The Republican Administration


A republican administration, also known as the Zhouzhao Republic. When the king fled after a national uprising and stormed the palace, the ministers Ding Gong and Zhaomu Gong took over the reins of power, which became known as the “Republic”. The first year of the republic, 841 BC, is the beginning of Chinese history with a precise chronology.

The republican administration is an important event in Chinese history, especially in chronicle history. It was from the beginning of the republican administration that Chinese history was given a precise chronology, which has continued uninterrupted for thousands of years, and which is an important beginning to ensure the continuity of Chinese history. According to the Second Chronology of the Twelve Vassals, Volume 14 of the Records of the Grand Historian, the first year of the Republic was the year Geng Shen, or 841 BCE.

In more recent times, the combination of the Bamboo Annals and other documentary traces suggests that the ‘Republican’ was a man known as ‘Gong Bo He’, which has gradually become the dominant view.

The Republican Administration


National uprisings

The reign of the Zhou dynasty reached its peak after King Mu of the Zhou Dynasty, and then under King Li of the Zhou Dynasty, who reigned in 878 BC. During his reign, the people were unhappy and the nobles continued to indulge in drinking. In 844 BC, in order to amass more wealth to spend, King Li appointed Duke Guo Changfu and Duke Rong Yi to impose a “patent”: forcing the wealth of the mountains, forests and rivers to be owned by the king, and forbidding the commoners to enter the land for woodcutting, fishing and hunting. This offended the interests of all sectors of society and there were widespread complaints. The king refused to accept Rui Liangfu’s advice and promoted the Duke of Rong Yi to the position of minister and continued to enforce the patent. As a result, the nation was outraged, and there were people in the streets and in the alleys to air their grievances. The king brought in a sorcerer from the state of Wei and asked him to use sorcery to watch over the disgruntled people who spoke “slanderous words” and to tell the state that anyone who spoke privately about the government would be killed without mercy. The sorcerer of Wei pretended to be a god. Many people died as a result of the slander. As a result, people no longer dared to speak in public, and they could only greet each other with their eyes when they met on the road. King Li thought he had removed the slander of the people. Zhaomu was convinced that “preventing the people’s mouths is more important than preventing the river” and that once the mouths were broken, they would be unmanageable. He argued for a wide range of opinions to be expressed by all kinds of people, from the officials to the peasants. However, King Li turned a deaf ear to this and was bent on having his own way. Within three years, the people of the state could not stand it any longer, and in 841 BC, the people rioted and the king was forced to flee to Pig (Huozhou, Shanxi). The prince hid himself in the house of Duke Zhaomu, who was surrounded by the people and replaced him with his own son. The king fled to Pig, which is known as the “Pig Rebellion”.

The process

After King Li’s flight to Pig, the Duke of Wei Wu, a vassal of the eastern part of the Zhou Dynasty, arrived at the capital of Hao with his troops. The lords of the eastern part of the Zhou dynasty arrived in Haojing with their troops, so Zhaogonghu asked Duke Wei Wu to temporarily rule on behalf of King Li’s former ministers, while he and another minister, Duke Zhou (a descendant of Duke Dan), formed a council of slave-owning nobles to assist in the administration. The first year of the republic, 841 B.C., is the beginning of the exact chronology of China’s extant history.

In the 14th year of the republic (828 BC), King Li of the Zhou Dynasty died in a pig, and in the following year, Prince Jing reigned as King Xuan of the Zhou Dynasty, bringing the republican era to an end. The Chinese historian Sima Qian of the Han dynasty then began dating the first year of the republican administration, 841 BC, in The Records of the Grand Historian. This gave the history of China an exact chronology. According to the traditional Chinese chronology, the history of China’s Middle Kingdom has had a continuous chronological system since the republican period.


The Zhou dynasty’s central authority was in a state of turmoil after the national uprising, and the throne hung in limbo for fourteen years, during which time the Zhou administration and the vassal kingship existed side by side in the Central Plains. This chaotic state of affairs lasted until the reign of King Xuan of Zhou, who was once again the common master of the world. He was not the eldest son of King Li, and his ascension to the throne was the result of the chaos of the republican period.


King Li of Zhou ran away while the republican administration was in place. The first year of the republic, 841 BC, marks the beginning of the exact chronology of Chinese history. Prior to this date, there is no exact written year, and inferences can only be made from archaeological artefacts, which are very vague.

Co-Bohe says

There are two interpretations of the ‘Republican’ period. According to the Ancient Bamboo Annals, “After the death of King Li, a man named Gongbo He took over the affairs of the Son of Heaven”, and “Gongbo He took over the throne”. In 841 BC (or 842 BC), when the people of the country rioted, King Li of Zhou fled to Pig (Huozhou, Shanxi), where Prince Jing hid in the house of Duke Zhaogong, and Gong Bohe took charge of the king’s affairs. This is the earliest documentary record of the matter, and is supported by other documents from the Zuo Zhuan, so modern scholars have mostly said so. 2011, the end of the Qing Hua Jie – the year of the series of interpretation results published, the republic in the Qing Hua Jie is Gong Bo He.

In addition, there are records of Gong Bohe claiming the title of king and “carrying out the affairs of the Son of Heaven for fourteen years” in Zuo Zhuan – Zhaogong 26, Lu Lianzi and other books.

According to Duke Ding of Zhou and Duke Zhaomu

Another explanation is that, according to the Records of the Grand Historian, the state was jointly administered by Duke Ding of Zhou and Duke Zhaomu after the rebellion, which is why they were also known as the “Zhou-Zhao Republic”. Later scholars such as Wei Zhao, Du Pre, and Sima Guang said this.

The beginning of the chronology and attempts to go back in time

The first year of the republic (841 BC) was the beginning of the exact chronology of Chinese history. The period of 14 years before and after the death of King Li of Zhou in 828, when he returned power to his son King Xuan, is known as the ‘Republican Administration’. According to the traditional Chinese chronology, from the republican period onwards, the history of the Middle Kingdom of China has a continuous chronological system.

Gong Bohe was the monarch of the state of Wei, Duke Wei Wu. During the reign of King Li of Zhou, Duke Wei Wu entered the dynasty to serve. In the Hanshu – Geography – He’nei County, Meng Kang explains that “Gong Bo was the one who entered the court as the three princes”, while the Yi inscriptions suggest that Gong Bo He would have held the post of “teacher” first, and then the post of “three princes”. The inscriptions on the Yi Yi inscriptions suggest that Gong Bo He would have held the position of “teacher” first, and then the position of “three gongs”. The inscriptions on the Yi Tripod of the First Year include the words “Shi He Father was the master of the left and right horses”, and experts believe that this “Shi He Father” was Gong Bo He. The later “Shi Chen Ding”, “Shi Yu Gui”, “Jian Gui”, and “Wei Shi Gui” are recorded as “Sima Gong”, which is presumably Gong Bohe after his promotion to the position of Sima.

According to the inscriptions, the promotion must have taken place between the third and fifth years of the reign of King Li of Zhou. Shi? Gui (?

In 2003, a bronze gui plate was unearthed in Yangjiacun, Meixian County, Shaanxi Province, with an inscription indicating that King Li of the Zhou was followed by King Xuan of the Zhou, and that the republican period was not independently dated, thus reigniting the republican debate.


The republican administration was a major event in history, and the first year of the republic was the beginning of a precise chronology of Chinese history, which was of great significance as it created an accurate chronology of Chinese history that has been recorded without interruption ever since. It is this event that allows us to go back thousands of years without being confused; before then, Chinese history was only legendary and half-believed, with a very vague chronology that could only be traced through archaeological artefacts, which were not accurate enough. This is why the republican administration was such an important milestone in the history of China.

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