Liu Bei - Emperor of Shu Kingdom

Statue of Liu Bei in Wuhou Temple, Chengdu
Statue of Liu Bei in Wuhou Temple, Chengdu

Liu Bei, better known as Xuan De, was born in Zhuo County in Hebei Province. His ancestor was Liu Sheng, son of Emperor Jing in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD).Judging by his position in the family hierarchy, he was the last emperor of Eastern Han (25 - 220) - Emperor Xi'an's uncle. He founded the Kingdom of Shu and was regarded as a great statesman and strategist in the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280).

Liu Bei lost his father while he was still young. After that, he existed by selling straw sandals and weaving straw mats with his mother. At the age of 15, he went out to pursue his studies. In 188 after the Yellow Turban Rebellion broke out, he, along with his two sworn brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, began to organize his own troops to fight against the insurrectionists.

After the battle, Liu formally set up his military group and was soon appointed as a county governor. Later, he was successively promoted to chief executive of Xuzhou, Zhendong General, and chief executive of Yuzhou. However, because it was weaker militarily than other groups and without a stable military base, Liu Bei's group sought support temporarily under the domain of big warlords such as Cao Cao, Yuan Shao and Liu Biao.

In 207, after paying three visits to the thatched cottage of the great sage, Zhuge Liang, Liu received advice crucial to his subsequent role in political and military affairs. With Zhuge Liang as his military counselor, Liu Bei followed his strategic guidance to capture Jingzhou, with support from The Kingdom of Wu, by attacking Cao Cao's troops and to driving into Sichuan Province.

Tomb of Liu Bei, Wuhou Memorial Temple, Chengdu
Tomb of Liu Bei, Wuhou Temple, Chengdu

In 221, Liu Bei reclaimed himself emperor in Chengdu, establishing the Kingdom of Shu. As one of three kingdoms, The Kingdom of Shu covered the area of Sichuan Province, Yunnan Province, the northern part of Guizhou Province and the southern part of Shaanxi Province.

As an emperor, Liu Bei loved his people and treasured talented people very much. As an individual, he was fair and sincere, humane and righteous. The main features of his political characters embodied Chinese traditional political thoughts, especially Confucianism. Because of this, he always received courteous reception and deep respect wherever he arrived.

In 223, Liu Bei launched a battle against The Kingdom of Wu to avenge the death of his sworn brother Guan Yu. Unfortunately, he was defeated and had to draw back into the domain of Shu. In April of the same year, he died in Baidi City (currently Fengjie in Chongqing). On his death bed, he entrusted his son Liu Shan to Zhuge Liang.

- Last updated on Jun. 10, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Liu Bei
Asked by Mr.Daniel from CHINA | Mar. 10, 2011 22:17Reply
what yeear did Liu Bei born ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mr.Mark | Mar. 10, 2011 23:58

He was born in 161.
Asked by Mr.the guy from VIETNAM | Jan. 13, 2011 02:47Reply
"Romance of the Three Kingdoms" was very favorable toward the Shu Han and made Wei and Wu look like bad guys(especially Cao Cao). If he is too cruel and people hate him, then how could he raised armies of million and recruited many good officers (Xun Yu, Guo Jia, Jia Xu...) and generals who would follow him to the dead (Dian Wei, Xu Chu...) The author Luo Guanzhong altered many historic events to praise Liu Bei and his 2 brothers. For example it was Sun Jian who slain Hua Xiong, the general of Dongzhuo, not Guan Yu. And it was also Sun Jian who defeated Lu Bu, not the Three Brothers. In fact, Guan Yu had lost more battles than won.
Answers (6)
Answered by Mr.I wonder from USA | Feb. 26, 2011 20:48

There may be different ways of telling or knowing the story of the three kindom era and knowing if parts of the story are true. Im going to tell you my version of why did people think cao cao was a cruel person, first he held the emperor captive and with the emperor on he's side he has more power to expand by threatening the emperor into doing something hes way. Later on the emperor eventually lost hes throne by cao caos son cao pi, who force the emperor to give up the crown.
Answered by Mr.Chuukese from USA | Feb. 26, 2011 21:04

Can you tell me where did you find that info about guan yu's loses?
Answered by Zizo from CHINA | May. 05, 2014 04:37

"Romance of the Three Kingdoms" it is just a novel. Nice story. And as every other novel, this one has good and bad guy. The only true thing in the book is dates, names and places. Rest it's just a made up story, following writers oppinion on what happend. And after many years people just started base history on this book. History is facts and only facts. Rest is opinons. So if you found out what was really happening that time, just read a lot of information from different resources and make you own opinion, your own history!
Answered by Mr.Haei from MALAYSIA | Jul. 03, 2014 09:44

He die when fighting with Wu and Wei Leaded By Cao Ren ( Wei) Lu Meng (Wu)..Guan Yu and his 3 sons and 1 daughter
Answered by Guy from CHINA | Jan. 04, 2016 15:51

Cao cao is a complicate and very wise politician. And it's true the novel stereotyped him a lot.
But HE IS VERY CRUEL. He massacred 10 cities during his life. The reason people follow him was because he had the best political and financial resources. During that period, a large family ( similar to House in western political history) is the top priority than anything else. And to join Cao Cao is clearly the best option for your family.
Answered by Osama from BAHRAIN | Jun. 10, 2019 10:17

Your absolutely right. There are history books like records of the three kingdoms that are less biased. Romance of the three kingdoms is a novel not real.
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