China since 923 through the Later Tang, Later Jin, and Later Han. The short-lived Later Han fell in 950. Liu Min founded the Northern Han Kingdom, sometimes referred to as the Eastern Han, in 951 claiming that he was the legitimate heir to the imperial throne of Later Han. Liu Min immediately restored the traditional relationship the Shatuo Turks had with the Khitans, who had founded the Liao Dynasty.

Territorial Extent[edit]

The Northern Han was a small kingdom located in Shanxi with its capital located at Taiyuan. Shanxi had been a traditional base of power since the fading days of the Tang Dynasty in the late ninth century and early tenth century. It was wedged between the two major powers of the day, the Liao Dynasty to the north and the Song Dynasty to the south. It also shared a border with the Tangut kingdom of Western Xia.

Wedge Between Liao and Song[edit]

The existence of the Northern Han was one of the two major thorns in relations between the Liao Dynasty and the Song Dynasty, the other being the continued possession of the Sixteen Prefectures by the Liao Dynasty. The Northern Han had placed itself under the protection of the Liao.

Emperor Taizu was successful in nearly completing the incorporation of the southern kingdoms into the Song Dynasty by his death in 976. His younger brother, Emperor Taizong wished to emulate his older brother’s successes. Wuyue was brought into the realm in 978.

Fall of the Northern Han[edit]

Emboldened by his success to the south, Emperor Taizong decided to embark on a campaign to finally destroy the Northern Han. Leading the army himself, he brought his forces to the Northern Han capital of Taiyuan, which was laid under siege in June. An initial relief force sent by the Liao was easily defeated by Song. After a two-month siege of the capital, the leader of the Northern Han surrendered, the kingdom was incorporated into the Song Dynasty.


Sovereigns in Northern Han Kingdom 951–979
Temple Names (Miao Hao 廟號) Posthumous Names (Shi Hao 諡號) Personal Names Period of Reigns Era Names (Nian Hao 年號) and their according range of years
世祖 Shìzǔ 神武帝 Shénwǔdì Liu Min (劉旻) 951–954 Qiányòu (乾祐) 951–954
睿宗 Ruìzōng 孝和帝 Xiàohédì Liu Jun (劉鈞) 954–968 Qiányòu (乾祐) 954–957

Tiānhuì (天會) 957–968

少主 Shàozhǔ Did not exist Liu Ji'en (劉繼恩) 968 Did not exist
Did not exist 英武帝 Yīngwǔdì Liu Jiyuan (劉繼元) 968–979 Guǎngyùn (廣運) 968–979


  1. ^ Lorge, Peter Allan (2012). Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century. CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS. p. 115. 
  2. ^ Gumilev, Lev Nikolaevich. Searches for an Imaginary Kingdom: The Legend of the Kingdom of Prester John. Cambridge University Press 1987. p. 78. 
  3. ^ Mote, Frederick W (2003). Imperial China 900-1800. pp. 67–68.