Emperor Taizong of Tang

Tang Taizong
Emperor of the Tang dynasty
Reign4 September 626 – 10 July 649
PredecessorEmperor Gaozu
SuccessorEmperor Gaozong
Born28 January 598[1]
Qingshan Palace[2] in Wugong,[3] Sui China
Died10 July 649 (aged 51)[4]
Cuiwei Palace in Chang'an, Tang China
BurialZhao Mausoleum
Full name
Family name: Li (李)
Given name: Shimin (世民)
Era name and dates
Zhenguan (貞觀): 4 September 626 – 10 July 649
Posthumous name
Short: Wen Huangdi (文皇帝)
Full: Wen Wu Dasheng Daguang Xiao Huangdi[a]
Temple name
Taizong (太宗)
HouseHouse of Li
FatherEmperor Gaozu of Tang
MotherDuchess Dou
Tang Taizong
Literal meaning"Great Ancestor of the Tang"
Qin Wang
Literal meaningPrince of Qin
Li Shimin
Literal meaning(personal name)

Emperor Taizong of Tang (28 January 598  – 10 July 649), previously Prince of Qin, personal name Li Shimin, was the second emperor of the Tang dynasty of China, ruling from 626 to 649. He is traditionally regarded as a co-founder of the dynasty for his role in encouraging Li Yuan, his father, to rebel against the Sui dynasty at Jinyang in 617. Taizong subsequently played a pivotal role in defeating several of the dynasty's most dangerous opponents and solidifying its rule over China.[5][c]

Taizong is typically considered to be one of the greatest emperors in China's history and henceforth, his reign became regarded as the exemplary model against which all future emperors were measured. His era, the "Reign of Zhenguan (Chinese: 貞觀之治; pinyin: Zhēnguàn Zhī Zhì)" is considered a golden age in Chinese history and was treated as required studying material for future crown princes. Under the Zhenguan era, Tang China flourished economically and militarily. For more than a century after his death, China enjoyed prosperity and peace brought about by the solidification of imperial protection over the Chinese regions. In territorial extent, it covered most of the territories previously held by the Han dynasty, including parts of modern Vietnam, Xinjiang, and Central Asian regions as far as eastern Kazakhstan. This era of consolidation and conquest laid the foundation for Xuanzong's reign, which is considered to be the height of the Tang dynasty.

In 630, Emperor Taizong sent his general Li Jing against the Eastern Turks, defeating and capturing their Jiali Khan Ashina Duobi and destroying their power. This made Tang the dominant power in East and Central Asia, and Emperor Taizong subsequently took the title of Tengeri Qaghan ("Tenger Khan" or the God like Emperor).[7] He also launched a series of campaigns against the oasis states of the Tarim Basin, and against the armies of their main ally, the Western Turks. During his reign, Tang armies annexed Karakhoja in 640, Karasahr in 644 and Kucha in 648.[8]

Unlike many of the nobility of the time, Emperor Taizong was a frank rationalist and scholar of logic and scientific reason, openly scorning superstitions and claims of signs from the heavens. He also modified important rites in order to ease the burden of agricultural labour.[9] The modern Chinese historian Bo Yang opined that Emperor Taizong achieved greatness by enduring criticism which others would find difficult to accept whilst trying hard not to abuse his absolute power (using Emperor Yang of Sui as a negative example), as well as through his employment of capable chancellors such as Fang Xuanling, Du Ruhui and Wei Zheng. Emperor Taizong's wife Empress Zhangsun also proved to be a capable assistant.[10]

Early life

Lǐ Shìmín was born in 598 at Wugong (武功, in modern Xianyang, Shaanxi).[11] His father Li Yuan the Duke of Tang was a general of the Sui Dynasty and a nephew, by marriage, to Sui's founding emperor Emperor Wen. Li Shimin's grandmother Duchess Dugu was a sister of Empress Dugu, both of whom were daughters of Dugu Xin, a major Xianbei general during Sui's predecessor dynasty Northern Zhou.[12] Li Shimin's mother was Li Yuan's wife Duchess Dou, who was a daughter of Dou Yi (竇毅) the Duke of Shenwu and Dou Yi's wife, Northern Zhou's Princess Xiangyang. Duchess Dou bore Li Yuan four sons—an older brother to Li Shimin, Li Jiancheng, and two younger brothers, Li Yuanba (李元霸), who would die in 614, and Li Yuanji – and at least one daughter (the later Princess Pingyang). Li Yuan named Li Shimin "Shimin" as a shortened form of the phrase "save the earth and pacify the people" (濟世安民, jishi anmin). Li Shimin apparently showed talent early in his life, and in 613, the official Gao Shilian, impressed with him, gave him a niece (the later Empress Zhangsun) in marriage as his wife; he was 14 and she was 12. In 615, when Emperor Wen's son and successor Emperor Yang was ambushed by Eastern Turkish (Dongtujue) forces under Shibi Khan at Yanmen Commandery (present-day Daixian in Shanxi),[13] a general call was made for men to join the army to help rescue the emperor. Li Shimin answered that call and served under the general Yun Dingxing (雲定興), apparently doing so with distinction. In 616, when Li Yuan was put in charge of the important city of Taiyuan, Li Shimin followed his father to Taiyuan, while leaving at least three other sons—Li Jiancheng, Li Yuanji, and Li Zhiyun (李智雲, by Li Yuan's concubine Lady Wan)—at the ancestral home Hedong (河東, in modern Yuncheng, Shanxi).

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Tông Thài-chong
བོད་ཡིག: ཧུན་ཛུང་
čeština: Tchaj-cung
Deutsch: Tang Taizong
español: Li Shimin
euskara: Tang Taizong
français: Tang Taizong
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Thòng Thai-chûng
한국어: 당 태종
Bahasa Indonesia: Kaisar Taizong dari Tang
മലയാളം: തൈ ദ്സൂഗ്
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Dòng Tái-cŭng
монгол: Тан Тайзун
Nederlands: Tang Taizong
日本語: 太宗 (唐)
polski: Tang Taizong
português: Taizong de Tang
Runa Simi: Li Shimin
Simple English: Emperor Taizong of Tang
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Car Taizong od Tanga
svenska: Tang Taizong
Türkçe: Li Shimin
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: تاڭ تەيزوڭ
Vahcuengh: Dangz Daihcoeng
Tiếng Việt: Đường Thái Tông
文言: 唐太宗
吴语: 唐太宗
粵語: 李世民
中文: 唐太宗