Liao Dynasty

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The Liao Dynasty (simplified Chinese: 辽朝; traditional Chinese: 遼朝; pinyin: Liáo Cháo, Khitan language: Mos Jælut)[1][2], 907-1125, also known as the Khitan Empire (契丹國 pinyin: Qìdān Guó, Khitan: Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur)[3], was an empire in East Asia that ruled over the regions of Manchuria, Mongolia, and parts of northern China proper. It was founded by the Yelü clan (Chinese: 耶律 Yēlǜ, Khitan language: written i.ra.u.ud, spoken Yaruud) of the Khitan people in the same year as Tang Dynasty collapsed (907), even though its first ruler, Yelü Abaoji, did not declare an era name until 916.

Although it was originally known as the Empire of the Khitan, the Emperor Yelü Ruan officially adopted the name "Liao" (formally "Great Liao") in 947 (938?). The name "Liao" was dropped in 983, but readopted in 1066. Another name for China in English, Cathay, is derived from the name Khitan. This is also the origin of the Russian word for China, Китай or Kitay, and that of several other East European languages.

The Liao Empire was destroyed by the Jurchen of the Jin Dynasty in 1125. However, remnants of its people led by Yelü Dashi established Xi (Western) Liao Dynasty 1125-1220, also known as Kara-Khitan Khanate, which extended its influence over Central Asia into Persia and survived until the arrival of Genghis Khan's unified Mongolian army.


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