Chinese History: December 8, 395 – Later Yan is defeated by its former vassal Northern Wei at the Battle of Canhe Slope

Battle of Canhe Slope

Battle of Canhe Slope

The Later Yan (384-407 or 409) was a Murong–Xianbei state, located in modern-day northeast China, during the era of the Sixteen Kingdoms in China.

All rulers of the Later Yan declared themselves “emperors”.

The Northern Wei was a dynasty founded by the Tuoba (Tabgach) clan of the Xianbei, which ruled northern China from 386 to 534 AD, during the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties.

Described as “part of an era of political turbulence and intense social and cultural change”, the Northern Wei Dynasty is particularly noted for unifying northern China in 439: this was also a period of introduced foreign ideas, such as Buddhism, which became firmly established.

The Northern Wei were referred to as “Plaited Barbarians” by writers of the Southern dynasties, who considered themselves the true upholders of Chinese culture.

The Battle of Canhe Slope occurred on December 8, 395 in what is now Liangcheng County, Inner Mongolia.

Later Yan forces were led by its crown prince Murong Bao and enjoyed some initial successes, but after being frustrated by the containment strategy of Northern Wei’s prince Tuoba Gui (the later Emperor Daowu), withdrew.

Tuoba Gui then gave chase and crushed Later Yan forces at Canhe Slope. He captured a large number of Later Yan forces, but in fear that releasing them would allow a future Later Yan campaign against Northern Wei, slaughtered them.

The battle reversed the power relations between Later Yan and Northern Wei. After Later Yan’s emperor Murong Chui (Emperor Wucheng) died in 396 and Murong Bao succeeded to the throne (as Emperor Huimin), Northern Wei would launch a debilitating campaign of conquest against Later Yan, and by 398 had captured most of Later Yan’s territory, reducing Later Yan to a small regional state.

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