Zheng (state)

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State of Zheng
鄭國
Duchy

806 BC–375 BC
Capital Zheng (鄭)
Xinzheng (新鄭)
Languages Old Chinese
Religion Taoism, Animism, Ancestor worship
Government Monarchy
Duke
 -  806 BC – 771 BC Duke Huan of Zheng
 -  703 BC – 701 BC Duke Zhuang of Zheng
 -  395 BC – 375 BC Duke Kang of Zheng
History
 -  King Xuan of Zhou granting land to Prince You 806 BC
 -  Conquest of the State of Han 375 BC
Currency Chinese coin; Spade coin

Zheng (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Zhèng) was a vassal state in China during the Zhou Dynasty (1046–221 BCE) located in the centre of ancient China in modern-day Henan Province on the North China Plain about 75 miles (121 km) east of the royal capital at Luoyang. It was the most powerful of the vassal states at the beginning of the Eastern Zhou (771-701 BCE). Its ruling house had the surname Ji (姬), making them a branch of the Zhou royal house, who were given the rank of Bo (伯), corresponding roughly to a Countdom.

Foundation[edit]

Chinese states, 5th century BCE

Zheng was founded in 806 BC when King Xuan of Zhou, the penultimate king of the Western Zhou, made his younger brother Prince You (王子友) Duke of Zheng and granted him lands within the royal domain at the eponymous Zheng in modern-day Hua County, Shaanxi on the Wei River east of Xi'an. Prince You, known posthumously as Duke Huan of Zheng, established what would be the last bastion of Western Zhou going on to serve as Situ under King You of Zhou. When the Quanrong tribes sacked the Zhou capital Haojing in 771 BC, Duke Huan was killed along with his nephew King You of Zhou.

Duke Huan was succeeded by his son Duke Wu (鄭武公). Along with Marquis Wen of Jin, Duke Wu supported King Ping of Zhou against a rival, thereby helping to establish the Eastern Zhou. He reestablished the state of Zheng in modern-day Xinzheng (meaning New Zheng), Henan, and annexed the states of Eastern Guo and Kuai. The Zheng rulers served as high ministers of the Zhou kings for several generations.

Spring and Autumn Period[edit]

Early dominance[edit]

The state of Zheng was one of the strongest at the beginning of the Spring and Autumn Period. Zheng was the first Zhou state to annex another state, Xi, sometime between 684 and 680 BCE. Throughout the Spring and Autumn Period, Zheng was one of the wealthiest states, relying on its central location for inter-state commerce and having the largest number of merchants of any state. Zheng often used its wealth to bribe itself out of difficult situations.

Duke Zhuang of Zheng (743–701 BCE) was arguably a forerunner of the Five Hegemons, though Zheng derived its dominance by dramatically different means compared to those of the later hegemons by defeating an alliance of feudal states led by Zhou itself and wounding King Huan of Zhou. When Duke Zhuang died there was a civil war between his sons and Zheng ceased to be a powerful state.

Later Period[edit]

By the later stages of the period, Zheng had no room to expand; due to its central location, Zheng was hemmed in on all sides by larger states. During the later stages of the Spring and Autumn period, Zheng frequently switched its diplomatic alliances. Zheng was the center of diplomatic contention between Chu and Qi, then later Chu and Jin. Although Zheng was forced to become a bit player in the later stages of the Spring and Autumn period, it was still quite strong, defeating a combined alliance of Jin, Song, Chen and Wei in 607 BCE.

Under the statesman Zichan, Zheng was the first state to clearly establish a code of law in 543 BCE. Zheng later declined until it was annexed by the state of Han in 375 BCE.[1][2][3][4]

List of rulers[edit]

Title Given name Reign
Duke Huan of Zheng
鄭桓公
Yǒu
806-771 BC
Duke Wu of Zheng
鄭武公
Juétú
掘突
770-744 BC
Duke Zhuang of Zheng
鄭莊公
Wùshēng
寤生
743-701 BC
Duke Zhao of Zheng
鄭昭公

701 BC
Duke Li of Zheng
鄭厲公

700-697 BC
Duke Zhao of Zheng (second reign)
鄭昭公

696-695 BC
Prince Ziwei of Zheng
鄭子亹
Zǐwěi
子亹
694 BC
Zheng Ziying
鄭子嬰
Yīng
693–680 BC
Duke Li of Zheng (second reign)
鄭厲公

679–673 BC
Duke Wen of Zheng
鄭文公
Jié
672–628 BC
Duke Mu of Zheng
鄭穆公
Lán
627–606 BC
Duke Ling of Zheng
鄭靈公

605 BC
Duke Xiang of Zheng
鄭襄公
Jiān
604–587 BC
Duke Dao of Zheng
鄭悼公
Fèi
586–585 BC
Duke Cheng of Zheng
鄭成公
Gùn
584–581 BC
Prince Xu of Zheng
公子繻

581 BC
Duke Xi of Zheng
鄭僖公
Yùn
581 BC
Duke Cheng of Zheng (second reign)
鄭成公
Gùn
581–571 BC
Duke Xi of Zheng (second reign)
鄭僖公
Yùn
570–566 BC
Duke Jian of Zheng
鄭簡公
Jiā
565–530 BC
Duke Ding of Zheng
鄭定公
Níng
529–514 BC
Duke Xian of Zheng
鄭獻公
Dǔn
513–501 BC
Duke Sheng of Zheng
鄭聲公
Shèng
500–463 BC
Duke Ai of Zheng
鄭哀公

462–455 BC
Duke Gong of Zheng
鄭共公
Chǒu
455–424 BC
Duke You of Zheng
鄭幽公

423 BC
Duke Xu of Zheng
鄭繻公
Tái
422–396 BC
Duke Kang of Zheng
鄭康公

395–375 BC

Other people from the State of Zheng[edit]

  1. Zheng Mao (鄭瞀), exemplary woman of the Lienü zhuan

Zheng in astronomy[edit]

Zheng is represented with the star Gamma Serpentis in asterism Left Wall, Heavenly Market enclosure,[5] and also represented with 20 Capricorni in asterism Twelve States, Girl mansion.

Sources, references, external links, quotes[edit]

  1. ^ Bai, Shouyi (2002). An Outline History of China. Beijing: Foreign Language Press. ISBN 7-119-02347-0. 
  2. ^ Creel, Herrlee G.. The Origins of Statecraft in China. ISBN 0-226-12043-0. 
  3. ^ Walker, Richard Lewis. The Multi-state System of Ancient China. Beijing. 
  4. ^ "The Zheng Feudal Lords". China Knowledge. Retrieved August 28, 2007. 
  5. ^ (Chinese) AEEA (Activities of Exhibition and Education in Astronomy) 天文教育資訊網 2006 年 6 月 24 日
  • Another Royal Tomb of 'King Zheng' Discovered in Henan [1]