During the Three Kingdoms period (220–280) of China, the Nanzhong region was part of the territory of the state of Shu Han (or simply Shu). In 225, some local governors rebelled against Shu rule while the Nanman tribes made intrusions into Nanzhong. In response, the Shu regent Zhuge Liang led imperial forces on a campaign in Nanzhong and succeeded in quelling the rebellions and pacifying the Nanman tribes. In legend, Zhuge Liang captured and released the Nanman leader Meng Huo seven times until the latter finally swore allegiance to Shu.
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- Peng, Wenbin (2011). "Ethnic Memory and Space: Legends of Zhuge Liang in Southwest China". Inner Asia. 13 (1): 141–159. doi:10.1163/000000011797372797. ISSN 1464-8172.