Kingdom of Wu

Kingdom of Wu (229 - 280) is also named Sun Wu because the monarchs of the kingdom are mainly from the Sun family. The kingdom was consecutively ruled by four emperors and lasted for 52 years. Although it was not the strongest one among the three kingdoms (Wei, Shu and Wu) during the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280), it has the longest history as well as the mightiest naval army.

Establishment

The kingdom was originally organized by Sun Jian and formally established by Sun Quan. During the rebellion of Dong Zhuo, an influential minister in the late years of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 - 220) after which it came into Three Kingdom Period, Sun Jian joined the allied forces against Dong Zhuo. The military area of his troop was mainly to the south of Huaihe River. After Sun Jian died, his son Sun Ce began to lead the army and gradually expanded his military area to the east of Yangtze River. In 196, Sun Ce made an alliance with Cao Cao, the founder of Kingdom of Wei, and was conferred ‘Wu Hou (vassal)’ later by Cao. In 200 when Sun Ce died, his younger brother Sun Quan took over and took charge of the throne with the assistance of Zhou Yu, a famous military counselor serving Wu in the early years. After Sun Quan’s army captured Jingzhou and defeated the army of Shu State in the Battle of Yiling, he proclaimed himself emperor in 229. Since then, this kingdom was officially established.


Development

Under the rule of Sun Quan, the economy of the regions in the east of Yangtze River made notable progress. With the development of the economy, the number of counties and towns increased. Due to the convenient river transportation in the east of Yangtze River, the shipbuilding industry and salt industry of Wu were prosperous. During that period, the ships were improved to hold about 1,000 people.

Sun Quan laid great emphasis on the development of agriculture by appointing the farming officials and carrying out the Tuntian System (A farming system that farmers and soldiers till the field for military use or tax provision). Textile industry developed well as the residents from the north area brought advanced handicraft skills and sufficient labor force. 

Depending on the advantage of navigation, Kingdom of Wu established close trade routes with some overseas countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia. Meanwhile, both economical development and international exchanges also promoted the cultural development of the South Yangtze River regions which provided a good environment for the emergence of a group of well-known scholars, such as Yu Fan, Lu Ji, Wei Zhao and others.

Additionally, due to the advantageous location, Wu’s army was good at water battles. As a result, several naval army bases were established during that time. Shipyards were constructed as well. Meanwhile, the kingdom had an army of minority nations, such as Shanyue Army, Yi Army, and Man Army etc.  


Decline

After Sun Quan died in 252, the Kingdom of Wu fell into decline day by day. The Jin Army massively attacked Wu Army in 274 upon Lu Kang’s death (Lu Kang, the military counselor in the late years of Wu). In 280 when Jin Army captured the capital city - Jianye (currently Nanjing), the last emperor surrendered, ending the glorious reign of the Kingdom of Wu.

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