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This article is about the State of Wei founded during the Spring and Autumn Period. For the Warring States Period state whose name is pronounced identically, see Wei (state).

Wei (Simplified: 卫; Traditional: 衞; Pinyin: Wèi) was a state, founded in the Zhou Dynasty, which rose to prominence during the Spring and Autumn Period. Its rulers were of the surname Ji (姬), the same as that of the rulers of Zhou.

Early History

The history of Wei dates back to the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty, when the younger brother of King Wu of Zhou was given a fief centred around Chaoge, the capital of the Shang Dynasty; in later years the fief was further expanded and given the title Wei.

The original feudal rank of the rulers of Wei was elevated to that of hou (roughly equivalent to Marquess) by bribery; during the turmoil in 771 BC, when the Zhou capital of Haojing was sacked and the crown prince fled east, the state of Wei protected and escorted the prince, and for this the rulers were further elevated to gong (equivalent to a Duke).

Spring and Autumn Period

The State of Wei was at its peak during the early Spring and Autumn Period, under Duke Wu of Wei, who reigned for 55 years. In the reign of subsequent rulers, however, the state was plagued by succession troubles, until Duke Yi of Wei took the throne; his dissolute rule and obsession with cranes weakened the state, and in the eighth year of his reign the Rong peoples successfully attacked the capital at Chaoge, killing the Duke and nearly destroying the state as well.

It was only with the aid of Duke Huan of Qi that the state was eventually restored, with its capital moved to Chuqiu.

In 632 BC Wei was once conquered by Duke Wen of Jin, because when Duke Wen (called Chong'er then) exiled to Wei, Duke Wen of Wei hadn't treated him well, and Duke Cheng of Wei (son of Duke Wen of Wei) was nearly poisoned by Duke Wen of Jin, but eventually the state was restored.

In 492 BC, Duke Chu of Wei(出公) took the throne from his grandfather Duke Ling(灵公), while his father Kuaikui(蒯聩), who used to be the heir of Duke Ling, had been deposed and exiled. To get the throne, Kuaikui fought against his own son and managed to exile Duke Chu in 481 BC, and was titled as Duke Zhuang (latter)(后庄公), but was killed three years later. Duke Chu was recreated the duke in 475 BC. The conflict between father and son made Wei weaker. Wei soon became attached to House of Zhao of Jin.

Downfall And Ending

In 346 BC, the duke of Wei degraded himself to a marquess. In 320 BC, the marquess of Wei again degraded himself to only a jun (lord). And by then Wei only possessed a county called Puyang(濮阳). In 254 BC, King Anxi of Wei(魏) killed Lord Huai of Wei(卫怀君), but two years later he declared his son-in-law to be lord of Wei, so Wei became a dependency of the Wei Kingdom. In 239 BC, Qin occupied Puyang, and the state of Wei migrated to Yewang(野王) in order to preserve its existence.

The state was so weak that it even outlived Qin Shihuang, presumably neglected by the latter. It was only cancelled as a state in 209 BC when Qin Er Shi deposed Lord Jiao of Wei(卫君角), 2 years before the collapse of the Qin Dynasty.



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