The Tang Dynasty is considered a golden age of Chinese arts and culture. In power from 618 to 906 A.D., Tang China attracted an international reputation that spilled out of its cities and, through the practice of Buddhism, spread its culture across much of Asia.
Who was the founder of the Tang Dynasty?
Emperor Gaozu (also Kao-tsu, formerly Li Yuan, r. 618-626 CE) was a Sui military commander who led a rebellion against his former masters, seized control of the state, and founded the Tang Dynasty (618-906 CE).
when did the tang dynasty start?
Li Yuan was duke of Tang and governor of Taiyuan during the Sui dynasty’s collapse. He had prestige and military experience, and was a first cousin of Emperor Yang of Sui. Li Yuan rose in rebellion in 617, along with his son and his equally militant daughter Princess Pingyang, who raised and commanded her own troops. In the winter of 617, Li Yuan occupied Chang’an, relegated Emperor Yang to the position of Taishang Huang or retired emperor, and acted as regent to the puppet child-emperor, Emperor Gong of Sui. On the news of Emperor Yang’s murder by General Yuwen Huaji on June 18, 618, Li Yuan declared himself the emperor of a new dynasty, the Tang.
What did Li Yuan do?
Li Yuan’s reign was concentrated on uniting the empire under the Tang. Aided by his son, Li Shimin, he defeated all the other contenders, including Li Gui, Dou Jiande, Wang Shichong, Xue Ju, and Liu Wuzhou. By 628, the Tang Dynasty had succeeded in uniting all of China. On the homefront, Li Yuan recognized the early successes forged by the Sui dynasty and strived to emulate most of its policies, including the equal distribution of land amongst its people, and he also lowered taxes. He abandoned the harsh system of law set about during the Sui dynasty as well as reforming the judicial system. These acts of reform paved the way for the reign of Emperor Taizong, which ultimately pushed Tang China to the height of its power.
how did li yuan die？
On taking the title and name Emperor Gaozu, Li Yuan who had twenty-two sons in total, decreed that his eldest son, Li Jiancheng, should be the Crown Prince. Li Shimin, the second son, was granted the title Prince of Qin. A third son had died long before, so the fourth son, Li Yuanji was created Prince of Qi.
Of these three sons, Li Shimin was the most ambitious and intelligent. It was he who had made the greatest contributions to the campaign to secure the empire for his father. This fact troubled the Crown Prince for he saw Li Shimin as a threat to his own position. Conspiring with his younger brother, Prince Qi, he tried to get rid of Li Shimin.
Unhappy with his father’s incompetence and tired of the constant threats against him by his brothers, Li Shimin launched a palace coup at the Xuanwu Gate in 626. Both the Crown Prince and Prince Qi were killed. This was recorded as The Xuanwu Gate Coup. As a result, Li Yuan was then compelled to abdicate in favor of Li Shimin, and the latter ascended the throne as Emperor Taizong.
After this brutal attack, Emperor Gaozu established Li Shimin as the crown prince. Only two months later, he released the throne making Li Shimin (who became Emperor Taizong) the Emperor of Tang.
Once retired, Emperor Gaozu had little control or influence on the policies of Tang. Despite relinquishing the throne in 626, he did not leave the main Taiji Palace until 629. At that time he moved to Hongyi Palace, and Emperor Taizong moved into the Taiji Palace. The following year Emperor Gaozu led the celebration when Emperor Taizong accomplished the long sought after victory over the Eastern Tujue. Emperor Gaozu fell ill in 634 and died in 635.