The Rise and Fall of the King­dom of Bal­hae

China Scenic - - History -

In 690, Wu Ze­tian (Em­press of the Gao­zong Em­peror of Tang Dy­nasty) pro­claimed her­self Em­pire, and changed the dy­nasty name from Tang to Zhou (690–705). Six years later, the Khi­tan peo­ple of the Yingzhou re­gion de­clared a re­bel­lion against Wu Ze­tian’s rule. The Sumo peo­ple, un­der the lead­er­ship of Sumo leader Dae Jung- sang and Bais­han leader Ge­olsa Biu, took this op­por­tu­nity to cross the Liao River, and re­turn to their home­land.

To pre­vent the royal court from be­ing caught be­tween the ham­mer and the anvil, rulers of the Zhou Dy­nasty force­fully re­pressed the Khi­tans, while also show­ing ge­nial­ity to­ward the Mohe peo­ple, par­don­ing the pun­ish­ments for their trea­sons of trav­el­ing east with­out per­mis­sion, and grant­ing royal ti­tles to Dae Jung- sang and Ge­olsa Biu. How­ever, the two lead­ers re­fused the par­dons, and con­tin­ued their re­volt on the Zhou Dy­nasty.

Af­ter her at­tempts at peace had proven fruit­less, Wu Ze­tian sent Gen­eral Li Kaigu to cru­sade against the Mohe peo­ple. Ge­olsa Biu died in bat­tle, and Dae Jung-sang suf­fered the same fate while es­cap­ing, af­ter which the peo­ple of both tribes scat­tered and fled. For­tu­nately, Dae Jung- sang had a son, named Dae Jo-yeong, who proved to be a skilled strate­gist; he led the re­main­ing sol­diers to de­feat the Zhou forces, then seized the chance to gather the rem­nants of Ge­olsa Biu and a por­tion of the Goguryeo peo­ple, cap­tur­ing a key lo­ca­tion on the up­per reaches of the Mu­dan River.

In 698, Dae Jo-yeong es­tab­lished the King­dom of Zhen, which at the time had a pop­u­la­tion of less than 700,000, by no means a large host, but the Zhou

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