Huangdi (皇帝) was a title created by Qin Shi Huangdi (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 of Qing Dynasty was forced to abdicate.
That the European title Emperor comes to associate with Huangdi in translating between Chinese and Western languages is not much more than a matter of convenience. Even though some of the rulers of the Warring States before Qin, officially titled gong (公 Duke), and later wang (王 King), were as powerful as some later Emperors, we shall restrict this project only to those who 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 only posthumously bestowed the title of Huangdi.)
The European word dynasty may also be problematic when used in the Chinese context. It does 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 royal family.
In more than two millennia of continuous existence, there was only one female de jure Huangdi, Wu Zetian.
The longest reign is that of the Kangxi Emperor of Qing Dynasty, lasting 61 years. His grandson, the Qianlong Emperor, opted to hand over the throne to his son in his 60th year, but continued to rule for three more years as tai shang huangdi (Grand Emperor, or Emperor emeritus). Most Emperors, however, died at young age in political struggle at times of instability.
- Chinese Emperors Wikipedia List
- ￼Portraits of Chinese Emperors ￼- Qin, Han, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties
- Chinese emperors family trees (ancient) → (early) → (middle) → (late)
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 公
- Marquis = hou 侯
- Earl = bo 伯
- Viscount = zi 子
- Baron = nan 男
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
西漢 Former Han
東漢 Later Han
三國 Three Kingdoms
魏 Wei Cao Cao 曹操
蜀漢 Shu Liu Bei 劉備
吳 Wu Sun Quan 孫權