Battle of Red Cliffs

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The Battle of Red Cliffs (also known as the Battle of Chibi, 208 CE) was the pivotal engagement between the forces of Northern China led by the warlord Cao Cao (l. 155-220 CE) and the allied defenders of the south under the command of Liu Bei (d. 223 CE) and Sun Quan (d. 252 CE). The battle is considered the turning point in the conflict between various warlords who assumed control of their regions and then extended their reach in the waning days of the Han Dynasty (202 BCE - 220 CE). Cao Cao was defeated by the southern coalition and driven back north, ending his dream of unifying China under his rule.

More about: Battle of Red Cliffs


  • 184 CE
    Yellow Turban Rebellion gives rise to independent warlords in China.
  • 189 CE
    Emperor Lingdi of Han dies, leaving a child emperor as successor.
  • 189 CE - 192 CE
    Warlord Dong Zhuo claims supreme power in China.
  • 190 CE - 192 CE
    Guandong Coalition of warlords unite against Dong Zhuo.
  • 192 CE
    Dong Zhuo assassinated by his bodyguard Lu Bu.
  • 192 CE - 208 CE
    Cao Cao and the other warlords fight for control of China.
  • 208 CE
    Battle of Red Cliffs; Cao Cao is defeated by coalition led by Liu Bei and Sun Quan.
  • 220 CE - 280 CE
    Period of the Three Kingdoms; China is divided between kingdoms of Shu Han, Eastern Wu, and Cao Wei.
  • 280 CE
    China united under the Jin Dynasty.