Chen dynasty

This article is about the dynasty in southern China. For the medieval dynasty in Vietnam founded by a Chinese family, see Trần dynasty.
Capital Jiankang
Political structure Empire
   557–559 Emperor Wu of Chen
  559–566 Emperor Wen of Chen
  566–568 Emperor Fei of Chen
  569–582 Emperor Xuan of Chen
  582–589 Chen Shubao
   Established 16 November[1] 557
   Disestablished 10 February[2] 589
  Chen Shubao's death 16 December 604[3]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Liang dynasty
Sui dynasty
Today part of

The Chen dynasty (simplified Chinese: 陈朝; traditional Chinese: 陳朝; pinyin: Chén Cháo; 557-589), also known as the Southern Chen dynasty, was the fourth and last of the Southern Dynasties in China, eventually destroyed by the Sui dynasty. Chen is the only dynasty named after the ruling house in Chinese history.

When the dynasty was founded by Emperor Wu, it was exceedingly weak, possessing only a small portion of the territory once held by its predecessor Liang dynasty—and that portion was devastated by wars that had doomed Liang. However, Emperor Wu's successors Emperor Wen and Emperor Xuan were capable rulers, and the state gradually solidified and strengthened, becoming roughly equal in power to rivals Northern Zhou and Northern Qi. After Northern Zhou destroyed Northern Qi in 577, Chen was cornered. To make matters worse, its final emperor Chen Shubao was an incompetent and indulgent ruler, and Chen was eventually destroyed by Northern Zhou's successor state Sui.

During the short-lived dynasty, the Chams to the south resumed raids against the region of Jiaozhi, perceiving the dynasty to be weak. The raids ended with the conquest of the Southern Chen by the Sui.[4] The Sui general Yang Su suppressed various Chen rebels in campaigns during the early 590s.

Sovereigns of Chen dynasty (557-589)

Posthumous name Family name and given names Period of Reigns Era names and corresponding range of years
Convention: Chen + posthumous name
Emperor Wu of Chen - Wu Di (武帝 wǔ dì) Chen Baxian (陳霸先 Chén Bàxiān) 557-559 Yongding (永定 Yǒngdìng) 557-559
Emperor Wen of Chen - Wen Di (文帝 wén dì) Chen Qian (陳蒨 Chén Qiàn) 559-566 Tianjia (天嘉 Tiānjiā) 560-566
Tiankang (天康 Tiānkāng) 566
Emperor Fei of Chen - Fei Di (廢帝 fèi dì) Chen Bozong (陳伯宗 Chén Bózōng) 566-568 Guangda (光大 Guāngdà) 566-568
Emperor Xuan of Chen - Xuan Di (宣帝 Xuān Dì) Chen Xu (陳頊 Chén Xù 569-582 Taijian (太建 Tài Jiàn) 569-582
Houzhu (後主 Hòuzhǔ) Chen Shubao (陳叔寶 Chén Shūbǎo) 583-589 Zhide (至德 Zhìdé) 583-586
Zhenming (禎明 Zhēnmíng) 587-589

Sovereigns family tree


  1. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 167.
  2. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 177.
  3. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 180.
  4. Hall, D.G.E. (1981). A History of South-East Asia, Fourth Edition. Hong Kong: Macmillan Education Ltd. p. 17. ISBN 0-333-24163-0.


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