Chen (state)
Chen was a minor Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 vassal state during the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese History. It was a relatively minor state based on a single urban centre near what is now Huaiyang County
Huaiyang County
Huaiyang County is a county in the prefecture-level city of Zhoukou in Henan province, People's Republic of China. During the Spring and Autumn Period the capital of the state of Chen was located there....

 in the plains of eastern Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

 province. In its time Chen lay in the southern part of Chinese civilization, bordering the State of Chu
Chu (state)
The State of Chu was a Zhou Dynasty vassal state in present-day central and southern China during the Spring and Autumn period and Warring States Period . Its ruling house had the surname Nai , and clan name Yan , later evolved to surname Mi , and clan name Xiong...


The royal family of Chen were the descendants of Emperor Shun. According to tradition, after the conquest of the Shang Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 around 1046 BC, King Wu of Zhou
King Wu of Zhou
King Wu of Zhōu or King Wu of Chou was the first sovereign, or ruler of the Chinese Zhou Dynasty. The dates of his reign are 1046-1043 BCE or 1049/45-1043. Various sources quoted that he died at the age of 93, 54 or 43. He was considered a just and able leader. Zhou Gong Dan was one of his...

 sought out the potter Gui Man (妫满/媯滿), a descendant of Shun, and gave him the feif of Chen as Duke Hu of Chen (陈胡公/陳胡公).

Chen later became a satellite state of Chu, fighting as an ally of Chu at the Battle of Chengpu
Battle of Chengpu
The Battle of Chengpu took place in 632 BC between the State of Jin and the State of Chu and its allies during the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history. It was the first great battle in the protracted conflict between the states of the Yellow River valley, and the states of the Yangtze...

. It was finally annexed by Chu in 479 BC. Many commoners of Chen then took the name of their former country as their family name, and account for the majority of Chinese people with the family name Chen
Chen (surname)
Chén or Chan is one of the most common East Asian family names. It ranks as the 5th most common surname in China, as of 2007 and the most common surname in Singapore and Taiwan . Chen is also the most common family name in Guangdong, Zhejiang, Fujian, Hong Kong...

 today. After the destruction of the old Chu capital at Ying
Ying (Chu)
Yǐng was a capital city of the State of Chu during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods of Chinese History.In the early years of Chu’s development, the state capital was located at Danyang , near modern day Xichuan County in Henan Province...

, Chen became the Chu capital for a period.
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