After the death of Sun Jian, the court of Wu named Sun Quan Prince of Wu and placed him on the throne. It is not known exactly why he was chosen over his older brother Sun Ce; this was likely because of power struggles in the court. He was only a teenager when he took the throne, so he was controlled by his advisors until age 20, when he took full control of his own kingdom.
He rose to power in 208, during the Red Cliffs campaign. With the help of Liu Bei, he defeated Cao Cao's fleet. Sun Quan and Liu Bei were still allies after the campaign, but Sun Quan did not trust his rival and placed spies within his land. This contributed to the dissolving of their alliance.
In 210, Sun Quan declared himself emperor. He first aimed his forces at Cao Cao, hoping he could use the momentum from Red Cliffs to defeat his foe. However, the Wei forces defeated the Wu army over and over again. In 216, Sun Quan formed an alliance with Cao Cao. They planned to assassinate Liu Bei, but the attack failed and Liu Bei declared war on Wu.
Sun Quan held his ground, but he was never able to defeat Shu, Wu or the empires that followed. In his later years, he suffered from a feeble mind and most of his rule was performed by his officers. He stepped down and placed Sun Jun on the imperial throne in 250. He died in 252.