Emperor Huan of Han

Emperor Huan of Han
Emperor of the Han dynasty
Reign1 August 146 – 25 January 168
PredecessorEmperor Zhi of Han
SuccessorEmperor Ling of Han
Died25 January 168 (aged 35–36)
Full name
Era dates
  • Jianhe (建和) 147–149
  • Heping (和平) 150
  • Yuanjia (元嘉) 151–153
  • Yongxing (永興) 153–154
  • Yongshou (永壽) 155–158
  • Yanxi (延熹) 158–167
  • Yongkang (永康) 167
Posthumous name
Xiaohuan (孝桓)
Temple name
Weizong (威宗)
DynastyHan dynasty
FatherLiu Yi
MotherYan Ming
Emperor Huan of Han
Traditional Chinese漢桓帝
Simplified Chinese汉桓帝

Emperor Huan of Han (Chinese: 漢桓帝; pinyin: Hàn Húan Dì; Wade–Giles: Han Huan-ti; 132 – 25 January 168)[1] was the 27th emperor of the Han Dynasty after he was enthroned by the Empress Dowager and her brother Liang Ji on 1 August 146.[2] He was a great-grandson of Emperor Zhang.

After Emperor Zhi was poisoned to death by the powerful official Liang Ji in 146, Liang Ji persuaded his sister, the regent Empress Dowager Liang to make the 14-year-old Liu Zhi, the Marquess of Liwu, who was betrothed to their sister Liang Nüying (梁女瑩), emperor. As the years went by, Emperor Huan, offended by Liang Ji's autocratic and violent nature, became determined to eliminate the Liang family with the help of eunuchs. Emperor Huan succeeded in removing Liang Ji in 159 but this only caused an increase in the influence of these eunuchs over all aspects of the government. Corruption during this period had reached a boiling point. In 166, university students rose up in protest against the government and called on Emperor Huan to eliminate all corrupt officials. Instead of listening, Emperor Huan ordered the arrest of all students involved. Emperor Huan has largely been viewed as an emperor who might have had some intelligence but lacked wisdom in governing his empire; and his reign contributed greatly to the downfall of the Eastern Han Dynasty.

Hou Hanshu (History of the Later Han) recounts that one Roman envoy (perhaps sent by emperor Marcus Aurelius) reached the Chinese capital Luoyang in 166 and was greeted by Emperor Huan.

Emperor Huan died in 168 after reigning for 22 years; he was 36. He was succeeded by Emperor Ling of Han.

Family background and ascension

Liu Zhi was born in 132, to Liu Yi (劉翼), the Marquess of Liwu, and his concubine Yan Ming (匽明).

Liu Yi was the son of Liu Kai (劉開) the Prince of Hejian (and therefore a grandson of Emperor Zhang), and he had initially been made the Prince of Pingyuan as the heir of his cousin Liu Sheng (劉勝) by Empress Dowager Deng Sui, the regent for Emperor An, who was impressed with his abilities. That led to rumors that Empress Deng was looking to replace Emperor An, Prince Yi's cousin, with Prince Yi. After Empress Dowager Deng died in 121, Emperor An, bearing a grudge against Prince Yi, demoted him to the rank of Marquess of Duxiang and exiled him to his father's principality. During the reign of Emperor Shun, Prince Kai requested that he be allowed to give Liwu County, part of his principality, to his son, and Emperor Shun permitted it. Marquess Yi thus became the Marquess of Liwu.

By 146, Liu Zhi had inherited his father's title and was betrothed to Liang Nüying, the younger sister of the regent Empress Dowager Liang Na and her violent and corrupt brother, Grand Marshal Liang Ji. That year, Liang Ji, bearing a grudge against the eight-year-old Emperor Zhi for calling him an "arrogant general," murdered the young emperor by poison. The officials largely favored Emperor Zhi's first cousin Liu Suan (劉蒜) the Prince of Qinghe, who was described as a solemn and proper man. Prince Suan's age was not given in history, though he appeared to be an adult by this time. However, Liang Ji was hesitant to yield authority to an able emperor. Because Marquess Zhi was betrothed to his sister and relatively young, Liang Ji felt that he could control him and insisted on making him emperor. Marquess Zhi took the throne later that year as Emperor Huan.

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Hàn Hoân-tè
Deutsch: Han Huandi
français: Han Huandi
한국어: 후한 환제
Bahasa Indonesia: Kaisar Huan dari Han
Bahasa Melayu: Maharaja Huan dari Han
Nederlands: Han Huandi
日本語: 桓帝 (漢)
norsk: Han Huandi
português: Huandi
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Car Huan od Hana
українська: Лю Чжі (Хань)
Tiếng Việt: Hán Hoàn Đế
粵語: 劉志
中文: 汉桓帝