The history of Sichuan is history of separatist regimes. The ancients said that "the world was in chaos before Shu was in chaos, and world was ruled before Shu." However, era of separatism is not necessarily a good era. The Sichuan Basin is surrounded by mountains with thousands of miles of fertile fields in middle, which can be called a land of abundance. In era of great chaos, this place can still maintain a relatively stable situation. Especially at end of Western Jin Dynasty, Eight Kings Rebellion and Yongjia Rebellion happened one after other. The Central Plains were starving for thousands of miles, but Chenghan regime established by Bashu was able to keep one side safe. What happened to this period of history?First, civilians who had no livelihood fled but were killed by government.
The last years of Western Jin Dynasty were darkest era in Chinese history. The Western Jin Dynasty was an era of aristocrats, and aristocratic clans were tied to fields, while most ordinary people had nowhere to stand. Starting in 291, Western Jin Dynasty began uprising of eight kings, during many years of war, economy of north was greatly damaged. The Rebellion of Eight Kings was not over yet, and Yongjia Rebellion happened again, and whole north was in disarray.
Due to years of wars, various natural disasters were left untreated, which led to spread of famine and plague, which is terrible. The Book of Jin said that at that time, “there were many people in east of Yongzhou who were hungry and in need, and they sold each other by hurrying and moving, countless. The six states of Yu, Bing, Xi, Ji, Qin, and Yong were large locust, vegetation, cattle, and horsehair. They all disappeared. Also a great disease and epidemic, as well as famine ... rivers are full of corpses, and rivers of field are covered with bones.
Under such conditions, civilians who cannot survive can only wander and become refugees. However, all dynasties were very afraid of existence of refugees, because refugees would further damage economy and destroy foundation of dynasty. As a result, the Western Jin Dynasty massacred, expelled, and even sold these refugees into slavery.
In 316, Huns besieged Guanzhong, and Guanzhong suffered from a severe famine, and more than half of Chang'an died. People fled everywhere, most of them fled to Nanyang, but Western Jin Dynasty officials drove them back to their hometowns, so refugees rebelled. Wars also broke out in Bashu, and many refugees fled to Jingzhou. Wang Cheng, governor of Jingzhou, killed 8,000 people. Xun Tiao, governor of Xiangzhou, wanted to kill all refugees, which led to a rebellion.
Another group of refugees from Guanzhong migrated to Bashu. These refugees were led by families of six counties, and their leader was Li family. The Li family of Lueyang comes from Kong, a descendant of ancient Ba people. When refugees migrated, there was famine and disease everywhere, but brothers Li De and Li Xiang "constantly supported and rescued them, so that they won hearts of people." In 295, Li brothers were elected leaders of refugees.
After influx of refugees into Bashu, Yizhou Governor Zhao Qian wanted to separate one side, so he recruited Li brothers and asked them to bring 100,000 refugees to guard border. Soon, Western Jin dynasty appointed Geng Teng as governor of Yizhou. After Geng Teng took office, Zhao Qian killed Geng Teng, named himself Yizhou Mu, and officially became a warlord. However, Zhao Jian was afraid of Li's strength, so he killed Li Xiang and others. At this time, Li Te was outside of Chengdu and had just escaped a disaster. Soon, Li Te led 7,000 refugees back to Chengdu, while Zhao Yu was defeated and killed by his subordinates.
After Zhao Yu's death, Western Jin dynasty appointed Luo Shang governor of Yizhou, marched 10,000 troops into Shu, and ordered refugees from Sichuan to return to Guanzhong. By that time, refugees had finally settled down and did not want to return. But local officials in Bashu did not care: on one hand, they urged refugees to go on their way, and on other hand, they robbed refugees of supplies. Such behavior can only lead to an aggravation of social conflicts.Secondly, Li Te rebelled and established Chenghan regime.
Despite repeated calls from government, Lite, on one hand, asked for a grace period, and on other hand, agreed to refugees. As a result, many refugees joined Lite. Luo Shang, governor of Yizhou, agreed to Li Te's request on surface, but secretly gathered troops to massacre refugees. He soon sent 30,000 troops to attack refugee camp, and Li Te was forced to lead refugees to fight back. In this battle, refugees had no choice but to sacrifice their lives in order to survive, but officers and soldiers suffered a crushing defeat.
Immediately, Li Te was elected Yizhou Mu and general, and he led refugees to Chengdu. At that time, Luo Shang and other Western Jin officials were very cruel and unpopular in Sichuan, so folk song "Li Te is still good, Luo Shang is killing me" was circulated among people. However, powerful landowners in Bashu feared that refugees would ravage their lands, so they formed Wubao, and together with Luo Shang defeated refugees, Li Te was also killed.
Chenghan period pottery servants: Sanxingdui style
After Li Te was killed, refugees elected Li Te's younger brother, Li Liu, as their leader. Li Liu soon died of illness, and Li Te's son Li Xiong led refugees to continue fight. By 303, Li Xiong finally captured Chengdu. In 304, Li Xiong proclaimed himself king of Chengdu and formally established political power; in 306, Li Xiong proclaimed himself emperor, country was named "Dacheng", and story was named "Chenghan". At this time, there were still 10 years left before decline of Western Jin Dynasty.
The early Dacheng regime controlled only Chengdu Plain, while surrounding Nanzhong, Hanzhong, and Berkshires were controlled by other separatist forces. On one hand, Li Xiong used troops to expand sphere of control of surrounding forces, and on other hand, he also strengthened internal affairs and consolidated regime. In terms of military affairs, Li Xiong sent troops to capture Hanzhong in 310, defeated Luo Shan's forces in 311, and effectively unified Bashu area.
With regard to economy, he ordered tax cuts and exemptions: “A man has three grains of grain at age of one year, and a woman has five buckets of grain, half disease. Household regulation is only a few feet long, and cotton is no more than two." This tax standard is much lower. In Western Jin Dynasty. In field of culture and education, he "promoted flourishing of culture and education and establishment of academic officials"; in politics, he recognized privileges of powerful landlords in order to enlist support of Bashu scholars. After decades of construction, Bashu area
After decades of construction, "Wanhe's civil services are as distant as An, and years are rich and prosperous." Detained prisoner, punishment will not be excessive.” Bashu became a rare paradise during Western Jin Dynasty.
After 330 AD Li Xiong began to expand to Nanzhong. In 333, Dacheng conquered Nanzhong, which marked unification of Southwestern China. In second year of his life, Li Xiong, hero of a generation, passed away. Under leadership of Li Xiong, Dacheng regime basically reclaimed territory of "Shu Han" in past and had strength to compete with Eastern Jin Dynasty. But will Dacheng's successor, after Li Xiong's death, be able to manage Land of Plenty well?Third, decline and fall of Chenghan.
There were more than 20 regimes in Sixteen Kingdoms of Eastern Jin Dynasty in Jiangbei, and Cheng Han was just one of them. These regimes, especially those based on Han Chinese, would find it difficult to gain support of scholars if they did not consider Zhengshuo's Eastern Jin dynasty. The Zhang family in Liangzhou, Murong family in Northeast China, and Fu family in Guanzhong accepted canonization of Eastern Jin dynasty in early days.
Cheng Han's position at that time was very awkward. In early days, Li Xiong proclaimed himself emperor, which meant that Li family and Sima family lived side by side. But aristocrats in Bashu did not want to fight against Eastern Jin Dynasty because a war between two countries would destroy Bashu's economy, so they all hoped that Cheng Han could become a vassal of Eastern Jin Dynasty. Many local warlords and magnates who collaborated with Li family also took an oath to honor Eastern Jin dynasty as Zhengshuo after the agreement was successful. However, Lee did not want to give up his privileges, so this contradiction could not be resolved.
Maid Cheng Han
At beginning, Li regime relied on a group of refugees in Guanzhong who harbored a deep hatred for Western Jin Dynasty officials and therefore shared same hatred. However, as Bashu calmed down, interests of Bashu giants gradually converged, with both sides advocating peace with Eastern Jin dynasty. The people in Bashu at that time believed that if they were enemies with Eastern Jin dynasty, then they would need to fight on both sides, and Shuzhong did not have that power; The situation is changing, and Lee's policies must also change.
In 334, when Li Xiongan passed away, Li clan clashed. After years of killing, finally, Lee Te's younger brother Li Shou emerged victorious and became emperor. In 338, he changed name of country to "Han", so this regime was called "Cheng Han" in history. As soon as Li Shou ascended throne, he broke his oath and became an enemy of Eastern Jin Dynasty, causing people in territory to panic.
Lee Shou is a pleasure-seeker and has long since lost industrious spirit of his fathers. After coming to power, he built a large number of buildings and built palaces. "The people are tired of work, and road is full of sighs, and nine out of ten rooms that think of chaos >". In 340, Li Shou and Shi Hu agreed to send troops to Eastern Jin dynasty to divide world equally. Li Shou built ships, manufactured weapons, and expanded armaments on a large scale. In end, Li Shou surrendered due to minister's opposition.
In 340, Li Shou died and Li Shi ascended throne. Li Shou might be called extravagant, but Li Shi is completely stupid. After he ascended throne, he killed innocent people indiscriminately, which led to separation of upper and lower levels. The story says that "Ministers are punished, prisons are imposed indiscriminately, and people are afraid." In 347, General Huan Wen of Eastern Jin Dynasty moved west, Li Shi surrendered, and Cheng Han's regime has since fallen.
The Li Chenghan regime has been in existence for forty-four years of history and has played a role that cannot be ignored in stability of southwestern region. However, Li regime was only a secessionist regime, it had neither ambition to enter world nor ability to protect one side, and in end could only be annexed by more powerful Eastern Jin dynasty.