1902 Encyclopedia > China > Chinese History (cont.) - Sui Dynasty (581-618)

(Part 30)


Imperial Era (221 BC - 1911 AD)

Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD)

This period of disorder was brought to a close by the establishment of the Suy-dynasty (590). Among the officials of the ephemeral dynasty of Chow was one Yang Keen, who on his daughter becoming empress (578) was created duke of suy. Meanwhile, he waited for an opportunity to overturn the reigning house, and, as has so often happened in the history of China, he had not long to wait. The last of the house of Chin was as weal and profligate as any of his predecessors. Him yang keen deposed and immediately ascended the throne (590). The country, weary of contention, was only too glad to acknowledge his undivided authority; and during the sixteen years of his reign the internal affairs of China were comparatively peaceably and prosperously administered. The emperor instituted a new and improved code of laws, and showed his respect for literature by adding 5000 volumes to the 10,000 which composed the imperial library. Abroad, his policy was equally successful. He defeated the Tatars and chastised the Coreans, who were disposed to throw aside his authority. The only scene of disorder was in his own household. His sons were unruly and violent, and after his death, in 604, his second son forced the heir to the throne to strangle himself, and then instantly assumed the imperial yellow. At first usurper, Yang-te, gave himself up to every species of debauchery, but wearying of sensual lusts, he was seized with a desire for conquest. He sent expeditions against the Tatars, and regained some of the influence which had formerly belonged to China in Central Asia. He himself headed an expedition against the Ouigours at the same time that one of his generals annexed the Lew Kew Island to the imperial crown. During his reign the volumes in the imperial library were increased to 54,000, and he spent vast sums in erecting a magnificent palace at Lo-yang, and in constructing unprofitable canals. These and other extravagances laid to heavy a burden on the country that discontent began again to prevail, and on the emperor’s return from a successful expedition against the Coreans, he found the empire divided into rebellious factions. In the turmoil which followed General Le Yuen rose to the surface, and on the death of the emperor by assassination this man set Kung-te, the rightful heir, on the throne (617) until such time as he should have matured his schemes.

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