- Yan (state)
Yan (zh-cp|c=燕|p=yān) was a state during the
Western Zhou, Spring and Autumnand Warring States Periods in China. Its capital was Ji (nowadays Beijing, also known as Yanjing, "capital of Yan").
During the first years of the Zhou Dynasty, the Yan was located near the
Yellow River, but after the failed revolt led by the leaders of the Shang Dynasty, the fiefdom was relocated further north in what is now Hebei Provinceto stop the invasion of the northerly tribes.
The borders of the Yan were approximately in a horizontal shape, stretching from the mountains of
Shanxi Provinceto the Liaodong Peninsula. As the most northeastern of all the Chinese states during this time period, it suffered several invasions from Mongolia. The border states of Zhao and Qi were its main enemies. The mountainous border in the west between the Zhao and the Yan became the area in which the armies belonging to the two kingdoms often clashed. Despite this, the war between the Zhao and the Yan usually dragged on into a stalemate, requiring the help of other kingdoms to conclude.
In 300 BC, Qin Kai defeated
Donghuand conquered the Liaodong Peninsula.
The strongest opposition came from the Qi, one of the strongest states in China. In 314 BC, taking advantage of a succession crisis within the Yan, Qi invaded and in a little over several months practically conquered the country. However, due to the misconduct of Qi troops during the conquest of Yan a revolt eventually drove them away and the borders of the Yan were restored. The Yan's new king,
King Zhao of Yanthen plotted with the states of Zhao, Qin, Han and Wei for a joint expedition against the Qi. Led by the brilliant tactician Yue Yi, it was highly successful and within a year most of the Qi's seventy walled cities had fallen, with the exception of Zimuand Lu. However with the death of King Zhao and the expulsion of Yue Yi to Zhao by the new king, King Wei of the Yan, General Tian Shanmanaged to recapture all of the cities from the 5 kingdoms.
Despite the wars, the Yan survived through the Warring States period. In
227 BC, with Qin troops on the border after the collapse of Zhao, the Yan Prince Dansent an assassin named Jing Keto kill the king of Qin, later First Emperor of Qin, hoping to end the Qin threat. The mission failed, with Jing Ke dying at the hands of the King of Qin in Xianyang.
Surprised and enraged by such a bold act (one that came terribly close to causing his demise), the king of Qin called on
Wang Zhanto destroy the Yan. Crushing the bulk of the Yan army at the frozen Yishui River, Ji fell the following year and the ruler, King Xi, fled to the Liaodong Peninsula.
222 BCLiaodong fell as well, and Yan was totally conquered by Qin. Yan was the third last state to fall, and with its destruction the fates of the remaining two kingdoms were sealed.
King Wu Chen of Zhao eventually sent his General
Han Guangto conquer Yan for Zhao, but upon his conquest, Han Guang appointed himself King of Yan. Han Guang had sent his general Zang Tuto assist Xiang Yu in the war against the Qin, and when Zang Tu returned Han Guang was ordered to become King of Liaodong instead. When Han Guang refused, Zang Tu killed him and declared himself King of both Yan and Liaodong.
Zang Tu submitted Yan to Han during the war between Han and Chu in order to keep his title, but once the war was finished he revolted.
Liu Bangsent Fan Kuaiand Zhou Boto put down the rebellion, and they executed Zang Tu. Lu Wanbecame the new King of Yan and reigned there for most of Liu Bang's life until he failed to meet a summons to the Imperial Court due to illness. He fled to the Xiongnuto avoid being executed. Yan then came under rule of the Han Dynasty.
Upper Xiajiadian culture
* [http://www.baodingtravel.com/ev/yanxiadu.htm Yan State Capital Relics in Baoding]
* [http://www.republicanchina.org/han.html Han Dynasty-Political, Social, Cultural, Historical Analysis of China]
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