Cao Cao

Cao Cao was a warlord of the decades immediately preceding China's Three Kingdoms Period, and features prominently in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

He vied with Yuan Shao, Liu Bei, and Sun Quan for power and territory. In 215, he secured the fealty of the Celestial Masters, a rebel group which had been controlling Sichuan province for decades.

Cao Cao died in 220, the same year the Han Dynasty formally fell. His son, Cao Pi, founded the state of Cao Wei, while Liu Bei and Sun Quan founded the kingdoms of Shu Han and Eastern Wu respectively, marking the beginning of the Three Kingdoms Period, Yuan Shao having been already defeated sometime previous.


  • Conrad Schirokauer, et al, A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations, Fourth Edition, Cengage Learning (2012), 73.