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Jurchen / Jin Dynasty (1115-1234)

Jin Dynasty MapThe Juchi or Niuchi, the ancestors of the Manchu dynasty in China, lived in that part of Manchuria bounded on the north by the Amur, on the east by the ocean, on the south by Corea, and on the west by the river Sungari, which separated their country from that of the Khitans. The leader of their revolt against the Khitan Emperor was named Aguta. He rebelled in 1114, won several victories over the Khitans, and the following year adopted the title of Wangti, and gave his new empire the name of Aijin kurun, in Chinese Kin kue, i.e., golden realm, whence its Mongol name Altan or Altun, "golden." He then commenced a vigorous campaign against the Khitans, whom he rapidly conquered. He died in 1123. His successor U ki nai followed up his victories, subdued the empire of Hia, and captured the Khitan Emperor Yeliu Yen hi, who had fled in that direction, the ninth and last of his dynasty who ruled in China. A prince of the fallen house and some of his followers escaped westwards and founded another empire, namely, that of the Kara Khitai.

A Tungusic people, the Jurchen, ancestors of the Manchu, formed an alliance with the Song and reduced the Kitan Empire to vassal status in a seven-year war (1115-1122). The Jurchen leader proclaimed himself the founder of a new era, the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234).

The invasion of the Jurchen / Juchi was abetted by the Sung Emperor, who doubtless hoped by their means to recover possession of the lost provinces in Northern China, but he soon found reason to repent of his policy. In 1125 the Juchi invaded Southern China. The year following they advanced as far as the river Hoang ho, and laid siege to Kai fong fu, the capital of the Sung empire. The Sung Emperor went to the camp of the invaders to ask for terms, but was sent off to Tartary with his family. His brother escaped and was proclaimed Emperor by the Chinese.

Scarcely pausing in their conquests, the Jurchen subdued neighboring Koryo (Korea) in 1226 and invaded the territory of their former allies, the Song, to precipitate a series of wars with China that continued through the remainder of the century. Meanwhile, the defeated Kitan Liao ruler had fled with the small remnant of his army to the Tarim Basin, where he allied himself with the Uighurs and established the Karakitai state (known also as the Western Liao Dynasty, 1124-1234), which soon controlled both sides of the Pamir Mountains. The Jurchen turned their attention to the Mongols who, in 1139 and in 1147, warded them off.

The Juchi proceeded to conquer the northern portion of China, penetrated beyond the river Yang tsi, captured Lin ngan, the chief city of the province of Che kiang, and, after securing many victories, made peace with the Sung Emperor in 1142, by which the conquests they had made were ceded to them, and they were to receive an annual tribute of 250,000 ounces of silver and 250,000 pieces of silk, while the Sung Emperor declared himself their vassal. The rivers Hoai and Han became the boundaries of the two empires, the Kin Emperor ruling over the provinces of Pehchehli, Shan si, Shang tung, Honan, and the northern part of Shen si, which were collectively known as Khan zi to the Chinese, while the southern empire was known to them and to Marco Polo as Manzi. The Mongols called it Nangkias. The capital of the former was the city anciently known as Yen king or Chun king.

When the Kin Emperor in 1153 moved the seat of empire there he gave it the name of Ta hing fu, and the title of Chung tu, or Imperial city of the center. It is now widely celebrated as Peking, i.e., "the northern capital." The Mongols called it Khanbalig. The Sung Emperor's capital was Lin ngan, called also Hang chau in Ch6 kiang. In the northern section, subject to the Kin dynasty, there were five cities distinguished as Imperial residences: 1. Liau yang chau in Liau tung, called the eastern court; in Chinese Tung-king. 2. Tai-tung-fu in Shansi, the western court, or Si-king. 3. The present city of Peking, then called Chung tu or Chung king, or central court. 4. Pien leang or Kai fong fu, on the southern bank of the Yellow River in Honan, which was the southern court, or Nan king. And lastly, 5. Ta ning fu, on the river Loha in Northern China, then called the northern court, or Peking, which must of course be carefully distinguished from the Peking or northern court of modernr day.

Besides their authority in China, the Kin Emperors were lords paramount in the steppes and deserts beyond, but their influence there was very much more limited thai that of the Khitans. It probably extended little beyond the immediate borders of China. We know that Sungaria and the towns on either side of the Thian Shan mountains, which were apparently subject to the Khitans, were controlled by the enemies and rivals of the Kin, the Kara Khitai, while the Mongols, as we shall see, began to act a very independent part almost immediately after the Kin conquest of Northern China. Even in Manchuria we find Juchi tribes acting independently of the central authority in China under their own princes. These independent tribes were probably the ancestors of the modern Solons. We may take it, therefore, that although they were no doubt dependent, their dependence was largely nominal.




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Page last modified: 14-06-2019 18:13:34 ZULU