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A Geographical and Archaeological Perspective on the Southern Expedition of King Zhao of Zhou

Historical Studies (Chinese Edition)

No.1, 2015

 

 

A Geographical and Archaeological Perspective on the Southern Expedition of King Zhao of Zhou    

(Abstract)

 

Yin Hongbing

 

During the early Western Zhou period, the Zhou vigorously expanded their territory southward from the Nan-Xiang Basin (Nanyang Basin and Xiangfan Basin) to the region east of the Hanjiang River. The Suizhou region became their most important base in the south. The power of some important vassal states, such as E (), Zeng () and Li (), stretched to Xiaogan in southern Suizhou and Mt Lutai in Huangpi and even as far as the north bank of the Yangtze River. At that time, the southern tribes of Chu (楚蛮) were distributed in the vast southern area of Suizhou; the southern foot of Dahong Mountain was a wasteland; and the lower reaches of the Hanjiang River was a region of lakes and marshes. The southern expedition of King Zhao of Zhou started from the city of Chengzhou, went through the Nanyang Basin and Suizao Corridor, and reached the Suizhou region, where it based itself in states like E and Zeng. It targeted the southern tribes, which had not yet yielded to Zhou, with the aim of restoring the Shang Dynasty’s erstwhile political and geographical control of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, based in Panglong City, and also of establishing direct contact with the copper mining area and ensuring a stable supply of copper and tin. However, as the Zhou were unfamiliar with the geographical and climatic features of the south, they ultimately lost their armies near the Hanjiang River.