In 1115, Jin, considered as deadly threat to Liao, entered into an alliance with Song to conquer Liao dynasty. The alliance succeeded in conquering the Liao dynasty, also called as Khitan Empire. Later, Jin defeated the Song, and conquered the Northern region. After some time, Jin continued to attack the newly established in Southern Song, but, Jin military troops suffered severe wounds.
Generally, Jin dynasty was formed by Tungus Jurchen tribal chieftain Wanyan Aguda from the tribe of Manchuria. When Aguda was dead, the new emperor of Jin broke the alliance and fought with Song. After the unsuccessful fight with Southern Song, the battle continued for almost a decade until a peace treaty was signed by both parties. It was then the Jin was considered to be formidable in Northern China.
After the invasion of Northern China, Jin was composed by over thirty million people, of which half were Jurchens. Society was organized as Jin ruler gives lands to their people. Although there were marriages by Jurchens to Hans, still, the top positions and noble people were considered to Jurchens alone.
Jin Emperor Xizong, a.k.a. Prince Hailing
When Jin Emperor Xizong, or Prince Hailing, ruled, there were various rebellions coming from different regions. His frustrations to invade the whole of China turned him into alcoholic and unrighteous ruler. He executed more than a hundred of his top officials, princes, and even his family, for criticizing his administration. While he was busy planning the invasions of China, two rebellions were initiated from Khitan tribesmen and Jurchen nobles. These uprisings lowered his forces. Eventually, his defeats also led to his assassination by his own generals.
The next ruler, Emperor Shìzōng, administered the Jin dynasty differently. He negotiated peace with Southern Song. He lifted the tax abuses to help minority groups, and encouraged communal farming. Later on, the empire had sufficient reserve of grains. He constructed the Jurchen Academy to promote the Jurchen language and culture. His administration was considered peaceful and prosperous since he focused on promoting the lives of his people rather than conquering other lands.
Except during the reign of Emperor Shìzōng, Jin dynasty faced various battles with other groups. These led to the strengthening of Jin military forces. Even before the invasion of Liao dynasty, the military force was trained rigorously, although the skills were developed in hunting as their way of living. After the defeat of Liao, and followed by Northern Song, cavalry, horses, and various machines were significantly developed. The Jin troops absorbed elements from the Khitan, Bohai, Yi and Han. Cannons, grenades, and even rockets were used on the later part of the dynasty, and it was even considered as the first ever human battle that used gunpowder.
Lacking Naval Strength
While military forces of Jin were notably stronger, the troops were considered a failure in naval warfare. It was defeated by Southern Song in Yangtze River, even though the Jin troops were well armed. Perhaps, it was associated with the military training that neglected naval warfare.
Starting with Aguda, there were ten emperors who reigned during the Jin dynasty. Most of them were assassinated, captured, or committed suicide which usually happened after military defeats.
Jin Dynasty Writings and Scripts
Just like any other dynasty, the Jurchen has also made their own scripts and regarded as the official scripts for all documents. Official documents made in Chinese were translated to Jurchen. Although various scripts were used by millions of Jin people, Chinese calligraphy was used in the later period. Khitan scripts were abolished to give way to the Chinese calligraphy.
Jin Dynasty Economy
While the rulers of Jin faced much warfare, millions of its people were specialized into economic crafts such as farming, fishing, and hunting. Animal husbandry became the dominant industry. With the marriages of Jurchen and Han peoples, commerce and agricultural production were greatly developed. It is also at this era that extensive advancement in terms of drama and literature was initiated. With internal uprisings and warfare, the people of Jin seem not affected by the trouble. It was mainly due to the influence of Hans’s people on possessing positive attitude in life.
Trade relationship with neighboring empires was innovated, especially with the Song. It was an attempt to remove the usual trade barriers between different empires. Later on, commerce was recovered and further developed. With regards to agricultural sector, tax was mainly reduced to encourage farming from tribes. Interestingly, it was during this period that silver was considered as legal tender. Hence, it marked the important milestone in the history that even influences the contemporary period.
The Influence of Buddhism During the Jin Dynasty
One of the known structures in China, the Chengling Pagoda that is located in Zhengding, Hebei province, was constructed during this period. It only shows that people were greatly involved in the development of arts in China. Religious statues such as Buddha and Buddhist Monks were also carved during the reign of Jin dynasty. It mainly showed Buddhism as a growing religion, and people changed the ways of their life. Transition from warfare to simple living occurred as well. Perhaps, it can be one of the explanations of weakening military forces: more Jin people began to follow the teachings of Buddhism.
Jin Dynasty Architectural Developments
Another major development in architecture that happened in Jin dynasty was the construction of stone bridges, ornamental columns, and bridge sculptures. It also marked another important milestone in history of China. Up to this time, these structures were greatly appreciated by most people.
With regards to literature, Jin dynasty produced some famous poets who were even the recipient of awards.
Although Jin dynasty decided to change their capital, there were still different attacks from West Xia and the northern Mongols. Against the combined forces of mightiest nomad rulers in the world, the strong Southern Song and Mongolian Army, the Jin dynasty faced defeat. It happened when the enemy attacked the Jin military troops in a very isolated condition. Afterwards, the last emperor was captured and commenced the collapsed of Jin dynasty. The Jin Dynasty reigned for hundred and fifty years.