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Zheng (鄭) was a Zhou city-state in the middle of ancient China, modern Henan Province. Its ruling house had the surname Ji, making them a branch of the Zhou royal house, and were given the rank of bo, corresponding roughly to an earl.



Zheng was founded in 806 BC when King Xuan of Zhou made his younger brother Ji You the Duke of Zheng with his capital at modern day Huaxian, Shaanxi Province. Ji You established what would be the last bastion of Western Zhou going on to serve as prime minister to King You of Zhou. Later, sensing that the Western Zhou dynasty was in decline, he moved his property, family members and merchants eastward. He was killed during a barbarian invasion and known posthumously as Duke Huan of Zheng. His son, Duke Wu, succeeded him.

Duke Wu of Zheng helped suppress the invasion for King Ping of Zhou and reestablished the Zheng Dukedom. He annexed the states of Eastern Guo and Kuai and made modern day Xinzheng, Henan Province his capital.

Spring and Autumn Period


Early dominance

The state of Zheng was one of the strongest at the beginning of the Spring and Autumn Period. Zheng was the first Zhou state to annex another state, Xi, in 712 BC. Throughout the Spring and Autumn Period, Zheng was one of the wealthiest states, relying on its central location for inter-state commerce and having the largest number of merchants of any state. Zheng often used its wealth to bribe itself out of difficult situations.

Duke Zhuang of Zheng (743BC-701BC) was arguably the prototype of the hegemon system, though it derived its dominance from dramatically different means compared to the later hegemons, by defeating an alliance of feudal states led by Zhou itself and wounding King Huan of Zhou.

Later Period

By the later stages of the period, Zheng had no room to expand; due to its centralized location, Zheng was hemmed in on all sides by larger states.During the later stages of the Spring and Autumn Period, Zheng frequently switched its diplomatic alliances. Zheng was the center of diplomatic contention between Chu and Qi, then later Chu and Jin. Although Zheng was forced to become a bit player in the later stages of the Spring and Autumn Period, it was still quite strong, defeating a combined alliance of Jin, Song, Chen and Wei by itself in 607 BC.

Under the statesman Zi Chan, Zheng was the first state to clearly establish a code of law in 543 BC. Zheng later declined until it was annexed by the state of Han in 375 BC.


Sources, references, external links, quotes

This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.
  1. ^ Bai, Shouyi (2002). An Outline History of China. Beijing: Foreign Language Press. ISBN 7-119-02347-0.  
  2. ^ Creel, Herrlee G.. The Origins of Statecraft in China. ISBN 0-226-12043-0.  
  3. ^ Walker, Richard Lewis. The Multi-state System of Ancient China. Beijing.  
  4. ^ "The Zheng Feudal Lords". China Knowledge. Retrieved August 28, 2007.  
  • Another Royal Tomb of 'King Zheng' Discovered in Henan [1]


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