Western Jin Dynasty 西晋


Chinese Name: 西晋

English Name: Western Jin Dynasty, Xi Jin

Other Name: Jin 晋, Sima Jin 司马晋, Zhong Chao 中朝

Duration: About 265 AD – 317 AD

King: Sima Yan 司马炎, Sima Zhong 司马衷, Sima Chi司马炽, Sima Ye 司马邺

Western Jin Dynasty 西晋
Western Jin Dynasty 西晋

Brief Introduction

The Western Jin Dynasty 西晋 (265-317) was the unified dynasty after the Three Kingdoms period 三国时期 in Chinese history, with Luoyang 洛阳 as its capital. Since the founding of Emperor Wu of the Western Jin Dynasty, it has been handed down to four emperors, with 51 years of state power. It is collectively known as the Jin Dynasty with the later Eastern Jin Dynasty 东晋.

The Western Jin Dynasty is a short-lived unification in the long-term division period of the Wei Jin Southern and Northern Dynasties 魏晋南北朝, which is called “a flash in the pan”.

Western Jin Dynasty 西晋
The emperor of the Western Jin Dynasty 西晋皇帝

At the end of the Three Kingdoms period, Sima Yi 司马懿, Sima Shi 司马师, and Sima Zhao 司马昭 were both powerful ministers of Cao Wei 曹魏. After Sima Zhao’s death, his son Sima Yan replaced Cao Wei to establish the Western Jin Dynasty in 265. In the 280 Jin Dynasty, Sun Wu was destroyed, ending the separatist situation of the Three Kingdoms and reunifying China.

The external situation faced by the Western Jin Dynasty was the internal migration of a large number of nomadic tribes. Foreigners in Guanzhong 关中 and Liangzhou 凉州 have accounted for half of the local population. These foreigners were accepted by aristocratic families as slaves.

Major Historical Events

Unify the world 统一天下

The war of Jin exterminating Wu was the war of the Western Jin Dynasty to unify China. From November 279 to March 280 A.D., Sima Yan 司马炎, Emperor Wu of the Jin Dynasty, sent troops to Jianye 建业 (now Nanjing 南京) and destroyed the eastern Wu at one stroke to realize reunification.

Western Jin Dynasty 西晋

After the establishment of the Western Jin Dynasty, Sima had the land of the former Wei 曹魏 and Shu 蜀. It has controlled most of the States, prefectures, and counties in the country. Sun Wu is a country along the river, with only all or part of the three prefectures of Jing 荆州, Yang 扬州, and Jiao 交州. That is the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River 长江 and Lingnan 岭南.

The two sides border thousands of miles, and wars often occur. From 269 A.D., Sima Yan, Emperor Wu of Jin, planned to exterminate the Eastern Wu. He took a series of measures in politics, economy, and military affairs. Therefore, on the one hand, the Western Jin Dynasty improved its internal affairs, developed agriculture, and accumulated grain. On the one hand, select generals, build building ships and train naval forces. One of the most important is to train the Navy.

Western Jin Dynasty 西晋
Yangtze River 长江

In November 279, Sima Yan adopted the plan drawn up by Yang Hu 羊祜before his death. Send 200000 troops to attack Sun Wu in six ways. The capital of Wu was directly destroyed and the Sun Wu regime was destroyed in one fell swoop.

So that China’s hundred years of war and strife among the Three Kingdoms since the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty have been declared calm. China was reunited under the governance of a new feudal dynasty. This unification complied with the needs of social development and played a positive role in promoting social progress at that time.

Rule of Taikang 太康之治

After the extermination of Wu, in order to create new achievements, Sima Yan took a series of measures around the country with Luoyang 洛阳 as the center. Gradually, the people got rid of the suffering of war and chaos, and the country embarked on the road of development.

Western Jin Dynasty 西晋
Rule of Taikang 太康之治

Attach importance to agricultural production. The court took measures to promote agricultural production by encouraging reclamation, building water conservancy, expanding the labor force, and strengthening supervision. In 267, Emperor Wu of the Western Jin Dynasty issued an imperial edict to encourage agricultural production.

Protect the interests of the gentry. In order to maintain political stability and safeguard the interests of the ruling class, Sima Yan announced many systems in AD 280. These measures undoubtedly give the aristocratic landlords more preferential treatment politically and economically. It is also conducive to the balance of the interests of the ruling class. However, the privileges of the gentry landlords were too great, which contributed to their corruption in life and politics. At the same time, it affects the interests of landlords and farmers.

Western Jin Dynasty 西晋
lead a luxurious and dissipated life 骄奢淫逸

While emphasizing the development of production, Sima Yan opposed extravagance and practiced frugality. But the good times did not last long, and the royal family of the Western Jin Dynasty gradually decayed. Aristocratic families are corrupt and extravagant. Bureaucrats are not only extravagant but also openly rob and kill. Sima Yan also became extravagant and licentious. These gradually led to the corruption of political style, the chaos of parties, the expansion of family power, and the internal migration of foreigners.

The Rebellion of Eight Kings 八王之乱

The rebellion of the eight kings was civil strife caused by the royal family fighting for the central power in the Western Jin Dynasty of China. It was caused by the Queen’s interference in the government.

Western Jin Dynasty 西晋
The Rebellion of Eight Kings 八王之乱

The unrest lasted 16 years and was divided into two stages. The first stage lasted for three months from March to June 291. The second stage lasted seven years from 299 to 306. Its core figures are Sima Liang 司马亮, Sima Wei 司马玮, Sima Lun 司马伦, Sima Ying 司马冏, Sima Yi 司马乂, Sima Ying 司马颖, Sima Yu 司马颙 and Sima Yue司马越. More than eight kings participated in the unrest among the royal families of the Western Jin Dynasty, but the eight kings were the main participants.

The rebellion of the eight kings is one of the most serious Royal civil strife in Chinese history. At that time, the social economy was seriously damaged. It led to the subjugation of the Western Jin Dynasty and nearly 300 years of unrest. So that the northern part of the Central Plains entered the period of Sixteen Kingdoms.

Important Influences

A large number of nomadic tribes moved inward

Western Jin Dynasty 西晋

Because of its own instability, the Western Jin Dynasty was very passive and unsure in dealing with the relationship with ethnic minorities. However, at that time, the internal migration and development of ethnic minorities had become a prairie fire.

Finally, the Western Jin Dynasty was destroyed by the unity of ethnic minorities. However, all ethnic groups are moving towards national integration.

Celadon culture

Western Jin Dynasty 西晋
Celadon aromatherapy stove in the Western Jin Dynasty 青瓷香薰炉

After the return of the Three Kingdoms to Jin with frequent wars, the nationalities migrated and merged. Then productivity has been developed and handicraft technology has been improved. The production and use of porcelain are more prominent. Celadon has gradually become popular and used by people.

Jin dynasty 266–420

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