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Yellow Turban Rebellion

The Yellow Turban Rebellion was an AD 184 peasant rebellion against Emperor Lingdi[?] of the Han Dynasty of China. Called the yellow turbans or yellow scarves for the scarves they wore around their heads, the rebels were associated with secret Taiping Taoist societies. The Taiping taoist principles of equal rights of all peoples and equal distribution of land threatened the privileges of landholding families, ruling entity and the mandate of heaven held by the emperor. The peasants were reacting to the high taxes imposed on them to build fortifications along the Silk Road and garrisons against foreign infiltrations and invasions. The adverse condition deteriorated due to famine conditions, which indicated the emperor no longer had the favor of heaven. A ragtag mob of rebels led by firebrand Zhang Jue[?] and his two younger brothers ravaged in the North China Plain and engaged the emperor's forces. The emperor was able to put down the rebellion, but in the process his generals and local adminstrators gained self-governing powers, leading to the collapse of the dynasty in AD 220.

The Yellow Turban Rebellion is the opening event in the Chinese literary classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It also marked an important point in the history of Taoism.



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