Buddha statues in Maiji
Mountain, carved in the Sui Dynasty
At the end of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386 - 589), the whole nation had undergone a long period of division. People who had endured sufferings of war were longing for the unification but neither the Northern Dynasties nor Southern Dynasties realized this goal.
In Northern Zhou (557 - 581), Yang Jian, who was born to the noble class and was the Chengxiang (Prime Minister) of the last emperor, monopolized the political and military power and suppressed the separatist forces as well as some other royal forces. In 581, Yang Jian replaced Northern Zhou with Sui and proclaimed himself Emperor Wen. Thus Sui was founded, with Chang'an (currently Xian) the capital and Luoyang the auxiliary capital. In 589, the Sui Court defeated the last of the Southern Dynasties, Chen, and unified the whole nation.
Economical and Political Prosperity
As a result of the reunification, the society became stable and peaceful which encouraged economical and political development.
Sui Coins inscribed with characters
In order to enhance the communication between southern and northern areas, Emperor Yang ordered his people to dredge a grand canal running from north and south. Centering on Luoyang, the Grand Canal was more than 2.5 miles long and functioned as the main artery in the Nation's transportation. The Grand Canal played an important role in economical and cultural exchange between southern and northern areas.
Relics of Great Wall of Sui Dynasty,
Yanchi County, Ningxia
Decline and Ruin
The decline of the Sui Dynasty started from the second monarch, Emperor Yang, who was a typical tyrant. His reputation was that of a son who lacked respect for his parents, committed patricide and usurped the throne.
Pottery of Chicken,
Sui burial objects
Craving greatness and success, Emperor Yang also waged war against Gaoli (currently Korea). Both burdensome military service and heavy corvee labor forced peasants to leave their farmland. Later, famine was common and caused by the resulting desolation leaving all the countryside in extreme misery.
In 611, peasants from Mt. Changbaishan in Shandong began a rebellion. Before long, rebels from all over the country formed into several powerful groups. Among them, the main military force was called the Wagang Army which was led by Zhai Rang and Li Mi. The force captured the granary of the Sui Court and issued the food to the peasants.
As a result, the Sui regime became rather unstable and in 618, when Emperor Yang was strangled by one of his subordinates, it completely collapsed.
Reign Time (years)
|1||Sui Wendi |
|He was father-in-law of the last emperor of Northern Zhou; After the emperor died, he seized the throne for himself and established the Sui Dynasty||581 - 604|
|2||Sui Yangdi |
|The second son of Sui Wendi; known as a tyrant who led the dynasty to decline||604 - 617|
|3||Sui Gongdi |
|The last emperor of Sui Dynasty who yielded the throne to Li Yuan (later Emperor Gaozu of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907)||617 - 618|