Zhang Jiao is one of the first antagonists in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series. He was a former ancient Chinese Han Court advisor, until he discovered a mystical text known as The Way of Peace. Zhang Jiao studied the text and, in time, gained mystical powers, including the ability to control the weather.
At the time, the Han Dynasty was flooded by corruption. In responce to the corruption, Zhang Jiao founded the "Way of Peace" movement and used his powers to attract many followers. Soon after, he raised a rebel army to oppose the Han Empire. He also gave himself the title "Great Teacher" and "General of Heaven".
The rebellion would come to be known as "The Yellow Turban Rebellion" because Zhang Jiao's followers wore yellow cloths around their heads. At first, the Yellow Turbans were very successful against the Han. But the Han sent out a call for help and many warlords, including Cao Cao, Yuan Shao, and Dong Zhuo joined the Han forces.
With fresh new officers, the Han struck back, and successfully countered the Yellow Turbans. Zhang Jiao died of illness soon after.
Although the rebellion had been subdued, the chaos in China continued, which would lead to the period known as the Three Kingdoms.
- To many modern Chinese people, Zhang Jiao is mostly considered as a heroic rebel who fought against tyranny and corruption, not a villain as described in Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
- Zhang Jiao is a playable character in the Dynasty Warriors series.