Jin Dynasty (265-420)

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The Jin Dynasty (晉 pinyin jn, 265-420) followed the Three Kingdoms and preceded the Southern and Northern Dynasties in China. The dynasty was founded by the Sima family (司馬 pinyin Sīmǎ), the descendants of the great historian Sima Qian.

Missing image
Jar of the Western Jin, with Buddhist figures.

The first of the two periods, the Western Jin Dynasty (ch. 西晉, 265-316), was founded by Emperor Wu. Although providing a brief period of unity after conquering the Kingdom of Wu in AD 280, the Jin 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. Successive reign of Emperor Min lasted four years in Chang'an until its conquest by Former Zhao in 316.

Meanwhile remnants of the Jin court fled from the north to the south and reestablished the Jin court at Jiankang, which was located south-eastward of Luoyang and Chang'an and near modern-day Nanjing, under Prince of Longya. Prominent local families of Zhu, Gan, Lu, Gu and Zhou supported the proclamation of Prince of Longya as Emperor Yuan of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (ch. 東晉 317-420) when the news of the fall of Chang'an reached the south.

Militaristic authorities and crises plagued the Eastern Jin court throughout its 104 years of existence. It survived the rebellions of Wang Dun and Su Jun. Huan Wen died in 373 before proclaiming himself emperor. Battle of Fei turned out to be a victory of Jin 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 hanging of the reinstated but retarded Emperor An. The last emperor and brother of Emperor An, Emperor Gong, was installed in 419. Abdication of Emperor Gong in 420 in favor of Liu Yu, then Emperor Wu, ushered in the Song Dynasty and the Southern Dynasties.

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.


Sovereigns of Jin Dynasty

Posthumous names Family name and given names Durations of reigns Era names and their according range of years
Chinese convention: "Jin" + posthumous name + "di"
Western Jin Dynasty 265-316
Wu Sima Yan 265-290 Taishi 265-274
   Xianning 275-280
Taikang 280-289
Taixi January 28,290-May 17,290
Hui Sima Zhong 290-307 Yongxi May 17, 290-February 15,291
   Yongping February 16-April 23,291
Yuankang April 24,291-February 6,300
Yongkang February 7,300-February 3,301
Yongning June 1,301-January 4303
Taian January 5,303-February 21, 304
Yongan February 22-August 15,304; December 25,304-February 3,305
Jianwu August 16-December 24,304
Yongxing February 4,305-July 12,306
Guangxi July 13,306-February 19,307
unknown Sima Lun 301 Jianshi February 3-June 1,301
Huai Sima Chi 307-311 Yongjia 307-313
Min Sima Ye 313-316 Jianxing 313-317
Eastern Jin Dynasty 317-420
Yuan Sima Rui 317-323 Jianwu 317-318
   Daxing 318-322
Yongchang 322-323
Ming Sima Shao 323-325 Taining 323-326
Cheng Sima Yan 325-342 Xianhe 326-335
   Xiankang 335-342
Kang Sima Yue 342-344 Jianyuan 343-344
Mu Sima Dan 344-361 Yonghe 345-357
   Shengping 357-361
Ai Sima Pi 361-365 Longhe 362-363
   Xingning 363-365
Fei Sima Yi 365-372 Taihe 365-372
Jianwen Sima Yu 372 Xianan 372-373
Xiaowu Sima Yao 372-396 Ningkang 373-375
   Taiyuan 376-396
An Sima Dezong 396-419 Longan 397-402
   Yuanxing 402-405
Yixi 405-419
Gong Sima Dewen 419-420 Yuanxi 419-420

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