Friday, September 5, 2008

Emperor Huanzong of Western Xia

Emperor Huanzong of Western Xia lived from 1177 to 1206 and reigned from 1193 to 1206.

He was the son of Emperor Renzong, and tried to follow the policies dictated by his father. However, the high-ranking officials in the Western Xia government became more corrupt as time passed, starting the irreversible decline of the Western Xia. The rising of the Mongols under Genghis Khan began to pose threats as Mongols began raiding border villages. In 1205, Huanzong changed the name of the Western Xia capital to Zhongxing . Also in 1205, the Mongols began their first invasion of the Western Xia, pillaging and burning many outlying villages and cities. In 1206, his cousin Li Anchaun started a coup d'état and took power from Huanzong. Huanzong died in the same year.

Emperor Xiangzong of Western Xia

Emperor Xiangzong of Western Xia lived from 1170 to 1211, and reigned from 1206 to 1211.

Xiangzong came into power after a coup d'etat with his cousin Renzong's empress against Renzong. Many historians regarded him as incompetent. Xiangzong attacked the Jin Empire, destroying the years of peace between these two countries. He tried to become an ally of the Mongol Empire, but Genghis Khan regarded Western Xia as a roadblock to China and repeatedly invaded Western Xia. In 1211, Xiangzong's nephew Lǐ Zūnxū initiated a coup d'etat against Xiangzong and took power. Xiangzong died a month later.

Emperor Shenzong of Western Xia

Shenzong was emperor of Western Xia from 1211 to 1223. He lived from 1163 to 1226.

Shenzong took power after a coup d'etat and continued Xiangzong's policy of invading Jin Empire. He started many campaigns against Jin before the Jin Emperor counterattacked, killing many Western Xia soldiers. However, Shenzong continued to attack Jin despite the poor economy, causing high discontent among his people complaining of high taxes. He did not listen to those who advised peace with Jin Empire, and Western Xia sped up its decline. He passed power onto his son Lǐ Déwàng in 1223, and died in 1226.

Emperor Xianzong of Western Xia

Emperor Xianzong of Western Xia lived from 1181 to 1226. He reigned for three years and was the second son of Emperor .

Xianzong changed his predecessor's policy and decided to ally with . However, the Jin Empire was under a barrage of assault from the Mongol Empire and was unable to help out Western Xia. Xianzong also changed the policy for Mongols. He decided to fight against the Mongol invaders instead of allying with them. However, the Western Xia armies were tired from long and incessant wars against the Jin, and were unable to beat back the Mongol assaults. Xianzong died in 1226.

Emperor Mozhu of Western Xia

Mozhu 末主 of the Western Xia kingdom was the last emperor of the Western Xiakingdom and reigned from 1226 to 1227. He presided over the destruction of the kingdom as the Mongol forces of Genghis Khan overran and conquered the kingdom following defiance by earlier emperors of the kingdom.

Emperor Jingzong of Western Xia

Emperor Jingzong of Western Xia , born Li Yuanhao , was the first emperor of the located in northwestern China, reigning from 1038 to 1048. He was the eldest son of the Tangut ruler Li Deming.

Early Background

As a youth Jingzong was physically imposing yet also possessed a love of learning; he knew both the and languages. Being a voracious reader, he was knowledgeable regarding matters of law and military strategy and also knew how to paint. After his father died in 1032, he became the leader of the Tangut.

Military Campaigns

Early on in his leadership, Jingzong discarded the sunames Li and Zhao which had been given by the and dynasties, replacing them with the surname Weiming . He took an aggressive stance with the Song dynasty, and they described him as "a vigorous and persevering leader versed in military strategy." At its height he claimed an army of 500,000 men.

In 1034 Jingzong attacked the Huanqing territories. He was largely successful in these expeditions and captured Song general Qi Zongju. At this point he changed his target to the peoples of the West, and his efforts against them began in 1036.

These campaigns proved to have more meaningful success. From the Uyghurs he took large portions of Gansu. The success of these efforts proved fairly permanent as well. The Tangut people would hold the Hexi corridor for 191 years.

In 1038 he declared himself the emperor of the whose capital was situated in Xinqing. Afterwards he launched a campaign against the Song. Although the Tangut empire won a series of three large battles, the victories proved to be very costly and they found their forces depleted, due in part to a scorched earth policy by the Song. In 1044 the Tangut Empire signed a treaty with the Song dynasty resulting in the nominal acknowledgment of Song sovereignty by the Tangut and the payment of tribute by the Song.

Culture and Politics

The Emperor led to a reorganization of much of the Empire with the help of Chinese advisors. The Empire created new departments and administrative services. The Emperor also knew Chinese and had Chinese works translated into his people's language. He accomplished this by supporting the development of a written language for the Tangut people.

Neverthess Emperor Jingzong had strong opposition to the people imitating the Chinese too closely. He emphasized the value of their traditional nomadic way of life and discouraged any dependence on Chinese luxury items. Trade with the Song was minimized or cut off before the peace treaty that came four years before his death. The use of Chinese talents was not to lead to sinicization.

Succession and Death

Jingzong was murdered in 1048 by his son, who cut off his nose and failed to kill him, but the wound would cause him to die of bacterial infections.

Emperor Yizong of Western Xia

Emperor Yizong of Western Xia Emperor of the Western Xia from 1048-1067. After his father's death in 1048, Yizong assumed the throne at the age of one, but most of the power laid in the hands of the Dowager. In 1049, the Liao Dynasty attacked Western Xia and forced it to become a vassal state. In 1056, the Dowager was killed and Yizong's uncle became the regent. In 1061, Yizong's uncle and cousin plotted against him, so he had them executed and assumed direct control of Western Xia.

Yizong expanded the central government, adding many offices. He made the armies more efficient and improved his control over faraway states. Yizong began to attack Song Dynasty and raided their villages. He also forced the Turpan leader to surrender. In later years, Yizong began to improve diplomatic relationships with the Song and Liao dynasties. He died suddenly in 1067.

Alternate names

*Posthumous name - ZhāoyīngHuangdì
*Chinese surname with first name - Lǐ Liàngzuò

Eras of Emperor Yizong