In 202 BC, on this day the Chu-Han contention between the rival rulers of China ended with the defeat of the Han forces of Liu Bang at the Battle of Gaixia.
Battle of Gaixia
By Ed & Jeff ProvineAn unbroken string of victories by the great leader (pictured) had given Han forces control all of all but the east which still remained under Chu control. The hundred thousand strong Chu army of Xiang Yu had been forced to retreat to Gaixia where unthinkable defeat would have made Liu Bang the master of China. And almost certainly the first Emperor of China since the the collapse of the Qin Dynasty.
But it was not to be. With a unified China seemingly his for the taking, a major dispute broke out between Liu Bang and his most senior officer General Han Xin and the military strategist Zhang Liang. The result of this disunity was that Han Xin withheld his forces in Qi giving Xiang Yu the opportunity to strike the decisive blow against the weakened Han forces.
Ironically, Liu Bang had planned to make General Han Xin the King of Qi and also the King of Chu. Unaware of this intention, a substantially reduced offer was then made by the victorious Xiang Yu, and Han Xin became King of Qi. This negotiated outcome - some would say, treachery - created a third nation that effectively ended the attempt to unify China and bought the Chus the breathing space they needed to consolidate their grip on the East.