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|Emperor of Chen Han|
Yuan Yanyou 7
Mianyang Prefecture, Henan Jiangbei Province
|Died||3 October 1363 (aged 42–43)|
Yuan Zhizheng 23, 26th day of the 8th month
Chen Han Dayi 3, 26th day of the 8th month
Lake Poyang, Jiangxi Province
Tomb of Chen Youliang
Chen Youliang (陳友諒; 1320 – 3 October 1363) was the founder and first emperor of the dynastic state of Chen Han in Chinese history. He was one of the military leaders and heroes of the people's revolution at the end of the Yuan dynasty.
In his childhood, he grew up poor, and he and his family were relatively unsuccessful fishermen. Chen once served as a district official before becoming a general under Ni Wenjun during the Red Turban Rebellion. Ni Wenjun planned to assassinate Xu Shouhui, the Red Turban rebels' leader, but Chen Youliang killed Ni Wenjun before Ni could kill Xu. At this time, Chen Youliang took over Fujian and Jiangxi. Upon hearing that Jiangxi had been captured, Xu Shouhui wished to move the capital there, but Chen Youliang feared that Xu Shouhui would threaten him there and sent an envoy to stop him. Still Xu and his troops arrived in Jiangxi, so he later turned on Xu Shouhui and assassinated him.
In 1357, Chen proclaimed himself "King of Han" in Jiangzhou (江州; present-day Jiujiang, Jiangxi), and emperor the next year after Xu Shouhui died. His era name, as well as his empire's name, was Da Han (大漢; literally "Great Han"). Chen Youliang appointed Zou Pusheng (邹普胜) as Grand Preceptor and Zhang Bixian (张必先) as prime minister (丞相).
In 1360 the Han fleet and army began a long war against Wu forces. At that time, the Wu forces were based in Jiqing (present-day Nanjing). The Wu was later renamed "Ming" in 1368. An attack on the Wu capital was defeated thanks to excellent Wu intelligence (likely due to the defection of part of the Han fleet earlier in the year). The war continued until the climactic Battle of Lake Poyang where the Wu fleet narrowly defeated the larger fleet of Han after three days of fighting.
A month after the battle at Lake Poyang, the Han fleet tried to break out from Lake Poyang. During the resulting ship battles Chen was killed (he was alleged to have died from an arrow wound in the head). He was 43 years old at the time of his death in 3 October 1363.
As his crown prince Chen Shan (陳善) had been captured, Chen Youliang was succeeded by his second son, Chen Li, who was soon attacked by the fleet and army of Wu. The conquest of Han took an additional two years but by April 1365 the Han empire was gone and all its lands were now part of the Wu power base.
- Grand-ancestors: Chen Qianyi (陈千一)
- Father: Chen Pucai (陳普才) became Marquis of Cheng'en (承恩侯) by Zhu Yuanzhang after the downfall of Han
- Mother: from the Wu clan (吴氏)
- Spouses: Chen Youliang had several concubines respectively surnamed Yang (杨), Lou (娄), Tao (陶) and Du (阇). Consort Du was captured along with Chen Shan. Concubines Yang and Lou predeceased Chen Youliang.
Controversial relationship with Trần Ích Tắc
Vietnamese historical annals such as Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư recorded that Chen Youliang sent a diplomatic delegate to Đại Việt to ask for alliance, claiming that he had biological relationship with Trần dynasty (Trần is the Vietnamese pronunciation of Chen 陳). Chen claimed to be the biological son of Trần Ích Tắc, a Trần royal member who defected to the Yuan forces during the second invasion of Vietnam. However, Chinese history annals did not record any such relationship, instead claimed that Chen Youliang's ancestor originally have the family name as "Xiè" (謝), later was married into a certain Chen clan and changed his name to the maternal family. Chen Youliang also descended from a fishermen family in Hubei, meanwhile Trần Ích Tắc was appointed as a court magistrate in Huguang, hence it was unlikely that a high-rank magistrate like Ích Tắc had a fishermen son. It is suspected that Chen Youliang pretended to be a Vietnamese royal family to earn support from Đại Việt.
The Trần dynasty, however, did not to respond to Chen's request. Trần Ích Tắc was considered a traitor and was legally removed from the Trần royal family, it is unlikely for Đại Việt to ally with a traitor's descendant. Đại Việt also had no reason to intervene into the affairs of her northern neighbor.
Through his established empire Chen Han, Chen Youliang is remembered as a revolutionary, even hero, who helped resist Yuan rule and pave the way for the new Ming dynasty.
- Liu Ji: "Youliang's territory included Rao Prefecture and Xin Prefecture; and spanned from the Jing to the Xiang, nearing half of the world. Shicheng is occupied with defending himself against the barbarians, hence he is not a worry to us. Youliang betrayed his lord and threatens his subordinates; he has no legitimacy. He occupies the upriver territory, and we are always on his mind; hence, we should take him first. After the Chen family is eliminated, the Zhang family is isolated, and can be eliminated with one fell swoop."
- Zhu Yuanzhang: "After Youliang's death, the world was not difficult to pacify." "I find Youliang to be arrogant and Shicheng to be narrow-minded; the arrogant are prone to conflicts, while the narrow-minded lack far-sighted plans."
- Yang Jing: "In the past Chen and Zhang occupied the Wu and Chu regions, built boats to plug rivers, accumulated grain to cross mountains, built their armies and called themselves invincible. However, after the battle in Poyang, Youliang was killed, and Chen turned his army toward the east, while Zhang surrendered. This is not man's choice; it is in fact destiny. " 
- Rao Hanxiang: "Vanguard of the Jiang-Han, awe-inspiring man of the Three Chu regions." (“江汉先英、三楚雄风。”) 
- Cai Dongfan: "I said that Youliang caused his own defeat. Jiangzhou was lost, his base was gone, and he fled to Wuchang; at this point he should build his army and bid his time. But he was impatient, put all his eggs in one basket, lost his children, lost his favorite mistress, and even died himself, becoming a mockery for the world. It is obvious that the rise and fall of a state is really related to man's choices. One should not be like Xiang Yu who, at the moment of his suicide in Wujiang, claimed that he had never lost a battle."
- Historian Wu Han: "Although Chen Youliang failed, he was, after all, a hero who opposed the rule of the Mongolian and Han landlord classes in the Yuan dynasty. He played a role in history. At that time, people sympathized with him and missed him. His grave is still preserved under the newly built Yangzi River Bridge for visitors to mourn."
On 3 October 1363, after Chen Youliang died in the Battle of Poyang Lake, his real remains disappeared. His clothes were taken back by his subordinates in a boat and sent to the south slope of Sheshan, approaching the Wuchang Bridge Head (武昌桥头) of Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan City, Hubei Province (next to the Yellow Crane Tower, a famous scenic spot in Wuhan, Hubei Province) for burial.
It faces south, has a rectangle with rounded corners and a height of 2.2 meters. The tomb base is 12 meters long. The tomb is built on the mountain. Here is There is a hexagonal unknown pavilion nearby, and the pillars of the pavilion are engraved with handwriting.
In the Qing dynasty, this place became a part of the garden "Naiyuan" (乃园) of Hubei Provincial Bureau of Supervision, and few people visited it. In 1908, Wan Yaohuang and Geng Zhongzhao discovered this tomb in the thirty-fourth year of Guangxu in Qing dynasty.
In 1912, Hubei Provincial Department of Internal Affairs requested renovation, and built a 16-step tomb road and a tall archway in front of the tomb (between the archway and the tomb). On the forehead of the memorial archway, "Jiang Han Xian Ying" ("江汉先英”), and on the back, "San Chu Xiongfeng" (“三楚雄风"), a monument was erected in front of the tomb, "Da Han Chen Youliang Tomb", and Rao Hanxiang of Guangji made an inscription. There is also a tablet pavilion on each side of the tomb. In 1913, the cemetery was renovated and surrounded by pines and cypresses.
In 1923 (after the Revolution of 1911), the Republic of China rebuilt it.
In 1949, after the founding of the People's Republic of China, it was slightly repaired.
In 1956, the tomb was listed as a cultural relic protection unit in Hubei Province.
It was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. In 1981, the local government allocated funds to restore it. In June 1998, it was completely renovated, with brick cement tomb walls and the monument of "Rebuilding Dahan Chen Youliang Tomb".
At 9:00 on 18 December 2013, the local government opened the "Chen Youliang Memorial Hall" (陈友谅纪念馆) at 90 Pier, Mian Street, Xiantao City, Hubei Province (formerly Mianyang, Hubei Province). This memorial hall has three floors of antique buildings, covering an area of 3,891 square meters, with a total construction area of 1,615 square meters. The first two floors have an exhibition hall of 920 square meters, and the last floor is an office rest area.
Yuan Mei's "Zi Bu Yu" (袁枚《子不語》), Volume 10, contains an article "Destroying Chen Youliang Temple", which tells the story of the ruined Jingzhou Chen Youliang Temple when Zhao Xili (赵锡礼) was appointed as a county magistrate. Zhao only knew that it was an unknown Wangye Temple, and thought it was an obscene temple and destroyed the temple, but he didn't know that the temple was dedicated to Chen Youliang, and he didn't know it until he asked Zhang Tianshi (张天师).
Film and TV
- 1978 Heavenly Sword and Dragon Slaying Sabre《倚天屠龙记》 by Long Tiansheng (龙天生)
- 1984 《倚天屠龙记》 by Chen Xiang (陈祥)
- 1986 《倚天屠龙记》 何贵林
- 1987 《大明群英》 刘青云 Liu Qingyun
- 1993 《朱元璋》 张矩 Zhang Ju
- 1994 《倚天屠龙记》 郑平君
- 1998 《乞丐皇帝传奇》 李志希
- 2001 《倚天屠龙记》 陈荣峻 Chen Rongjun
- 2003 《倚天屠龙记》 孙斌
- 2004 《武当》 刘旭 Liu Xu
- 2006 《传奇皇帝朱元璋》李庆祥
- 2006 《朱元璋》李明
- 2008 《飞天舞》 沉浮
- 2009 《倚天屠龙记》 周晓滨
- 2009 《真命天子》 季肖冰
- 2015 《乞丐皇帝与大脚皇后传奇》 季晨
- 2019 《倚天屠龍記》侯瑞祥
- For those cross-referencing the Mingshi, in the old Chinese calendar 至正二十三年 refers to the year 1363 CE, 七月二十日 refers to 8月29日 or 29 August, and 八月二十六日 refers to 10月3日 or 3 October.
- Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993, p. 251
- Hậu duệ nhà Trần của Đại Việt trở thành Hoàng đế Trung Hoa? Văn Hiến Plus, 8 April 2019
- 武汉地方志编纂委员会办公室. 武昌区志-第三篇 名城胜迹-第三章 遗迹 遗址. 2014-05-30 [2017-01-05] （中文（中国大陆））.
- 人民日报 (30 May 2014). "陈友谅纪念馆观史" (in Chinese (China)). 熊泽民. Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- Dreyer, Edward. (1982). Early Ming China: A Political History. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1105-4.
- The Cambridge History of China Volume 7, pp. 65–89 (this section was written by Dreyer)
- Ngô Sĩ Liên (1993), Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư (in Vietnamese) (Nội các quan bản ed.), Hanoi: Social Science Publishing House