Tang Gaozu Li Yuan and Tang Taizong Li ShiminClick on the names to hear how they are pronounced
First emperor of Tang, also known as Li Yuan.
Li Yuan was originally an aristocrat of the Sui Dynasty. In the year 617 he was dispatched to TaiYuan by Sui Yangdi to battle the rebellion by the peasants there. Li Shimin, who was the most capable among all of his sons, had his own plans as he was sure that Sui would not last long. Shimin's friend Liu Wenjing suggested that he raise troops and rebel against the Sui Dynasty. Li Shimin thought that there was something in what he suggested and persuaded his father to do so. Li Yuan consented to his suggestion and asked Liu Wenjing to help him to recruit soldiers and increase military power.
Before long, Li Yuan left Jin Yang and headed for Chang'An together with 30,000 soldiers. On the way there, they gave rice to peasants and won their heart, which was the same way that the rebellious armies always practised. After they conquered the city of Huo Yi, they crossed the Yellow River and summoned up about 200,000 people under the help from the peasant rebels from GuanZhong. They were all ready to attack Chang'An.
At the same time in the city of Chang'an, the daughter of Li Yuan summoned up nearly 10,000 soldiers called the army of women to help Li Yuan when his army came to the city. Li Yuan conquered Chang'an in a flash. In order to gain the hearts of the public, he abolished all the bans announced by the Sui Dynasty, and made Yang You, son of Sui Yangdi , nothing but a temporary puppet emperor.
In the year 618, Sui Yangdi was assassinated at JiangDu. After hearing the news Li Yuan put an end to Sui, and started a new dynasty called the Tang. He was of course the first emperor of the Tang Dynasty and was called Tang Gaozu.