Saturday, February 28, 2009

Goujian, King of YUE

Goujian was the King of Yue State in the late Spring and Autumn Period. He was said to be the descendant of Yu the Great.
In 496 BC, King Goujian defeated the Wu army and King Helu of Wu died of injuries sustained in the battle.
In 495 BC, King Goujian launched another attack against the Wu State. The two armies engaged in fierce fighting in Fujiao Mountain (present-day southwestern Wuxian County of Jiangsu). The Yue army suffered a crushing defeat and retreated to Huiji Mountain (present-day south of Shaoxing in Zhejiang). King Goujian adopted advisor Fan Li's stratagem by negotiating peace and submitting himself to the rule of the Wu State in an attempt to retain the strength of Yue.
After returning to the Yue State, King Goujian went through some self-inflicted hardships by sleeping on sticks and forcing himself to taste bile. That way, he could remember his humiliations while serving under the State of Wu. He also put Fan Li, Wen Zhong and other talent in important positions to help him reform domestic affairs and build up strength.
Later, while King Fu Chai of Wu was vying for hegemony in the north and his state power was weakening, King Goujian launched a surprise attack against the State of Wu and killed the crown prince of Wu. He wiped out the Wu State in 473 BC.
Shortly afterwards, King Goujian pushed his troops northward by boat, with Song, Zheng, Lu, Wei and other states submitting to his rule. He relocated his capital to Langya (present-day south of Jiaonan in Shandong), forming alliances with vassal states such as Qi and Jin. In the end, King Goujian’s hegemony status was officially recognized by King Yuan of Zhou.

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