Liu Xiu

Liu Xiu is an emperor of the Han Dynasty particularly the Eastern Han. Because of Wang Mang, the Han Dynasty’s rule was interrupted, giving rise to the Western and Eastern Han. The Eastern Han came right after Wang Mang’s rule and the Xin Dynasty. Liu Xiu was given the name Emperor Guang Wu when he ascended to the throne. Liu Xiu was born on the 13th of January 13 BC. In the 25 AD, Liu Xiu was able to restore the fallen Han Dynasty. He emerged as one of the descendants of the Han imperial family. Though there were many powerful people who competed for the throne, Liu Xiu was able to beat them all. He ruled small parts of China at first. He attempted to unify China, and he was able to do so little by little.

At first, Liu Xiu had no intention to restore the fallen Han Dynasty. Liu Xiu was a farmer who was contented with his life. On the other hand, it was his brother Liu Yan who staged revolutions in a desperate attempt to restore then Han Dynasty. There was once a prophecy that Liu Xiu will become emperor. It was his brother in law who believed in this and encouraged Liu Xiu to dream.

The rebels were growing in numbers. Liu Xuan, a third cousin of Liu Xiu, was then proclaimed emperor by the rebels. Liu Yan was made prime minister while Liu Xiu was assigned general. This is the beginning of the newly formed Han dynasty. Wang Mang, fearing the great force of the rebels, sent his men to obliterate them. As the military forces of the Xin dynasty arrived, Liu Xiu decided to withdraw the troops to the town of Kunyang. A lot of rebels opposed the idea. But Liu Xiu was firm about his decision He instructed the other rebels to stay and protect the town. The rebels attacked from the outside. Liu Xiu was able to successfully defeat the leader of the Xin troops. The Xin military fell and went back to Luoyang.

During this time, there was an ongoing jealousy between Emperor gangshi (Liu Xuan) and Liu Yan. Emperor Gangshi saw Liu Yan as a threat because of his great number of supporters. He then ordered the execution of Liu Yan. Liu Xiu was on the frontlines when he heard the news of his brother’s death. He immediately went back and asked for forgiveness. Because of this, Emperor Gangshi spared his life. Liu Xiu was very well known for his achievements which date back from the battle at Kunyang. His followers grew in number. And soon, he was encouraged by his followers to take the title of the Emperor.

During Emperor Guang Wu’s term, he established Luo Yang as the capital of China. Chang‘an was the previous capital prior to the reformed Eastern Han Dynasty. Emperor Guang Wu was a brilliant strategist. His instructions and predictions are usually correct. This is why he had many skilled generals yet he had very few strategists. A lot of later emperors tried to follow Emperor Guang Wu’s footsteps by being the chief strategist. However, most of them lack the abilities of Emperor Guang Wu which lead them to disastrous fiascoes.

A lot of previous emperors in China gain their throne by killing the previous emperor, tricking and manipulating officials and royal family members. However, Emperor Guang Wu was quite different in this aspect. He preferred to use peaceful means rather than bloodshed. He ascended to the throne without killing. When trying to get hold of a certain land, he uses peaceful means instead of launching an attack.

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