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Kingdom of Shu

Wuhou Temple, Chengdu
Wuhou Temple, Chengdu
With only two emperors Liu Bei and his son Liu Chan, the reign of Kingdom of Shu was much shorter than that of the Kingdom of Wei. As for the national strength, Kingdom of Shu was the weakest of the three kingdoms.

In 188, a member of the imperial clan of Han Dynasty (206 BC-220), Liu Yan, was appointed the chief executive of Yizhou (which includes present-day Sichuan Province, Chongqing City, southern Shaanxi Province and northwest Yunnan Province). After Liu Yan died, his son Liu Zhang succeeded.

In 212, Liu Zhang invited Liu Bei and his court to Yizhou, persuading him to attack Hanzhong. In 215, Liu Bei occupied Yizhou and then captured Hanzhong, after which he proclaimed himself as 'King of Hanzhong'. In the same year, Jingzhou was captured and Guan Yu was killed by Sun Quan's army. The following year, hoping to recapture Jingzhou, Liu Bei fought with the Wu army in the Battle of Yiling. Unfortunately, he did not achieve his goal and soon died of illness. Following Liu Bei's death, his son Liu Chan succeeded.

Statue of Zhuge Liang, Wuhou Temple, Hanzhong
Wuhou Temple, Hanzhong
During the reign of Liu Chan, the Chengxiang (ancient term for secretary of state) of Shu Kingdom - Zhuge Liang (titled Wuhou or Marquis Wu) played an indispensable role in governing the country. He assisted under the circumstances that Liu Chan was very young and the Kingdom of Shu was in great difficulties. He ruled the country by law and established a system of strict discipline to manage the army. During this period, the agriculture and handicraft industry recovered and became well developed. Another contribution by Zhuge Liang was his eagerness to develop the regions inhabited by the Yi people, thus enhancing the unity of different ethnic groups.

As a loyal chancellor, Zhuge Liang never gave up the chance to realize Liu Bei's ambition - to restore the Han Dynasty and regain the former capital. He led Shu's army to attack Wei many times. However, during the last northern expedition, Zhuge Liang died of illness on the march.

After 258, political power fell into the hands of eunuchs and the government became corrupt. In 263, Kingdom of Shu was completely overpowered by the Wei army.