Two Jin Dynasties have existed during the expansive history of China. The first Jin Dynasty lasted from 265 AD to 420 CE and was considered part of the Six Dynasties. The second Jin Dynasty, which can also be referred to as the Jurchen Dynasty, was in place from 1115 AD to 1234 CE, and exerted power during a 119-year period of the Song Dynasty.
During the first Jin period, progress was made in astronomy, health care, and the inclusion of different ethnic groups. Religion also progressed, as Buddhism became a much more common practiced in the south and north. This Jin Dynasty was separated into the Western Jin from 265 to 316, and the Eastern Jin, which lasted from 317 to 420. Sima Yan, or Emperor Wu, began the Western Jin and established its capital in the city of Luoyang. Sima Rui founded the Eastern Jin and created its centralized power in the city of Jiankang, or present day Nanjing.
The Jin Dynasty was successful in unifying the nation of China; however, nomads began attacking and after the War of Eight Princes, the Western Jin Dynasty was weakened. Local aristocrats were instrumental in setting up the Eastern Jin and supporting its ruler, Emperor Yuan. Although the Eastern Jin succeeded in many military battles, it too succumbed to invading forces and relinquished power to rebels in 420.
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The second Jin Dynasty in China lasted from 1115 to 1234, and is also referred to as the Jurchen Dynasty. This dynasty was established by relatives of the Manchus, the Wanyan Clan of the Jurchens, or Nuzhens. In 1125, the Jurchen military succeeded in defeating the Liao Dynasty and then turned their attention to the rulers of the Northern Song Dynasty and its capital of Kaifeng. Once the Northern Song was defeated, the new Southern Song Dynasty was lorded over by the Jurchen Clan and fighting continued throughout the early part of the Southern Song period.
The Jurchens had been farmers and hunters, but after adopting a feudal system in this period, their social economy blossomed. Improvements in farming, trade, literature, and craftsmanship were made during this period, with assistance from the Hans.
Having made serious enemies of the Mongolians and suffering from political corruption, the Jin period eventually came to an end. In 1234 the Jurchen Dynasty was destroyed by the collaboration of the Southern Song and Yuan Dynasty militaries. The Southern Song Dynasty went on to enjoy power until 1279 and the Yuan Dynasty was established in Mongolia.