During Emperor Ling’s reign, a man called Sun Jian established himself as an accomplished warrior and strategist. After many successful campaigns against Han enemies, Sun Jian joined in the war against the Yellow Scarves.
Sun Jian easily vanquished the rebels and was memorialized by the Emperor as magistrate of Chang Sha. When Dong Zhuo took control of the Han court following Emperor Ling’s death, Sun Jian was called to action once again by Cao Cao and Yuan Shao from the north.
Sun Jian proved himself in the battles against Dong Zhuo and his officer Hua Xiong, but arrived at Luo Yang too late. The Imperial city had been burned and not much was left. In a well, Sun Jian found the Imperial Jade Seal that once belonged to the Emperor he served.
Knowing that the other lords might claim the Jade Seal, Sun Jian returns to the southlands with it. Liu Biao, Imperial Protector of Jingzhou opposed Sun Jian and called him to arms. Sun Jian fought against Liu Biao, but was killed in a boulder trap in AD 191. His army retreated with his oldest son, Sun Ce, now in command.
Sun Ce sought refuge with Yuan Shu, and allowed Yuan Shu to keep the Jade seal while he fought against his enemies. However, Sun Ce’s ambitions grew and before long the young warrior conquered the entire region of Jiang Dong.
In AD 200, while on a mission to attack Xu Chang, Sun Ce was ambushed and injured by Governor Xu Gong’s troops. He died a year later in AD 201 at the age of 26. His younger brother and Sun Jian’s second son, Sun Quan, assumed control of Jiangdong.
Sun Quan refused to ally himself with Yuan Shao and launched a campaign against his father’s enemy Huang Zu, officer of Liu Biao. Having prepared a large navy, Sun Quan waited to oppose the coming invasion of Prime Minister Cao Cao, the ambitious northern plains warlord who had chased Liu Bei into the important province of Jingzhou.
Acting in accord with Zhou Yu’s advice, Sun Quan decided to fight against Cao Cao with Liu Bei, a move which resulted in a fantastic victory over Cao Cao's fleet at Chi Bi. The threat from the north was silenced for some time, and Sun Quan arranged a marriage between his sister and Liu Bei. He then helped Liu Bei take over the lands of Yizhou by allowing Liu Bei to borrow Jingzhou.
In the year AD 213, Cao Cao again invades Jiang Dong, but is unsuccessful. Liu Bei defeats Cao Cao at Han Zhong in AD 219, and Sun Quan demands the return of Jingzhou. Guan Yu, who guarded Jingzhou, refused to return the land given by Sun Quan, and in the year AD 220, Lü Meng and Lu Xun, on orders of Sun Quan, invade and retake Jingzhou.
Guan Yu is executed and an angry Liu Bei launches an attack against Sun Quan. In the year AD 222, Liu Bei meets Lu Xun in Yiling, but suffers a heavy defeat.
In the year AD 224 Cao Cao’s son, Cao Pi, now Emperor of Wei, invades Sun Quan’s territory through You Ting. However, thanks to Zhou Fang’s “bitter poison” plan, Sun Quan defeats Wei once again.
In the year AD 229, Sun Quan declares himself the Emperor of Wu and a series of wars against the southern tribes and internal enemies begins for Wu. Internal discord and the death of Sun Quan in AD 252 weaken Wu significantly.
The next two Emperors, Sun Liang and Sun Xiu, were powerless against Wei’s army and were only able to regain small territories in northern Jingzhou. Sun Hao, the last Emperor of Wu, makes a last ditch effort to repel Wei, but is unsuccessful. In the year AD 280, Wu falls to Wei’s commander Sima Yan, who then establishes the Jin dynasty and unified China.
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