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State of Cao
11th Century BCE–487 BCE
Capital Táoqiū (陶丘)
Language(s) Chinese language
Government Earldom
 - Established 11th Century BCE
 - Disestablished 487 BCE
This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.

The State of Cáo (simplified Chinese: 曹国traditional Chinese: pinyin: Cáo Guó) was a vassal state in China during the Zhou Dynasty (1046 -221 BCE). The state was founded sometime in the 11th Century BCE by Jī Zhènduó (d. 1053 BCE) A[›](姬振鐸/姬振铎), son of King Wen of Zhou and the younger brother of King Wu of Zhou. With its capital at Táoqiū (陶丘), the State of Cáo covered roughly the area of modern day Dingtao County, Shandong Province.



As a result of the Cao’s relative weakness, later generations wrote few records on events concerning the state's history. The only major event recorded in the Records of the Grand Historian during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 – 770 BCE) was in 826 BCE when Youbo of Cao was killed by his younger brother Daibo of Cao[1].

At the beginning of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770 BCE),the State of Cao suffered internal upheaval. In 760 BCE, Duke Mu of Cao killed his elder brother Cáo Fèibó and appointed himself the eleventh ruler. He was the first ruler of the State of Cáo to receive the posthumous title of "Duke" (公).

During the Spring and Autumn Period the State of Cáo became caught up in the struggle for hegemony between the states of Jìn and Chŭ. In 637 BCE Chóng’ěr, son of Duke Xian of Jin got into difficulties when passing through the State of Cáo and was treated rudely by Duke Gòng of Cáo. When the States of Jin and Chu clashed at the Battle of Chengpu in 632 BCE, Jìn crushed the State of Cáo, rescued the State of Song and took Duke Gòng of Cáo prisoner. After the defeat of the State of Chŭ, Cáo followed the orders of its near neighbour the State of Jin.

Later on, the States of Cáo and Sòng became hostile towards each other. Duke Jĭng of Sòng captured Duke Dào of Cáo in 515 BCE and held him prisoner until his death. Thereafter, disorder broke out in Cáo and Duke Dào’s successors Duke Shēng of Cáo and Duke Yĭn of Cáo were killed one after another. Duke Fèi of Cáo became ruler and betrayed the State of Jin by invading the State of Sòng. As a result, Duke Jĭng of Sòng attacked Cáo. No troops from the State of Jìn came to the rescue such that the State of Cáo was exterminated in 487 BCE after the capture of Duke Fèi of Cáo.


Descendents of the people of Cáo adopted the name of their former state. This is one origin of the Chinese Surname Cáo.

Rulers of Cao

Rulers of the State of Cao
English Name Reign name Personal name Reign
Uncle Zhenduo of Cao 曹叔振鐸 (Cáo Shū Zhènduó) 姬振鐸/姬振铎 (Jī Zhènduó)  ? – 1053 BCE
Taibo of Cao 曹太伯 (Cáo Tàibó) 姬脾 (Jī Pí) 1053 – 1002 BCE
Lord Zhong of Cao 曹仲君 (Cáo Zhòng Jū) 姬平 (Jī Píng) 1002 – 935 BCE
Gongbo of Cao 曹宮伯 (Cáo Gōngbó) 姬侯 (Jī Hóu) 935 - 895 BCE
Xiaobo of Cao 曹孝伯 (Cáo Xiàobó) 姬云 (Jī Yún) 895 - 865 BCE
Yibo of Cao 曹夷伯 (Cáo Yíbó) 姬喜 (Jī Xǐ) 864 - 835 BCE
Youbo of Cao 曹幽伯 (Cáo Yōubó) 姬疆 (Jī Jiāng) 835 – 826 BCE
Daibo of Cao 曹戴伯 (Cáo Dàibó) 姬蘇/姬苏 (Jī Sū) 826 – 796 BCE
Huibo of Cao 曹惠伯 (Cáo Huìbó) 姬兕 (Jī Sì) 794 – 760 BCE
Feibo of Cao 曹廢伯/曹废伯 (Cáo Fèibó) 姬石甫 (Jī Shífǔ) 760 – 760 BCE
Duke Mu of Cao 曹穆公 (Cáo Mù Gōng) 姬武 (Jī Wǔ) 759– 757 BCE
Duke Huan of Cao 曹桓公 (Cáo Huán Gōng) 姬終生/姬终生 (Jī Zhōng Shēng) 756 – 702 BCE
Duke Zhuang of Cao 曹莊公/曹庄公 (Cáo Zhuāng Gōng) 姬射姑 (Jī Shègū) 701 – 671 BCE
Duke Li of Cao 曹釐公/曹厘公 (Cáo Lǐ Gōng) 姬夷 (Jī Yí) 670 – 662 BCE
Duke Zhao of Cao 曹昭公 (Cáo Zhāo Gōng) 姬班 (Jī Bān) 661 – 653 BCE
Duke Gong of Cao 曹共公 (Cáo Gòng Gōng) 姬襄 (Jī Xiāng) 652 -618 BCE
Duke Wen of Cao 曹文公 (Cáo Wén Gōng) 姬壽/姬寿 (Jī Shòu) 617 – 595 BCE
Duke Xuan of Cao 曹宣公 ((Cáo Xuān Gōng) 姬彊 (Jī Qiáng) 594 – 578 BCE
Duke Cheng of Cao 曹成公 (Cáo Chéng Gōng) 姬負芻/姬负刍(Jī Fùchú) 577 – 555 BCE
Duke Wu of Cao 曹武公 (Cáo Wǔ Gōng) 姬勝/姬胜 (Jī Shèng) 554 – 528 BCE
Duke Ping of Cao 曹平公 (Cáo Píng Gōng) 姬須/姬须 (Jī Xū) 527 – 524 BCE
Duke Dao of Cao 曹悼公 ((Cáo Dào Gōng) 姬午(Jī Wǔ) 523 – 515 BCE
Duke Sheng of Cao 曹聲公/曹声公 (Cáo Shēng Gōng) 姬野 (Jī Yě) 514 – 510 BCE
Duke Yin of Cao 曹隱公/曹隐公 (Cáo Yǐn Gōng) 姬通 (Jī Tōng) 509 – 506 BCE
Duke Jing of Cao 曹靖公 (Cáo Jìng Gōng) 姬露 (Jī Lù) 505 – 502 BCE
Duke Fei of Cao 曹廢公/曹废公 (Cáo Fèi Gōng 姬伯陽/姬伯阳 (Jī Bóyáng) 501 – 487 BCE



  1. ^ Also known as “Uncle Zhenduo of Cao”, Cáo Shū Zhènduó (曹叔振鐸)

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