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Later Jin & Later Han

 Later Jin
During its most prosperous period, the territory of Later Jin once covered both Shandong and Henan Provinces, most of Shanxi and Shaanxi Province, and parts of Hebei, Ningxia, Gansu, Hubei, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces.

With Kaifeng (in Henan Province today) as its capital, the Later Jin Dynasty was established by Shi Jingtang who ruled Later Jin from 936 to 942.

Shi Jingtang was the son-in-law of Emperor Mingzong, Li Siyuan of the Later Tang Dynasty, whom he had rescued from danger many times. When rebellion broke out in Weizhou, he persuaded Li Siyuan to capture Kaifeng and appoint himself as king. He volunteered to lead 300 brave soldiers in a vanguard to seize Kaifeng and was later praised for incorruption by Li Siyuan. Subsequently, he was promoted year by year as a meritorious minister and because he was the emperor's son-in-law. As his power and position in the court of Later Tang (923 – 936) increased, Shi Jingtang began to plot to overthrow Later Tang and appoint himself king. After Li Siyuan's death, Shi Jingtang was suspected of foul play by his successors. As a result, Shi Jingtang schemed to rebel on the one hand, but asked the Khitan for help on the other. He promised the Khitan chieftain, Yelü Deguang, that in addition to bowing before him and respecting him as his father emperor (although Yelü Deguang was 11 years younger than Shi Jingtang), he would cede the 'sixteen prefectures of Yanyun' (16 states located to the north of Beijing and Tianjin, Shanxi, Hebei Provinces) to him and pay 300 thousand bolts of cloth and silk textiles as tribute every year, if Yelü Deguang could offer him assistance. With the help of Yelü Deguang, Shi Jingtang quickly defeated the Later Tang Dynasty and soon he was conferred emperor of Later Jin by the Khitan chieftain, Yelü Deguang.

After coming to the throne, Shi Jingtang kept his word faithfully, which severely damaged the social and economic structure of northern China. Because the 'sixteen prefectures of Yanyun' formed a natural barrier to northern China, central China was laid bare under the heel of Khitan without it. Shi Chonggui, his nephew and his successor, had long tried to shake free from the control of Khitan and had repelled Khitan's attack three times. However, Later Jin was defeated during the fourth attack of Khitan because of a leading general's betrayal.

During the reign of Later Jin people lived constantly in extreme misery. In addition to the endless wars, a plague of locusts took place in Shaanxi and Shanxi Province in the year of Shi Jingtang's death, leaving people dying from starvation everywhere. The natural disaster lasted until the next year, and the flying locusts blocked out the sun and buried everything in their path. It was inevitable, in this situation, that Later Jin was doomed.


 Later Han

As the most ephemeral dynasty of the Five Dynasties (907 - 960), the Later Han Dynasty experienced only four years with two emperors in Chinese history.

In 947, Khitan chieftain, Yelü Deguang sighed 'never thought that it is so difficult to rule the people of central China', and then went back to the north regretfully. For a minute, central China presented a serious situation without a ruler, until Liu Zhiyuan occupied the sovereign and established Later Han by making use of his military power and political maneuvers, hence 'Times produce their heroes'. Liu Zhiyuan had ever helped Shi Jingtang – founder of Later Jin out of danger twice. Thus, Shi Jingtang was moved and began to pay attention to Liu Zhiyuan. Additionally, Liu Zhiyuan was a taciturn person well-known for his simplicity of life and strictness with the army, so he was given important positions and missions by Shi Jingtang, and had an opportunity to strength his power in Taiyuan.

Originally, the capital of Later Han was in Taiyuan (Shanxi Province today), where the reign title of Later Jin was continued to use. Later Liu Zhiyuan led his army southwards and entered Daliang (Kaifeng City in Henan Province), which was then made as the capital of Later Han.

After the establishment of Later Han, Liu Zhiyuan decidedly adopted his wife - Empress Li's advice, and took out the properties of the palace to award his soldiers and called for fighting against Khitan to cultivate popularity, it did take some effect. Besides, he had ever tried his best to resist Khitan's aggression during his reign, which did play an active part in restoring and developing the production of central China in a way. However, Liu Zhiyuan died less than a year after coming to the throne. Liu Cheng, son of Liu Zhiyuan, inherited the throne from his father at the age of 18. In spite of Queen Dowager Li's dissuasion, Liu Cheng butchered many wise ministers which finally led to him forfeit the sovereign.