Timeline of the Three Kingdoms period

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This is a timeline of the Three Kingdoms period (220–280) of Chinese history. In a strict academic sense, the Three Kingdoms period refers to the interval between the founding of the state of Cao Wei (220–265) in 220 and the conquest of the state of Eastern Wu (229–280) by the Western Jin Dynasty (265–316) in 280.  However, many Chinese historians and laymen extend the starting point of this period back to the Yellow Turban Rebellion that took place in 184 during the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220).

Year Major events
184 Yellow Turban Rebellion
189 Emperor Ling of Han dies;
Liu Bian is enthroned as Emperor Shao of Han;
Power struggle between He Jin and the Ten Eunuchs;
Dong Zhuo takes control of the imperial court and deposes Emperor Shao;
Liu Xie is enthroned as Emperor Xian of Han;
Lü Bu kills Ding Yuan and defects to Dong Zhuo
190 Dong Zhuo murders the deposed Emperor Shao;
A coalition of warlords and regional officials launch a campaign against Dong Zhuo
191 Battle of Jieqiao between Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan;
Sun Jian is killed in action at the Battle of Xiangyang against Liu Biao
192 Lü Bu kills Dong Zhuo
193 Cao Cao invades Xu Province;
Battle of Yan Province between Cao Cao and Lü Bu
194 Sun Ce's conquests in Jiangdong begin;
Liu Bei succeeds Tao Qian as Governor of Xu Province
196 Cao Cao finds Emperor Xian of Han in the ruins of the old capital Luoyang and brings him to Xuchang, where the new capital is established;
Lü Bu seizes control of Xu Province's capital Xiapi from Liu Bei
197 Battle of Wancheng between Cao Cao and Zhang Xiu;
Campaign against Yuan Shu begins
198 The combined forces of Cao Cao and Liu Bei defeat Lü Bu at the Battle of Xiapi
199 Yuan Shao eliminates Gongsun Zan in the Battle of Yijing;
Yuan Shu is defeated and dies in Shouchun;
Liu Bei seizes Xu Province from Cao Cao;
Cao Cao defeats Liu Bei and retakes Xu Province;
Guan Yu surrenders to Cao Cao and temporarily serves the latter
200 Sun Ce is assassinated;
Sun Quan succeeds Sun Ce as warlord of Jiangdong;
Battle of Guandu between Cao Cao and Yuan Shao
202 Yuan Shao dies. His sons Yuan Shang and Yuan Tan fight for the domains of his father;
Cao Cao's campaigns to reunify northern China begin
203 Battle of Xiakou between Sun Quan and Liu Biao
207 Northern China is united under Cao Cao's control after the Battle of White Wolf Mountain;
Zhuge Liang presents the Longzhong Plan to Liu Bei and comes to serve the latter
208 Battle of Jiangxia between Sun Quan and Liu Biao;
Liu Cong surrenders Jing Province to Cao Cao;
Battle of Red Cliffs between Cao Cao and the combined forces of Liu Bei and Sun Quan
211 Battle of Tong Pass between Cao Cao and a coalition force led by Ma Chao and Han Sui;
Cao Cao's campaigns in northwestern China begin
212 Liu Bei's takeover of Yi Province begins
213 Emperor Xian of Han enfeoffs Cao Cao as "Duke of Wei" and grants him the nine bestowments
215 Liu Bei takes complete control of Yi Province from Liu Zhang;
Zhang Lu surrenders Hanzhong to Cao Cao after the Battle of Yangping;
Battle of Xiaoyao Ford between Cao Cao and Sun Quan
216 Emperor Xian of Han promotes Cao Cao to "King of Wei"
217 Liu Bei launches the Hanzhong Campaign against Cao Cao;
Battle of Ruxu between Cao Cao and Sun Quan
219 Liu Bei emerges victorious in the Hanzhong Campaign and declares himself "King of Hanzhong";
Battle of Fancheng between the forces of Cao Cao and Liu Bei;
Lü Meng's invasion of Jing Province;
Guan Yu is captured and executed by Sun Quan
220 Cao Cao dies;
Cao Pi forces Emperor Xian of Han to abdicate the throne to him and ends the Han Dynasty;
Cao Pi establishes the state of Wei;
Sun Quan becomes a vassal under Wei;
Start of the Three Kingdoms period
221 Liu Bei declares himself emperor and establishes the state of Shu
222 Liu Bei is defeated by Sun Quan's forces at the Battle of Xiaoting;
Sun Quan declares independence from Wei and rules as "King of Wu"
223 Liu Bei dies;
Liu Shan becomes emperor of Shu;
Shu and Wu reaffirm their alliance;
Battle of Jiangling between Wei and Wu
225 Zhuge Liang's Southern Campaign
226 Cao Pi dies;
Cao Rui becomes emperor of Wei
228 Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions begin;
Battle of Jieting between Wei and Shu;
Battle of Shiting between Wei and Wu
229 Sun Quan proclaims himself "Emperor of Wu"
234 Zhuge Liang dies at the Battle of Wuzhang Plains;
238 Sima Yi's Liaodong campaign
239 Cao Rui dies;
Cao Fang becomes emperor of Wei
245 Goguryeo–Wei War ends
247 Jiang Wei's Northern Expeditions begin
249 Sima Yi seizes power from Cao Shuang in the Incident at Gaoping Tombs
251 Wang Ling rebels in Wei
252 Sun Quan dies;
Sun Liang becomes emperor of Wu;
Battle of Dongxing between Wei and Wu
254 Cao Fang is deposed by Sima Shi;
Cao Mao becomes emperor of Wei
255 Sima Shi has surgery to remove a tumor affecting his eyes;
Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin rebel in Wei;
Sima Shi dies and leaves power in Sima Zhao's hands;
Battle of Didao between Wei and Shu
258 Zhuge Dan rebels in Wei and the revolt is suppressed;
Sun Liang is deposed by the regent Sun Chen;
Sun Xiu becomes emperor of Wu
260 Cao Mao is killed in a coup to seize back state power from Sima Zhao;
Cao Huan becomes emperor of Wei
263 Conquest of Shu by Wei;
Liu Shan, emperor of Shu, surrenders to Sima Zhao, ending the state of Shu;
Cao Huan names Sima Zhao Duke of Jin
264 Sima Zhao dies and is replaced by his son, Sima Yan;
Sun Xiu dies;
Sun Hao becomes emperor of Wu
265 Sima Yan forces Cao Huan to abdicate the throne to him and ends the state of Wei;
Sima Yan founds the Jin Dynasty
280 Conquest of Wu by Jin;
End of the Three Kingdoms period