15 May 221

Liu Bei, Chinese warlord, proclaims himself emperor of Shu Han, the successor of the Han dynasty.

Liu Bei was a prominent warlord and political figure during the late Eastern Han Dynasty in ancient China. He is best known for his role in the historical novel “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” which romanticized the events of the era. Liu Bei’s story is a mix of historical facts and fictional embellishments, making it challenging to distinguish between the two.

Liu Bei was born in 161 AD in Zhuo County, Zhuo Commandery (present-day Zhuozhou, Hebei Province). He came from a humble background and claimed descent from the imperial family of the Western Han Dynasty. Liu Bei initially served as a minor official in his local area before rising to prominence during the Yellow Turban Rebellion, a peasant uprising that plagued China at the time.

During this period, Liu Bei formed alliances with other notable figures, such as Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, who became his sworn brothers. Together, they swore an oath of brotherhood in the Peach Garden, which has become a legendary symbol of loyalty and camaraderie.

After the rebellion’s suppression, Liu Bei established a base of power in the Jing Province, where he governed as a regional warlord. However, his territory was frequently contested by other warlords, including Cao Cao and Sun Quan. Liu Bei sought to restore the Han Dynasty’s legitimacy and establish a unified China, often proclaiming himself as the rightful heir to the imperial throne.

In “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” Liu Bei is depicted as an idealistic and benevolent leader, known for his compassion towards the common people. He is often associated with Confucian virtues and is portrayed as a paragon of virtue and righteousness. Liu Bei’s story in the novel focuses on his rise to power, his struggles against rival warlords, and his eventual establishment of the Shu Han Kingdom.

Historically, Liu Bei’s attempts to unify China faced many challenges. Despite his efforts, he was never able to fulfill his goal of restoring the Han Dynasty. Liu Bei’s forces were ultimately defeated by the Kingdom of Wu, led by Sun Quan, at the Battle of Xiaoting in 221 AD. He died a year later in Baidicheng (present-day Chongqing) at the age of 62.

Liu Bei’s legacy is significant. His story, as portrayed in “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” has captivated generations of readers and has become a fundamental part of Chinese culture and literature. Liu Bei is often celebrated as a symbol of loyalty, righteousness, and the pursuit of justice. His character continues to be revered and referenced in various forms of media, including movies, television dramas, and video games.