Quick Facts about Emperor Hedi
- Emperor Hedi was born in 79 CE.
- His name at birth was Liu Zhao.
- He was a son of the Eastern Han dynasty emperor, Zhangdi.
- His mother was Emperor Zhangdi’s concubine, Liang.
- After his father’s death in 88 CE, Liu Zhao became the fourth emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty.
- Hedi means “Harmonious Emperor”.
China under Emperor Hedi
Being only nine years of age when he took the throne, Emperor Hedi was too young to rule over his empire. His grandmother, the dowager-empress, Dou, and her brother, Dou Xian, controlled the empire.
Multiple natural disasters occurred during Hedi’s reign, including plagues of locusts, droughts and the ever-occurring floods. To assure the goodwill of the people, government grain stores were opened and given to the needy. The people were allowed to hunt and fish on the emperor’s lands to provide food for their families. Taxes, which had resumed in previous reigns to ensure that government treasuries were full, were lessened.
As Emperor Hedi grew older, he disliked the power and control that his grandmother and her family had over him and his court. Placing his trust in the court eunuchs, he used them to remove (most likely kill) the Dou family from his court.
As had begun with his father, Emperor Zhangdi’s court, the eunuchs found a way to assure they would not be forgotten. For their role in attempting to rid the court of the Dou family, Emperor Hedi gave land and hereditary titles to the eunuchs. These hereditary titles allowed the eunuchs to pass the title onto adopted sons. Thus, the eunuchs could now guarantee a family line and their place in China’s history.
Inventions during Emperor Hedi’s reign
- Paper made from hemp was invented around 100 CE.
- The first census was taken to determine the number of households and individuals living in China. The census showed a little more than 12 million households (families) and a little more than 57.5 million individuals.
Emperor Hedi’s Family and His Death
Emperor Hedi’s wives were Empresses Yin and Deng. He divorced Empress Yin. He had at least three children, but none were sons by his empresses.
Upon his death in 106 CE, one of his sons, Shangdi, succeeded him as emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty.
Quick facts about Emperor Shangdi
- Emperor Shangdi was born in 105 CE.
- His name at birth was Liu Long.
- He was a son of the Eastern Han dynasty emperor, Hedi.
- His mother was one of Emperor Hedi’s concubines.
- After his father’s death in 106 CE, Liu Long became the fifth emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty.
- Shangdi means “Die-young Emperor.”
Emperor Shangdi’s Life and Death
Emperor Shangdi was only three-months old when his grandmother, the dowager-empress Deng, chose him as heir to her son, Emperor Hedi. It was a short-lived reign, as Shangdi died seven months later.
Shangdi had no wives or concubines. Upon his death in 106 CE, a cousin, Andi, succeeded him as emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty.