Battle of Baideng

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Battle of Baideng
Date200 BC
Mount Baideng at Pincheng (present-day Datong, Shanxi)
Result Xiongnu victory
Xiongnu Han dynasty
Commanders and leaders
Modu Chanyu Emperor Gaozu
400,000[1] 320,000[1]

The Battle of Baideng (白登之戰) was a military conflict between Han China and the Xiongnu in 200 BC. Han Dynasty of China invaded the territory of the Xiongnu in 200 BC attempting to subjugate them. However the Xiongnu united their forces under Modu Shanyu and surrounded the Han emperor Gaozu in Baideng. The siege was only relieved after seven days when the Han royal court, under Chen Ping's suggestion, sent spies to bribe Modu's wife.

In an alternate account, Grousset[2] says that the Xiongnu invaded Chinese Shanxi and besieged Taiyuan. Gaozu broke the siege and chased the Xiongnu north, but was blockaded by them on the Baideng plateau near Datong in far northern Shanxi.


After the defeat at Baideng, the Han emperor abandoned a military solution to the Xiongnu threat. Instead, in 198 BC, the courtier Liu Jing (劉敬) was dispatched for negotiations. The peace settlement eventually reached between the parties included a Han princess given in marriage to the chanyu (called heqin 和親); periodic tribute of silk, liquor and rice to the Xiongnu; equal status between the states; and the Great Wall as mutual border. This treaty set the pattern for relations between the Han and the Xiongnu for some sixty years. Until the seventh Emperor of Han decided to wage war against them after the marriage alliance is no longer effective.


  1. ^ a b Chang, Chun-shu (2007). The Rise of the Chinese Empire, Volume 1: Nation, State, and Imperialism in Early China, ca. 1600 B.C. - A.D. 8. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-472-11533-4.
  2. ^ Rene Grousset, 'The Empire of the Steppes',1970/2008,page27,

Further reading[edit]

  • Yap, Joseph P. pp 71–76. "Wars With The Xiongnu, A Translation From Zizhi tongjian" AuthorHouse (2009) ISBN 978-1-4490-0604-4