Timeline Description: The Tang dynasty (618 - 907), is seen as a high point in Chinese civilization, equal or superior to the Han period. It expanded into a huge empire and saw a flowering of creativity in many fields, inspired by contact with the Middle East. Many historians view the Tang dynasty as a Golden Age in China's history.
|618||Li Yuan establishes the Tang dynasty.
After the Sui dynasty collapses, the country falls into chaos. Li Yuan, a vassal in the Sui court, raises an army and proclaims himself Emperor Gaozu in 618. He changes the state title to Tang, thus establishing the Tang dynasty, while maintaining Chang'an as the capital city. Gaozu works to reform taxation and coinage.
|626||The Mutiny of Xuanwu Gate destabilizes Emperor Gaozu's rule.(July 2, 626)
Gaozu's son Li Shimin kills his two brothers, rivals to his place on the throne, in the Mutiny of Xuanwu Gate. In response, Emperor Gaozu names Shimin the crown prince.
|626||Li Shimin becomes Emperor Taizong of Tang.(September 626)
Emperor Gaozu yields the throne to Li Shimin, who names himself Emperor Taizong, second emperor of the Tang dynasty.
|638||Taizong sponsors the spread of Nestorian Christianity and Buddhism.
Beginning in 638, Taizong issues a declaration that protects the Nestorian church. Under his rule, Christianity becomes a minor religion in Tang China. He later begins to construct Buddhist temples, which contributes to the spread of Buddhism throughout the empire.
|650||Islam is introduced in China.
Sa'adibnWaqqas, a maternal uncle of Muhammad, leads a delegation to China and invites Emperor Gaozong to embrace Islam. To show his admiration for the religion, the Emperor orders China's first mosque to be built in Canton.
|657||The Tang control the Turkish frontier.
After defeating the Turks in 657, the Tang control the Turkish frontier, thus quelling the main military threat to the empire.
|701||Wang Wei is born.
Wang Wei, one of the preeminent Tang poets, is born. An official in the Tang administration, Wang Wei's work as a painter-poet contributes to the flowering of Tang literature during this period.
|710||Liu Zhiji writes the Shitong.
Liu Zhiji writes the Shitong, or "Historical Perspectives," the first comprehensive work on historical criticism in any language.
|712||Emperor Xuanzong initiates a prosperous period.
Emperor Xuanzong comes to the throne in 712 and oversees the rapid growth of the national economy, politics and culture. Chang'an becomes the largest and the most prosperous metropolis in the world.
|755||Northeastern troops rebel against court officials in Chang'an.
Northeastern troops rebel against court officials in the capital city of Chang'an in the An Lushan Rebellion, which causes the deaths of countless people, including members of the royal family. This event marks the beginning of the decline of the Tang dynasty, as separatist forces and internal struggles for power continue to weaken the Tang court.
|819||Poet Han Yu attacks Buddhism.
Classical prose stylist and poet Han Yu composes a polemic attacking Buddhism. This enrages the emperor, who threatens to execute Han Yu, but he eventually banishes him to the frontier.
|845||Emperor Wuzong's persecution of Buddhists reaches its height.
Emperor Wuzong, a devout Daoist, attempts to eliminate Buddhism from China between 843 and 845 by closing thousands of temples in order to take control of their wealth. Buddhism never recovers from this persecution and begins a steady decline in China.
|858||A great flood kills tens of thousands of Chinese.
A great flood along the Grand Canal and on the North China Plain kills tens of thousands of people. The government's inability to respond to the flood contributes to growing resentment among the peasants and lays the groundwork for rebellion.
|875||Huang Chao's rebellion severely weakens the Tang.
Huang Chao leads a powerful rebellion against the Tang beginning in 875, and captures the capital at Chang'an in 881. Although he is ultimately defeated in 883, his revolt severely weakens the government's control over the country, and the dynasty quickly crumbles.
|907||Zhu Wen ends the Tang dynasty.
Huang Chao's rebellion leads to a struggle for power in China, and military leader Zhu Wen emerges victorious. In 907 he forces the emperor to abdicate and proclaims himself the first emperor of the Hou Liang dynasty, thus ending the Tang dynasty.