- Western Xia
← 1038–1227 → Capital Xingqing Language(s) Tangut language, Chinese Religion Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion Government Monarchy Emperor - 1038–1048 Emperor Jingzong - 1226–1227 Emperor Modi History - Established 1038 1038 - Surrendered to the Mongol Empire 1227 1227 Area - 1142 est. 800,000 km2 (308,882 sq mi) Population - peak est. 3,000,000 History of China ANCIENT 3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors Xia Dynasty 2100–1600 BCE Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE Zhou Dynasty 1045–256 BCE Western Zhou Eastern Zhou Spring and Autumn Period Warring States Period IMPERIAL Qin Dynasty 221 BCE–206 BCE Han Dynasty 206 BCE–220 CE Western Han Xin Dynasty Eastern Han Three Kingdoms 220–280 Wei, Shu and Wu Jin Dynasty 265–420 Western Jin 16 Kingdoms
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The state existed from 1038 to 1227 AD in what are now the northwestern Chinese provinces of Ningxia, Gansu, eastern Qinghai, northern Shaanxi, northeastern Xinjiang, southwest Inner Mongolia, and southernmost Outer Mongolia, measuring about eight hundred thousand square kilometers. The state suffered from devastating destruction by the Mongols who founded Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368), including most of its written records and architecture. Its founders and history therefore remained controversial until recent research conducted both in the West and within China. They occupied the area of important trade route between North China and Central Asia, the Hexi Corridor. The Western Xia made significant achievements in literature, art, music, and architecture, which was characterized as “shining and sparkling”. Their extensive stance among the other empires of the Liao, Song, and Jin was attributable to their effective military organizations that integrated cavalry, chariots, archery, shields, artillery (cannons carried on the back of camels), and amphibious troops for combats on the land and water
The full title of the Western Xia was called their own state "phiow¹-bjij²-lhjij-lhjij²" which translates as "The Great State of the White and the Lofty" (白高大夏國), or called "mjɨ-njaa" or "khjɨ-dwuu-lhjij" (萬秘國). The region was known to the Tanguts and the Tibetans as Minyak (彌藥).
Its reference as “Western Xia” came from the Chinese record of “Xi-Xia” (西夏), literally "Western Xia", and thus that name is often used in Sinological literature. It was derived from its location on the western side of the Yellow River, in contrast to the Liao (916–1125) and Jin (1115–1234) on its east, and the Song Dynasty in the south. The English reference of "Tangut" comes from the Mongolian name for the country, Tangghud (Taŋγud), believed to reflect the same word as “Dangxiang” found in Chinese literature.
The founder of the Tangut-Western Xia was the Tuoba Xianbei from the Tuyühu (often misspelled as Tuyuhun) Empire. After Tuyühu Empire was destroyed by the Tibetans in 670, its famous prince, Tuoba Chici, who controlled the “Dangxiang Qiang” submitted under the Tang Dynasty and was “bestowed” with the royal name of “Li”. In the end of the Tang Dynasty, the Tuoba brought troops to suppress the Huangchao Rebellion on behalf of the Tang court and took control of the Xia State, or Xia Zhou, in northern Shaanxi in 881. After the Tang fell in 907, the Tuoba descendants formally declared resistance against the expanding Northern Song in 982 and proclaimed independence to establish the Western Xia or Tangut, in 1038.
The foundation of Western Xia goes back to the year 982 under Li Deming (李德明). However, it would not be until 1038 that the Tangut chieftain Li Yuanhao (李元昊), Li Deming's son, who also ordered the creation of a Tangut writing system and the translation of Chinese classics into Tangut, named himself emperor of Da Xia, and demanded of the Song emperor recognition as an equal. The Song court accepted the recognition of Li Yuanhao as 'governor', but not 'emperor', a title considered exclusive to the Song emperor. After intense diplomatic contacts, in 1043 the Tangut state accepted the recognition of the Song emperor as emperor in exchange for annual gifts, which implied tacit recognition on the part of the Song of the military power of the Tangut.
After Jingzong's death (1048), Yizong became the emperor at the age of two. His mother became the regent and during Yizong's reign, Liao Dynasty launched an invasion of Western Xia, causing Western Xia to submit to Liao Dynasty as a vassal state. After Yizong's death, Huizong was put under house arrest by his mother, and she attacked Song Dynasty. The attack was a failure, and Huizong took back power from his mother. After Chongzong became emperor, his grandmother (Huizong's mother) became regent again and launched invasion of Liao Dynasty and Song Dynasty. Again, both campaigns ended in defeat and Chongzong took direct control of Western Xia. He ended wars with both Liao and Song and focused on domestic reform.
In 1115, Jurchen Jin Dynasty was set up and Liao emperor fled to Western Xia in 1123. Chongzong submitted to the Jin demand of the Liao emperor and Western Xia became a vassal state of Jin. After Jin Dynasty destroyed Northern Song Dynasty, Western Xia attacked and took several thousands square miles of land from Northern Song. Immediately following Renzong's coronation, many natural disasters occurred and Renzong worked to stabilize the economy.
The Tanguts and the Mongols
After Renzong's death, Emperor Huanzong of Western Xia came into power and Western Xia's power began to fail. After Genghis Khan unified the northern grasslands of Mongolia, the Xianbei who resided near Mt. Yin self proclaimed to be “White Mongols” and joined them. They received the same treatment as the Mongols and partook in their westward conquests in Central Asia and Europe. During this period, the Mongol troops led by Genghis carried out six rounds of attacks against Western Xia over a period of twenty-two years (1202, 1207, 1209–10, 1211–13, 1214–19, 1225–26).
In 1206, Xiangzong (Li An-chuan) initiated a coup d'état against Huanzong and killed him, installing himself as emperor. In 1207 Li An-ch'uan submitted to the Mongols, and gave his daughter to Genghis Khan in marriage. Xiangzong then began a decade-long campaign against the Jin Empire, significantly weakening both empires. Also during Xiangzong's reign, corruption rose to new heights, and the peasants were in poverty. The Western Xia army was also untrained and ill-equipped. Xiangzong abdicated after Shenzong started a coup d'état and seized power, and Xiangzong died in the same year, 1211.
The Mongols asked their allies and tributaries for military aid in the campaign against the Islamic countries in 1216. Although the Tangut emperor Shenzong was willing, his court and, in particular, his general Aša-gambu, recommended against it. When Genghis Khan returned from his campaign the new emperor Xianzong pled with him, but the general Aša-gambu challenged Genghis Khan. The emperor Xianzong died during the fighting and was succeeded by Modi (Li Xian), the last of the Tangut rulers. Modi sued for peace, which was accepted, but he was then executed by Tolui, the son of Genghis Khan. (cf. Kwanten 1974).
In 1221–1222 (time of Karma Pakshi) a Karma Kagyu Lama, Tsangpa Tungkhur-wa, was invited to Minyak, which by this time had become largely Buddhist and Tibetanized. He was still there when Genghis Khan died in 1227 and he received an edict of approval from the queen.
During the last round of the Mongol attacks, Genghis died in Western Xia. The official account of the Mongol history attributed his death to an illness, whereas legends accounted that he died from a wound inflicted in the battles. After the Western Xia capital was overrun in 1227, the Mongols devastating its buildings and written records, killing the last emperor and massacring tens of thousands of civilians—effectively bringing the state to an end.
Thereafter, the Western Xia troops were incorporated into the Mongol army in their subsequent military conquests in central and southern China. Due to the fierce resistance of the Xia against the Mongol attacks, especially in causing the death of Genghis, the Tanguts were initially suppressed in the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). Toward the middle and later phases of the Yuan, they received equivalent treatment as the ruling Mongols and attained highest offices in the Central Court. After the Yuan fell, a substantial number of the Tanguts followed the Mongols into the northern grassland. Other communities remained in China, in modern Anhui surviving well into the Ming dynasty. Members of the royal clan emigrated to western Sichuan, northern Tibet, even possibly northeast India, in some instances becoming local rulers.
Rulers of Western Xia
Temple Name Posthumous Name Personal Name Reign Dates Jǐngzōng 景宗 Wǔlièdì 武烈帝 Lǐ Yuánhào 李元昊 1038–1048 Yìzōng 毅宗 Zhāoyīngdì 昭英帝 Lǐ Liàngzuò 李諒祚 1048–1067 Huìzōng 惠宗 Kāngjìngdì 康靖帝 Lǐ Bǐngcháng 李秉常 1067–1086 Chóngzōng 崇宗 Shèngwéndì 聖文帝 Lǐ Qiánshùn 李乾順 1086–1139 Rénzōng 仁宗 Shèngzhēndì 聖禎帝 Lǐ Rénxiào 李仁孝 1139–1193 Huánzōng 桓宗 Zhāojiǎndì 昭簡帝 Lǐ Chúnyòu 李純佑 1193–1206 Xiāngzōng 襄宗 Jìngmùdì 敬穆帝 Lǐ Ānquán 李安全 1206–1211 Shénzōng 神宗 Yīngwéndì 英文帝 Lǐ Zūnxū 李遵頊 1211–1223 Xiànzōng 獻宗 none Lǐ Déwàng 李德旺 1223–1226 Mòdì 末帝 none Lǐ Xiàn 李晛 1226–1227
- ^ a b c Stein (1972), pp. 70–71.
- ^ Wang, Tianshun [王天顺] (1993). Xixia zhan shi [The Battle History of Western Xia] 西夏战史. Yinchuan [银川], Ningxia ren min chu ban she [Ningxia People's Press] 宁夏人民出版社.
- ^ Bian, Ren [边人] (2005). Xixia: xiao shi zai li shi ji yi zhong de guo du [Western Xia: the kingdom lost in historical memories] 西夏: 消逝在历史记忆中的国度. Beijing [北京], Wai wen chu ban she [Foreign Language Press] 外文出版社.
- ^ Li, Fanwen [李范文] (2005). Xixia tong shi [Comprehensive History of Western Xia] 西夏通史. Beijing [北京] and Yinchuan [银川], Ren min chu ban she [People's Press] 人民出版社; Ningxia ren min chu ban she [Ningxia People's Press] 宁夏人民出版社.
- ^ Zhao, Yanlong [赵彦龙] (2005). "Qian tan xi xia gong wen wen feng yu gong wen zai ti [A brief discussion on the writing style in official documents and documental carrier] 浅谈西夏公文文风与公文载体." Xibei min zu yan jiu [Northwest Nationalities Research] 西北民族研究 45(2): 78-84.
- ^ Qin, Wenzhong [秦文忠], Zhou Haitao [周海涛] and Qin Ling [秦岭] (1998). "Xixia jun shi ti yu yu ke xue ji shu [The military sports, science and technology of West Xia] 西夏军事体育与科学技术." Ningxia da xue xue bao [Journal of Ningxia University] 宁夏大学学报 79 (2): 48-50.
- ^ Dorje (1999), p. 444.
- ^ Leffman, et al. (2005), p. 988.
- ^ Lü, Jianfu [呂建福], 2002. Tu zu shi [The Tu History] 土族史. Beijing [北京], Zhongguo she hui ke xue chu ban she [Chinese Social Sciences Press] 中囯社会科学出版社. p. 311–312.
- ^ Stein (1972), p. 77.
- ^ eds. Franke, Herbert & Twitchett, Denis (1995). The Cambridge History of China: Vol. VI: Alien Regimes & Border States, 907–1368. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 214.
- Dorje, Gyurme (1999). Footprint Tibet Handbook with Bhutan. 2nd Edition. Footprint Handbooks, Bath, England. ISBN 1 900949 33 4.
- Leffman, David, et al. (2005). The Rough Guide to China. 4th Edition. Rough Guides, New York, London, Delhi. ISBN 978-1-84353-479-2.
- Kwanten, Luc. "Chingis Kan's Conquest of Tibet, Myth or Reality". Journal of Asian History 8.1 (1974): 17–23.
- Ferenczy, Mary: "The Formation of Tangut Statehood as Seen by Chinese Historiographers". In: Louis Ligeti (editor): Tibetan and Buddhist Studies Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Alexander Csoma de Körös. Vol. 1, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 1984, ISBN 963 05 3902 0, p. 241–249.
- Stein, R. A. (1972). Tibetan Civilization. Faber and Faber. London and Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-0806-1 (cloth); ISBN 0-8047-0901-7 (paper).
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