General Introduction toWei and Jin Period

Wei and Jin period The Jin Dynasty consists of two dynasties, the Western Jin Dynasty (265 -316) and the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317 - 420). The Western Jin was founded by Sima Yan with Luoyang as its capital city while the Eastern Jin was founded by Sima Rui with Jiankang (currently Nanjing) as its capital. In 265, as a chancellor of the Kingdom of Wei, Sima Yan forced the last emperor of Wei, Cao Huan, to turn over his throne. Soon after Sima Yan acceded to the throne, proclaimed himself Emperor Wu in Luoyang and established the Jin Dynasty. In 280, Sima Yan sent his troops to attack the Kingdom of Wu and eventually defeated the last kingdom of the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280). The Jin Dynasty had unified the whole nation.

 

History

The first of the two periods, the Western Jìn Dynasty ( 265–316), was founded by Emperor Wu, better known as Sima Yan. Although providing a brief period of unity after conquering the state of Eastern Wu in 280, the Jìn could not contain the invasion and uprising of nomadic peoples after the devastating War of the Eight Princes. The capital was Luoyang until 311 when Emperor Huai was captured by the forces of Han Zhao. The successive reign of Emperor Min lasted four years in Chang'an until its conquest by Han Zhao in 316.

 

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However, the state of unification did not last long. With the increase of the military strength, some nomadic ethnic groups on the frontier began to wage war to contest the central plains with the Jin Court. After a period of fighting, these groups set up a series of regimes in northern areas, called 'sixteen kingdoms'. On the positive side, the process of Han-Chinese assimilation with other minority groups was greatly progressed. Meanwhile, the propagation of Buddhism in southern and northern areas became more and more popular. In addition, technological progress in medicine, astronomy and drafting technique was also notable during that time.

Sovereigns of Jìn Dynasty

Militaristic authorities and crises plagued the Eastern Jìn court throughout its 104 years of existence. It survived the rebellions of Wang Dun and Su Jun. Huan Wen died in 373 before he could usurp the throne (which he had intended to do). Battle of Fei turned out to be a victory of Jìn under a short-lived cooperation of Huan Chong, brother of Huan Wen and the Prime Minister (or Imperial Secretariat) Xie An. Huan Xuan, son of Huan Wen, usurped and changed the name of the dynasty to Chu. He was toppled by Liu Yu, who ordered the strangulation of the reinstated but retarded Emperor An.

 

The last emperor and brother of Emperor An, Emperor Gong, was installed in 419. The abdication of Emperor Gong in 420 in favor of Liu Yu, ushered in the Liu Song Dynasty and a series of dynasties in the south, collectively known as the Southern Dynasties. The Jin Dynasty thus came to an end. Meanwhile North China was ruled by the Sixteen Kingdoms, many of which were founded by the Wu Hu, the non-Han Chinese ethnicities. The conquest of the Northern Liang by the Northern Wei Dynasty in 439 ushered in the Northern Dynasties.

 

Major events

In 265, as a chancellor of the Kingdom of Wei, Sima Yan forced the last emperor of Wei, Cao Huan, to turn over his throne. Soon after Sima Yan acceded to the throne, proclaimed himself Emperor Wu in Luoyang and established the Jin Dynasty. In 280, Sima Yan sent his troops to attack the Kingdom of Wu and eventually defeated the last kingdom of the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280). The Jin Dynasty had unified the whole nation.