Southern Tang Dynasty

Southern Tang Dynasty (also referred to as Nantang) (Chinese: 南唐; pinyin Nán Táng) was one of the Ten Kingdoms in south-central China created following the tang dynasty from 937-975. Southern Tang Dynasty replaced the Wu Kingdom when Li Bian (a. k. a. Xu Zhigao) deposed the emperor Yang Pu.

The capital was located in Jinling (also known as Xidu), located in present-day Nanjing in Jiangsu Province. The territory comprised parts of modern Fujian , Jiangsu and Anhui provinces and the whole of Jiangxi Province.

Southern Tang Dynasty was conquered in 976 by the northern song dynasty .


Li Bian was an orphan who was adopted by the Wu prince Yang Xingmi. He was then adopted by Xu Wen, the Prime Minister of Wu and was renamed Xu Zhigao. Upon Xu Wen's death, he took over power in Wu, and was made a prince of Qi. In 937 he proclaimed himself emperor. In 940, he changed his name back to Li Bian and renamed the state to Tang (history would refer to it as Southern Tang Dynasty). Thus, the Southern Tang Dynasty began as an empire, however under Li Jing it was no longer diplomatically possible to claim the title of emperor in facing other states, thus he assumed the title of king instead, thus technically lowering the political status of the realm.

The state was at first relatively large and prosperous compared to the other Ten States of that period. Li Bian's rule was comparatively stable and prosperous.

Li Jing took over when his father Li Bian died in 943.

The Southern Tang Dynasty was able to expand its holdings far beyond those of its Wu Kingdom predecessor. It took advantage of a rebellion in the Kingdom of Min when the northwest revolted and set up the Kingdom of Yin. Min appealed for help, but instead of helping, the Southern Tang Dynasty absorbed the rebellious territory into its own. Then, by 945, the Southern Tang Dynasty completed its conquest of the Min Kingdom and absorbed it into its own boundaries.

As with the Min, the Southern Tang Dynasty was able to take advantage of internal squabbles within Chu to expand its territory even further. The Ma family had internal squabbles. The Southern Tang Dynasty sent in an army in 951 and removed the ruling family to their own capital in Nanjing, and absorbed the territory.

However, Li Jing suffered a setback from the later zhou dynasty between 956 and 958, and ceded away all of its land north of the Yangtze River. Li Jing became a vassal of the later zhou dynasty.

The Last Ruler Li Yu (Li Houzhu) took over the state upon the death of his father in 961. The song dynasty had conquered the northern part of the state located in Huainan , and thus Li Yu reigned no longer as an emperor but as the Ruler of the State of Jiangnan (Jiangnan guozhu 江南國主). Li Yu managed to maintain a semi-independent status of vassal of the Song but had to finally surrender after fighting for almost a year in 975. He was taken to the Song capital in Kaifeng where he offered his formal surrender to the Song emperor in early 976.

Sovereigns in Southern Tang Dynasty Kingdom 937-975

Temple Names

Posthumous Names

Personal Names

Period of Reigns

Reign periods
Western equivalents

Convention for this kingdom only : Nan (Southern) Tang + posthumous names. Hou Zhu was referred to as Li Hou Zhu|李後主 Lǐ Hòu Zhǔ.

先主 Xiān Zhǔ or Liè Zǔ|烈祖 Liè Zǔ

Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign

李昪 Lǐ Biàn


Shengyuan (昇元 Shēng Yuán)937-943

中主 Zhōng Zhǔ or Yuan Zong|元宗 yuán zōng

Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign

李璟 Lǐ Jǐng


Baoda (保大 Bǎo Dà)943-958

Jiaotai (交泰 Jiāo Tài)958

Zhongxing (中興 Zhōng Xīng)958

Hou Zhu|後主 Hòu Zhǔ or 吳王 Wú Wáng


李煜 Lǐ Yù


(Under Li Yu, the Southern Tang Dynasty did not have its own titles for reign periods)

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