As for history of State of Chu, it is generally believed that it was a feudal state of Western Zhou Dynasty and must have belonged to territory of Western Zhou Dynasty. The Historical Records of Chu Family states that “during reign of King Wen of Zhou, descendants of Miao Ji Lianzhi were called Fong Xiong. Fung Xiong's son was king of Wen", so he was canonized as a viscount. The Spring and Autumn book always referred to king of Chu as "Chu Zi". However, in reality, everything is not so simple. "Historical Records" and "Spring and Autumn" - all history interpreted from point of view of Central Plains Dynasty. If you look at it from point of view of state of Chu, everything will be different.
The ancestors of Chu people are legendary Zhu Rong and Zhuan Xu, but they do not belong to same system as Yellow Emperor. "Historical records" believe that Zhuanxu is grandson of Yellow Emperor, but in fact this has no basis (Historical records place all ethnic groups in system of Yellow Emperor, even including Xiongnu, which is clearly not credible). Zhuanxu, founder of state of Chu, first lived in lower reaches of Huang He, was a branch of Dongyi tribe and used birds as totems. For his services in helping Shaohao, he was given title of Gaoyang (Qi County) clan, and later Chu people migrated to Shangqiu, Diqiu (Puyang), Chuqiu (Huaxian), Xiong and other places.
Chu is also called Jing, meaning spikes. Why is it called Chu? The Qinghua "Chu Ju" bamboo planks record that wife of first king of Chu, Xiong Xiong, gave birth to Xiong Li with dystocia. After that, wizard wrapped spikes around her stomach and buried her, in memory of her tribe named her "Chu". When state of Chu arose At present, there is no documentary evidence. "Shang Song Yin Wu" praises Wu Ding of Shang Dynasty in war against Jingchu, in which it is written that "Weiru Jingchu lives in south of country." At least during Shang Dynasty, state of Chu was already a large country in south.
Later, state of Zhou emerged, and state of Chu became its ally. Following this, Chu State was canonized as a "Viscount". However, state of Chu existed in first place, and canonization of Zhou dynasty only recognized his authority. Later, state of Chu became an enemy of Zhou dynasty. After death of King Wu of Zhou, all ethnic groups in Dongyi allied with "Three Overseers" and Wu Geng to start a war against Zhou. Among them, people of Chu were also a branch of Huayi. After Duke of Zhou's eastern expedition, Huaiyi moved south again, for example, state of Xu migrated to middle reaches of Huaihe River, and people of Chu migrated to Hanjiang River basin.
The territory of Zhou Dynasty (the reign of King Xuan of Zhou)
All kings of subsequent Zhou Dynasty fought Xu and Chu. King Zhao of Zhou traveled south three times to state of Chu. The first time he worked hard to no avail, second time he "lost six divisions in Han Dynasty", and third time "the southern tour did not return", that is to say, entire army was destroyed, and finally he died in south. During reign of King Mu Zhou, state of Xu was powerful: "King Yang was in east of Han Dynasty, in a territory of five hundred miles, practiced benevolence and righteousness, and there were thirty or six kingdoms that ceded land and ruled." At this time, State of Xu became a common threat to State of Zhou and State of Chu, so King Mu of Zhou and State of Chu jointly attacked State of Xu. In end, "King Jing Wen...gathered his troops to attack Xu and then destroyed him." After decline of Xu state, state of Chu dominated south. According to Historical Records, State of Chu became king in Western Zhou Dynasty, and it was related to Zhou Dynasty.
Xiong Qu said, "I am a barbarian, and I do not share posthumous title of China." Zhichai's youngest son is king of Yuezhang. During time of King Li of Zhou, he was a tyrant and Xiong Qu was afraid that he would attack Chu, so he also left his king. ——"Historical records"
During reign of King Xuan of Zhou, Zhou dynasty was rejuvenated, and a full-scale war broke out between State of Zhou, State of Xu, and State of Chu. King Xuan of Zhou once sent Uncle Fang to lead 3,000 soldiers to conquer state of Chu in south and was successful. The Book of Songs Caiyu wrote: "Uncle Fang Xianyun conquered Yunyun, and wild thorns came to power." At that time, King Xuan of Zhou was in headwaters of Jianghan and appointed several princes as front lines against Chu, who were collectively referred to as "Hanyang Zhuji". In early spring and autumn period of Zhou Dynasty, rule of Zhou Dynasty collapsed, and state of Chu seized opportunity to annex "Princesses of Hanyang".
Symbols of ancient state of Chu (inscription Chu Gong Nizhong)
Although State of Chu is very powerful, Zhou Dynasty still called it "Chu Zi", which greatly upset King Chu Wu. During period of early spring and autumn, king of Chu of Wu said to king of Zhou, “I am a barbarian. Today all princes have rebelled and invade or kill each other. I have bad armor. If I want to observe politics of China, I ask royal family to honor my title." But Zhou king did not obey. Therefore, state of Chu accelerated attack on Central Plains. In 710 BC. "Cai Hou and Zheng Bo met in Deng and began to fear Chu." In 678 BC state of Chu began to attack state of Zheng, which was strongest in Central Plains. "Gongyang Zhuan" commented, "Nanya and Beidi have a relationship, and China is like a thread." Later, in order to deal with state of Chu and others, Guan Zhong acted under slogan of "respect for king and fight against barbarians".
The Kingdom of Chu during Warring States Period
It can be seen that for more than 200 years under Western Zhou Dynasty, state of Chu was mostly in a state of hostility. Prior to period of Qi Huanggong and Jin Wengong, state of Chu still posed greatest threat to Central Plains countries, and Qi Jin led princes to keep state of Chu from moving north. Therefore, State of Chu cannot be regarded as territory of Western Zhou Dynasty. The relationship between State of Chu and Zhou Dynasty is similar to relationship between Ming Dynasty and Mongolia. However, with annexation of a large number of Chinese princes by state of Chu, absorption of Chinese culture continued to grow, and then state of Chu gradually became Chinese.