The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) was an era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly succeeded one another in the Central Plain, and more than a dozen concurrent states were established elsewhere, mainly in South China. It was the last prolonged period of multiple political division in Chinese imperial history.
Traditionally, the era started with the fall of the Tang dynasty in 907 AD and reached its climax with the founding of the dominant Song dynasty in 960. In the remaining 19 years Song gradually subdued all the remaining states.
Many states had been de facto independent kingdoms long before 907, as Tang dynasty's ability to control its vassals gradually waned, but have now been recognized as such by foreign powers. After the Tang had collapsed, the kings who controlled the Central Plain crowned themselves as emperors. During the 70-year-long period, there was near constant warfare between all the emerged kingdoms and alliances they formed. All of them had the control of the Central Plain as their ultimate goal as that would have granted them the legitimacy over all their territories and rest of China as the legitimate successor to Tang.
The last of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms states, the Northern Han, held out until 979, when Song had officially conquered it, thereby reclaiming all of the territory of the former Tang dynasty.