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The State of Cài (Chinese: 蔡國pinyin: CàiguóWade-Giles: Ts'ai Kuo) was a Chinese state during the Zhōu Dynasty (1122–256 BC), prominent in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) before being extinguished early in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).



The first king of the Zhōu, (?-1043 BC) granted titles and territories to his younger brothers. One, Jī Dù, was crowned at present-day Shàngcài (上蔡), Zhùmǎdiàn, Hénán, China, and became known as Cài Shúdù ("Uncle Cai"). His son, Jī Hú (Cài Zhòng), established a capital at Shàngcài.

With only nominal central authority during the Spring and Autumn Period, the State of Cài was forced to relocate several times after being invaded by State of Chǔ, first to Xīncài (新蔡) in 531 BC and eventually to Zhōulái (州來, in present-day Fèngtái [鳳台], Huáinán, Ānhuī) at a place called Xiàcài (下蔡). King Huì of Chǔ State conquered Cài in 447 BC and its territory became part of Chǔ's northern military frontier.

The Cài marquesses were allowed to migrate south of the Yangtze River to the area that is now Chángdé, Húnán and settle at a location called Gāocài (高蔡) but this rump state was abolished 80 years later.


With the spread of surnames to all social classes in the Qín Empire established in 221 BC, many people of the former State of Cài took the surname of Cài in memory of their former state.

Since the end of the Cài state, its descendants have undertaken two major migrations. During the Huáng Cháo Rebellion (黃巢起義, AD 875) at the end of the Táng Dynasty (AD 618-907), the Cài clan migrated to Guǎngdōng and Fújiàn provinces. Another later migration occurred when Míng Dynasty loyalist Koxinga moved military officials surnamed Cài and their families to Taiwan in the 17th century. As a result, the surname Cài is far more common in these areas and in areas settled by their descendants than in other parts of China.

Rulers of Cài

Rulers of Cài were all of the Zhōu imperial Ji family and held the rank of hóu (marquis).

  1. Cài Shúdù (蔡叔度) (Jī Dù 姫度)
  2. Cài Zhòng (蔡仲) (Jī Hú 姫胡)
  3. Earl Huang of Cai (Cài Bóhuāng 蔡伯荒) (Jī Huāng 姫荒)
  4. Marquess Gōng of Cai (Cài Gōnghóu 蔡宮侯)
  5. Marquess Lì of Cai (Cài Lìhóu 蔡厲侯)
  6. Marquess Wu of Cai (Cài Wǔhóu 蔡武侯) (863 BC-837 BC)
  7. Marquess Yi of Cai (Cài Yíhóu 蔡夷侯) (837 BC-809 BC)
  8. Marquess Lí of Cai (Cài Líhóu 蔡釐侯) (Jī Suǒshì 姫所事) (809 BC - 761 BC)
  9. Marquess Gòng of Cai (Cài Gònghóu 蔡共侯) (Jī Xìng 姫興) (761 BC-760 BC)
  10. Marquess Dai of Cai (Cài Dàihóu 蔡戴侯) (759 BC-750 BC)
  11. Marquess Xuan of Cai (Cài Xuānhóu 蔡宣侯) (Jī Cuòfù 姫措父) (749 BC-715 BC)
  12. Marquess Huan of Cai (Cài Huánhóu 蔡桓侯) (Jī Fēngrén 姫封人) (714 BC-695 BC)
  13. Marquess Ai of Cai (Cài Āihóu 蔡哀侯) (Jī Xiànwǔ 姫獻舞) (694 BC-675 BC)
  14. Marquess Mu of Cai (Cài Mùhóu 蔡穆侯) (Jī Xì 姫肸) (674 BC-646 BC)
  15. Marquess Zhuang of Cai (Cài Zhuānghóu 蔡莊侯) (Jī Jiǎwǔ 姫甲午) (645 BC-612 BC)
  16. Marquess Wen of Cai (Cài Wénhóu 蔡文侯) (Jī Shēn 姫申) (611 BC-592 BC)
  17. Marquess Jing of Cai (Cài Jǐnghóu 蔡景侯) (Jī Gù 姫固) (591 BC-543 BC)
  18. Marquess Ling of Cai (Cài Línghóu 蔡靈侯) (Jī Bān 姫般) (542 BC-531 BC)
  19. Marquess Ping of Cai (Cài Pínghóu 蔡平侯) (Jī Lú 姫廬) (530 BC-522 BC)
  20. Marquess Dao of Cai (Cài Dàohóu 蔡悼侯) (Jī Dōngguó 姫東國) (521 BC-519 BC)
  21. Marquess Zhao of Cai (Cài Zhāohóu 蔡昭侯) (Jī Shēn 姫申) (518 BC-491 BC)
  22. Marquess Cheng of Cai (Cài Chénghóu 蔡成侯) (Jī Shuò 姫朔) (490 BC-472 BC)
  23. Marquess Sheng of Cai (Cài Shēnghóu 蔡聲侯) (Jī Chuǎn 姫産) (471 BC-457 BC)
  24. Marquess Yuan of Cai (Cài Yuánhóu 蔡元侯) (456 BC-451 BCBC)
  25. Marquess Qi of Cai (Cài Hóuqí 蔡侯齊) (Jī Qí 姫齊) (450 BC-447 BC BC)




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