Emperor Taizu of Later Zhou

Emperor Taizu of the later zhou dynasty 後周太祖 (904–954) was born as Guo Wei 郭威. He was a well-educated Chinese who served the later han (five dynasties) as Assistant Military Commissioner. He founded the later zhou dynasty in 951.

Service under the later han (five dynasties)

The later han (five dynasties) was founded by a Shatuo Turk by the name of Liu Zhiyuan, posthumously known as Gaozu of later han (five dynasties). Guo Wei was already familiar with life under the Shatuo Turks as he had lived under their rule since he was nineteen years old. He served as the Assistant Military Commissioner to the founder of the later han (five dynasties). However, when a teenager assumed the throne in 948, court intrigue enabled Guo to usurp the throne in a coup and declare himself the founding Emperor of the later zhou dynasty on New Years Day in 951.


He was the first Han Chinese Emperor in northern China since 923. His rule was able and he passed reforms that attempted to relieve pressures on China's massive peasantry. However, he died from an illness three years into his reign in 954.

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