Category: chinese history

EMPEROR TAIZU OF SONG: EMPEROR Taizu (960-976 …

EMPEROR TAIZU OF SONG: 

EMPEROR Taizu (960-976 CE), formerly known as Zhao Kuangyin, was the founder of the Song (aka Sung) dynasty which ruled China from 960 to 1279 CE. Taizu settled for a territorially smaller but more unified and prosperous China than was seen in previous dynasties, and he made particular efforts to curb the powers of the military and bolster those of the scholar-officials within the state bureaucracy. Taizu’s careful governance would ensure that his successors had the foundation upon which they could build one of the most successful dynasties in China’s history.  

The Tang dynasty had ruled China from 618 CE with great success, but their collapse in 907 CE resulted in a sustained period of political upheaval. The once unified Chinese state was broken up into many competing political entities and so the era from 907 to 960 CE is often referred to as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (Wudai shiguo) period. One man would rise above all other military rulers in these turbulent times, the Later Zhou dynasty general-warlord Zhao Kuangyin (also spelt Guangyin).

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March 17th 1959: Dalai Lama flees TibetOn this day in 1959,…

March 17th 1959: Dalai Lama flees Tibet

On this day in 1959, Tenzin Gyatso – the fourteenth Dalai Lama, a central figure of Vajrayana Buddhism – fled Tibet for
India. He fled following the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule
which broke out in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, where the Dalai Lama
lived. Fearing for his safety, he and around twenty of his entourage fled
Lhasa on March 17th and embarked on a 15 day journey on foot over the
Himalayan mountains to Dharamsala in India where they had been
offered asylum. No news was heard of the Dalai Lama, and many feared their
spiritual and political leader had been killed during the arduous journey. However, on March 30th he
crossed into India and people learned that he was safe. He was followed
by around 80,000 Tibetans who settled in the same area of India,
leading to it becoming known as ‘Little Lhasa’. This place became the
home to the Tibetan government-in-exile. Tibet remains under Chinese
rule, and the Dalai Lama continues to try to find a peaceful negotiation
for Tibetan self rule.

March 17th 1959: Dalai Lama flees TibetOn this…

March 17th 1959: Dalai Lama flees Tibet

On this day in 1959, Tenzin Gyatso – the fourteenth Dalai Lama, a central figure of Vajrayana Buddhism – fled Tibet for
India. He fled following the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule
which broke out in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, where the Dalai Lama
lived. Fearing for his safety, he and around twenty of his entourage fled
Lhasa on March 17th and embarked on a 15 day journey on foot over the
Himalayan mountains to Dharamsala in India where they had been
offered asylum. No news was heard of the Dalai Lama, and many feared their
spiritual and political leader had been killed during the arduous journey. However, on March 30th he
crossed into India and people learned that he was safe. He was followed
by around 80,000 Tibetans who settled in the same area of India,
leading to it becoming known as ‘Little Lhasa’. This place became the
home to the Tibetan government-in-exile. Tibet remains under Chinese
rule, and the Dalai Lama continues to try to find a peaceful negotiation
for Tibetan self rule.

Many of you probably know that Confucius is th…

Many of you probably know that Confucius is the latinization of the Chinese “Kong Fuzi.” You probably did not know, however, that this particular spelling and pronunciation was picked by Jesuits who traveled to China in the 1500s and 1600s as missionaries.