Three Kingdoms China - History of Ancient China
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Three Kingdoms China

Liu Bei's tomb
The tomb of Liu Bei

For three hundred years starting in 220 AD, China was divided into three smaller kingdoms (which were each still really pretty big). One kingdom was called Wei, and it was ruled by the Ts'ao family. It was in the northern part of China. Wei was not really strong enough to protect itself against invaders from the north, and soon some of these invaders, the Toba, took over ruling it.

The second kingdom was called Shu Han, and it was ruled by Liu Bei. It was in the south-west part of China.

The third kingdom was called Wu, and it was ruled by Sun Ch'uan. Wu was in the south-east part of China.

One of the great books of Chinese literature, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, is about this time.

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Bibliography and further reading:

Three Kingdoms Chinese art
Three Kingdoms architecture
Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD)
Ancient China


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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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