The Form of the Southern and Northern Dynasties | History
Great Wall History

The Form of the Southern and Northern Dynasties

During the later stage of the Han Dynasty, rebellions led by peasants never ceased. Officials corrupted, landholders grabbed the lands, and eunuchs and relatives of the King usurped the throne. To make the situation of peasants worse were frequent natural hazards. Eventually, the Yellow Turbans Rebellion broke up, which reached the climax of the uprising wave. Though ended with bloodshed and failure, it accelerated the ruin of the Han Dynasty.

After the Yellow Turbans Rebellion, the Han Dynasty toppled down and was gradually replaced by the three Kingdoms of Shu, Wei and Wu. This period was known as the Three Kingdoms Period (208 ~ 280). The three states fought against each other. Wei finally won and after a series of inner conflicts established in A.D. 280 Jin, i.e. Western Jin. In 316, King Jin Mindi surrendered to Liu Yao, descendant of the Northern Hun, which marked the end of Western Jin Dynasty. Western Jin lasted for 51 years from 265 to 316.

In 317, supported by landholders, Sima Rui asserted himself King of Jin, and the next year made him real King, i.e. King Jin Yuandi. He inaugurated the Eastern Jin Dynasty. 

In 420, Liu Yu, feoffed as prince Song for his feat in civil wars, dethroned King of the Jin Dynasty and established the Song Dynasty.

While In 386, one group Tuoba from Xianbei, nomadic people residing in present Dongbei and eastern Mongolia Province, established the Wei Dynasty. In 439, King Wei Taiwu unified the north of China. The south Song and the north Wei hence coexisted, which announced the beginning of Southern and Northern Dynasties. In the more than one and a half centuries after, the north Wei divided into Eastern Wei and Western Wei. In 550, Gao Yang overturned the Eastern Wei Dynasty and established Northern Qi Dynasty. In 557, Yu Wenjue overthrew the Western Wei and founded Northern Zhou.

The Southern and Northern Dynasties lasted from 420 to 589. During this period, only the Northern Dynasties established their walls.