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Sui (swā), dynasty of China that ruled from 581 to 618. This short-lived dynasty reunified China in 589 after 400 years of division and laid the foundation for further consolidation under the T'ang dynasty. The Sui emperors, Yang Chien (reigned 581–604) and his son Yang Kuang (reigned 604–618), extended the empire, reorganized and centralized the state bureaucracy, and formulated a legal code. The Grand Canal, built to link the two great rivers of China—the Huang He and the Chang—enabled the central government to draw on the rich resources of the lower Chang valley and greatly facilitated the integration of the nation. The Great Wall was refortified, and Chang'an, Luoyang, and Yangzhou were reconstructed. Faced with internal rebellion, Yang Kuang ended his campaigns to conquer the Korean kingdom of Koguryo (612–14). After his defeat by the Eastern Turks (615), he fled to S China, where he was assassinated (618).


See A. F. Wright, The Sui Dynasty: The Unification of China, A.D. 581–617 (1978).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a dynasty in China that ruled from 581 to 618. The Sui dynasty was founded by the military leader Yang Chien, who ruled as Emperor Wenti from 581 to 604. In 589, Wenti united South and North China, ending the domination of the north by non-Chinese peoples. He introduced reforms to centralize the country’s government and, in the early part of his reign, made some concessions to the peasantry.

Under Emperor Yang Kuang (also Yang-ti), who ruled from 605 to 617, the main part of the Grand Canal was constructed. Yang Kuang waged aggressive wars against Korea between 611 and 614, against the Vietnamese government of Van Xuan in the south, and against T’uyühun and Turkic tribes in the west. His reign was marked by extreme despotism and intensified exploitation of the peasants.

The Sui dynasty fell as a result of peasant uprisings between 611 and 618 and feudal internecine strife. In 618 power was seized by Li Yuan, vicegerent of T’aiyüan (the present-day province of Shansi), who founded the T’ang dynasty.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(Speech User Interface) See VUI.
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