EASTERN JIN (317-420AD)

At the end of the Three Kingdoms Period (220-260), Sima family became prominent in the Wei King. In 265 AD, Sima Yan usurped the power and founded a new dynasty Jin. Jin was historically divided into two periods: the Western Jin (265 - 316) with Luoyang as its capital city and Eastern Jin as Jiankang (present Nanjing in Jiangsu Province) became the capital city.

Jin Dynasty was the only period, which unified the country during the period between the Wei, the Jin and the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 - 589), though this kind of achievement was not lasting.

Although Jin Dynasty was short and full of conflicts, the mix between nationalities was accelerated through the long-term contacts and mutual influences.

In the Eastern Jin period, the development of powerful family politics reached its peak as royal power was on the decline. Some noble families, by right of their contribution to the foundation and consolidation of the Jin, then led a life of luxury and privilege. Born from different regional and cultural backgrounds, they struggled and supplanted each other. During the over one-hundred-year reign of the Eastern Jin, noble families from the Central Plains were in a dominant situation and Wang, Xie, Yu and Huan families even determined state affairs.

Actually, the Eastern Jin only controlled the area south of the Yangtze River, leaving the North China occupied by other ethnic groups. During the period from the beginning of the fourth century to the first part of the fifth century, many ethnic groups founded their own states in this area. Historically, fifteen major states in the north, together with the Kingdom of Chenghan in the southwest area, were called the Sixteen Kingdoms.