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  • Zhao Shu 趙曙, Emperor Yingzong of Song (1032 - 1067)
    Zhao Shu 趙曙 [9005] Taizong's [9002] great grandson, Renzong's [9004] distant cousin, Shenzong's [9006] father, Conggu's [7180] uncle, Gao(1) Zunhui's [927] nephew-in-law, Gao(1) Jizhong's [905] grandne...
  • Zhao Zhen 趙禎, Emperor Renzong of Song (1010 - 1063)
    Zhao Zhen 趙禎 [9004] Zhenzong's [9003] sixth son, Yingzong's [9005] distant cousin. His maternal grandfather was Li(2) Rende [7277]. Qian(1) Jingzhen's [7141] father-in-law, Qian(1) Chen's [7140] matern...
  • Zhao Heng 趙恆, Emperor Zhenzong of Song (968 - 1022)
    Zhao Heng 趙恆 [9003] Taizong's [9002] third son, Renzong's [9004] father. Zhang(1) Zhaoyun's [7149] brother-in-law. His first empress was Pan(1) Mei's [1389] daughter (who died in 989 at the age of 22),...
  • Zhu Di, Emperor Chengzu of Ming 明成祖 朱棣 (1360 - 1424)
    Diplomatic missions and exploration of the world ( ) Further information: Chinese exploration and Treasure voyages As part of his desire to expand Chinese influence throughout the known world, ...
  • Lǐ Shìmín 李世民, Emperor Taizong of Tang 唐太宗 94, 61G (599 - 649)
    Wikipedia Biographical Summary: "... Emperor Taizong of Tang (Chinese: 唐太宗; pinyin: Táng Tàizōng, Wade-Giles: T'ai-Tsung) (January 23, 599 – July 10, 649), personal name Lǐ Shìmín (Chinese: 李世民), was...

Huangdi (皇帝) was a title created by Zheng 政, First Emperor of Qin 秦始皇帝 (literally the First Huangdi of the Qin) in reference to the prehistoric traditions of the Three August Ones (Huang) and the Five Emperors (Di), and thereafter was employed by all who claimed the Mandate of Heaven over all or part of China, until AD 1912 when the last Huangdi Puyi 溥儀, Xuantong Emperor of Qing China of Qing Dynasty was forced to abdicate.

That the European title Emperor (or Imperator, Kaiser, etc.) comes to be associated with Huangdi in terms of translating between Chinese and Western languages is primarily a matter of convenience. Even though a number of rulers of the Warring States before Qin, officially titled Gong (公 rendered "Duke"), and later Wang (王 "King"), were even powerful than some of the later Huangdi, we shall restrict this project only to those who formally assumed the title of Huangdi in their lifetime (including the deposed and the puppets, but excluding the father, grandfather, etc. of the founding Emperor who were customarily bestowed the title of Huangdi only posthumously.)

The European term "dynasty" may also be misleading when used in the Chinese context. It does correctly suggest a paternal line of monarchs, but a change of dynasty in China would typically involve a violent overturn of the ruling family, either by force or by usurpation. It would typically be associated with a large-scale institutional change, and is therefore used to demarcate a new era. When someone is referred to as a man of Tang dynasty, it simply means he lived (mostly) in the period of Tang dynasty, not to suggest that he was a member of the imperial family.

In more than two millennia of continuous existence, there was only one female reigning Huangdi, Wǔ Zétiān 武則天, though about a dozen others have wielded autocratic power in the name of Empress Consort or Empress Dowager.

The longest reign is that of the Kangxi Emperor of Qing Dynasty, lasting 61 years. His grandson, the Qianlong Emperor, in his 60th year opted to abdicate the throne to his son, but continued to rule for three more years as Tai Shang Huangdi (Grand Emperor, or Emperor emeritus). The majority of Emperors, however, died at young age in political struggle at times of instability.

The conventional dictionary with European nobility is summarized here:

  • Emperor = Huangdi 黃帝
  • King = Wang 王 (Shang and Zhou dynasties, and certain regimes in later times)
  • Prince = Wang 王 (since Qin dynasty)
  • Duke = Gong
  • Marquis = Hou
  • Earl = Bo
  • Viscount = Zi
  • Baron = Nan


The following is a list of important Emperors to help you navigate through Geni. For the full list click "View all" on the Profiles module on the right

秦 Qin

Zheng 政, First Emperor of Qin 秦始皇帝

漢 Han

西漢 Former Han

Liu Bang 劉邦, Emperor Gaozu of Han

Liú Chè 劉徹, Emperor Wu of Han

新 Xin

Wang Mang 王莽, Emperor of Xin Dynasty

東漢 Later Han

Liu Xiu 劉秀, Emperor Guangwu of Han

三國 Three Kingdoms

Cao Cao 曹操, Emperor Wu of Wei

Liu Bei 劉備, Emperor of Shu-Han

Sun Quan, 孫權, 字:仲謀

晉 Jin

Sima Yan 司馬炎, Emperor Wu of Jin

南北朝 North and South Dynasties

隋 Sui

唐 Tang

五代 Five Dynasties

宋 Song

See album of official portraits

北宋 Northern Song

Zhao Kuangyin 趙匡胤, Emperor Taizu of Song

遼 Liao (Khitan)

南宋 Southern Song

Zhao Gou, Emperor Gaozong of Song 宋高宗 趙構

Zhao Shen, Emperor Xiaozong of the Song 宋孝宗 趙昚

Zhao Yun, Emperor Lizong of Song 宋理宗 趙昀

金 Jin (Jurchen)

Aguda 阿骨打, Emperor Taizu of Jin

元 Yuan (Mongol)

See album of portraits

Genghis, Khan of the Mongol Empire


明 Ming

See album of portraits

清 Qing (Manchu)