Later Liang Dynasty (Five Dynasties)
The Later Liang (后梁) (June 1, 907–923) was one of the Five Dynasties during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period in China. It was founded by Zhu Wen, posthumously known as Taizu of Later Liang, after he forced the last emperor of the Tang dynasty to abdicate in his favour (and then murdered him). The Later Liang dynasty would last until 923 when it was destroyed by the Later Tang Dynasty.
Formation of the Later Liang Dynasty
Zhu Wen initially allied himself as Huang Chao’s lieutenant. However, he took Huang’s best troops and established his own power base as a warlord in Kaifeng. By 904, he had exerted control over both of the twin Tang Dynasty capitals of Chang'an and Luoyang. Tang emperor Zhaozong was ordered murdered by Zhu in 904 and the last Tang emperor, Ai Di, was deposed three years later. Ai was murdered in 908, also ordered by Zhu.
Meanwhile, Zhu Wen declared himself emperor of the new Later Liang in Kaifeng in 907. The name Liang refers to the Henan region in which the heart of the regime rested.
Extent of control
The Later Liang Dynasty controlled most of northern China, though much of Shaanxi (controlled by the Qi) as well as Hebei (controlled by the Yan state) and Shanxi (controlled by Shatuo Turks) remained largely outside Later Liang control.
End of the Dynasty
The Later Liang maintained a tense relationship with the Shatuo Turks, due to the rivalry between Zhu Quanzong and Li Keyong, a relationship that began back in the time of the Tang Dynasty. After Li Keyong’s death, his son, Li Cunxu, continued to expand his State of Jin. Li was able to destroy the Later Liang in 923 and found the Later Tang Dynasty.
Conference of the Mandate of Heaven on the Later Liang
Generally through Chinese history, it was historians of later kingdoms whose histories bestowed the Mandate of Heaven posthumously on preceding dynasties. This was typically done for the purpose of strengthening the present rulers ties to the Mandate themselves. Song Dynasty historian Xue Juzheng did exactly this in his work History of the Five Dynasties (五代史).
Several justifications were given for this, and successive Five Dynasties regimes, to be conferred the Mandate of Heaven. Among these was that these dynasties all controlled most of the traditional Chinese heartland. However, the Later Liang was an embarrassment in the brutality it employed, causing many to want to deny it this status, but doing so would break the chain through the other Five Dynasties, and thus to the Song Dynasty, which itself was the successor to the last of the Five Dynasties.