Biography Base Home
  Biography Base Home | Link To Us
Search Biographies:
Tang Taizong Biography
Emperor Tang Taizong of China (598 - May 26, 649), born Li Shimin (李世民), was the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty of China from 627 to 649. He encouraged his father, Li Yuan, to start the uprising that established the Tang dynasty, and many now consider Taizong to have been the co-founder of the dynasty. Taizong conquered several neighbouring tribes and forced them to recognize him as Heavenly Khan (天可汗). Under his reign, the famous rule of Guanzhen (貞觀之治) took place (his era name was Guanzhen). His posthumous name was Wenhu-dasheng-daguang Xiao Huangdi (文武大聖大廣孝皇帝 "Filial Emperor who is Civil and Martial, Greatly Holy, and Greatly Expansive").

Early Achievements
Taizong was born in Wugong (武功, in present-day Shaanxi) as the second son of Li Yuan, and was of one-quarter Xianbei (a people related to modern-day Turks) blood. The most capable and militarily inclined of Li Yuan's many sons, Taizong showed his promise at an early age, helping to rescue Emperor Yang from a Turkic ambush and besiegement at the age of 16. In 616, the 18-year-old Taizong followed his general-father to his garrison-post at Jinyang, Shanxi, where he instigated his father to stage a military coup against the autocratic and fast crumbling Sui regime. Leading the troops with his elder brother Li Jiancheng, the rebel army took the capital Changan in September 617, thereafter putting a puppet emperor on the throne before Li Yuan himself proclaimed the establishment of a new dynasty, the Tang, in 618.

After the establishment of Tang, Taizong was appointed the Prince of Qin (秦王) by his father. In the succeeding compaigns to augment the power of the new dynasty, Taizong made numerous contributions, intensifying the heated sibling rivalry between him and his two brothers -- Li Jiacheng, the heir apparent, and Li Yuanji, a younger brother.

The Palace Coup at the Xuanwu Gate
The original crown prince was his elder brother Li Jiancheng (李建成), who supposedly colluded with Li Yuan's fourth son, Li Yuanji, to get rid of Taizong. However, Taizong himself pre-empted this by ambushing and killing both Jiancheng and Yuanji, Prince Qi (齊王李元吉) on June 4, 626 in the famous Palace Coup at the Xuanwu Gate (玄武門之變). Two days later, he was made the new crown prince. Two months later, his father abdicated and Taizong became emperor.

He died in Hangfeng Hall of Cuiwei Palace (翠微宮含風殿) and was buried in August in Zhao Mausoleum (in Shaanxi today).

He was married to:

Wende-shunsheng Empress (文德順聖皇后), Zhangsun-shi (長孫氏)
Xian Consort (賢妃), Xu Hui (徐惠)
Consort Yang I (楊妃)
Consort Yang II (楊妃)
Yang-shi (楊氏)
Consort Ying (陰妃)
Consort Yan (燕妃)
Secondary Consort Wei (韋貴妃)
Wang-shi (王氏)
He had fourteen sons (in order):

Crown Prince Li Chengqian: son of Wende Empress
Prince Chu, Li Kuan (楚王寬): son of one from the harem  
Prince Wu, Li Ke (吳王恪): son of Consort Yang I
Prince Bu, Li Tai: son of Wende Empress
Commonor, Li Yu (庶人祐): son of Consort Ying
Prince Shu, Li Yin (蜀王愔): son of Consort Yang I
Prince Jiǎng, Li Yun (蔣王惲): son of Wang-shi
Prince Yue, Li Zhen (越王貞): son of Consort Yan
Emperor Gaozong of Tang China: son of Wende Empress
Prince Ji, Li Shen (紀王慎): son of Secondary Consort Wei
Prince Jiāng, Li Xiao (江王囂): son of Consort Yan
Prince Dai, Li Jian (代王簡): son of one from the harem
Prince Zhao, Li Fu (趙王福): son of Consort Yang II
Prince Cao, Li Ming (曹王明): son of Consort Yang-shi
He had twenty-one daughters (not in order):

Princess Annan (洝南公主)
Princess Nanping (南平公主)
Princess Suian (遂安公主)
Princess Pu'an (普安公主)
Princess Jin'an (晉安公主)
Princess Changle (長樂公主), daughter of Wende Empress
Princess Yuzhang (豫章公主)
Princess Baling (巴陵公主)
Princess Nanling (蘭陵公主), Li Shu (淑), courtesy name Lizhen (麗真)
Princess Dongyang (東陽公主)
Princess Jinyang (晉陽公主), Li Mingda (明達), daughter of Wende Empress
Princess Gaoyang (高陽公主)
Princess Chengyang (城陽公主)
Princess Xincheng (新城公主), daughter of Wende Empress
Princess Xiangcheng (襄城公主)
Princess Ankang (安康公主)
Princess Xinxing (新興公主)
Princess Jinshan (金山公主)
Princess Changshan (常山公主)
Princess Linchuan (臨川公主), daughter of Secondary Consort Wei
Princess Qinghe (清河公主), Li Jin (敬), courtesy name Dexian (德賢)

He was the subject of 64-chapter (in eight volumes) The Novel of the Great Tang King of Qin (大唐秦王詞話 Datang Qin Wang Cihua) by Zhu Shenglin (諸聖鄰) of the Ming Dynasty. The novel is also known as The Biography of the Tang King of Qin (唐秦王本傳 Tang Qin Wang Benzhuan), Romance of Tang (唐傳演義 Tang Chuan Yiyan), and Romance of the Tang King (秦王演義 Tang Wang Yanyi).
Tang Taizong Resources
Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Sitemap

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Tang Taizong.