History Files
 

Far East Kingdoms

East Asia

 

Jurchen

Based in northern China. The Jin dynasty was formed by the East Asian Jurchen people (resurrecting an old Korean use of Jin). They had evolved out of the Mohe people of Manchuria who themselves were descended from a Tungusic group. In the late fourth century AD had been dominated by the Korean kingdom of Koguryo.

In 986 the destruction of the Korean state of Jeongan triggered another mass migration of the region's Korean population into Goryeo where they were welcomed with open arms. The majority of the Mohe population remained behind to be dominated by the Khitans of the Liao dynasty for two centuries before founding their own Jin dynasty to control China.

They lost a large swathe of their territory to the Mongols in 1211-1216, but were able to survive and even fight back until a final Mongol campaign swept them away. A century of Jin rule of the steppes was ended and they became relatively insignificant in the face of Mongol greatness. Renaming themselves in the seventeenth century, they re-emerged to rule China as the Qin dynasty.

(Additional information by Jane Portal (Matsutaro Shoriki Chair, Art of Asia, Oceania and Africa, Museum of Fine Arts Boston), from Pre-Modern East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Volume I: To 1800, Patricia Ebrey & Anne Walthall (Cengage Learning, 2013), from A New History of Korea, Lee Ki-baik (1984, supplied by Michael Welles, but excluding Koguryo), from History Of Korea, Roger Tennant (Routledge, 1996), from Everlasting flower: a history of Korea, K Pratt (Reaktion Books, London, 2006), and from External Links: Ancient History Encyclopaedia, and New World Encyclopaedia, and History of Manchuria, and Kings of Korea (in Korean), and Korea Information - History (Korean Cultural Center NY), and Enacademic.)

959 - 960

The death of the Zhou Emperor Shizong sees his six year-old son ascend the throne. The army, which is heading towards the northern border, instantly rebels. The troops select their own commander, Zhao Kuangyin, to be emperor. Zhao turns the army around and marches back towards the capital to found the Song dynasty. His abandonment of the northern border, though, leaves the Khitans and Jurchen unopposed, much to the chagrin of Goryeo.

Jurchen warrior fights a Chinese warrior
Two warriors locked in combat, one Chinese and one Jurchen in this Jurchen (Jin dynasty) mural

1104

Having already founded Goryeo's southern capital at Namgyeong (today's Seoul), Emperor Sukjong is now faced with an invasion by the northern Jurchen tribes. His own initial attempts to expel them from Goryeo prove unsuccessful, so he hands command to General Yun Gwan. The general succeeds by forming three main divisions which the Jurchen are unable to oppose.

1114

With the Liao fading as a great regional power and now suffering at the hands of the increasingly assertive Jurchen, they send a request for help to Goryeo. The royal court assures the Liao of its lasting loyalty, while the required aid is denied.

Kin / Chin / Jin (Tartar) Dynasty
AD 1115 - 1234

Based in northern China. The Jin dynasty was formed by the Jurchen people (resurrecting an old Korean use of Jin). They had evolved out of the Mohe people of Manchuria who themselves were descended from a Tungusic group. In the late fourth century AD had been dominated by the Korean kingdom of Koguryo.

In 986 the destruction of the Korean state of Jeongan triggered another mass migration of the region's Korean population into Goryeo where they were welcomed with open arms. The majority of the Mohe population remained behind to be dominated by the Khitans of the Liao dynasty for two centuries before founding their own Jin dynasty to control China.

They lost a large swathe of their territory to the Mongols in 1211-1216, but were able to survive and even fight back until a final Mongol campaign swept them away. A century of Jin rule of the steppes was ended and they became relatively insignificant in the face of Mongol greatness. Renaming themselves in the seventeenth century, they re-emerged to rule China as the Manchu Qin dynasty.

(Additional information by Jane Portal (Matsutaro Shoriki Chair, Art of Asia, Oceania and Africa, Museum of Fine Arts Boston), from Pre-Modern East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Volume I: To 1800, Patricia Ebrey & Anne Walthall (Cengage Learning, 2013), from A New History of Korea, Lee Ki-baik (1984, supplied by Michael Welles, but excluding Koguryo), from History Of Korea, Roger Tennant (Routledge, 1996), from Everlasting flower: a history of Korea, K Pratt (Reaktion Books, London, 2006), and from External Links: Ancient History Encyclopaedia, and New World Encyclopaedia, and History of Manchuria, and Kings of Korea (in Korean), and Korea Information - History (Korean Cultural Center NY), and Enacademic.)

1115

Wanyan Aguda

Proclaimed the Jurchen Jin dynasty.

1127

The Siege of Kaifeng begins. The city holds out, offering bribes of silver and riches to the Jurchen 'barbarians' of the Jin dynasty, but in time the food runs out, people start dying in droves, and even acts of cannibalism are rumoured. The city falls, and Huizong and thousands of his courtiers are seized and taken north, where they die in captivity. Huizong's brother, Gaozong, flees south, beyond the reach of the invaders and across the Yangtze River to found the Southern Song dynasty which attempts to hold onto some of the previously glorious civilisation of China. Vast numbers of refugees follow him. The Song are displaced as China's main power by the Jin.

Injong of Goryeo plays a delicate game of negotiation with the triumphant Jin, eventually accepting vassal status under them but still retaining Goryeo's independence in all but name. Goryeo also provides refuge to several thousand Jurchen who disagree with the Jin domination of their tribes.

1130

The sudden rise to power of the Mongols is very temporary at first, but lasts long enough for them to defend their lands from Jin attacks and force the Jin to pay tribute.

Map of East Asia AD 1029
Eleventh century Korea in the south and centre of the peninsula was united under the single rule of Goryeo, but an attempt was made to restore at least part of the lost kingdom of Barhae when a relative of its kings pronounced the state of Heungyo (click or tap on map to view full sized)

1156

Ambaghai of the Khamag Mongols delivers his daughter to the Tartars in preparation for her wedding to one of their number. The Tartars take him prisoner and hand him over to the Jin who promptly execute him. The Tartar betrayal prompts Ambaghai's successor to engage them in a series of battles.

1211 - 1216

The Jin empire is attacked by the Mongols, but the initial invasion is foiled when Chingiz Khan is wounded and retires to Mongolia. In 1213, he divides his army in three, the other two sections falling under the command of his sons. The Jin empire is devastated by this three-pronged attack, and its capital at Zhongdu (modern Beijing) is captured in 1214, while the following year areas of territory to the north of the Huang He (Yellow River) fall under Mongol control. The Jin move their capital southwards Kai-feng.

1223

Following the initial Mongol victories of 1211-1216, Chingiz Khan had appointed Mukali as his commander in northern China. Mukali dies in 1223, and the Jin begin a fierce resurgence against their Mongol enemy.

1231 - 1234

A large Mongol army led by Ogedei Khan, with Subedei and Tolui, launch a fresh campaign against the Jin. After a series of setbacks, the Mongols approach the Jin capital at Kai-feng in 1234 with 20,000 Song Chinese auxiliaries. The city is taken and the Jin fall, ending the northern empire and its rule of the steppes.

Post-Jin Jurchen
AD 1234 - 1616

Based in northern China. The Jin dynasty was formed by the Jurchen people (resurrecting an old Korean use of Jin). They had evolved out of the Mohe people of Manchuria who themselves were descended from a Tungusic group. In the late fourth century AD had been dominated by the Korean kingdom of Koguryo.

In 986 the destruction of the Korean state of Jeongan triggered another mass migration of the region's Korean population into Goryeo where they were welcomed with open arms. The majority of the Mohe population remained behind to be dominated by the Khitans of the Liao dynasty for two centuries before founding their own Jin dynasty to control China.

They lost a large swathe of their territory to the Mongols in 1211-1216, but were able to survive and even fight back until a final Mongol campaign swept them away. A century of Jin rule of the steppes was ended and they became relatively insignificant in the face of Mongol greatness. Renaming themselves in the seventeenth century, they re-emerged to rule China as the Qin dynasty.

(Additional information by Jane Portal (Matsutaro Shoriki Chair, Art of Asia, Oceania and Africa, Museum of Fine Arts Boston), from Pre-Modern East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Volume I: To 1800, Patricia Ebrey & Anne Walthall (Cengage Learning, 2013), from A New History of Korea, Lee Ki-baik (1984, supplied by Michael Welles, but excluding Koguryo), from History Of Korea, Roger Tennant (Routledge, 1996), from Everlasting flower: a history of Korea, K Pratt (Reaktion Books, London, 2006), and from External Links: Ancient History Encyclopaedia, and New World Encyclopaedia, and History of Manchuria, and Kings of Korea (in Korean), and Korea Information - History (Korean Cultural Center NY), and Enacademic.)

1373

Not content with kicking the Mongols out of China, the Ming emperor begins a military push into Mongolia, albeit unsuccessfully. The Mongol General Köke Temür defeats 15,000 Ming soldiers at the River Orkhon. The Mongols recapture Funin and Suijin districts in Sinhe, Liaoning and Hebei provinces, cutting off the Ming from Liadong with the help of the Jurchen.

1433

King Sejong of Joseon orders General Kim Jongseo north to attack the post-Jin Jurchen, reduced in power following their crushing defeat at the hands of the Mongols. The subsequent campaign captures several forts, expanding Joseon's territory some four hundred kilometres further north to the line of the River Songhua (just inside the border of today's Heilongjiang Province in north-eastern China).

1491

King Seongjong II of Joseon orders several campaigns to be conducted against the Jurchen. Despite Joseon's territory having reached the River Songhua in today's Heilongjiang Province of north-eastern China, there is still a Jurchen presence around the River Amrok area. This campaign pushes those Jurchen who are led by Udige to the north of the river.

1506

Although an able administrator in his early years, Yeonsangun of Joseon also exhibits dangerous signs of instability which eventually leads leading figures in the royal court to organise a coup to dethrone him. He is sent into exile and dies soon afterwards. His replacement is generally dominated by the coup leaders, while Joseon's outer defences gradually weaken through inattention. Jurchen raids in the north become the norm, and wakou piracy flares up again.

Later Jin Dynasty (Jurchen / Manchu)
AD 1616 - 1636

Based in northern China. The Jin dynasty was formed by the Jurchen people (resurrecting an old Korean use of Jin). They had evolved out of the Mohe people of Manchuria who themselves were descended from a Tungusic group. In the late fourth century AD had been dominated by the Korean kingdom of Koguryo.

In 986 the destruction of the Korean state of Jeongan triggered another mass migration of the region's Korean population into Goryeo where they were welcomed with open arms. The majority of the Mohe population remained behind to be dominated by the Khitans of the Liao dynasty for two centuries before founding their own Jin dynasty to control China.

They lost a large swathe of their territory to the Mongols in 1211-1216, but were able to survive and even fight back until a final Mongol campaign swept them away. A century of Jin rule of the steppes was ended and they became relatively insignificant in the face of Mongol greatness. Renaming themselves in the seventeenth century, they re-emerged to rule China as the Qin dynasty.

(Additional information by Jane Portal (Matsutaro Shoriki Chair, Art of Asia, Oceania and Africa, Museum of Fine Arts Boston), from Pre-Modern East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Volume I: To 1800, Patricia Ebrey & Anne Walthall (Cengage Learning, 2013), from A New History of Korea, Lee Ki-baik (1984, supplied by Michael Welles, but excluding Koguryo), from History Of Korea, Roger Tennant (Routledge, 1996), from Everlasting flower: a history of Korea, K Pratt (Reaktion Books, London, 2006), and from External Links: Ancient History Encyclopaedia, and New World Encyclopaedia, and History of Manchuria, and Kings of Korea (in Korean), and Korea Information - History (Korean Cultural Center NY), and Enacademic.)

1619

Gwanghaegun's attempts to strike a balance for Joseon in relations between the equally powerful Ming and the Manchu stumble and fall, with the Battle of Sarhū being the final straw. Having annoyed both sides with his attempts at appeasement he is forced into sending ten thousand troops to aid the Ming, but the battle is an overwhelming Manchu victory. Gwanghaegun negotiates an independent peace with the Manchus.

1623

Gwanghaegun of Joseon is dethroned in a night-time coup which is launched by the pro-Ming faction at court, providing echoes of the unstable political situation which had brought down the Goryeo dynasty. This blind adherence to the failing Ming cause results in two major Manchu invasions of the kingdom.

Manchu invasion of Korea
A long peace with the Manchu and their Jurchen predecessors was broken in the 1600s, with a weakened Joseon riven by factional in-fighting as two major schools of thought (and several sub-groups) struggled to control foreign policy

1627

The 'Later Jin Invasion' of Joseon is led by Prince Amin, with the invasion spurred on by continued fighting against the Ming and by survivors of the coup attempt of 1624 having fled to the Jin court. Three months of fighting follow, with the Later Jin establishing Joseon as a submissive state (but not a vassal until an attempt in 1636).

1626 - 1643

Hong Taiji

Proclaimed Qin dynasty in 1636.

1636

It is the attempt by the newly-established Qin dynasty Manchus to alter their relationship with the submissive Joseon into a fully-fledged vassal status for the Korean kingdom which triggers the 'Qin Invasion'. Continued, and not so secret, Korean support for the Ming fans the flames.

Hong Taiji first tests his warriors in a raid on the Ming capital, where they are able to get as close as the Marco Polo bridge before being repelled. This proves the weakness of Ming defences. Then in the late autumn he sends a sizeable force into Joseon. Despite its forts generally holding up well to siege warfare, Taiji's numbers are overwhelming and highly manoeuvrable. King Injo is forced to surrender and kowtow in submission.

Ming empire troops
With the troops of the Ming empire defeated, the Ming were forced to withdraw to southern and central China while the Manchu claimed the north and prepared to complete their conquest

Qin Dynasty (Manchu)
AD 1636 - 1644

Based in northern China. The Jin dynasty was formed by the Jurchen people (resurrecting an old Korean use of Jin). They had evolved out of the Mohe people of Manchuria who themselves were descended from a Tungusic group. In the late fourth century AD had been dominated by the Korean kingdom of Koguryo.

In 986 the destruction of the Korean state of Jeongan triggered another mass migration of the region's Korean population into Goryeo where they were welcomed with open arms. The majority of the Mohe population remained behind to be dominated by the Khitans of the Liao dynasty for two centuries before founding their own Jin dynasty to control China.

They lost a large swathe of their territory to the Mongols in 1211-1216, but were able to survive and even fight back until a final Mongol campaign swept them away. A century of Jin rule of the steppes was ended and they became relatively insignificant in the face of Mongol greatness. Renaming themselves in the seventeenth century, they re-emerged to rule China as the Qin dynasty.

(Additional information by Jane Portal (Matsutaro Shoriki Chair, Art of Asia, Oceania and Africa, Museum of Fine Arts Boston), from Pre-Modern East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Volume I: To 1800, Patricia Ebrey & Anne Walthall (Cengage Learning, 2013), from A New History of Korea, Lee Ki-baik (1984, supplied by Michael Welles, but excluding Koguryo), from History Of Korea, Roger Tennant (Routledge, 1996), from Everlasting flower: a history of Korea, K Pratt (Reaktion Books, London, 2006), and from External Links: Ancient History Encyclopaedia, and New World Encyclopaedia, and History of Manchuria, and Kings of Korea (in Korean), and Korea Information - History (Korean Cultural Center NY), and Enacademic.)

1626 - 1643

Hong Taiji

Proclaimed Qin dynasty in 1636.