Gonghe Regency

The Gonghe Regency (Chinese: 共和; pinyin: Gòng Hé) was an interregnum period in Chinese history from 841 to 828 BC, after King Li of Zhou was exiled by his nobles until the ascension of his son, King Xuan of Zhou. (The Cambridge History of Ancient China gives the starting date as 842. )

According to the han dynasty historian Sima Qian (who interpreted Gonghe as 'joint harmony' in his Records of the Grand Historian), during the Gonghe regency, the zhou dynasty was ruled jointly by two dukes—the Duke of Zhou (not to be confused with the first and most well-known Duke of Zhou, who must have been his ancestor) and the Duke of Shao (召公—similarly, not to be confused with the first and most well-known Duke of Shao). But according to the Bamboo Annals, the Gonghe regency was ruled by a single person—the Count of Gong (共伯), whose name was He (和). This reading has almost certainly been confirmed by a bronze inscription.

The first year of the Gonghe regency, 841 BC, is highly significant in ancient Chinese history, in that Sima Qian was able to construct a year-by-year chronology back to that point, but he and subsequent historians were unable to confidently date any earlier events in Chinese history. Sima himself found the information about earlier dates in his sources to be unreliable and contradictory and so chose not to adopt them in his work. The government of the People's Republic of China sponsored the Xia Shang Zhou Chronology Project, a multidisciplinary project that sought to give better estimates for dates prior to 841 BC, but the project's draft report, published in 2000, has been criticized by various scholars.

Although the term gonghe was borrowed into modern Chinese for the word 'republic', the Gonghe period during the zhou dynasty does not confer any republican connotations.

Last update 19-06-2012

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