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Liu Bei

zh-cn:刘备 zh-tw:劉備

Liu Bei was the founder of the Shu Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He was portrayed as a virtuous man in the Romance of Three Kingdoms.

Table of contents
1 Various names in different forms
2 Biography
3 Related Articles

Various names in different forms

Family name and given name

Courtesy name


Liu Bei was a very distant relative to the royalty of the Han Empire. With virtually no connection with the ruling family, he rose to power by fighting the Yellow Turban Rebellion. While Cao Cao became the prime minister of the Han Empire and the de facto ruler of northern China, he was leading a wandering army around Shu (now Sichuan).

He invited Zhuge Liang, the strategist with the best reputation of the age, as his minister. Zhuge Liang suggested that they ally with Sun Quan, the king of Wu, to resist the power of Cao Cao. This strategy worked most evidently in 208, when the Liu-Sun alliance defeated the invasion of Cao Cao at the Battle of Chi Bi.

With the help of Zhuge Liang, he became a warlord of Shu with the title, King of Hanzhong.

In 220, Cao Pi, son of Cao Cao, overthrew the Han Royals and founded the Kingdom of Wei. Liu Bei dismissed Cao Pi's action as illegal and proclaimed himself an Emperor of the Han Dynasty in 221.

Most Chinese historians do not regard Liu Bei as an Emperor of the Han Dynasty. They call his "empire" the Shu-Han Dynasty, commonly known as the Kingdom of Shu, and call Liu Bei the founder of the new kingdom.

Liu Bei had two sworn brothers: Zhang Fei and Guan Yu. After Guan Yu was killed in a battle against the State of Wu (later the Kingdom of Wu) in 219, Liu Bei tried to revenge by leading an invasion in 221 of Wu. He was mostly successful until the Battle of Yiling when he was defeated by the Wu general Lu Yi (Xun).

He died of sickness in 223 and was succeeded by his son Liu Chan.

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