Sunday, October 5, 2008

Battle of Zhuolu

The Battle of Zhuolu is the second battle in Chinese history as recorded in the ''Records of the Grand Historian'', fought in the 26th century BC between the Yellow Emperor and . The battle was fought in Zhuolu, near the present-day border of Hebei and Liaoning. The victory for the Yellow Emperor here is often credited as the establishment of the Han Chinese civilization, although almost everything from that time period is considered legendary.


In prehistoric China, the tribes of Yellow Emperor rose to power on the plains of Guanzhong and merged with Yan Emperor's tribes following the battle of Banquan. The Huaxia tribes, as the merged tribes were known, spread along the Yellow River towards the East China Sea. The tribes, led by , developed near the present-day borders of Shandong, Hebei, and Henan and expanded towards the west. The Huaxia and Jiuli tribes were in conflict over the fertile land in the Yellow River valley, and thus they fought in the plains of Zhoulu. Chi-You's tribes were fierce in war and skilled at making weapons; allying themselves with the Kua Fu tribe and the Sanmiao tribe, they first attacked the Yan Emperor's tribe, driving them into the lands of the Yellow Emperor. The Yellow Emperor was angered by this and went to war with Chi-You.

The battle

The details of the battle are mostly seen as mythical by historians, but if such a battle did exist, these are the events that probably happened:
It was said that Chi-You led 72 to 81 tribes against the Huaxia tribes in a thick fog. The Huaxia sent tribes under the totems of the Bear, ''Pi'' , Wolf, Leopard, and others in retaliation, but due to the fog, they initially suffered several defeats. To counter the fog, the Yellow Emperor brought forth the South Pointing Chariot , a geared mechanism able to point in one constant direction designed by himself and built for him by the craftsman Fang Bo. In addition, the XuannĂ¼ tribe helped the Huaxia forces by blowing horns and hitting drums, thus scaring the enemy. The Huaxia forces were ultimately victorious, killing Chi-You in Hebei.


According to Chinese mythological book ''Shan Hai Jing'', Chi-You, with the Giants, s and evil spirits, rebelled against Huang Di at Zhuolu plains. Both sides used magical powers, but Chi-You had the advantage of forged swords and halberds. Using his powers, Chi-You covered the battle field in thick fog. Only with the help of a magical compass chariot could Huang Di's troops find their way through the mist. He also used his daughter NĂ¼ Ba, the Goddess of Drought, to harm Chi-You's troops. Later on, Chi-You suffered more defeats and was captured. Only Yinglong, the winged dragon, being a brave servant of Huang Di, dared to slay him. Chi-You's chains were transformed into oak trees, while Yinglong was cursed to remain on earth forever.


After the battle, the Huaxia tribe settled in the Yellow River plains known as Zhongyuan, and the Yellow Emperor established the Huaxia capital in Zhuolu. The Yellow Emperor and the Yan Emperor were often credited for allowing the Han Chinese civilization to thrive due to the battle, and many Chinese people call themselves "descendants of Yan and Huang" to this day.

The Jiuli tribe, however, were chased out of the central region of China, and was split into two smaller splinter tribes, the and the . The Miao moved southwest and the Li moved southeast as the Huaxia race expanded southwards. During the course of Chinese history, the Miao and the Li were regarded as "barbarians" by the increasingly technologically and culturally advanced Han Chinese. Some fragments of the races were assimilated into the Chinese during the .

Yet, in other versions of post-Jiuli, the people of Jiuli fragmented in 3 different directions. It is said Chi-You had 3 sons, and after the fall of Jiuli, his oldest son led some people south, his middle son led some people north, and his youngest son remained in Zhuolu and was assimilated into the Huaxia culture. Those who were led to the south established the Sanmiao nation. Perhaps due to this splitting into multiple groups, many Far Eastern people regard Chi-You as their ancestor, and by the same token, many question the ethnicity of Chi You as exclusively Hmong or otherwise. The s also acknowledge Chi-You as an ethnic ancestor. Chi-You is also regarded as one of China's forefathers alongside the ethnic Han ancestors, Huang and Yan.

Korean account

Introduction to the war

The war God known to the Han Chinese as Chi You is known in Korea to be , the 14th Hwanung of the semi-legendary ancient Korean Empire known as . Chi-Woo succeeded Sawara Hwanung to the throne of Baedal during the year 2707 BCE. Upon rising to the throne, Chi-Woo was almost immediately faced with the threat of the growing influence of Yoomang, who was a descendant of the Yan Emperor, also known as Shennong. Yoomang was the 8th and final ruler of the kingdom of Shennong. Chi-Woo declared war on the kingdom of Shennong, and rose victorious at Kuhon. Yoomang fled to his close relative, Xuanyuan, also known as the Yellow Emperor. The Yellow Emperor led a tribe of his own, and merged his tribe with the Shennong tribe to form the Huaxia tribe. The Huaxia tribes declared war on Baedal. The Empire of Baedal was said to have stretched throughout the Manchuria, and into the Shandong region. The Huaxia tribes had settled in the Yellow River Valley region.

The result of the war and the battle

Jaoji Hwanung won all of the 72 battles, but Baedal lost one battle, in which General Chiwoo-Bi, a general of Jaoji Hwanung, disobeyed orders and was ambushed when he tried to lead an attack on the Huaxia. General Chiwoo-Bi was killed in the ambush, but was later captured and surrendered to Jaoji Hwanung at the next battle. Jaoji Hwanung spared Xuanyuan, and the two rulers agreed that Huaxia would be a tributary state to Baedal.

Result and Legacy

The battle of Takrok and the Ten-Year war between Huanghe and Baedal ultimately laid the cornerstones to the kingdoms of Korea and China. For China, the Battle of Takrok was a decisive one that was essential to history in that Xuanyuan was given the title of Hwangje, which was originally one of Baedal's Five Noble positions. The title of Hwangje and the right to rule the land of the Huang He River Valley resulted in the bountiful history of China. Meanwhile, for Korea, it meant superiority over the Korean peninsula for centuries.

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