Sixteen Kingdoms

Sixteen Kingdoms

The Sixteen Kingdoms (zh-tsp|t=十六國|s=十六国|p=Shíliù Guó), or less commonly the Sixteen States, were a collection of numerous short-lived sovereign states in China proper and its neighboring areas from 304 to 439 CE after the retreat of the Jin Dynasty (265-420) to South China and before the establishment of the Northern Dynasties. Originally, the term was first introduced by Cui Hong in the lost historical record, "Shiliuguo Chunqiu" (the Spring and Autumn Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms) and restricted to sixteen kingdoms of this era, namely the states of Han Zhao, Later Zhao, Cheng Han, Former Liang, Later Liang, Northern Liang, Western Liáng, Southern Liang, Former Yan, Later Yan, Northern Yan, Southern Yan, Former Qin, Later Qin and Western Qin and Xia. The term has been broadened to included all sovereignities from 304 to 439. These do not all exist through the entire period.

A less used term, the Period of Sixteen Kingdoms represents this turbulent era from 304 to 439.

Almost all rulers of the kingdoms were part of the Wu Hu ethnicity and claimed to be the emperors and wangs (kings). The Han Chinese founded the four states: Northern Yan, Western Liang, Former Liang and the state of Wei. Six Chinese rulers of the Former Liang remained titularly under the government of the Jin Dynasty. The Northern Wei Dynasty is not counted as one of the Sixteen Kingdoms even though it was founded during the Period.

Rulers of each of the Kingdoms are listed in relevant articles.

ee also

*Wu Hu
*Ethnic groups in Chinese history
*Battle of Fei
*"Shiliuguo Chunqiu"


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