Emperor Taizu of Jin

Emperor Taizu of Jin (simplified Chinese: 完颜阿骨打; traditional Chinese: 完顏阿骨打; pinyin: Wányán Āgǔdǎ; Han name Chinese: 完顏旻; pinyin: Wányán Mín) (August 1, 1068 - September 19, 1123) was Emperor of Jin from January 28, 1115 to September 19, 1123. He was the chieftain of the Jurchen (女真) Wanyan (完顏) tribe, founder and first emperor of the jin dynasty (金朝). He was the younger brother of Wanyan Wuyashu (完颜鳥雅束). Aguda was given the temple name Taizu (太祖).

The name [Wanyan] Aguda is transcribed [Wan-yen] A-ku-ta in Wade-Giles; the alternative but official spelling Akutta (possibly from reconstruction of Jurchen language) appears in a very small number of books as well.

Aguda was born to Shizu, Wanyan Helibo (完顏劾里缽), in 1068. He was well known in his tribe for bravery and participated in numerous campaigns against rival Jurchen tribes at the command of the Liao Dynasty. In 1109, during the height of a widespread famine, Aguda assisted his father Helibo to absorb famished warriors from other tribes to strengthen his own clan. Later, he fought wars against other Jurchen clans and succeeded to unify all Jurchens under Wanyan leadership. In 1113, Aguda succeeded Wuyashu as leader of his tribe, or Dubojilie (都勃极烈). Like other Jurchens, Aguda loathed what he considered the exploitations of his tribesmen by corrupt Liao officials. He gained fame when in 1112, when Liao Emperor Tianzuodi (辽天祚帝) undertook a fishing expedition in Jurchen territory and decreed all the chieftains to dance for him, Aguda was the only person who refused to accept the emperor's order.

In 1114, Aguda sent spies to Liao and prepared to revolt against the Khitan regime, which he considered decadent. His chief advisors were Nianhan (粘罕; later known by his Chinese name, Zonghan 宗翰; 1080-1136 or 1137), Wushi (also known by his Chinese name, Xiyin), and Gushe (骨括, or Hushe, 胡舍; a nephew or cousin of Aguda).

In September 1114, Aguda rallied his tribesmen (around 2,500 men) at Liushui (流水) (modern day Lalin River near Fuyu Weizitun, Jilin province) and began open rebellion. His cavalry troops captured Ningjiangzhou(宁江州) (modern day Fuyu, Jilin province) and defeated a 7000-strong Liao troops at Battle of Chuhedian (出河店) in November. In January 1115, following a series of military successes, Aguda proclaimed himself emperor of the new jin dynasty. In August, his army conquered the major city of Huanglongfu (黄龍府) (modern day Nongan, Jilin province) and defeated 700,000 Liao troops with only 20,000 Jurchen cavalrymen at the Battle of Hubudagang (戶步達崗). In 1116, Aguda completed the conquest of the entire Liaodong Peninsula. Between 1119 and 1122, Aguda's army repeatedly defeated Liao armies and captured all of Liao's five capitals.

Since the Jurchen were enemies of the Liao, the northern song dynasty considered them their natural allies. In 1117, the Song sent emissaries to the Jurchen, ostensibly to buy horses, but in reality to negotiate an alliance against the Liao. Between 1117 and 1123, seven Song delegations visited the Jurchen, and six Jurchen embassies went to the Song capital Kaifeng. According to the Alliance on the Sea (海上之盟), which resulted from Aguda's embassy to the Song in 1119, Song troops would attack Liao from the south. In return, Jurchen troops would return the sixteen Yanyun states to Song.

During the war against the Liao, Aguda also took time to establish the new feudal governmental system based upon Jurchen tribal customs. He also organized the national agriculture with a collectivist system known as the Meng'an-Mouke (猛安謀克). Furthermore, Aguda absorbed elements of Chinese culture and ordered his "chancellor" Wanyan Xiyin (完颜希尹) to develop a unique Jurchen writing system.

Wanyan Aguda died in August 1123, at the age of 56, a few months after the Jin and Song Empires signed a treaty whereby the two empires recognizing each other as equal, and the Song agreed to pay to in the Jin an annual tribute of 200,000 taels of silver and 300,000 bolts of silk. His younger brother Wanyan Wuqimai (完颜吴乞买; Han name 完颜晟; temple name Taizong) succeeded in capturing Liao emperor Tianzuodi and destroying the Liao Dynasty in 1125. Aguda was later buried in Ruiling (睿陵) in Dafang Mountain (大房山) outside Zhongdu (中都) (modern day Beijing ).


Mounted statues of Aguda and his chief commander Nianhan have been erected on the grounds of the jin dynasty History Museum (金上京歷史博物馆) at the site of the old Jin capital of Shangjing, near today's Acheng, Heilongjiang .

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