Three Kingdoms

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Three Kingdoms,

period of Chinese history from 220 to 265, after the collapse of the Han dynasty. The period takes its name from the three states into which China was divided. Wei occupied the north. South of Wei were Shu in the west and Wu in the east. Each of the states steadily expanded, especially Shu, which moved into modern Yunnan and Myanmar. Wei, however, later steadily increased its strength and crushed Shu in 264. When a usurper seized the Wei throne in 265 and founded the TsinTsin
or Chin
, dynasty of China that ruled from 265 to 420, after the period of the Three Kingdoms. It was divided into two phases: the Western Tsin (265–317) and the Eastern Tsin (317–420).
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 dynasty, the Three Kingdoms period officially came to an end. The Tsin did not conquer the Wu, however until 280. Disorders during the Three Kingdoms period included not only warfare between the Chinese states but also incursions into the north by the Hsiung-nu. The era is fondly regarded in China as exemplifying the highest ideals of chivalry and has been depicted in the adventurous novel San Kuo Chih Yen I [romance of the three kingdoms]. The disorder and disunity of the time caused the eclipse of Confucianism, but opened Chinese culture to new influences, such as native Taoism and Indian Buddhism. From India also came many advances in scientific learning. As knowledge of the outside world grew, maps were improved and a grid system of coordinates was invented. Art was predominantly Buddhist in inspiration and showed many central Asian traits.

Three Kingdoms

 

a period in the history of China (220 to 265 or 220 to 280), named for the number of kingdoms that formed after the disintegration of the Han Empire in 220. It was characterized by political fractionalization and incessant strife among the three kingdoms of Wei, Wu, and Shu. In the first half of its existence, the Shu kingdom waged successful wars under the command of the illustrious Chu-ko Liang (died 234). Subsequently, the Shu kingdom was seriously weakened by internal conflicts and in 263 was annexed by the Wei kingdom. In 265 power in the Wei kingdom was seized by the general Ssu-ma Yen, who founded the Western Ch’in dynasty (265–316) in the same year and conquered Wu in 280.