Emperors of the Tang Dynasty


Reign Time (years)
Tang Dynasty (618 - 907)
1 Tang Kao Tsu
(Li Yuan)
A chancellor of the Sui Dynasty (581 - 618) who rose in rebellion; the founder of the Tang Dynasty 618 - 626
2 Tang Taizong
(Li Shimin)
The second son of Li Yuan; a bold and powerful ruler good at both military strategy and Chinese calligraphy; His reign was called the Zhenguan Reign, which started the glorious period of Tang. 627 - 649
3 Tang Gaozong
(Li Zhi)
The 9th son of Li Shimin; considered a weak ruler because he was assisted by Empress Wu Zetian for most of his reign 650 - 683
4 Tang Zhongzong
(Li Xi'an)
Son of Lizhi and Wu Zetian; He was on the throne for two month in 684 before Wu deposed him. After Wu was deposed in 705, he ruled for five years with Empress Wei's interfering in court affairs 684,
705 - 710
5 Tang Ruizong
(Li Dan)
The eighth son of Li Zhi and Wu Zetian; the fifth and ninth emperor of the Tang Dynasty; His first ruling period came after Wu deposed Li Xi'an. His second period of reign began after the coup by his sister Princess Taiping and his son Li Longji (later Xuanzong). 684 - 690,
710 - 712
Zhou Dynasty (690 - 705)
6 Wu Zetian At first, she was a concubine of Taizong. Later, she became Gaozong's concubine after Taizong died. Finally, she won the power struggle and became the only woman emperor in Chinese history. 690 - 705
Continuation of the Tang Dynasty
7 Tang Shangdi
(Li Chongmao)
Son of Zhongzong; was put on the throne by Empress Wei after she poisoned Zhongzong; After ruling briefly, he was forced to give the throne to his uncle Ruizong in a coup launched by Princess Taiping and Li Longji. 710
8 Tang Xuanzong
(Li Longji)
Also called Emperor Ming of Tang; son of Ruizong; His reign was the longest in the Tang Dynasty and was known as the Heyday of Kaiyuan because of the unprecedented prosperity. His infatuation with his consort, Yan Guifei caused neglect of duty in his later years. 712 - 756
9 Tang Suzong
(Li Heng)
Son of Xuanzong; He spent his reign suppressing the An Shi Rebellion. During his reign, eunuchs began to gain power. 756 - 762
10 Tang Daizong
(Li Yu)
Son of Suzong; During his reign, the An Shi Rebellion was successfully suppressed. He believed in Buddhism so he spent lots of money building Buddhist temples, which added a great burden on Tang's national finance. 762 - 779
11 Tang Dezong
(Li Shi)
The eldest son of Daizong; known as an industrious and thrifty emperor; During his reign, he tried, but failed, to control the power of the Fanzhen. 780 - 805
12 Tang Shunzong
(Li Song)
The eldest son of Dezong; Though his reign was very short, he tried to improve the administration of the Tang court by making some reforms. 805
13 Tang Xianzong
(Li Chun)
The eldest son of Shunzong; In his reign, the eunuchs' power became more rampant. Xianzong was murdered by a eunuch. 806 - 820
14 Tang Muzong
(Li Heng)
Son of Xianzong; an unwise emperor who neglected duty and allowed the increasing power of Jiedushi (regional military governors) 821 - 824
15 Tang Jingzong
(Li Zhan)
The eldest son of Muzong; a teenager emperor who ruled with the real power held by eunuchs and corrupt officials 824 - 826
16 Tang Wenzong
(Li Ang)
The second son of Muzong; younger brother of Jingzong; His reign was still controlled by the eunuchs. 826 - 840
17 Tang Wuzong
(Li Yan)
During his reign, the central power was under the control of military eunuchs for some time. As an emperor, he was known for the religious persecution of Buddhism. 840 - 846
18 Tang Xuanzong
(Li Chen)
One of the most revolutionary emperors in the Tang Dynasty; He encouraged the development of culture and technology. 846 - 859
19 Tang Yizong
(Li Cui)
The eldest son of Xuanzong; He was a lazy and unskillful emperor. Starting from his reign, the Tang Dynasty was in decline. 859 - 873
20 Tang Xizong
(Li Xuan)
The fifth son of Yizong; In his reign, the Huang Chao Rebellion broke out which weakened the Tang regime. 873 - 888
21 Tang Zhaozong
(Li Ye)
The seventh son of Yizong and younger brother of Xizong; With chaos and rebellions, his reign nominally remained the Tang Dynasty. 888 - 904
22 Tang Aidi
(Li Zhu)
Son of Zhaozong; the last emperor in the Tang Dynasty; He was poisoned by Zhu Wen (a chancellor in late Tang) who founded the Later Liang (907 - 923). 904 - 907

- Last updated on Feb. 28, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Emperors of Tang
Asked by johnathan from USA | Oct. 29, 2014 19:07Reply
how big was the tang dynasty empire
Answers (1)
Answered by Lisa from INDIA | Oct. 30, 2014 00:59

Tang Empire's territory is about 10760000 square kilometers. It reaches Angara River Region in the north, Bukhara of Uzbekistan in the west, Ha Tinh of Vietnam in the south and Tonghua of Jilin Province in the east.
Asked by Alcie from USA | Oct. 29, 2014 15:28Reply
How did Emperor Gaozu die?
Answers (2)
Answered by CHRISTINE from CN | Oct. 30, 2014 00:54

Alcie, Liu Bang once had an arrow injury when he suppressed the rebellion. When he returned to Chang'an, his wound became more serious. His wife invited a well-known doctor to treat his wound. He asked him whether he could be cured. The doctor just replied that he would do his best to treat him. Then he knew that he couldn't live long. He gave the doctor a certain amount of gold and let him go. After a while, he died.
Answered by Idk | Feb. 28, 2022 20:58

It gaozu of tang not gaozu of han
Asked by Phoebe from USA | Sep. 17, 2014 06:25Reply
Based on Shanae from U.S.'s question. Who is the husband of Wu Zetian?
Answers (1)
Answered by Ellen from JAPAN | Sep. 17, 2014 22:17

Well, she actually had two husbands. One was Emperor Taizong (Li Shimin), and the other is his son Emperor Gaozong (Li Zhi).
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