Gongsun Shu (Chinese: 公孫述, died 24 December 36 AD) was a governor and warlord of the Xin dynasty and early Eastern Han dynasty who controlled the region of modern-day Sichuan, proclaiming himself as the Emperor of Chengjia in 25 AD. With Chengdu as his capital, he ruled for 12 years before dying in battle on 24 December 36. His empire surrendered to Eastern Han forces the next day.
Early life and career
Gongsun Shu was born into a family of officials in Youfufeng (右扶風, present day Xingping) during the Western Han dynasty; his precise year of birth is unknown. His courtesy name was Ziyang (Chinese: 子陽). His father, Gongsun Ren, served as an imperial clerk in the Censorate in the court of Emperor Ai of Han, and was later appointed Governor of Henan Commandery (modern Luoyang). His father's high position entitled Shu to entry into officialdom as a gentleman cadet.
When Gongsun Shu was appointed magistrate of Qingshui County in Tianshui Commandery, his father was worried about his inexperience and sent one of his subordinates to advise him, but the officer returned only a month later, saying Shu did not need help. His capability was recognized by his superior, the Governor of Tianshui, who made him the head of four more counties. His ability to maintain order earned him a reputation throughout the commandery.
After Wang Mang usurped the Han throne and established the Xin dynasty, in about 15 AD he appointed Gongsun Shu the Governor of Daojiang (導江, the former Shu Commandery of Han), with its capital at Linqiong, near Chengdu. Gongsun held the position until the forces of the Gengshi Emperor overthrew the Xin dynasty in 23 AD.
As Emperor of Chengjia
As the Xin dynasty was facing a large number of rebellions, Gongsun proclaimed himself to be the King of Shu (蜀王) and in 25 asserted independence by adopting the title of Emperor of Chengjia while adopting the era name of Longxing (龍興, "Dragon Rising).
As ruler of Chengjia, Gongsun Shu built an imperial palace and created a bureaucracy to oversee the administration of his new empire. He controlled the entirety of the former Yi Province, an economically prosperous region that allowed Gongsun Shu to build and supply a large military force. In 26, Gongsun Shu sent general Hou Dan to conquer the region of Hanzhong north of Sichuan in southern Shaanxi along the Han River.
In 35, Emperor Guangwu ordered an army to conquer Chengjia. When the Han forces entered Sichuan, Guangwu offered Gongsun Shu terms of surrender, which Gongsun refused. The campaign was slow and difficult and lasted more than a year. In December 36, Han forces under generals Wu Han and Zang Gong reached Chengdu with only a week's supplies left. They were on the verge of accepting failure and withdrawing, when Gongsun Shu personally led an attack on the Han forces on 24 December. Wounded in the battle, he died in the night, and the defenders of Chengdu under general Yan Cen surrendered the following day, marking the end of Chengjia.
After entering Chengdu, Wu Han ordered the massacre of Gongsun Shu's wife, children, and other relatives, as well as Yan Cen and his family.
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