Sun Hao

The infamous last emperor of Wu, and technically the last emperor of the Three Kingdoms period. He was born in 242, as the son of Sun He and the grandson of Sun Quan. When he ascended to the throne, he very quickly showed himself to be more of a tyrant than the past just rulers of Wu. Originally, the throne was meant to go to the son of the Sun Xiu, the last emperor. However, the son was much too young at the time and Sun Xiu was horribly ill when he named the child his successor, so the Wu government decided to install Sun Hao as the emperor instead.

Sun Hao was by all accounts a terrible emperor. Among his many offenses is how he refused to handle any of his responsibilities, appointing a corrupt official, Cen Hun, to act in his stead. He executed many loyal Wu officers who protested the mismanagement of the state, and taxed the country to ruin to build his palaces and supply himself with material pleasures, including what one account describes as thousands of concubines.

Furthermore, Sun Hao tried to force the military into war with Jin. After the refusal of Lu Kang to follow his orders, Sun Hao executed many more ministers, and Lu Kang and Ding Feng died from illness soon after, representing the last of the great Wu generals from the golden time of the Sun family’s rule. Left alone to manage an increasingly discontent government and populace, Sun Hao ranged wildly out of control, resorting to torturing and killing anyone he thought to be traitorous.

News of his self-destruction reached Sima Yan, the emperor of Jin, and an attack was soon mounted to kill Sun Hao and take Wu for himself. Cen Hun attempted a paltry defense which was soon defeated, and angry Wu ministers killed Cen Hun in a most gruesome revenge. Wu generals, disgusted with the state of affairs, surrendered and defected to Jin in droves. Sun Hao threatened to commit suicide, but ultimately surrendered to the Jin army that was on his doorstep in 280.

According to the Sanguo yanyi, he died in 283 as the last emperor of Wu. With his death, the period of the Three Kingdoms was ended and the era of the Jin was ushered in, and the fighting at last came to a close after the bloodiest period of Chinese history.