~~The Jin Dynasty (
265-420) followed the Three Kingdoms and preceded the Southern and
Northern Dynasties in China. The dynasty was founded by the Sima
family the descendants of the great historian Sima Qian.
The first of the two periods, the Western Jin Dynasty ( 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 ( 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.