Emperor Xianwen of Northern Wei

Emperor Xianwen Of Northern Wei

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Emperor Xianwen of Northern Wei

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Emperor Xianwen of Northern Wei ((北)魏獻文帝) (454–476), personal name Tuoba Hong, was an emperor of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He was the first emperor in Chinese history who, after retiring in favor of his son Emperor Xiaowen to become Taishang Huang (retired emperor) in 471, continued to hold onto power until his death in 476—when he was killed by his stepmother Empress Dowager Feng over his having executed a lover of hers.

Family background

Tuoba Hong was born in 454, as Emperor Wencheng's oldest son. His mother was Consort Li, who had previously been captured in war and had become a concubine of Tuoba Ren (拓拔仁) the Prince of Yongchang, a distant relative of Emperor Wencheng, who was executed in 453 after having been accused of crimes. After Tuoba Ren's death, she was seized and taken into the palace, where she became Emperor Wencheng's concubine. In 456, Emperor Wencheng created Tuoba Hong crown prince -- and, at the same time, according to Northern Wei customs, ordered Consort Li to commit suicide.


Under Yifu Hun's regency

In 465, Emperor Wencheng died, and the 11-year-old Crown Prince Hong ascended the throne as Emperor Xianwen. Emperor Wencheng's wife Empress Feng was honored as empress dowager, and Emperor Xianwen's deceased mother Consort Li was posthumously honored as Empress Yuan. Power soon fell into the hands of the official Yifu Hun, who assumed dictatorial powers and killed a large number of other...
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