Western Wei

Western Wei
Western Wei in orange
Capital Chang'an
Government Monarchy
   535–551 Emperor Wen of Western Wei
  552–554 Emperor Fei of Western Wei
  554–557 Emperor Gong of Western Wei
  Establishment of Eastern Wei, start of division of Northern Wei 8 November 534[1]
   Emperor Wen's ascension, often viewed as establishment 18 February 535[2] 535
   Disestablished 14 February 557[3] 557
   557[4] 1,300,000 km² (501,933 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Northern Wei
Liang Dynasty
Northern Zhou

The Western Wei (Chinese: 西魏; pinyin: Xī Wèi) followed the disintegration of the Northern Wei, and ruled northern China from 535 to 556. As with the Northern Wei state that preceded it, the ruling family of Western Wei were members of the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei.

After the Xianbei general Yuwen Tai killed the Northern Wei emperor Yuan Xiu, he installed Yuan Baoju as emperor of Western Wei while Yuwen Tai would remain as the virtual ruler. Although smaller than the Eastern Wei in territory and population, Western Wei was able to withstand the attacks from the eastern empire. Due to its better economical conditions, Western Wei was even able to conquer the whole western part of the Liang empire in the south and occupied the territory of modern Sichuan. In 557 Yuwen Tai's nephew Yuwen Hu deposed Emperor Gong and placed Yuwen Tai's son Yuwen Jue on the throne, ending Western Wei and establishing Northern Zhou.


Posthumous Names ( Shi Hao 諡號) Born Names Period of Reigns Era Names (Nian Hao 年號) and their according range of years
Northern dynasty
Western Wei Dynasty 535-556
Convention: Western Wei + posthumous name
Wen Di (文帝 wén dì) Yuan Baoju (元寶炬 yuán bǎo jù) 535-551 Datong (大統 dà tǒng) 535-551
Fei Di (廢帝 fèi dì) Yuan Qin (元欽 yuán qīn) 552-554 Did not exist
Gong Di (恭帝 gōng dì) Tuoba Kuo (拓拔廓 tuò bá kuò) 554-556 Did not exist


  1. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 156.
  2. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 157.
  3. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 166.
  4. Rein Taagepera "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.", Social Science History Vol. 3, 115-138 (1979)


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