ea política externa Militar
protetorados e tributários
O século 7 e na primeira metade do século 8 é geralmente considerado o auge da época da dinastia Tang. Imperador Tang Xuanzong trouxe o Império do Meio a sua idade de ouro, enquanto o Silk Road prosperou, com domínio sobre a Indochina , no sul e ao oeste da China Tang foi capitão do Pamir (atual Tajiquistão ) e protetor da Caxemira fronteira da Pérsia.
Alguns dos reinos em homenagem à Dinastia Tang incluídos Caxemira , Nepal , Khotan , Kucha , Kashgar , Japão , Coréia , Champa , e reinos localizados na Amu Darya e Syr Darya vale. turcos nômades dirigiu-se ao imperador de Tang China Tian Kehan . Após a revolta generalizada dos Göktürk Shabolüe Khan (m. 658) foi colocado na Issyk Kul em 657 por Su Dingfang (591-667), imperador Gaozong estabeleceu diversos protetorados governado por um general de protectorado ou Grand Protetorado geral, que prorrogou os chineses esfera de influência na medida em Herat , no oeste do Afeganistão. Protetorado Gerais foram agraciados com uma grande autonomia para lidar com crises locais, sem esperar para admissão central. Depois de reinar Xuanzong, os governadores militares (jiedushi) receberam um enorme poder, incluindo a capacidade de manter seus próprios exércitos, recolher impostos, e passar os seus títulos em hereditariamente. Isto é comumente reconhecido como o início da queda do governo central de Tang.
Soldados e recrutamento
Por volta do ano 737, o Imperador Xuanzong descartou a política de recrutar os soldados que foram substituídos a cada três anos, substituindo-as com o serviço de longa soldados que eram mais aguerridos e eficiente.  Foi mais economicamente viável, assim, uma vez que uma nova formação recrutas e enviá-los para a fronteira a cada três anos esvaziaram os cofres. No sétimo século, as tropas Fubing começaram a abandonar o serviço militar e as casas que lhes são prestados no sistema de campo igual. A norma supõe de 100 mu de terra distribuídos em cada família era de fato diminuindo de tamanho em lugares onde a população se espalhou e os mais ricos compraram a maior parte da terra. pressionados camponeses e vagabundos foram induzidos para o serviço militar, com benefícios de isenção de fiscalidade e de serviços de trabalho corvéia, bem como disposições para a agricultura e habitações para os dependentes que acompanhou os soldados na fronteira. Por volta do ano 742 o número total de soldados alistados nos exércitos Tang havia subido para cerca de 500.000 homens .
turco e as regiões ocidentais
O Sui e Tang realizado muito bem sucedidas campanhas militares contra os nômades das estepes. política externa chinesa para o norte e oeste já teve que lidar comturcos nômades, que foram tornando-se o grupo étnico dominante na maioria da Ásia Central . para tratar e evitar as ameaças representadas pelos turcos, o governo Sui reparado fortificações e recebeu seu comércio e missões de tributo ". Eles enviaram princesas para se casar fora do clã líderes turcos, um total de quatro deles, em 597, 599, 614 e 617. O Sui agitado problemas e conflitos entre grupos étnicos contra os turcos. Quanto mais cedo a Dinastia Sui, os turcos se tornou uma grande força militarizada empregado pelos chineses. Quando o Khitans começou a invadir nordeste da China em 605, um general chinês levou 20.000 turcos contra eles, distribuindo Khitan gado e as mulheres para os turcos como uma recompensa. Em duas ocasiões, entre 635-636, Tang princesas eram casados com mercenários Turk ou generais em serviço chinês. Durante a Dinastia Tang, até ao final de 755, havia cerca de dez generais turcos servindo sob a Dinastia Tang. Embora a maioria do exército Tang era feito de Fubing recrutas chineses, o maioria das tropas lideradas por generais turcos eram de origem não-chinesa, fazendo campanha em grande parte da fronteira ocidental, onde a presença das tropas Fubing foi baixa. Alguns "turcos" tropas foram nomadisized chineses Han, umdesinicized pessoas.
A guerra civil na China, foi quase totalmente diminuiu 626, juntamente com a derrota em 628 dos Ordos guerreiro chinês Liang Shidu , após estes conflitos internos, a Dinastia Tang começou uma ofensiva contra os turcos.  No ano 630, Tang exércitos capturado áreas do deserto de Ordos, moderno-dia da Mongólia Interior , província e do sul da Mongólia dos turcos. Após esta vitória militar, o Imperador Taizong ganhou o título de Grande Khan, entre os turcos diversos na região, que se comprometeu a sua lealdade a ele e ao império chinês (com vários milhares de turcos que viajam para a China a viver em Chang'an). Em 11 de junho, 631, o Imperador Taizong também mandou enviados para o Xueyantuo ouro e seda, a fim de persuadir a libertação de escravos prisioneiros chineses que foram capturados durante atransição da Sui para Tang , desde a fronteira norte; esta embaixada conseguiu libertar 80 mil chineses homens e mulheres que foram, então, voltou para a China.
Enquanto os turcos foram assentadas na região de Ordos (antigo território da Xiongnu ), o governo Tang assumiu a política militar de dominação do centro estepe . Como a anterior dinastia Han, a dinastia Tang (junto com os aliados turcos) conquistou e subjugou a Ásia Central durante o 640S e 650S. Durante Taizong do reinado do imperador sozinho, grandes campanhas foram lançadas contra não só os göktürks , mas também campanhas separadas contra o Tuyuhun , o Tufan , o Xiyu estados , e os Xueyantuo .
O Império Tang declarou guerra com o Império Tibetano para o controle de áreas no interior e na Ásia Central, que às vezes ficava resolvido com alianças de casamento , como o casamento da princesa Wencheng (m. 680) para Songtsän Gampo (m. 649). It is held in Tibetan tradition that after Songtsen Gampo died in AD 650, the Tang dynasty attacked and captured Lhasa , the current Tibetan capital. ] [ There was a long string of conflicts with Tibet over territories in the Tarim Basin between 670-692 and in 763 the Tibetans even captured the capital of China, Chang'an , for fifteen days during the An Shi Rebellion . In fact, it was during this rebellion that the Tang withdrew its western garrisons stationed in what is now Gansu and Qinghai , which the Tibetans then occupied along with the territory of what is now Xinjiang . Hostilities between the Tang and Tibet continued until they signed a formal peace treaty in 821. The terms of this treaty, including the fixed borders between the two countries, are recorded in a bilingual inscription on a stone pillar outside the Jokhang temple in Lhasa.
During the Islamic conquest of Persia (633-656), the son of the last ruler of the Sassanid Empire , Prince Pirooz , fled to Tang China. According to the Book of Tang , Pirooz was made the head of a Governorate of Persia in what is now Zaranj , Afghanistan . During this conquest of Persia, the Islamic Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan (r. 644-656) sent an embassy to the Tang court at Chang'an. [ 62 ] By the 740s, the Arabs of Khurasan had established a presence in the Ferghana basin and in Sogdiana . At the Battle of Talas in 751, Qarluq mercenaries under the Chinese defected, helping the Arab armies of the Islamic Caliphate to defeat the Tang force under commanderGo Seonji (d. 756, also known as Gao Xianzhi, a general of Goguryeo descent). Although the battle itself was not of the greatest significance militarily, this was a pivotal moment in history; it marks the spread of Chinese papermaking into regions west of China as captured Chinese soldiers revealed secrets of Chinese papermaking to the Arabs. These techniques ultimately reached Europe by the 12th century through Arab controlled Spain. Although they had fought at Talas, on June 11, 758, an Abbasid embassy arrived at Chang'an simultaneously with the Uyghur Turks bearing gifts for the Tang Emperor. From even further west, a tribute embassy came to the court of Taizong in 643 from the Patriarch of Antioch . In 788-9 the Chinese concluded a military alliance with the Uighur Turks who twice defeated the Tibetans, in 789 near the town of Kuch'eng in Jungharia, and in 791 near Ning-hsia on the Yellow River.
Korea and Japan
In the east, the Chinese military campaigns were less successful than elsewhere. Like the emperors of the Sui Dynasty before him , Taizong established a military campaign in 644 against the Korean kingdom of Goguryeo in the Goguryeo-Tang Wars ; however, this led to its defeat in the First Goguryeo–Tang War because they failed to overcome the successful defense led by General Yeon Gaesomun . Allying with the Korean Silla Kingdom, the Chinese fought against Baekje and their Yamato Japanese allies in the Battle of Baekgang in August of 663, a decisive Tang–Silla victory. The Tang Dynasty navy had several different ship types at its disposal to engage in naval warfare , these ships described by Li Quan in his Taipai Yinjing (Canon of the White and Gloomy Planet of War) of 759. The Battle of Baekgang was actually a restoration movement by remnant forces of Baekje, since their kingdom was toppled in 660 by a joint Tang–Silla invasion, led by notable Korean general Kim Yushin(595–673) and Chinese general Su Dingfang.
In another joint invasion with Silla, the Tang army severely weakened the Goguryeo Kingdom in the north by taking out its outer forts in the year 645. With joint attacks by Silla and Tang armies under commander Li Shiji (594–669), the Kingdom of Goguryeo was destroyed by 668.
Although they were formerly enemies, the Tang accepted officials and generals of Goguryeo into their administration and military, such as the brothers Yeon Namsaeng (634–679) and Yeon Namsan (639–701). From 668 to 676, the Tang Empire would control northern Korea. However, in 671 Silla began fighting the Tang forces there. At the same time the Tang faced threats on its western border when a large Chinese army was defeated by the Tibetans on the Dafei River in 670. By 676, the Tang army was driven out of Korea by Unified Silla . Following a revolt of the Eastern Turks in 679, the Tang abandoned its Korean campaigns.
Although the Tang had fought the Japanese, they still held cordial relations with Japan. There were numerous Imperial embassies to China from Japan, diplomatic missions that were not halted until 894 by Emperor Uda (r. 887–897), upon persuasion by Sugawara no Michizane (845–903). The Japanese Emperor Temmu (r. 672–686) even established his conscripted army on that of the Chinese model, his state ceremonies on the Chinese model, and constructed his palace at Fujiwara on theChinese model of architecture .
Many Chinese Buddhist monks came to Japan to help further the spread of Buddhism as well. Two 7th century monks in particular, Zhi Yu and Zhi You, visited the court ofEmperor Tenji (r. 661–672), whereupon they presented a gift of a South Pointing Chariot that they had crafted. This 3rd century mechanically driven directional-compass vehicle (employing a differential gear ) was again reproduced in several models for Tenji in 666, as recorded in the Nihon Shoki of 720. Japanese monks also visited China; such was the case with Ennin (794–864), who wrote of his travel experiences including travels along China's Grand Canal . The Japanese monkEnchin (814–891) stayed in China from 839 to 847 and again from 853 to 858, landing near Fuzhou, Fujian and setting sail for Japan from Taizhou, Zhejiang during his second trip to China.
Trade and spread of culture
Through use of the land trade along the Silk Road and maritime trade by sail at sea, the Tang were able to gain many new technologies, cultural practices, rare luxury, and contemporary items. From the Middle East, India, Persia, and Central Asia the Tang were able to acquire new ideas in fashion, new types of ceramics, and improved silver-smithing. The Chinese also gradually adopted the foreign concept of stools and chairs as seating, whereas the Chinese beforehand always sat on mats placed on the floor. [96 ] To the Middle East, the Islamic world coveted and purchased in bulk Chinese goods such as silks , lacquerwares , and porcelain wares. Songs, dances, and musical instruments from foreign regions became popular in China during the Tang Dynasty. These musical instruments included oboes , flutes , and small lacquered drums fromKucha in the Tarim Basin , and percussion instruments from India such as cymbals . At the court there were nine musical ensembles (expanded from seven in the Sui Dynasty) representing music from throughout Asia.
There was great contact and interest in India as a hub for Buddhist knowledge, with famous travelers such as Xuanzang (d. 664) visiting the South Asian subcontinent. After a 17-year long trip, Xuanzang managed to bring back valuable Sanskrit texts to be translated into Chinese . There was also a Turkic –Chinese dictionary available for serious scholars and students, while Turkic folksongs gave inspiration to some Chinese poetry. In the interior of China, trade was facilitated by the Grand Canal and the Tang government's rationalization of the greater canal system that reduced costs of transporting grain and other commodities. The state also managed roughly 32,100 km (19,900 mi) of postal service routes by horse or boat.
[ edit ]Silk Road
The Silk Road was the most important pre-modern Eurasian trade route . During this period of the Pax Sinica , the Silk Road reached its golden age, whereby Persian and Sogdian merchants benefited from the commerce between East and West. At the same time, the Chinese empire welcomed foreign cultures making it very cosmopolitan in its urban centers.
Apesar de a Rota da Seda da China para o Ocidente foi inicialmente formulado durante o reinado do Imperador Wu de Han (141-87 aC), foi reaberto pela Tang em 639, quando Hou Junji (m. 643) conquistou o Ocidente, e que permaneceu aberto há quase quatro décadas.Ele foi fechado depois que os tibetanos capturado em 678, mas em 699, durante Wu período de Imperatriz, a Rota da Seda reaberto quando o Tang reconquistou a Quatro guarnições de Anxi originalmente instalado em 640, mais uma vez, ligando a China directamente para o Ocidente baseada em comércio da terra. O Tang conquistou a rota vital através do Vale Gilgit do Tibete, em 722, ele perdeu para os tibetanos em 737, e recuperou-o sob o comando do Goguryeo-coreano General Gao Xianzhi. Depois An Shi rebelião terminou em 763, o Império Tang teve mais uma vez perdeu o controle sobre muitos dos seus exteriores terras ocidentais, como o Império Tibetano cortados em grande parte do acesso direto da China para a Rota da Seda. uma rebelião interna em 848 derrubou o Tibete governantes, enquanto a China Tang recuperou seus territórios ocidentais do Tibet em 851, que continha as áreas de pastagem crucial e pastagens para criação de cavalos que a Dinastia Tang desesperadamente necessários.
Apesar dos muitos viajantes ocidentais vem para a China para viver e do comércio, muitos viajantes, principalmente os monges religiosos, registradas as leis de fronteira rigorosa que os chineses aplicada. Como o Xuanzang monge, e muitos viajantes outro monge atestadas, havia muitas governo chinês checkpoints ao longo da Rota da Seda, que examinou o título de viagem para o Império Tang. Além disso, o banditismo era um problema ao longo dos pontos de controle e oásis cidades, como Xuanzang também registrou que o seu grupo de turistas foram assaltados por bandidos em várias ocasiões.
Portos e do comércio marítimo
enviados chineses foram navegando pelo Oceano Índico, a Índia , talvez desde o século 2 aC, , no entanto, foi durante a dinastia Tang que um marítima forte presença chinesa pode ser encontrada noGolfo Pérsico e Mar Vermelho , na Pérsia , Mesopotâmia (vela o rio Eufrates, no moderno Iraque ), Arábia , Egito , Aksum ( Etiópia ), e da Somália no Chifre da África . Do mesmo Quraysh tribo deMuhammad , Sa'd ibn Abi-Waqqas navegaram da Etiópia para a China durante o reinado do Imperador Gaozu . Mais tarde, ele viajou de volta para a China com uma cópia do Alcorão , que institui primeira mesquita na China , a Mesquita de Recordação, durante o reinado do imperador Gaozong . Até hoje ele ainda está enterrado em um muçulmano cemitério de Guangzhou .
Durante a Dinastia Tang, milhares de estrangeiros que veio e viveu em várias cidades chinesas para o comércio e comercial laços com a China, incluindo os persas, árabes,hindus indianos, malaios , cingaleses , Khmers , Chams , judeus e cristãos nestorianos do Oriente Próximo , e muitos os outros. Em 748, o monge budista Jian Zhen descrito Guangzhou como um movimentado centro comercial, onde muitas grandes e imponentes navios estrangeiros vieram ao cais. Ele escreveu que "muitos grandes navios vieram de Bornéu , na Pérsia, Qunglun ( Indonésia / Java ) ... ... com especiarias, pérolas e jade empilhados alta montanha ",, como está escrito no Jue Yue Shu(registros perdidos do Estado de Yue). Depois de árabes e persas piratas queimaram e saquearam Guangzhou em 758, Tang, o governo reagiu, fechando a porta para baixo por cerca de cinco décadas, como os navios estrangeiros ancorada na Hanoi vez. No entanto, quando a porta abriu novamente continuou a prosperar . Em 851 os árabes comerciante Suleiman al-Tajir observada na fabricação de chineses de porcelana em Guangzhou e admirava a sua qualidade transparente. Ele também forneceu uma descrição da mesquita de Cantão, seus celeiros, a sua administração do governo local, alguns dos seus registos escritos, o tratamento dado aos viajantes, juntamente com a utilização de cerâmicas ,-vinho de arroz e chá . Entretanto, em outro episódio sangrento em Cantão em 879, os chineses rebelde Huang Chao saquearam a cidade e, alegadamente abatidos milhares de chineses nativos, juntamente com estrangeiros e judeus, cristãos e muçulmanos no processo. da rebelião Huang foi finalmente suprimida em 884.
Vessels from Korean Silla, Balhae and Hizen Province of Japan were all involved in the Yellow Sea trade, which Silla dominated. After Silla and Japan reopened renewed hostilities in the late 7th century, most Japanese maritime merchants chose to set sail from Nagasaki towards the mouth of the Huai River , the Yangzi River, and even as far south as the Hangzhou Bay in order to avoid Korean ships in the Yellow Sea. In order to sail back to Japan in 838, the Japanese embassy to China procured nine ships and sixty Korean sailors from the Korean wards of Chuzhou and Lianshui cities along the Huai River. It is also known that Chinese trade ships traveling to Japan set sail from the various ports along the coasts of Zhejiang and Fujian provinces.
The Chinese engaged in large-scale production for overseas export by at least the time of the Tang. This was proven by the discovery of the Belitung shipwreck , a silt-preserved shipwrecked Arabian dhow in the Gaspar Strait near Belitung , which had 63,000 pieces of Tang ceramics, silver, and gold (including a Changsha bowl inscribed with a date: "16th day of the seventh month of the second year of the Baoli reign", or 826 AD, roughly confirmed by radiocarbon dating of star anise at the wreck). Beginning in 785, the Chinese began to call regularly at Sufala on the East African coast in order to cut out Arab middlemen, with various contemporary Chinese sources giving detailed descriptions of trade in Africa. The official and geographer Jia Dan (730-805) wrote of two common sea trade routes in his day: one from the coast of the Bohai Sea towards Korea and another from Guangzhou through Malacca towards theNicobar Islands , Sri Lanka and India, the eastern and northern shores of the Arabian Sea to the Euphrates River. In 863 the Chinese author Duan Chengshi (d. 863) provided a detailed description of the slave trade , ivory trade , and ambergris trade in a country called Bobali , which historians suggest was Berbera in Somalia . InFustat (old Cairo ), Egypt, the fame of Chinese ceramics there led to an enormous demand for Chinese goods; hence Chinese often traveled there (this continued into later periods such as Fatimid Egypt). From this time period, the Arab merchant Shulama once wrote of his admiration for Chinese seafaring junks , but noted that their draft was too deep for them to enter the Euphrates River, which forced them to ferry passengers and cargo in small boats. Shulama also noted that Chinese ships were often very large, with capacities up to 600-700 passengers.
Empress Wu and Emperor Xuanzong
Usurpation of Wu Zetian
Although she entered Emperor Gaozong's court as the lowly consort Wu Zhao, Wu Zetian rose to the highest seat of power in 690, establishing the short-lived Later Zhou Dynasty. Empress Wu's rise to power was achieved through cruel and calculating tactics. For example, she allegedly killed her own baby girl and blamed it on Gaozong's empress so that the empress would be demoted. Emperor Gaozong suffered a stroke in 655, and Wu began to make many of his court decisions for him, discussing affairs of state with his councilors, who took orders from her while she sat behind a screen. When Empress Wu's eldest son, the crown prince, began to assert his authority and advocate policies opposed by Empress Wu, he suddenly died in 675. Many suspected he was poisoned by Empress Wu. Although the next heir apparent kept a lower profile, in 680 he was accused by Wu of plotting a rebellion and was banished (and later forced to commit suicide).
In 683, Emperor Gaozong died. He was succeeded by Emperor Zhongzong , his eldest surviving son by Wu. Zhongzong tried to appoint his wife's father as chancellor: after only six weeks on the throne, he was deposed by Empress Wu in favor of his younger brother, 12 year old Emperor Ruizong . Wu was the real power. This provoked a group of Tang princes to rebel in 684; Wu's armies suppressed them within two months. [ In 690, she forced Ruizong to step down from the throne. She became China's first female emperor while Ruizong became crown prince. She ruled until 705, when a palace coup forced her to abdicate in favor of Zhongzong. She died soon after. [ 135 ]
To legitimize her rule, she circulated a document known as the Great Cloud Sutra , which predicted that a reincarnation of the Maitreya Buddha would be a female monarch who would dispel illness, worry, and disaster from the world. [ 136 ] [ 137 ] She even introduced numerous revised written characters to the written language , which reverted back to the originals after her death. Arguably the most important part of her legacy was diminishing the power of the northwest aristocracy, allowing people from other clans and regions of China to become more represented in Chinese politics and government.
Rise of Xuanzong
There were many prominent women at court during and after Wu's reign, including Shangguan Wan'er (664-710), a female poet, writer, and trusted official in charge of Wu's private office. In 706 the wife of Emperor Zhongzong of Tang, Empress Wei (d. 710), convinced her husband to staff government offices with his sister and her daughters, and in 709 requested that he grant women the right to bequeath hereditary privileges to their sons (which before was a male right only). Empress Wei eventually poisoned Zhongzong, whereupon she placed his fifteen year old son upon the throne in 710. [ Two weeks later, Li Longji (the later Emperor Xuanzong) entered the palace with a few followers and slew Empress Wei and her faction. He then installed his father Emperor Ruizong (r. 710-712) on the throne. Just as Emperor Zhongzong was dominated by Empress Wei, so too was Ruizong dominated by Princess Taiping . This was finally ended when Princess Taiping's coup failed in 712 (she later hung herself in 713) and Emperor Ruizong abdicated to Emperor Xuanzong.
During the 44-year reign of Emperor Xuanzong, the Tang Dynasty was brought to its height, a golden age, a period of low economic inflation , as well as a toning down of the excessively lavish lifestyle of the imperial court. Seen as a progressive and benevolent ruler, Xuanzong even abolished the death penalty in the year 747, and all executions had to be approved beforehand by the emperor himself (which was relatively few, considering that there were only 24 executions in the year 730 alone). Xuanzong bowed to the consensus of his ministers on policy decisions and made efforts to fairly staff government ministries with different political factions. His staunch Confucian chancellor Zhang Jiuling (673-740) worked to reduce deflation and increase the money supply by upholding the use of private coinage, although his aristocratic and technocratic successor Li Linfu (d. 753) favored government monopoly over the issuance of coinage. After 737 most of Xuanzong's confidence rested in his long-standing chancellor Li Linfu, who championed a more aggressive foreign policy employing non-Chinese generals. This policy ultimately created the conditions for a massive rebellion against Xuanzong.
]An Shi Rebellion and catastrophe
The Tang Empire was at its height of power up until the middle of the 8th century, when the An Shi Rebellion (December 16, 755 - February 17, 763) destroyed the prosperity of the empire. An Lushan was a half- Sogdian , half- Turk Tang commander since 744, had experience fighting the Khitans of Manchuria with a victory in 744, yet most of his campaigns against the Khitans were unsuccessful. ] He was given great responsibility in Hebei , which allowed him to rebel with an army of more than one hundred thousand troops. After capturing Luoyang, he named himself emperor of a new, but short-lived, Yan Dynasty [ disambiguation needed ] . [ 147 ]Despite early victories scored by Tang General Guo Ziyi (697-781), the newly recruited troops of the army at the capital were no match for An Lushan's die-hard frontier veterans, so the court fled Chang'an. While the heir apparent raised troops in Shanxi and Xuanzong fled to Sichuan province, they called upon the help of the UyghurTurks in 756. The Uyghur khan Moyanchur was greatly excited at this prospect, and married his own daughter to the Chinese diplomatic envoy once he arrived, receiving in turn a Chinese princess as his bride. The Uyghurs helped recapture the Tang capital from the rebels, but they refused to leave until the Tang paid them an enormous sum of tribute in silk. Even Abbasid Arabs assisted the Tang in putting down An Lushan's rebellion. The Tibetans took hold of the opportunity and raided many areas under Chinese control, and even after the Tibetan Empire had fallen apart in 842 (and the Uyghurs soon after) the Tang were in no position to reconquer Central Asia after 763. So significant was this loss that half a century later jinshi examination candidates were required to write an essay on the causes of the Tang's decline. Although An Lushan was killed by one of his eunuchs in 757, this time of troubles and widespread insurrection continued until rebel Shi Siming was killed by his own son in 763.
One of the legacies that the Tang government left since 710 was the gradual rise of regional military governors, the jiedushi , who slowly came to challenge the power of the central government. After the An Shi Rebellion, the autonomous power and authority accumulated by the jiedushi in Hebei went beyond the central government's control. After a series of rebellions between 781 and 784 in today's Hebei, Shandong , Hubei and Henan provinces, the government had to officially acknowledge the jiedushi's hereditary ruling without accreditation. The Tang government relied on these governors and their armies for protection and to suppress locals that would take up arms against the government. In return, the central government would acknowledge the rights of these governors to maintain their army, collect taxes and even to pass on their title to heirs. As time passed, these military governors slowly phased out the prominence of civil officials drafted by exams, and became more autonomous from central authority. The rule of these powerful military governors lasted until 960, when a new civil order under the Song Dynasty was established. Also, the abandonment of the equal-field system meant that people could buy and sell land freely. Many poor fell into debt because of this, forced to sell their land to the wealthy, which led to the exponential growth of large estates. [ With the breakdown of the land allocation system after 755, the central Chinese state barely interfered in agricultural management and acted merely as tax collector for roughly a millennium, save a few instances such as the Song's failed land nationalization during the 13th century war with the Mongols .
With the central government collapsing in authority over the various regions of the empire, it was recorded in 845 that bandits and river pirates in parties of 100 or more began plundering settlements along the Yangtze River with little resistance. In 858, enormous floods along the Grand Canal inundated vast tracts of land and terrain of the North China Plain , which drowned tens of thousands of people in the process.
The Chinese belief in the Mandate of Heaven granted to the ailing Tang was also challenged when natural calamities occurred, forcing many to believe the Heavens were displeased and that the Tang had lost their right to rule. Then in 873 a disastrous harvest shook the foundations of the empire; in some areas only half of all agricultural produce was gathered, and tens of thousands faced famine and starvation. In the earlier period of the Tang, the central government was able to meet crises in the harvest, as it was recorded from 714-719 that the Tang government responded effectively to natural disasters by extending the price-regulation granary system throughout the country. The central government was able then to build a large surplus stock of foods to ward off the rising danger of famine and increased agricultural productivity through land reclamation . In the 9th century, however, the Tang government was nearly helpless in dealing with any calamity.
[ edit ]Rebuilding and recovery
Although these natural calamities and rebellions stained the reputation and hampered the effectiveness of the central government, the early 9th century is nonetheless viewed as a period of recovery for the Tang Dynasty. The government's withdrawal from its role in managing the economy had the unintended effect of stimulating trade, as more markets with less bureaucratic restrictions were opened up. [ By 780, the old grain tax and labor service of the 7th century was replaced by a semiannual tax paid in cash, signifying the shift to a money economy bolstered by the merchant class. [ Cities in the Jiangnan region to the south, such as Yangzhou, Suzhou , and Hangzhou prospered the most economically during the late Tang period. Although weakened after the An Shi Rebellion, in 799 the Tang government's salt monopoly accounted for over half of the government's revenues, while the salt commission became one of the most powerful state agencies, run by capable ministers chosen as specialists in finance. SAM Adshead writes that this salt tax represents "the first time that an indirect tax, rather than tribute, levies on land or people, or profit from state enterprises such as mines, had been the primary resource of a major state." Even after the power of the central government was in decline since the mid 8th century, it was still able to function and give out imperial orders on a massive scale. The Tangshu ( Book of Tang ) compiled in the year 945 recorded that in 828 the Tang government issued a decree that standardized irrigational square-pallet chain pumps in the country:
In the second year of the Taihe reign period [828 AD], in the second month...a standard model of the chain pump was issued from the palace, and the people of Jingzhao Fu (d footnote: the capital) were ordered by the emperor to make a considerable number of machines, for distribution to the people along the Zheng Bai Canal, for irrigation purposes.—
The last great ambitious ruler of the Tang Dynasty was Emperor Xianzong of Tang (r. 805-820), his reign period aided by the fiscal reforms of the 780s, including the government monopoly on the salt industry. He also had an effective well trained imperial army stationed at the capital led by his court eunuchs; this was the Army of Divine Strategy, numbering 240,000 in strength as recorded in 798. Between the years 806 and 819, Emperor Xianzong conducted seven major military campaigns to quell the rebellious provinces that had claimed autonomy from central authority, managing to subdue all but two of them. Under his reign there was a brief end to the hereditary jiedushi, as Xianzong appointed his own military officers and staffed the regional bureaucracies once again with civil officials. However, Xianzong's successors proved less capable and more interested in the leisure of hunting, feasting, and playing outdoor sports, allowing eunuchs to amass more power as drafted scholar-officials caused strife in the bureaucracy with factional parties. The eunuchs' power became unchallenged after Emperor Wenzong of Tang 's (r. 826-840) failed plot to have them overthrown; instead the allies of Emperor Wenzong were publicly executed in the West Market of Chang'an, by the eunuchs' command.
In addition to natural calamities and jiedushi amassing autonomous control, the Huang Chao Rebellion (874-884) resulted in the sacking of both Chang'an and Luoyang, and took an entire decade to suppress. Although the rebellion was defeated by the Tang, it never recovered from that crucial blow, weakening it for the future military powers to take over. There were also large groups of bandits, in the size of small armies, that ravaged the countryside in the last years of the Tang, who smuggled illicit salt, ambushed merchants and convoys , and even besieged several walled cities.
Zhu Wen , originally a salt smuggler who had served under the rebel Huang, surrendered to Tang forces. By helping to defeat Huang, he was granted a series of rapid military promotions. In 907 the Tang Dynasty was ended when Zhu Wen, now a military governor, deposed the last emperor of Tang, Emperor Ai of Tang , and took the throne for himself (known posthumously as Emperor Taizu of Later Liang). He established the Later Liang Dynasty , which inaugurated the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period . A year later the deposed Emperor Ai was poisoned to death by Zhu Wen.
Although cast in a negative light by many for usurping power from the Tang, Zhu Wen turned out to be a skilled administrator. Emperor Taizu of Later Liang was also responsible for the building of a large seawall , new walls and roads for the burgeoning city of Hangzhou , which would later become the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty .