Emperor Yuanzong of southern tang

Emperor Yuanzong of southern tang (南唐元宗), also known as Zhongzhu of southern tang (南唐中主, literally "the middle lord of southern tang"), personal name Li Jing (李璟, later changed to 李景), né Xu Jingtong (徐景通) (r. 943–961) was the second ruler of the southern tang Kingdom, one of a number of kingdoms that existed in southern China during the five dynasties and ten kingdoms Period in the tenth century.

Ascension to the Throne

Li Jing's father, Li Bian, posthumously known as Xianzhu (先主), founded the southern tang in 937 when he usurped the Wu Kingdom from within. Li came to the throne upon his father's death in 943.

Territorial Expansion

Of all of the leaders of the Ten Kingdoms, Li Jing was one of the most successful at expanding his domains. He did not wait long to begin that process. The year of his elevation to the throne, the neighboring Kingdom of Min suffered internal turmoil when a member of the ruling family rebelled and created the separate state of Yin. The Min Kingdom asked the southern tang for assistance. Rather than offering assistance, Li Jing ordered that southern tang forces move in and annex the rebel territory. By 945, the southern tang had incorporated virtually all of Min into its own domains.

In 951, another neighboring kingdom was experiencing internal turmoil, this one on the southwest border. The ruling family of Chu was having internal dissention, which gave rise to disorder. Li Jing took advantage of this turmoil to move in and annexed the kingdom to the growing southern tang.

New Capital

Li Jing built a new capital for the southern tang in what is now known as Nanjing.

Relations with the North

The later zhou dynasty held power in the north from 951. It was the first Han Chinese dynasty to rule the north since 923 after a succession of three Shatuo Turk dynasties. The later zhou dynasty was looking to expand its influence southward in an effort to reunify the Chinese realm. Feeling the pressure from the north, Li Jing accepted the overlordship of the later zhou dynasty in 958 and accepted the latter's era name.


Li Jing died in 961, three years after accepting overlordship of the later zhou dynasty and the year following the formation of the song dynasty, which would eventually reunify nearly all of China. He was succeeded by his son, Li Houzhu.

Last update 20-06-2012

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