A universal guide for China studies
Chinese History - The Sixteen Kingdoms 五胡十六國 (300~430)
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The Sixteen Kingdoms
|period before (Jin Dynasty)|
-- Southern Dynasties
-- Northern Wei
next period (Sui)
Unter chieftain Murong Hui 慕容廆, the Xianbi 鮮卑 tribes started to engage in agricultural activities and settled in the area of Liaodong 遼東 (modern Liaoning). He employed trained Chinese officials in his capital at Dajicheng 大棘城 (near modern Yixian 義縣/Liaoning) and obtained an official title by the rulers of Eastern Jin Dynasty 東晉. His son Murong Huang 慕容皝 took over the charge of the Jin Dynasty to control northeastern China. He could even defeat the belligerent Korean kingdom of Koguryŏ (Chinese: Gaogouli 高句麗), the Yuwen 宇文 and the Puyo 夫余 tribes. Murong Jun 慕容雋 was able to conquer the whole northeast of China and threw away the charge of the Jin Dynasty, calling himself emperor of (Former) Yan (Qianyan 前燕). In 370, the young emperor Murong Wei 慕容暐 submit to the Former Qin (Qianqin 前秦) army.
Under the reign of Murong Hui, many Chinese immigrants, peasants as well as a part of the aristocracy, fled to the region of Liaodong. Moreover, following the custom of that time, many inhabitants of the subdued territories were resettled near the capital of Former Yan. To have enough conscripts for the unceasing battles, a large part of the population was organized in military households (yinghu 營戶, junfeng 軍封, or yinhu 蔭戶). The Yan empire is named after the old feudal state of Yan 燕 during the Zhou Dynasty 周.
See also titles of rulers.
Note: The rulers of the sideline dynasties are usually not called with their posthumous dynastic titles but with their personal names as they are not accepted as righteous rulers by official historiographies.