Ying (Chu)

Ying (Chinese: , Yǐng) was a capital city of the State of Chu during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods of Chinese History.

In the early years of Chu’s development, the state capital was located at Danyang, near modern-day Xichuan County in Henan Province. Following a number of battles with neighboring states the Chu capital moved to Ying, near modern-day Jingzhou City on the Jianghan Plain in the western part of Hubei Province.

Date of relocation

There are four separate theories as to the date that relocation of the capital took place:

As can be seen above, the four theories do not differ widely in their dating of the relocation. According to traditional sources, Ying remained the capital of Chu from the time of its establishment by King Wen in 689 BCE until 278 BCE, the 21st year of the reign of King Qingxiang of Chu when an attack by an army from the State of Qin led by General Bai Qi forced the capital to move to Chen. Not counting the short term relocation of the capital during the reign of King Zhao of Chu (reigned 515–489 BCE), Ying served as the Chu capital for a total of 411 years.


According to historian Shi Quan (石泉), Ying was located at the same place as the Qin and Han dynasty Jiangling City (modern-day Jiangling County, Jingzhou), between the Ju (沮水) and Zhang (漳水) rivers.[2] He further states that the city lay in the lower reaches of the modern-day Man River (蛮河) basin to the west of the Han River so that today, the ruins of the Chu State Capital lie here.[lower-alpha 2]

Historian Zhang Zhengming argues that King Wen established Ying and that it was located within the boundaries of Yicheng City, Hubei.[3] In 506 BCE the State of Wu invaded Chu and destroyed Ying, and King Zhao of Chu fled only to return to the city without an armistice being declared.[3] After a further attack by Wu in 504 CE the king moved the capital to Ruo. This lay in the eponymous former State of Ruo on the borders of Qin which had been previously annexed by Chu and that the residents continued to call Ying.[lower-alpha 3][3] Some years later, King Zhao moved the capital to Jiangling County, Hubei which was also known as Jinan (纪南) and Ying.[3]

Between the reigns of King Xuan of Chu (reigned 369–340 BCE) and King Qingxiang of Chu (reigned 298–263 BCE), Chu had a further temporary capital that was also called Ying. Ying occupied a strategic location with Yunmeng to the East, Erwuba (扼巫巴) to the west, access to the Central China Plain to the north and the natural defenses of the Yangtze River protecting its southern approaches.

Historical impact of Ying

Although King Wu of Chu’s power base was shaken by the State of Han when they attacked the hinterland around the Jiangyan Plain, King Wen’s relocation of the capital to Ying allowed him to continue with his father’s military strategy.

Before King Wen moved the capital he already had control of the Jiangyan Plain and afterwards dispatched his armies northwards as part of his plan to take control of China. At this time, he also held sway over the eastern approach to the State of Han and subsequently attacked the north of the state, giving him control of the Central China Plain.

In 688 BCE, King Wen wiped out the States of Shen and Deng, whereupon his power base became the former Shen capital at Nanyang, Henan.

See also


  1. A senior official in the Chu state government
  2. Indicating the ruins to the west of Yicheng City, Hubei
  3. Rou was located south of Yicheng City


  1. 1 2 "When did the capital of Chu move? (楚国何时都郢)". Retrieved September 21, 2010.
  2. 1 2 Shi (石), Quan (泉) (1988). New Research on Ancient Chu Geography (古代荆楚地理新探) (in Chinese). Wuhan University Press. ISBN 978-7-307-00331-6.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Zhang (张), Zhengming (证明) (August 1987). Chu Cultural History (楚文化史) (in Chinese). Shanghai People’s Press. ISBN 978-7-208-00966-0.

External links

This article is based on a translation of the article 郢 郢 in Chinese Wikipedia

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