Three Kingdoms History: Chronology

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Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo yanyi) Chronology

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Presenting a Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo yanyi) chronology of major events by . Report any suggested events or possible errors to either of us using the e-mail links on the right-hand menu.

Chronology of Main Events according to Sanguo yanyi

Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel chronology, by .


Corresponding Events

AD 168

Death of Emperor Huan (Liu Zhi), ascension of Emperor Ling (Liu Hong)

AD 184

Yellow Scarves uprising led by Zhang Jiao begins.

AD 188

Conflict between Empress He and Empress Dong over the succession of Emperor Ling.

AD 189

Death of Emperor Ling (May 13th), reign of Emperor Shao (Liu Bian) begins (May 15th), Yuan Wei (uncle of Yuan Shao) appointed as Imperial Guardian, He Jin and Yuan Shao defend the Han Sovereignty against the Ten Regular Attendants. Dong Zhuo is summoned to the capital of Luo Yang. Dong Zhuo deposes Emperor Shao and enthrones Emperor Xian (Liu Xie) on September 28th. Yuan Shao and Cao Cao oppose Dong Zhuo.

AD 190

Yuan Shao forms the coalition against Dong Zhuo. Dong Zhuo leaves and burns the Capital Luo Yang and moves to Chang An. Sun Jian finds the Imperial Jade Seal in the burned down Luo Yang.

AD 191

Yuan Shao battles Gongsun Zan and takes control of the provinces northeast of the Yellow River. Sun Jian and Liu Biao wage war in Jing Zhou.

AD 192

Lü Bu kills Dong Zhuo. Cao Cao becomes protector of Yan Zhou and receives the surrender of the Yellow Scarves in Qing Zhou.

AD 194

Liu Bei aids Kong Rong against a Yellow Scarves attack. Liu Bei assumes control of Xu Zhou.

AD 195

Dong Zhuo’s generals revolt, Emperor Xian is moved from Chang An and requests aid from Cao Cao.

AD 196

Cao Cao brings the Emperor to Xu Chang in October.

AD 197

Lü Bu attacks Liu Bei; Liu Bei takes refuge with Cao Cao. Yuan Shu declares himself Emperor.

AD 198

Cao Cao battles Yuan Shao and Zhang Xiu.

AD 199

Cao Cao has Lü Bu executed. Emperor Xian gives Dong Cheng a secret edict. Yuan Shu dies.

AD 200

Dong Cheng and his household are executed by Cao Cao. Cao Cao attacks Liu Bei. Liu Bei takes refuge with Yuan Shao. Cao Cao captures Guan Yu. Sun Ce dies and Sun Quan accepts Han title. Yuan Shao defeated at Guan Du by Cao Cao.

AD 201

Yuan Shao flees to Ji Zhou, Liu Bei finds refuge with Liu Biao in Jing Zhou.

AD 202/4

Yuan Shao dies, Cao Cao attacks Yuan Shao’s sons and conquers the city of Ye.

AD 205/8

Yuan Shao’s sons flee to the Wu Huan people. Cao Cao defeats the Wu Huan with Gou Jia’s help and returns to Ye.

AD 207/8

Conflict between Liu Bei and Liu Biao’s wife Lady Cai. Liu Bei meets Shan Fu in Xin Ye. Cao Cao prepares to attack Jing Zhou. Shan Fu recommends Zhuge Liang to Liu Bei, Liu Bei seeks out Zhuge Liang. Sun Quan attacks Jing Zhou. Conflict between Liu Biao’s sons, Liu Qi and Liu Zhong. Zhuge Liang’s first battle. Lady Cai plans to cede Jing Zhou to Cao Cao. Liu Bei flees to Xia Kou, Liu Biao dies. Lu Su travels to Xia Kou to seek Zhuge Liang. Zhuge Liang goes to Jiang Dong to meet with Zhou Yu to arrange an alliance against Cao Cao. In the Battle of Chi Bi, Sun Quan and Liu Bei score a great victory against Cao Cao.

AD 209/10

Liu Bei occupies Jiang Ling and Gong An, Liu Qi dies. Liu Bei occupies southern Jing Zhou. Liu Bei marries Sun Quan’s sister Sun Ren. Lu Su demands the return of Jing Zhou to Sun Quan. Liu Bei leaves Jiang Dong with Sun Ren.

AD 211

Zhou Yu dies. Cao Cao kills Ma Teng and threatens Han Zhong. Han Zhong’s ruler, Zhang Lu, threatens the lands of Ba-Shu. Ba-Shu ruler Liu Zhang sends Zhang Song to Cao Cao for help. Zhang Song visits Liu Bei.

AD 212

Liu Bei marches into Ba-Shu, Zhuge Liang governs Jing Zhou.

AD 212-13

Cao Cao invades Jiang Dong and assumes the Nine Dignities of a patriarchal lord. Liu Bei enters Ba-Shu.

AD 214

Zhuge Liang goes to Ba-Shu; Guan Yu governs Jing Zhou. Liu Bei takes control of Ba-Shu.

AD 215

Sun Quan demands the return of Jing Zhou. Cao Cao conquers Han Zhong, Zhang Lu surrenders.

AD 216

Cao Cao becomes King of Wei.

AD 217

Cao Cao attacks Sun Quan.

AD 218

Revolt against Cao Cao is crushed in XU Chang. Huang Zhong kills Xiahou Yuan, endangering Cao Cao’s control of Han Zhong.

AD 219

Cao Cao withdraws from Han Zhong to Chang An. Liu Bei proclaims himself King of Han Zhong. Guan Yu takes Xiang Yang and Fan, Sun Quan takes Jing Zhou. Guan Yu defeated.

AD 220

Lü Meng executes Guan Yu. Cao Cao dies. On November 24th, Emperor Xian abdicates to Cao Pi, who establishes the Wei Dynasty.

AD 221

Liu Bei proclaims himself Emperor of Shu in May and marches against Sun Quan in August. Sun Quan accepts the suzerainty of the Wei Dynasty.

AD 222

Liu Bei suffers a crushing defeat at Yi Ling because of Lu Xun’s brilliant defences. Wei invades Jing Zhou.

AD 223

Liu Bei dies and Liu Shan succeeds him. Sima Yi invades Shu, Zhuge Liang revives the alliance between Shu and Wu against Wei.

AD 224

Cao Pi invades Wu.

AD 225

Zhuge Liang subdues the Nan Man people in the south.

AD 226

Cao Pi dies. Cao Rui succeeds him as Emperor of Wei. Zhuge Liang persuades Liu Shan to wage war against Wei. Sima Yi leads the Wei army against Shu.

AD 228

Meng Da killed, Zhuge Liang launches a northern campaign against Wei.

AD 229

Sun Quan proclaims himself Wu Emperor.

AD 230

Wei commander Cao Zhen’s campaign fails due to heavy rain.

AD 231

Cao Zhen dies; Zhuge Liang is recalled from the field. Zhuge Liang resumes the war against Wei.

AD 234

Zhuge Liang dies at Wu Zhang. Shu armies retreat to Cheng Du. Wei Yan assassinated by Ma Dai.

AD 239

Cao Fang succeeds Cao Rui as Wei Emperor. Cao Zhen’s son Cao Shuang becomes co-regent with Sima Yi. Decade of conflict between Cao Shuang and Sima Yi begins.

AD 249

Cao Shuang is killed; Sima Yi seizes control of the Wei kingdom. Jiang Wei, aided by Xiahou Ba leads a new campaign against Wei.

AD 251/52

Sima Yi dies, Sun Quan dies, war between Wei and Wu.

AD 254

Sima Yi’s son Sima Shi deposes of Cao Fang and enthrones Cao Mao.

AD 255

Commanders Wen Qin and Guanqiu Jian revolt against the coup in Wei. Sima Shi dies and Sima Zhao, his younger brother, takes over control.

AD 257

Sima Zhao defeats his opponents; Shu abandons the war against Wei.

AD 258

Sun Chen deposes Sun Liang, the present Wu Emperor. Sun Xiu assumes power and executes Sun Chen. Wei Commander Deng Ai leads the campaign against Shu.

AD 260

Cao Mao assassinated, Cao Huan assumes the Wei throne. Sima Zhao appointed as Prime Minister.

AD 263

Wei Campaign against Shu threatens Cheng Du.

AD 264

Liu Shan, Emperor of Shu, surrenders to Deng Ai. Sima Zhao marches to Chang An. Sima Zhou names Sima Yan his heir and dies.

AD 265-80

The Sima clan establishes a new dynasty, the Jin. War against Wu. Sun Hao becomes last Emperor of Wu. With Lu Kang’s death, Wu’s last hope dies and Jin conquers the southland. China is reunited under Sima Yan.

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January 16, 2023