Jin Dynasty
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Jin Dynasty

The Jin Dynasty consists of two dynasties, the Western Jin (265 -316) and the Eastern Jin (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 dynasty had unified the whole nation.

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.


Reign Time (years)
Western Jin (265 - 316)
Jin Wudi
(Sima Yan)
A Grandson of Sima Yi and son of Sima Zhao; was the first emperor of the Jin Dynasty and responsible for the unification of the Chinese empire 265 - 290
Jin Huidi
(Sima Zhong)
Considered an incapable monarch due to power struggles that raged between regents, imperial princes and his wife Empress Jia. These struggles greatly undermined the stability of the dynasty 290 - 306
Jin Huaidi
(Sima Chi)
One of the youngest sons of Jin Wudi and brother of Jin Huidi; he was captured and executed by Huns 307 - 311
Jin Mindi
(Sima Ye)
A grandson of Jin Wudi and the last emperor of the Western Jin Dynasty surrendered to one of the Huns states 313 - 317
Eastern Jin (317 - 420)
Jin Yuandi
(Sima Rui)
The first emperor of the Eastern Jin Dynasty. His reign saw the loss of the Jin territory in the north and the establishment of a regime to the South of the Yangtze River 317 - 322
Jin Mingdi
(Sima Shao)
The oldest son of Sima Rui; During his brief reign, shortened prematurely, due to his death he led the Jin out of the domination of the warlord Wang Dun 322 - 325
Jin Chengdi
(Sima Yan)
The oldest son of Jin Mingdi; His reign was successively dominated by regents; The disastrous rebellion weakened Jin forces for decades within his reign. 325 - 342
Jin Kangdi
(Sima Yue)
The second son of Jin Mingdi and younger brother of Jin Chengdi; His reign only lasted two years 342 - 344
Jin Mudi
(Sima Dan)
The only son of Jin Kangdi; In his reign Jin regained most of the territory to the South of the Yangtze River 345 - 361
Jin Aidi
(Sima Pi)
Son of Jin Chengdi; He was obsessed with immortality and was finally poisoned by pills given to him by his magicians 361 - 365
Haixi Gong
(Sima Yi)
Younger brother of Jin Aidi; he was dethroned by the military leader Huan Wen 365 - 371
(Sima Yu)
The youngest son of Jin Yuandi and younger brother of Jin Mingdi; Sima Yu was known for his philosophical discussions of Taoism 371 - 372
(Sima Yao)
Son of Sima Yu; was killed by his concubine Consort Zhang after he insulted her 372 - 396
Jin Andi
(Sima Dezong)
The oldest son of Xiaowudi; During his reign, regents and warlords dominated the regime; was once dethroned by Xuan Huan though later restored. 396 - 418
Jin Gongdi
(Sima Dewen)
The second son of Xiaowudi; the last emperor of the Eastern Jin Dynasty In 420, he yielded his throne to the regent Liu Yu who founded the Liu Song Dynasty in 421. 419 - 420