Yang Jian (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Yang Jian reunified China, ending a prolonged period of division, in 589, then failed to subjugate Koguryo (later Korea).
Yang Jian, who came to power and founded the Sui Dynasty in 581, was preoccupied with the dream of conquering Chen, a rival power in South China, and reuniting China. In 587, he moved to annex the semi-independent kingdom of Later Liang, a strategic area west of the Chen capital of Jiankang (later Nanjing). Yang Jian started the war against the Chen in 589. A Sui army of more than 500,000 converged from three directions on Jiankang: the forces under General Han Qinhu from the west, under General Heruo Bi from the east, and under the prince of Jin, Yang Guang, from the north. Yang Guang was also the nominal commander in chief of the entire southern expedition. Chen defenses soon collapsed, and the last emperor of Chen, Houzhu, was taken prisoner in his Jiankang palace.
The fall of the Chen prompted Yongyang, the king of Koguryo (later Korea), to beef up his border defenses. In 598, an ill-calculated incursion into Sui territory by a joint Koguryo and Malgal force provided Yang Jian with the rationale for launching the First Sino-Korean War of the Sui-Tang Dynasties. Despite an overwhelming Chinese force of more than 300,000, the effort failed miserably at huge cost to the Sui. Later Yang Jian accepted Koguryo’s token apologies and never resumed military action...
(The entire section is 278 words.)
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