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History of White Emperor City

White Emperor Temple

White Emperor City in Western Han Dynasty

The name of White Emperor City was originally appeared in the Western Han Dynasty. When Wang Mang usurped the throne, his army general Gongsun Shu occupied Sichuan. As his power got expanded day by day, he became more and more ambitious. He wanted to set up a separatist regime and be the emperor. He came to Qutang Gorge and found here strategically located with difficult terrain and easily defensible. So he stationed his troops here and built the fortress. Later he heard that in there was a well in the city and a stream of white mist which looked like a dragon (in old China, dragon was the symbol of the emperor) always came out of the well. To obtain the support of the people, he flattered himself that this implied he would become an emperor soon.

In 25 A.D, he declared himself as the White Emperor and called this city "White Emperor City" and thus the name of the mountain was changed into White Emperor Mountain.

In 36 A.D, Gongsun Shu declared a war with Liu Xiu and was defeated by Liu Xiu. The White Emperor City was ruined in the war. During the time when Gongxun Shu declared himself the emperor, other places were haunted by wars while the White Emperor City was in peace. Therefore, to honor Gongsun Shu, the local people built an White Emperor Temple in the city and placed an statue of him in the temple.

White Emperor City in Three Kingdoms Period

In 221 A.D during the Three Kingdoms period, the emperor of Shu Kingdom, Liu Bei wanted to seize the Jingzhou back and revenge for his great general, Guan Yu. As a result, he declared war on Wu Kingdom. Shu Kingdom and Wu Kingdom went through the war in Yiling. But Liu Bei failed and suffered a great loss. He withdrew to Yong'an (today the White Emperor City) and later became sick. In the April of 223 A.D, Liu Bei was at one's last gasp and was in danger. He dispatched the subordinates to Chengdu and fetched his military minister, Zhuge Liang.

He sent others away and only called Zhuge Liang in his room, telling Zhuge Liang that if his son, Liu Shan was not competent enough to be the emperor of Shu Kingdom, Zhuge Liang had the power to dispose the matters of Shu Kingdom. Then Liu Bei called his son in and entrusted his son to Zhuge Liang. Liu Bei died and Zhuge Liang treated Liu Shan as his own son and made great contributions to the Shu Kingdom.

This story was connected to the White Emperor City forever.

White Emperor City in Ming and Qing Dynasty

In Ming Dynasty, White Emperor City was repaired and rebuilt. The statue of Gongsun Shu in the temple was moved away and was replaced by the statue of Liu Bei. Besides, statues of Zhuge Liang, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei were also displayed in the temple. In Qing Dynasty, the White Emperor was once again repaired.

White Emperor City in Modern Times

On the 25th of May in 2006, the White Emperor City, as the ancient building in Ming and Qing Dynasty was included in the list of national key cultural relics protection units by the State Council of China.

In 2009, the Three Gorges Project was finished, and water level raised. The White Emperor City was surrounded by water and became a secluded paradise on earth. The scenes are now more fascinating and excursion vessels can directly arrive at the city.