Emperor Taizong

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About Emperor Taizong

Reign Years:626- 649 A.D

Given Name: Li Shimin

Reign Name:Emperor Taizong

Emperor Taizong – Tang Dynasty

Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty is an epitome of a true politician and strategist who ruled in the 7th century. Li Shimin, most commonly known as Emperor Taizong (The Prince of Qin), was the Tang Dynasty’s second ruler.
His reign was from 626-649 C.E. and was considered as one of the successful and versatile eras of the Tang Dynasty. Emperor Taizong was regarded as one of the greatest leaders in Chinese history.
He is known for expanding the Tang empire and stabilizing his government and China’s economy during his reign.
The Tang Dynasty (618-907 C.E) lasted for 289 years as it maintained its status as the golden age of China. Using good politics, reformation, and proliferation of culture, this imperial dynasty was quite a reputation.
It was popular in China and its citizens, but all the more, it has attracted cities and/or countries across Asia.
There were many rulers in the Tang Dynasty with a series of interregnum in between. While these rulers are one of a kind, there is no doubt that China has seen another glory in the time of the Tang Dynasty’s second ruler.

Who is Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty?

As the Prince of Qin

Emperor Taizong focused on military expeditions while he was the Prince of Qin. These expeditions eradicated the years-long tensions in the Northwest of Tang. Moreover, he was also successful in expanding the dynasty’s territory.
However, because of Taizong’s success and his influence getting stronger, his brothers became envious and threatened. Prince Li Jaincheng feared that Taizong would replace him in the succession line and orchestrated a coup to kill Taizong.
But Taizong knew this plan and informed their father of such plans. The coup failed, and Taizong was forced to kill his brothers. This event was historically known as the Xuanwu Gate Incident.

Proclaiming the Throne

After the Xuanwu Gate Incident, Taizong became the Prince and heir-apparent. Two months later, Gaozu abdicated his throne to Taizong. From being Li Shimin, he named himself Emperor Taizong.
Some historians believe that he gained the throne by forcing his father to abdicate the throne. However, some debunked this by claiming that it was because of his achievements as the Prince of Qin.
Emperor Taizong named his reign “The Reign of Zhenguan” or the successful and glorious reign.

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The Legacy of Taizong

Although Emperor Gaozu was considered an effective ruler, Taizong believed that there was more to be improved, especially in China’s economy.
Infrastructure-wise, the Tang Empire was left with the Sui Dynasty’s developments. It took years to settle the conflicts from the previous dynasty before the economy flourished. This is because the Grand Canal system was made the mode of transportation for products exchange between North and South.
They also used the Silk Road as the means for foreign trade. Not only did the economy prosper, but there was also a great influence on culture and religion.
Emperor Taizong successfully expanded the empire by defeating the Gokturk and making an alliance with them. Moreover, he was able to conquer empires called the Tuyuhun and Tuhan.

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End of an Era

The Tang dynasty emperor contracted dysentery (an intestinal inflammation) and died in 647 C.E. His son Li Zhi, or Emperor Gaozong, continued his father’s wars, specifically against the Turks.
Moreover, after his death, all of his concubines shaved their heads and went to live their lives in a monastery.
Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty became the model of everyone who became an emperor after him. He was often praised for his policies and awarded posthumously in Chinese history. It was said that no one ever exceeded him in being the Chinese dynasty emperor.
The other Chinese dynasty emperors who came after him tried to meet the standard he has set, but they have failed for being blinded to the power that comes with the responsibility of emperorship.
On the other hand, Taizong was constantly faithful to the throne and its responsibilities even before he was named Emperor Taizong and until his death.
Emperor Taizong was regarded with honor, the model of a great emperor inside Chinese history and outside of it.