Emperor Gong of Western Wei

Emperor Gong Of Western Wei

Emperor Gong of Western Wei

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Emperor Gong of Western Wei ((西)魏恭帝) (537–557), personal name né Yuan Kuo (元廓), later changed to Tuoba Kuo (拓拔廓), was the last emperor of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei -- a branch successor state to Northern Wei. He was made emperor in 554 after his older brother Emperor Fei was deposed by the paramount general Yuwen Tai. He carried little actual power, and in 556, after Yuwen Tai's death, Yuwen Tai's nephew Yuwen Hu, serving as guardian to Yuwen Tai's son Yuwen Jue, forced Emperor Gong to yield the throne to Yuwen Jue, ending Western Wei and starting Northern Zhou. The former emperor was killed in 557. Because Northern Wei's other branch successor state, Eastern Wei, had fallen in 551, Emperor Gong can be regarded as Northern Wei's final emperor as well.


Yuan Kuo was born in 537, as the fourth son of Emperor Wen. His mother's name is not recorded in history. In 548, Emperor Wen created him the Prince of Qi. However, nothing else is known about his activities during his father's reign, during which the paramount general Yuwen Tai largely controlled power. Yuwen's hold on power appeared to be even firmer after Emperor Wen died in 551 and was succeeded by Yuan Kuo's older brother Yuan Qin (as Emperor Fei). During Yuan Kuo's stint as the Prince of Qi, he married the daughter of the general Ruogan Hui (若干惠) as his wife and princess.

In 554, Emperor Fei, angry over Yuwen Tai's execution of the official Yuan Lie (元烈) in...
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