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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Liu (劉).
Liu Biao
Traditional Chinese 劉表
Simplified Chinese 刘表

Liú Biǎo (? - August,208 AD) was the governor of the Jing province during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era of China. He was a member of the same extended family as the Han emperors.

When the Han Dynasty became consumed with war after the Yellow Turban Rebellion, Liu Biao fought a war against the warlord, Sun Jian. One of Liu Biao's brilliant strategists, Kuai Liang, devised a plan to eliminate Sun Jian by crushing him with logs as he rode towards the main camp of Liu Biao, and succeeded. Later, Sun Jian's two elder sons, Sun Ce and Sun Quan, caused Liu Biao no end of trouble as they sought to avenge their father’s death. However, they did not cause Liu Biao's demise. Whilst Cao Cao (in the north) was gaining strength, Liu Biao chose to neither help nor hinder his conquests, in part because he had been dealt a defeat the hands of Sun Ce at the Battle of Shaxian.

Later, during Cao Cao’s decisive Battle of Guandu against Yuan Shao (203- 207 AD), Liu Biao remained neutral, despite being one of the only other warlords in a position to oppose the two powers. Liu Biao, however, eventually decided to shelter Liu Bei, an enemy of Cao Cao. This made him a target of Cao Cao’s wrath. Later, after Cao Cao's unification of the North, a large army was sent to conquer the Jingzhou. Along with Liu Bei, Liu Biao's forces took several early victories. After impressing the remnants of Yuan Shao's forces into his already grand army, however, Cao Cao's superior numbers eventually took toll on Liu Biao's defenses. With a decline in relations between Liu Biao and Liu Bei, as a result of the meddling of Cai Mao's family, Liu Biao's people were faced with difficulty. To make matters worse, Sun Quan's army had crushed Liu Biao's subordinate, Huang Zu, at the Battle of Xiakou.

Shortly after Cao Cao's main army began its offensive, Liu Biao died of sickness. According to the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, long before his death, sensing his own deteriorating condition, he had discussed with Liu Bei which of his two sons should succeed him. The traditional choice would be his elder son, Liu Qi, yet he predicted (correctly) that his wife would favour Liu Cong, his second son. Ultimately, he followed Liu Bei's advice and chose Liu Qi to succeed him. However, after Liu Biao's death, his wife altered his will, leaving Liu Cong with possession of much of Liu Biao's land. The weak Liu Cong immediately surrendered to Cao Cao and his elder brother, who had still retained control of one city. Due to its strategic positioning between all three warring factions during the Three Kingdoms era, many battles were fought (and lives were lost) in Jingzhou over the course of the various campaigns and battles fought between Shu Han, Cao Wei and Eastern Wu.

See also


  • Sons
    • Liu Qi - Liu Biao's eldest son. Sided with Liu Bei after his brother was appointed as successor, but died of illness.
    • Liu Cong - Liu Biao's second son. Was appointed as his father's successor due to the interference of Cai Mao.
  • Nephews
    • Liu Pan - Was sent on a campaign against Sun Ce, but was defeated by Taishi Ci of Sun's forces. Later joined Liu Bei at the recommendation of Huang Zhong.
    • Liu Hu - Defended against Sun Ce at Shaxian, but was defeated. His fate is unknown, but many of Liu Biao's officers who participated in that battle were slain.


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