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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.