Zhongguo, the Middle Kingdom, is one of the oldest civilizations on earth. Cotemporaneous in its roots with Egypt, Sumeria, and the Indus River culture, China has been the central fixture that all Far-Eastern peoples have had to measure themselves by. Today, the Chinese bid fair to have a significant influence on all the world. 

Note: In many instances on these lists, two names will be encountered. The first is the Regnal, Posthumous, or Temple Name -- the official name of the reign. The name within parentheses is the personal name of the individual; the name they were given at birth. Additional Note: Many readers will quickly realize that this archive contains a melange of Romanization schemes, primarily Wade-Giles and Pin-Yin, but I think there are a few others as well. This is as a result of using many different sources, some older than others. I realize that to an experienced reader, this will give the archive a disjointed and messy feel to it, and I apologize for the confusion. I am slowly converting the file to Pin-Yin (although I may parenthetically retain a few old-style names where familiarity warrants it), but that is a massive undertaking in itself - it will take quite awhile before everything is consistent.

Aside from the Imperial succession from earliest traditional times to the present day, this contains Cao, Chao, Ch'i, Ch'u, Fuyu, Elder Ch'in, Gansu, Hou Zhou, Hunan, Later Chao, Liao-Xi, Manchukuo, Manchuria, Min, Nan Chao (Yunnan), Nan Han, Nan Yen, Northern Zhou, Szechuan, Qian-Qin, Qinghai, Taiwan, Tang-Ch'ang, Tsinghai, T'u-Yu-Hun, Wei, Wu, Wuhuan, Xi-Xia, Yen (Beijing), Yueh, Yu-Wen, and Zheng.

CHINA Here is an overall survey of the Imperial succession, during times of substantial or complete unity.

THREE KINGDOMS ERA (220-280) During this period, China was partitioned into Northern (Wei), Western (Shu Han), and Southern (Wu) Kingdoms.

NORTHERN and SOUTHERN DYNASTIES ERA This period saw a severe fragmentation of central authority, as northern barbarians succeeded in laying waste to much of China, and establishing their own states in turn. Local ephemerals for the most part, one people, the Toba, built a large state which lasted for some time, the so-called Northern Wei, centered around the Huang-Ho basin. In the south, a series of ethnically Chinese dynasties managed to endure on the lower Yangtze.

Northern ZHOU One among the successor States to Wei...


Co was a vassal state in China during the Zhou Dynasty (1046 -221 BCE). The state was founded sometime in the 11th Century BCE by Caoshu Zhndu (d. 1053 BCE), son of King Wen of Zhou and the younger brother of King Wu of Zhou. With its capital at Toqiū, Co covered roughly the area of modern day Dingtao County, in extreme southwestern Shandong Province. It was located on the flat country of the North China Plain about 50 miles east of the point where the current course of the Yellow River changes from east to north-east - modern Beijing is about 360 miles (580 km.) due north. To the northwest was Wei, to the northeast Lu and to the southeast Song. Its rulers bore the title of "Gōng" (usually translated as "duke" from about the end of the ninth century BCE).
CHAO An ancient Chinese district active during the Warring States Era. Located in what is now Hubei and northern Shanxi provinces.

CH'I A state in ancient China, in what is now most of Shandong and Hopei provinces. For a short while (c. 651-642) Ch'i was at the head of Chinese affairs during the Warring States Era.

CH'U A large state of ancient China, located on the eastern seaboard and along the Yangtze River; basically, the modern provinces of Jiangsu (including the site of the future city of Shanghai), Anhui, Hubei, southern Henan, and southern Shanxi.

GANSU A long and rather narrow province in north-central China, with Inner Mongolia to the northeast, Xinjiang to the west, and Qinghai to the southwest. It is essentially a corridor running from the upper Yellow River in the east, along the verge between the Tibetan plateau on the one hand and the Gobi desert on the other, to the edge of the Xinjiang wastes in the west. As such, it was a major link in the Silk Road, and has seen a great deal of traffic back and forth for a very long time.

HOU ZHOU A state emerging in northwestern China during the chaotic 4th century.

HUNANAn inland province in southern China, east of Szechuan, north of Canton.

LIAO-XI A Kingdom "outside the wall", in what is now Manchuria, along Korea's northern frontier. It's rulers were Hsien-Pi, a proto-Mongolic tribe.

LU A compact state in what is now southern Shandong province, roughly 300 miles (480 km.) south-southeast of modern Beijing. Long a vassal client of the Empire, it achieved autonomy during the Warring States Era. Lu is notable largely as the birthplace and home of Kung Fu-Tzu (Confucius, 551-479 BCE), almost certainly China's most influential and well-known son.

MANCHURIA The northeastern portion of China, comprising the watershed of the Amur River.

MIN In coastal southeastern China; roughly the equivalent of the modern province of Fujian.

NAN CHAO (Yunnan Province) In southern China, located in the interior hills and mountains north of modern Vietnam and Myanmar; basically, modern Yunnan Province. Ethnically, Nan Chao was an early Thai state; this region is where the Thai people trace their origins. It formed with the encouragement of China, which needed a buffer zone between itself and the then-aggressive Tibetans, but Nan Chao soon became expansionist in it's own right, and proved to be a considerable threat to China at times. A high degree of sophistication and culture developed here in it's heyday. The names below are from Chinese sources, and therefore their resemblance to the actual forms are problamatical. The name of the Kingdom itself is, in fact, Chinese, meaning no more than "Southern Principality".

NAN HAN A local state emerging during the troubled 10th century, located along the southern coast from modern Vietnam to the modern city of Shantou, and including the island of Hainan.

An ancient kingdom in southern China that consisted of parts of the modern Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Yunnan and much of modern northern Vietnam. Nanyue was established in 204 BCE, at the final collapse of the Qin Dynasty, by Zhao Tuo, who was the military commander of Nanhai Commandery at the time, and initially comprised the Nanhai, Guilin, and Xiang Commanderies. In Vietnam, the Triệu Dynasty is the name used to refer to the lineage of kings of Nanyue, and by extension the era of Nanyue rule. Its inhabitants were mostly of the Yue ethnicity, a group related distantly to the Thai people.

QIAN QIN A large state emerging from northwest China in the chaotic 4th century, and establishing brief control over all the north late in that time period.

QINGHAI A remote province in west-central China, northeast of Tibet and southeast of Xinjiang. The land is highland plateau for the most part, and sparsely populated.

SZECHUANA state based in the west during the Era of the Three Kingdoms, and later re-emerging during the disorders of the 10th century.

TAIWAN See Controversy file. A large island off the coast of southeastern China.

TANG-CH'ANG A Kingdom in south-central China, near the Tibetan frontier.

T'U-YU-HUN A Chinese kingdom of mixed Sino-Tibetan population in north-central China; roughly the northern portion of modern Qinghai Province.

WEI The name often used for the major State based in the north, around the Huang-Ho basin, during times of disunity.

WU A name often associated with major southern Chinese states established during times of fragmentation. It was usually based around the central and lower Yangtze basin.

WUHUAN A Kingdom "outside the wall", in what is now Manchuria. It's rulers were Hsien-Pi, a proto-Mongolic tribe.

XI-XIA A Buddhist state in northern China, east of Xinjiang and south of Mongolia, roughly equivalent to modern Kansu and Ningxia provinces. It was established in the 9th century by the Tanguts, a Tibetan people with Mongolic elements.

(Dh Yān or "Great Yan") An ephemeral state in Henan and Hebei provinces, formed by the general An Lushan when he rebelled against the Tang Dynasty then ruling China.  For a short time the Yan state controlled the political center of China, including the Tang capital of Luoyang.

YEN (Peking, Beijing) A region in northeastern China, with Mongolia to the northwest and Manchuria to the northeast. The area has borne the brunt of northern nomad invasions repeatedly, despite which (or, perhaps because of it) the chief city has from a very early date been a major political and military center.

YUEH In southeastern China, alongside the Yangtze delta; approximately the modern province of Zhejiang. See also, Min, for a continuation of the early dynasts within modern Fujian.
YUNNAN See Nan Chao.

YU-WEN A Kingdom "outside the wall", in what is now Manchuria, to the north of Liao-Hsi. It's rulers were Hsien-Pi, a proto-Mongolic tribe.

Zheng was a vassal state in China during the Zhou Dynasty located in the center of ancient China in modern day Henan Province on the North China Plain about 75 miles (120 km.) east of the royal capital at Luoyang. It was the most powerful of the vassal states at the beginning of the Eastern Zhou (771-701 BCE). Its ruling house had the surname Ji, making them a branch of the Zhou royal house, who were given the rank of Gong, corresponding roughly to a Dukedom.