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Liu Fu (Yuanying)

Liu Fu
Inspector of Yang Province (揚州刺史)
In office
200 (200) – 208 (208)
MonarchEmperor Xian of Han
Preceded byYan Xiang
Personal details
Huaibei, Anhui
ChildrenLiu Jing
Courtesy nameYuanying (元穎)

Liu Fu (died 208),[1] courtesy name Yuanying, was a government official who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. While serving as the governor of Yang Province from 200 to 208, he relocated the province's administrative centre from Liyang (歷陽; present-day He County, Anhui) to Hefei. During his tenure, Hefei became a highly militarised and well-defended military stronghold, which later served as a strategic location in several battles between the rival states of Cao Wei and Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period (220–280).


Liu Fu was from Xiang County (相縣), Pei State (沛國), which is located west of present-day Huaibei, Anhui. When chaos broke out throughout China towards the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, he fled from his hometown and took shelter in Yang Province.[2]

In the early Jian'an era (196–220) of Emperor Xian's reign, he met Qi Ji (戚寄) and Qin Yi, two military officers serving under the warlord Yuan Shu, who was based in Huainan (淮南; around present-day Shou County, Anhui). He managed to convince them to leave Yuan Shu and bring along their troops to defect to Cao Cao, the warlord who controlled the figurehead Emperor Xian and the Han central government in Xu (許; present-day Xuchang, Henan). Cao Cao was so pleased with Liu Fu that he appointed him as an assistant official under the Minister over the Masses (司徒) in the central government.[3][1]

In the year 200,[4] the warlord Sun Ce, who controlled the Jiangdong region, ordered Li Shu (李術), the Administrator of Lujiang Commandery (廬江郡; around present-day Lu'an, Anhui), to attack and kill Yan Xiang, the Inspector (刺史; provincial governor) of Yang Province appointed by the central government. At the same time, Mei Qian (梅乾), Lei Xu (雷緒) and Chen Lan (陳蘭) had amassed thousands of bandits in Huainan and posed a threat to the central government's control over the region. Around the time, the various counties and commanderies in Yang Province were in ruins as they had seen years of war between rival warlords fighting for control over Huainan.[5][1]

In the same year, Cao Cao was at war with his rival, Yuan Shao, at the Battle of Guandu so he was unable to deal with the threats in the Huainan region. However, he believed that Liu Fu was capable of accomplishing that task so he nominated Liu Fu to serve as the new Inspector of Yang Province.[6]

Upon assuming office, Liu Fu ordered the construction of a city at Hefei, which became the new administrative centre of Yang Province. At the same time, through exchanging gifts, he managed to persuade the local bandit forces to accept some measure of his authority.[1] They helped him restore order and stability in Huainan, and pledged allegiance and paid tribute to the central government.[7] Liu Fu governed Yang Province with benevolence and enjoyed high popularity among the locals. Thousands of residents who previously fled from Yang Province to evade chaos returned to their homes. As the population increased, Liu Fu had more schools built, implemented the tuntian system, and promoted agriculture and irrigation. His efforts led to a surplus of resources for both the local government and the common people. He also oversaw the construction of defence infrastructure and the stockpiling of military supplies in preparation for war.[8][1]

Liu Fu died in the year 208.[9][1]

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms

In the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, before the Battle of Red Cliffs, Cao Cao wrote a poem, Short Song Style, to express his feelings at that time. Liu Fu commented that the following lines in the poem were considered inauspicious:


Stars around the moons are few,
southward the crows flew.


Flying with no rest,
where shall they nest?

Cao Cao, in his drunken rage, stabbed Liu Fu with his spear and killed him. He regretted his action later when he became sober.


  • Son: Liu Jing (劉靖), served in the Eastern Han government and later under the Cao Wei state during the Three Kingdoms period. His highest appointment during service was General who Guards the North (鎮北將軍). He was also enfeoffed as the Marquis of Cheng District (成鄉侯).
  • Grandsons:
    • Liu Xi (劉熙), Liu Jing's son, inherited his father's marquis title.
    • Liu Hong (劉弘), Liu Xi's younger brother. During the Western Jin dynasty, he served as Senior General of Chariots and Cavalry (車騎大將軍), Inspector of Jing Province (荊州刺史), and held the peerage of Duke of Xincheng Commandery (新城郡公).
  • Great grandson: Liu Fan (劉璠), Liu Hong's son, served as a North General of the Household (北中郎將) during the Eastern Jin dynasty.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g de Crespigny (2007), p. 505.
  2. ^ (劉馥字元穎,沛國相人也。避亂揚州, ...) Sanguozhi vol. 15.
  3. ^ (... 建安初,說袁術將戚寄、秦翊,使率衆與俱詣太祖。太祖恱之,司徒辟為掾。) Sanguozhi vol. 15.
  4. ^ Sima (1084), vol. 63.
  5. ^ (後孫策所置廬江太守李述攻殺揚州刺史嚴象,廬江梅乾、雷緒、陳蘭等聚衆數萬在江、淮間,郡縣殘破。) Sanguozhi vol. 15.
  6. ^ (太祖方有袁紹之難,謂馥可任以東南之事,遂表為揚州刺史。) Sanguozhi vol. 15.
  7. ^ (馥旣受命,單馬造合肥空城,建立州治,南懷緒等,皆安集之,貢獻相繼。) Sanguozhi vol. 15.
  8. ^ (數年中恩化大行,百姓樂其政,流民越江山而歸者以萬數。於是聚諸生,立學校,廣屯田,興治芍陂及茹陂、七門、吳塘諸堨以溉稻田,官民有畜。又高為城壘,多積木石,編作草苫數千萬枚,益貯魚膏數千斛,為戰守備。) Sanguozhi vol. 15.
  9. ^ (建安十三年卒。) Sanguozhi vol. 15.
  • Chen, Shou (3rd century). Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
  • de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms 23-220 AD. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004156050.
  • Luo, Guanzhong (14th century). Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo Yanyi).
  • Pei, Songzhi (5th century). Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).
  • Sima, Guang (1084). Zizhi Tongjian.