Chiyou (蚩尤) was the chief of the Jiuli (九黎) tribal confederacy. The Jiuli tribal confederacy, along with the Sanmiao (三苗) tribal confederacy were strong enemies against the Yan-Huang (炎黄) Tribal Confederacy. The Yan-Huang Tribal Confederacy was formed by a tribal confederacy whose chief was Yan-Di (炎帝) and another tribal confederacy whose chief was Huang-Di (黄帝). Though the two confederacies always conflicted for the authority of Tribal Confederacy, they still united as one to fight against Jiuli and Sanmiao. In order to gain control of the Central Plain (中原), Chiyou first commanded the Jiuli tribal confederacy to attack Yan-Di's tribe. Yan-Di was being defeated by this attack and asked Huang-Di for help. There was fierce battling between the Yan-Huang Tribal Confederacy and the Jiuli tribal confederacy in a place called Zhuolu (涿鹿), which was in modern-days Hebei (河北) Province. Jiuli was eventually defeated, and Chiyou was killed. Since then, the Jiuli tribal confederacy completely withdrew from the Central Plain. Of interest is though Chiyou was a person of another nation and he was a strong enemy of the Yan-Huang Tribal Confederacy, the Chinese nation still respected this wartime hero. In the Qi (齐) State of the Zhou Dynasty, Chiyou was even regarded as a war-god.
Hou Yi (后羿) was the chief of the Youqiong (有穷) tribe of the east Yi (夷) nation in Xia (夏) Dynasty. Taikang (太康) was the son of Qi (启) and the second king of the Xia Kingdom. He always went out indulging in hunting. Hou Yi commanded his army and intercepted Taikang. He let Zhongkang (仲康) who was the younger brother of Taikang be the king of Xia. After the death of Zhongkang, Xiang (相), the son of Zhongkang, became enthroned. Hou Yi was in power, and he also indulged in hunting as did Taikang. His own trusted follower Hanzhuo (寒浞) killed him. Later, Jiao (浇), the son of Hanzhuo killed Xiang and seized the throne. After several decades, Shaokang (少康), the son of Xiang, led the tribe of his mother and his allied tribes to defeat and kill Jiao. Shaokang recaptured the throne, and then restored the Xia Kingdom.
However, in myths, Hou Yi wasn’t this kind of person who was recorded in historical books. Hou Yi was a great hero as the famous Hercules. He was also very skilled in archery. Myths have said regarding Hou Yi, that when ten suns appeared in the sky at the same time and the people were suffering greatly, Hou Yi shot nine suns down. When devils and savage beasts wreaked havoc on the people, Hou Yi eliminated them. These myths probably came down from the Yi Nation, because Hou Yi was the great hero of the Yi Nation. From the earliest memories of the Chinese people, Hou Yi made a deep impression upon them, so he couldn’t be forgotten. His grandiose heroic myths were accepted by the Chinese nation. Today, in our times, maybe many people don't know about the historical actions of Hou Yi, but no one don’t know about the mythical actions of Hou Yi.
Chiyou was a hero of the Jiuli tribes, and Hou Yi was a hero of the Yi Nation. But why were they regarded as gods or heroes by Chinese? In the Pre-Qin Era, the Chinese nation was a great people who respected a true hero, no matter which nation he belonged to. That was true no matter if he succeeded or failed in his quest. If a person was loyal to his country or his nation, and he fought courageously for his motherland or his nation, he would be respected by the Chinese people. This was why our Chinese people were able to defeat those heroic nations again and again in the Pre-Qin Era.