Cao Cao (Mengde) was born in 155 A.D. in Qian County, Pei County (now Bo Zhou city, An Hui Province). He was a descendant of Cao Can, the prime minister of Western Han Dynasty. Cao Cao was the self-appointed Imperial Secretarist of the Han Dynasty and was the de facto ruler of the kingdom of Wei during the period of Three Kingdoms. He was known as a very clever, tricky, unconventional, self-indulgent, and loyal ruler, poet, and strategist.
When he was twenty years old, he completed his distract exams and received recommendation for filial piety and integrity, which resulted in his first official appointment. Cao Cao proved himself to be worthy of higher responsibility and was put in command of security in the Capital District of Luo Yang. He adhered to strict rules and discipline, and no troops under his command would dare break the laws.
At the beginning of the Yellow Turban rebellion in AD 184, Cao Mengde was ranked "Cavalry Commander" and led troops to Ying Chuan district. After the rebellion was subdued, Cao Mengde held the position of Commandant of the Valiant Army and in AD 190, fled to Ji Wu after failing to assassinate Dong Zhuo, a treacherous court official of Eastern Han. While fleeing, he was accepted into a family temporarily. Cao Cao overheard the family talking about killing someone or something, and this made him grow superstitious and wary. Thinking that they were planning to kill him, Cao Cao slaughtered and killed the entire family only to find out that they were just talking about killing a pig for a feast.
From this point on, Cao Cao took matters into his own hand, formed his own army of talented officers and soldiers, and named his army "Qingzhou Army." Using a fake Imperial Decree, Cao Mengde brought together seventeen other Lords to fight against Dong Zhuo. In 196, Cao Cao led his troops into the capital city, Luoyang, and forced the Emperor Xian of Han to carry out his commands in order to control the political situation. In 201, his troop defeated the troop of Yuan Shao, leader of a rebel force against Eastern Han court, in the Battle of Guandu. From that time on, Cao Cao gradually unified northern China. However, his political aim to unify the entire China was never achieved.
In 220, Cao Cao died of a head disease and was titled "Emperor Wu of Wei" after his son, Cao Pi, succeeded him to the throne.
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