December 22, 880 – Luoyang, eastern capital of the Tang dynasty, is captured by rebel leader Huang Chao during the reign of Emperor Xizong

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The Tang dynasty, or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty ruling China from 618 to 907, with the Zhou Dynasty briefly ruling between 690 and 705.

It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period.

The Tang capital at Chang’an (present-day Xi’an) was then the world’s most populous city.The Eastern capital was Luoyang

Two censuses of the 7th and 8th centuries estimated the empire’s population at about 50 million people, which grew to an estimated 80 million by the dynasty’s end.

Huang Chao (835 – July 13, 884) was a Chinese smuggler, soldier, and rebel, and is most well known for being the leader of a major rebellion that severely weakened the Tang dynasty.

Huang was a salt smuggler before joining fellow rebel Wang Xianzhi’s rebellion in the mid-870s.

After splitting with Wang, his army turned south and conquered Guangzhou.

He massacred an estimated 120,000 foreigners in Guangzhou.

As winter 880 began, Huang Chao headed toward Luoyang and Chang’an, and issued a declaration that his aim was to capture Emperor Xizong to make Emperor Xizong answer for his crimes.

Luoyang fell quickly, and Emperor Qi withdrew to Tong Pass as well, and submitted an emergency petition stating that his troops were fatigued, hungry, and without supplies, with no apparent imperial response.

On December 22, 880, Huang was welcomed into Luoyang by Emperor Xizong.

Huang Chao then moved into the Tang palace and declared himself the emperor of a new state of Qi.

He made his wife Lady Cao empress.

His troops proceeded to loot and pillage Luoyang numerous times.

Although Huang Chao was one of many rebel leaders in Chinese history, the impact of his rebellion can be compared to that of Taiping Rebellion or the Yellow Turbans.

Huang Chao’s rebellion greatly weakened Tang and it eventually led to the demise of the Tang dynasty in 907, by Huang Chao’s former follower Zhu Wen, when he usurped the throne from Emperor Ai of Tang and initiated several decades of civil war called the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period.

Tony Simon

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