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King Wu of Zhou

King Wu of Zhou

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King Wu of Zhōu or King Wu of Chou was the first sovereign, or ruler of the Chinese Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

. The dates of his reign are 1046-1043 BCE or 1049/45-1043. Various sources quoted that he died at the age of 93, 54 or 43. He was considered a just and able leader. Zhou Gong Dan was one of his brothers.

King Wǔ was the second son of King Wen of Zhou
King Wen of Zhou
King Wen of Zhou family name : Ji , Clan name : Zhou Personal name: Chang, known as Zhou Chang or Xibo Chang was the founder of the Zhou Dynasty and the first epic hero of Chinese history....

. After ascending to the throne, King Wǔ tried to accomplish his father's dying wish: the defeat of the Shang Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

. King Wu used many wise government officials—most notably Prime Minister Jiang Ziya
Jiang Ziya
Jiang Ziya was a Chinese historical and legendary figure who resided next to the Weishui River about 3,000 years ago. A sage and military strategist, Jiang Ziya was called upon by King Wen of Zhou to serve as prime minister...

, a man evidentially declared as "the master of strategy"—resulting in the Zhou government growing far stronger as the years elapsed.

In 1048 BCE, King Wǔ marched down the Yellow River to the Mengjin ford
Mengjin County
Mengjin County is a district of Luoyang, Henan, China.-History:Mengjin began its life as an ancient ferry crossing for the Yellow River. According to legend, King Wu of Zhou crossed the Yellow River at this location, after forming an alliance with the other nobles...

 and met with more than 800 dukes. In 1046 BCE, seeing that the Shang government was in a shambles, King Wǔ launched an attack along with many neighboring dukes. In the Battle of Muye
Battle of Muye
The Battle of Muye was fought in China perhaps 1046 BC. The battle led to the end of the Shang dynasty, and the beginning of the Zhou dynasty.-Background:...

, Shang forces were destroyed, and King Zhou of Shang
King Zhou of Shang
Emperor Xin of Shang was the last king of the Shang Dynasty. He was later given the pejorative posthumous name Zhòu . He is also called Zhou Xin or King Zhou . He may also be referred to by adding "Shang" in front of any of his names...

set his palace on fire and burned himself to death.

Following the victory, King Wǔ established many smaller feudal states under the rule of his brothers and generals. He died three years later, in 1043 BCE.