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Yellow Turban Rebellion
The Yellow Turban Rebellion () was an AD 184 peasant rebellion against Emperor Lingdi of the Han Dynasty of China. Called the yellow turbans or yellow scarves for the scarves they wore around their heads, the rebels were associated with secret Taiping Taoist societies.
The Taiping Taoist principles of equal rights of all peoples and equal distribution of land threatened the privileges of landholding families and the Mandate of Heaven held by the emperor. The peasants were reacting to the high taxes imposed on them in order to build fortifications along the Silk Road and garrisons against foreign infiltrations and invasions. The adverse conditions further deteriorated due to widespread famine, which the rebels believed to indicate that the emperor no longer had the favor of heaven.
A ragtag mob of rebels led by firebrand Zhang Jiao and his two younger brothers Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang ravaged in the North China Plain and engaged the emperor's forces. The emperor was able to put down the rebellion, but in the process his generals and local administrators gained self-governing powers, leading to the collapse of the dynasty in AD 220.
The Yellow Turban Rebellion is the opening event in the Chinese literary classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It also marked an important point in the history of Taoism.
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