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Huang Di The Yellow Emperor of China

Updated on November 9, 2010

Chinese Ancestry

Huang Di (in Chinese, it means Yellow Emperor, Huang means yellow and Di, Emperor) is a legendary Emperor in China. This emperor was believed to be the ancestor of all Han Chinese, an ethnic group native to China, or the largest ethnic group in the world (about 20% of the global human population). The Yellow Emperor, also named Xuanyuan Shi, is said to have lived somewhere in the third millennium BC for 100 – 118 years. The Yellow Emperor was the chief of the legendary Five Emperors. Sometimes the rulers of this era were considered to be mythological in the history of China. According to the Chinese academic circle, the Yellow Emperor was born in Youxiong (present Xinzheng of Henan Province) and he was buried in Qiaoshan of Shaanxi (in present Huangling County).

Huang Di, The Yellow Emperor

Huang Di, The Yellow Emperor
Huang Di, The Yellow Emperor

Battles of the Tribes

5000 years ago, China was made up of many diferent clans. One of the most powerful and famous ones was the Yellow Emperor’s clan. Located in the center of China, the Yellow Emperor was also known as the Central Emperor. He was the mystical chief of the tribes in the middle of the Yellow River. At that time, many tribes came to settle aruond this Yellow River engaging in farming and they started to clash one another over land disputes as aech tribe sough to have more farmland. To his East, there was the clan of Chi You. To his West, was the clan of Yandi, or the Flame Emperor.

The clan of Chi You, in particular, was advanced in creating or making weapons and therefore they had defeated many other smaller clans. Chi You was often considered as a deity. The clan of Flame Emperor, though previously powerful but was unable to defeat Chi You on their own, they then turn to the Yellow Emperor for help. The Huang Di agreed and fortunately they successfully defeated the Chi You at the battle of Zhuolu.

It was said that after the war, the Flame Emperor was very unhappy with the Yellow Emperor because they grew stronger and stronger, and two of them also started a war. Finally, the Flame Emperor was defeated at Banquan. The Yellow Emperor then continued to conquer many other clans until the China was finally united. It is believed that the Yellow Emperor had the help of some beasts like the highly trained tigers and bears during his fights.

These battles have been recorded by a historian Sima Qian in Sima Qian’s records. However, facts like the weapon used, the strength of the armies or the casualties were unknown.

Legacy and Achievements

Known as the Chinese cultural hero, he is also regarded as the founder of Chinese civilization. Tradition holds that he reigned from 2696 – 2598 BCE. The Yellow Emperor is also credited with having invented many things such as Chinese medicine, calender, compass, various religious practices, music, characters, ships and carts, silk cultivation and some daily utensils. He was later been deemed as the founder of Taoism. In Chinese mythology, Huang Di is also regarded as the central god among the five gods in the heaven.

Chinese History Stories

Legend has it that Huang Di had one wife (Leizu), and three concubines (Fanglengshei, Tongyushi and Momu). Leizu taught people how to plant mulberry trees, weave cloth and rear silkworms. Fangleishi (whose family name was Lei) invented the comb. Tongyushi (one whose family name is Tongyu) invented the chopsticks. And Momu, the ugly concubine but was noble and virtuous, so the Huang Di was deeply respectful to her. Huang Di had 25 sons, among which 12 of them were granted to have their own family names.

During the reign of the Yellow Emperor, the country enjoyed a powerful force, progressive culture and stable politics. Otherwise emperors such as Shun, Yao, Tang, Yu etc were also believed to be his offspring. Therefore, the Huang Di has been regarded as the forefather of the Chinese nation.


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    • PETER LUMETTA profile image

      PETER LUMETTA 6 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      very interesting, these Chinese stories are great, the

      chinese culture is so deep and facinating, Thanks for the read, Peter

    • rafken profile image

      rafken 6 years ago from The worlds my oyster

      I enjoyed this. To get a different view you should read my hub The Alien Chinese Emperor and let me know what you think, thanks useful.