Friday, December 8, 2017

Jin Dynasty

The Jin Dynasty was founded by the ethnic minority known as the Nuzhen who originated from the Heilongjiang River and Songhua River regions and the Changpai Mountain area. In 1115, one of the Nuzhen tribal leaders, by the name of Wanyan Aguda, unified the whole Nuzhen group and established this Dynasty in Acheng City (currently in Heilongjiang Province). Later, the capital city was moved to Yanjing (currently Beijing and finally settled in Bianjing (currently Kaifeng).
Before and after the founding of the Jin dynasty, there were constant battles between Liao (916 - 1125), Jin and Northern Song (960 - 1127). Initially, Jin launched a series of attacks on Liao. This resulted in the five major cities of Liao being captured by the Jin army one after another. In 1125, the Liao was completely defeated. After that, the Jin court focused all its military forces on fighting with the Northern Song. Due to the incompetence of the late Song's rulers, the Jin army easily conquered Northern  Song's capital city, Kaifeng, in 1127. Thus the Northern Song came to an end. After that, the Jin Dynasty gradually unified the vast areas in the north along the Yellow River. After the founding of the Southern Song, the Jin court fell into further confrontation with them. During the reign of Emperor Shizong and Emperor Zhangzong, the national strength of the Jin Dynasty was at its zenith, with the Xixia (a regime founded by another ethnic minority called the Dangxiang) made into a subordinate country and the weak Southern Song forced to make peace by paying tribute.

Interestingly, communication with other countries, especially the Song Dynasty, led to the Jin Dynasty gradually adopting a feudal system, resulting in a well developed social economy. Traditionally, the Nuzhen people lived from fishing and hunting, with livestock husbandry as their dominant industry. Under the influence of the Han people, agriculture, commerce and the handicraft industry made great progress. Significant cultural advancements in drama and literature were also made.

During the late Jin Dynasty, rulers became corrupt and there was a dramatic surge in national uprisings. What was worse, the Jin court in that period made enemies simultaneously with Xixia, the Northern Song and the Mongolian Kingdom. In 1234, the Jin army was finally defeated by the allied forces of the Northern Song and the Yuan Dynasty was founded by Mongolia. After 119 years, it came to an end.

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