Timeline Description: Emperor Taizong was the second emperor of the Tang dynasty (618 - 907 CE) in China, and widely considered to be one of its most successful rulers. His reign was characterized by prosperity, peace, and a strong military presence. He consolidated power and established domestic peace that would last for three centuries. His "Reign of Zhenguan" was seen as required study for future rulers, as were books containing his thoughts on leadership.
|598||Taizong is born at Wugong (January 28, 598).
Taizong is born to his parents Li Yuan, Duke of Tang, and Duchess Dou at Wugong. He is their second son. He is named Li Shimin.
|613||Li Shimin marries the future Empress Zhangsun.
Li Shimin marries the niece of the official GaoShilian; she later becomes the Empress Zhangsun. He is 14 and she is 12 at their marriage. (Her personal name is unknown.)
|617||Li Shimin helps his father rebel against Emperor Yang.
Li Shimin and his father Li Yuan secretly plan to rebel against Emperor Yang, who is growing increasingly fearful of the Eastern Tujue and of internal threats to his throne. Li Shimin serves as a general in his father's rebellion and helps defeat Sui forces. Throughout the rebellion he serves with distinction and is named first the Duke of Qin and then the Duke of Zhao in recognition of his efforts.
|618||Li Shimin becomes a prince and general in the new Tang dynasty.
Li Yuan establishes the Tang dynasty and renames himself Emperor Gaozu. He appoints Li Shimin as the Prince of Qin and Shangshu Ling (head of the executive branch of the government), and Li Shimin continues to serve as a general in his father's army.
|621||Li Shimin moves to Luoyang to oversee administration in the east.
The emperor gives Li Shimin the control of both military and civil administration in the east. His headquarters are in Luoyang. He sets about consolidating his power and building up a following of talented officials.
|626||Li Shimin kills his brothers in the Mutiny of Xuanwu Gate (July 2, 626).
Li Shimin'stwo brothers, Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji, plot a coup, and Shimin ambushes and kills them.This event becomes known as the "Mutiny of Xuanwu Gate," as Xuanwu Gate is the northern entrance to the palace. In response, Emperor Gaozu names Shimin the crown prince.
|September, 626||Li Shimin becomes Emperor Taizong of Tang.
Emperor Gaozu yields the throne to Li Shimin, who names himself Emperor Taizong, second emperor of the Tang dynasty. This marks the beginning of one of the "golden ages" of Chinese history.
|626||Taizong quells an attack by the northwestern Goturks.
Goturks from the northwest attack Changan, but Taizong agrees to an alliance with the Goturk leader, Qaghan. He further agrees to send tribute to the Goturks, and privately plans to conquer them during his rule.
|626||Taizong reforms the Tang government, leading to prosperity.
Taizong begins reforming the empire's political structure, perfecting the Sui examination system and appointing officials based on merit. He later simplifies the bureaucracy and advocates frugality, which contributes to the Tang Empire's prosperity.
|630||Taizong conquers the Goturks.
Following a brutal winter and a local rebellion that weaken the Goturks, Taizong sends the Tang army to attack the Goturks. He is victorious, and begins to add Central Asia to the empire.
|638||Taizong sponsors the spread of Nestorian Christianity.
In keeping with his previous declaration that the sect of Nestorian Christianity was acceptable, Taizong issues a declaration that protects the Nestorian church. Under his rule, Christianity becomes a minor religion in Tang China.
|639||Taizong encourages the spread of Buddhism.
Taizong begins to construct Buddhist temples on the sites of former battles, which contributes to the spread of Buddhism throughout the empire.
|644||Taizong fails to add a Korean territory to his empire.
Taizong attempts to invade the northern Korean state of Koguryo, while trying to establish sovereignty over extensive territories. Korean armies had previously defeated Sui armies. The campaign ends in disaster.
|July 10, 649||Taizong dies.
After contracting dysentery, Taizong dies at Chang'an.
|708||The Zhenguanzhengyao, an idealized version of Taizong's rule, is written.(708 - 710)
An idealized account of Taizong's rule is recorded in Zhenguanzhengyao, which portrays the emperor as responsive to his talented officials and empathetic towards his people. This document becomes required study for future rulers, as it presents a utopian vision of Chinese government.