Taibo of Wu

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Taibo (Chinese: t , s 泰伯, p Tàibó) was the eldest son of King Tai of Zhou and the legendary founder of the State of Wu. His birth and death dates are unknown.


Born into the Ji clan () of Zhou, he had two younger brothers, Zhongyong and Jili. The King of Zhou wished to make Jili, who had become renowned for his wisdom, his heir. Taibo fled to Jin and Jili became King Ji. His son Chang later became King Wen. Taibo and Zhongyong settled in Meili in present-day Jiangsu province.

Taibo made Meili his capital, after which it is said that he ordered the Canal Du to be dug. During his reign, Taibo also developed irrigation and encouraged agriculture. When Taibo died, he had no heir and passed the throne to his younger brother Zhongyong. Taibo's shrine was set up in today's Meicun, although the original wood structure was destroyed during later wars. It has been renovated several times and today's architecture is mostly from Qing dynasty. A stone carved with Confucius's comment can still be seen in today's Taibo Shrine.

Much later, when King Wu had ended the Shang dynasty, he made Zhouzhang – a descendant of Zhongyong – the king of Wu.[1]

Diplomatic visits to Japan by the later Wei and Jin dynasties recorded that the people of Japan claimed to be descendants of Taibo.