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The Jin Empire (266 AD to 420 AD) succeeded the Three Kingdoms Dynasty, which was full of war and chaos and preceded the Southern and Northern Dynasties where the Sixteen Kingdoms were caused by the “The Uprising of the Five Barbarians.” This Empire was able to reunify the three kingdoms and brought peace even for a short time. When “The War of the Eight Princes” emerged, it caused a severe decline of the military power of the Jin Empire and migration of the remaining Jin royals to the South to establish an Eastern Jin Empire.
See the fact file below for more information on the Jin Empire or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Jin Empire worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
CREATING THE JIN EMPIRE
- After the Han dynasty, China was again divided into three kingdoms: Cao Wei, Shu Han, and Dong Wu. Their leaders were continually fighting each other for supremacy and dominance.
- The Sima clan, that was a great landowner in the Cao Wei kingdom, managed to insert themselves into the politics of the Wei Kingdom.
- Sima Yi, who as a general and one of the regents during the Wei Dynasty, led in defending the kingdom from the attack of Shu Han.
- Due to corruption and sabotage by his co-regent Cao Shuang, he was later appointed as The Grand Mentor, a rank lower than a regent of the palace.
- He was able to have his revenge, with the help of his son Sima Shi, to attack Cao Shuang, his son and the successor of the throne.
- The Simas became an unstoppable force in Wei politics.
- After Sima Yi’s death, his sons, Sima Shi and Sima Zhao, continued to raise their ranks in the Wei Kingdom. They continually launched attacks on the rival kingdoms and manipulated their way to higher positions.
- When Sima Shi died, Sima Zhao was left taking over the kingdom, having the real Emperor as his puppet.
- It was during the Sima Zhao regency that Wei finally defeated the Shu Kingdom and ended the Shu dynasty.
- In 266 AD, Sima Yan, Sima Zhao’s son, was able to convince the Emperor to abdicate and give the full power to him, thus ending the Wei Dynasty.
- It was not until 280 AD that the Jin Dynasty truly began, after ending the Three Kingdoms Dynasty and when Wei successfully conquered the Eastern Wu.
SIMA YAN: THE GREAT EMPEROR WU
- Sima Yan was son of Sima Zhao and the first Emperor of the Jin Dynasty.
- His first act as an emperor was to give away lands, positions, and titles of nobility among his relatives, something that he thought the previous kingdom failed to do and caused the unruliness. It had become a hurdle later-on in the dynasty.
- He also did away with the harsher penalties and made it more merciful, but he did not make it equally distributed to all. He allowed the nobles to get away from harsher penalties but not the commoners, which eventually led to massive corruption and abuse of powers.
- He successfully won rebellions against his kingdom.
- He became complacent enough that he allowed his thousands of concubines to be a distraction from his obligation to rule the kingdom.
- His advisers recommended that he must appoint another heir of the throne as his son, Sima Zhong, was unfit to rule the kingdom.
- He tested his son’s intellectual capability by sending letters to him. The letters were answered with great thoroughness and convinced the Emperor that his son was suitable to rule. He did not know that it was his son’s wife who was answering the letters.
- Sima Yan died in 290 AD. His son Sima Zhong was, according to Confucian principle, the rightful heir.
THE WESTERN AND EASTERN JIN EMPIRE
- WESTERN JIN EMPIRE
- The Western Jin Empire was first ruled by Emperor Wu.
- It was a welcome breath of fresh air for the people as it just ended the century-long War of the Three Kingdoms.
- Established in Luoyang, they seemed to be finally enjoying the peace despite the maltreatment the commoners were experiencing from Jin nobles who were given land, title, and military power by the Emperor.
- Emperor Wu believed that one of the mistakes made by the previous Kingdom was not allowing their relatives to own and rule a land.
- This generosity of the Emperor backfired after his death. These relatives sought greater power, sacrificing blood over position.
- The War of the Eight Princes was the catalyst that ended the Western Jin Empire, as well as the civil wars instigated by the Non-Chinese tribe in the north and was called the Uprising the Five Barbarians.
- EASTERN JIN EMPIRE
- The new dynasty was founded by Sima Rui in Jiankang.
- Years of rebellion and civil wars followed due to corruption, abuse of power, and usurpation after the reign of Sima Rui ended.
- Despite this, the Eastern Jin Dynasty stood tall and was never defeated by the attack made by the tribes of the north. They even managed to expand their territory.
- Later in the dynasty, a rebellious army led by Liu Yu defeated Xuan Huan and put Sima Dewen on the throne as Emperor Gong.
- The regime was resumed, but the real power was entirely controlled by Liu Yu, who had already plotted to usurp the throne.
- In 420, Liu Yu dethroned Emperor Gong and established the Kingdom of Song.
TWO SIGNIFICANT WARS DURING THE JIN EMPIRE
- THE WAR OF THE EIGHT PRINCES
- The War of the Eight Princes started after Emperor Wu died in 290 AD.
- The eight princes consist of three sons of Emperor Wu from his concubines and five relatives.
- His son and heir to the throne, Sima Zhong, proved to be incapable of ruling the kingdom. His wife, Empress Jia Nanfeng, ruled the kingdom for him, but with great and terrible consequences due to her effort to keep the throne to themselves.
- She was able to manipulate two of the princes, Sima Wei and Sima Liang, until one killed the other.
- She also killed Sima Zhong’s heir, Sima Yu, to ensure retaining her power, but this action cost her the throne and her life as she was betrayed by her confidante, one of the eight princes, Sima Liu.
- A rebellion followed led by Sima Ying, Sima Ai, and Sima Jiong. The power abducting continued with Sima Yong and Sima Yue by engaging themselves into the war.
- Sima Yue won the war, but his reign was short-lived. The war weakened the kingdom, which was taken over by the “Uprising of the Five Barbarians.”
- THE UPRISING OF THE FIVE BARBARIANS
- The Uprising of the Five Barbarians was locally called the Wu Hu.
- During the reign of Emperor Wu, the northern tribe lived peacefully during the Jin Empire. They paid their taxes to the kingdom and made trades with the Jin citizens.
- During the War of the Eight Princes, these tribes were called upon to help. The tribe leaders recognized the clan’s selfishness and indifference against them and the commoners. They defied the clan’s orders and began their uprising.
- Aggravated also by famine, floods, and epidemic, they revolted against the Empire to establish their kingdom.
- It was the Di tribe refugees who were the first to build their kingdom that expanded into sixteen kingdoms.
Jin Empire Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Jin Empire across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Jin Empire worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Jin Empire (266 AD to 420 AD) which succeeded the Three Kingdoms Dynasty, which was full of war and chaos and preceded the Southern and Northern Dynasties where the Sixteen Kingdoms were caused by the “The Uprising of the Five Barbarians.” This Empire was able to reunify the three kingdoms and brought peace even for a short time. When “The War of the Eight Princes” emerged, it caused a severe decline of the military power of the Jin Empire and migration of the remaining Jin royals to the South to establish an Eastern Jin Empire.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Jin Empire Facts
- Emperor Wu
- The War of the Eight Princes
- The Most Powerful Clan
- Eastern and Western Dynasties
- Jin Insider News
- The Eight Princes
- A Blast from the Past
- Total War
- The Uprising of the Wu Hu
- Can you Recall?
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Link will appear as Jin Empire Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 25, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.