Liu Zhiyuan

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Liu Zhiyuan
Emperor Gaozu of Later Jin Shi Jingtang.jpg
Reign March 10, 947[1][2] – March 10, 948
Born March 4, 895[3][1]
Died March 10, 948[1][4]
Full name
Era dates
Tiānfú (天福) (adopted from Emperor Gaozu of Later Jin) 947
Qiányòu (乾祐) 948
Posthumous name
Emperor Rùìwén Shèngwǔ Zhāosù Xiào (睿文聖武昭肅孝皇帝) (full)
Temple name
Gāozǔ (高祖)
Dynasty Later Han

Emperor Gaozu of (Later) Han ((後)漢高祖) (March 4, 895–March 10, 948), personal name Liu Zhiyuan (劉知遠), later changed to Liu Gao (劉暠), was the ethnically-Shatuo founder of the Later Han, the fourth of the Five Dynasties in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period of Chinese history. It, if the subsequent Northern Han is not considered part of its history, was also one of the shortest-lived states in Chinese history, lasting only three years.

Founder of a dynasty[edit]

Liu Zhiyuan was the military governor of Bingzhou, an area around modern-day Taiyuan in Shanxi, long a stronghold of the Shatuo Turks, for the Later Jin. The Later Jin had been little more than a puppet of the powerful Khitan empire to the north. When, in 946, the emperor of the Later Jin decided to defy the Khitan under growing pressure from not only subjects among the Shatuo Turks, but also Han Chinese at their subservient status, the Khitans led a military attack that shattered the Later Jin. On the return to their southern capital at present-day Beijing, the Khitan emperor died, providing just enough of a vacuum of power for Liu Zhiyuan to move in and declare the establishment of the Later Han. He named his government "Han" as a consequence of claiming to be a descendant of Liu Bang, the first Emperor of the Western Han Dynasty, thus relinquishing his Shatuo Turk originality.

Brief rule[edit]

Liu Zhiyuan was able to take control over the same territories that the Later Jin had reigned over. Declaring himself emperor of the Later Han, he was able to enjoy his new status for only a brief period of time as he died the following year. Liu was succeeded by his teenage son. The dynasty would fall two years later in a military coup that resulted in the founding of the Later Zhou.

Personal information[edit]

  • Father
    • Liu Dian (劉典), posthumously honored Emperor Zhangsheng with the temple name of Xianzu
  • Mother
    • Lady An, Lady Dowager of Wu, posthumously honored Empress Zhangyi
  • Wife
    • Empress Li (created 947), mother of Prince Chengyou
  • Children
    • Liu Chengxun (劉承訓) (922-948), posthumously created the Prince of Wei
    • Liu Chengyou (劉承祐) (931-950), the Prince of Zhou (created 948), later Emperor Yin of Later Han
    • Liu Chengxun (劉承勛) (d. 951), name later changed to Liu Xun (劉勛), posthumously created the Prince of Chen by Emperor Taizu of Later Zhou
    • Princess Yongning (created 947), posthumously created Princess Qin (created 949)
  • Adopted Child


  1. ^ a b c Academia Sinica Chinese-Western Calendar Converter.
  2. ^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 286.
  3. ^ History of the Five Dynasties, vol. 99.
  4. ^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 287.
  • Mote, F.W. (1999). Imperial China: (900-1800). Harvard University Press. p. 13. 
Liu Zhiyuan
House of Liu (947–950)
Born: 895 Died: 948
Regnal titles
Preceded by
None (dynasty founded)
Emperor of Later Han
Succeeded by
Liu Chengyou (Emperor Yin)
Preceded by
Emperor Taizong of Liao
Emperor of China (Central Shanxi)
Preceded by
Li Congyi
Emperor of China (Kaifeng region)
Preceded by
Emperor Shizong of Liao
Emperor of China (Central)