In 200, the 18 year old Sun Quan inherited the very divided lands of Yangzhou from his brother Sun Ce. His administration included many officers who remained after his brother's death, such as Zhou Yu, Zhang Zhao, Huang Gai, and many others. He would stabilize the fragile union of Yangzhou that his brother started.
Unlike his competitors, Sun Quan did not really want to be the Emperor of China. He twice considerred surrendering to Wei.
In 208, Cao Cao led an army to conquer Wu. Sun Quan found out that Cao Cao would not have let him live if he surrendered, and so he formed an aliance with Liu Bei of Shu and defeated the army of Cao Cao at the Battle of Red Cliff.
In 220, Cao Pi, son of Cao Cao, seized the throne and proclaimed himself to be the Emperor of China, ending the nominal rule of the Han dynasty. At first Sun Quan wanted to be a king serving the Wei dynasty under Cao Pi, but he failed to make a deal, and so in 222, he declared himself to be the founder of the Kingdom of Wu. It was not until the year 229 that he formally declared himself to be emperor.
Because of his skill in gathering important, honorable men to his cause, Sun Quan was able to delegate authority to capable figures. This primary strength served him well in gaining the support of the common people and surrounding himself with capable generals.
Sun Quan died in 252 at the age of 71. He enjoyed the longest reign among all the founders of the Three Kingdoms. He was succeeded as Emperor of Wu by his son Sun Liang.