Timeline of the Jin–Song Wars

Last updated

China 11a.jpg
Northern Song (pink)
Map of China 1142.jpg
Southern Song (pink)
The Song dynasty before and after the Jin conquests
Emperor Qinzong of Song was imprisoned and taken north to Manchuria as a hostage of the Jin dynasty during the Jin-Song Wars. Song Qin Zong .jpg
Emperor Qinzong of Song was imprisoned and taken north to Manchuria as a hostage of the Jin dynasty during the Jin–Song Wars.

The Jin–Song Wars were a series of armed conflicts conducted by the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty and the Song dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries. The Jurchens were a Tungusic–speaking tribal confederation native to Manchuria. They overthrew the Khitan-led Liao dynasty in 1122 and declared the establishment of a new dynasty, the Jin. [1] Diplomatic relations between the Jin and Song deteriorated, and the Jurchens first declared war on the Song dynasty in November 1125. [2]


Two armies were dispatched against the Song. One army captured the provincial capital of Taiyuan, while the other besieged the Song capital of Kaifeng. The Jin withdrew when the Song promised to pay an annual indemnity. [3] As the Song dynasty weakened, the Jin armies conducted a second siege against Kaifeng. The city was captured and looted, and the Song dynasty emperor, Emperor Qinzong, was imprisoned and taken north to Manchuria as a hostage. [4] The remainder of the Song court retreated to southern China, beginning the Southern Song period of Chinese history. [1] Two puppet governments, first the Da Chu dynasty and later the state of Qi, were established by the Jin as buffer states between the Song and Manchuria. [5]

The Jin marched southward with the aim of conquering the Southern Song, but counteroffensives by Chinese generals like Yue Fei halted their advance. [6] A peace accord, the Treaty of Shaoxing, was negotiated and ratified in 1142, establishing the Huai River as the boundary between the two empires. [7] Peace between the Song and Jin was interrupted twice. [8] Wanyan Liang invaded the Southern Song in 1161, [9] while Song revanchists tried and failed to retake northern China in 1204. [10]

The Jin–Song Wars were notable for the appearance of new technological innovations. The siege of De'an in 1132 included the first recorded use of the fire lance, an early gunpowder weapon and an ancestor of the firearm. [11] The huopao, an incendiary bomb, was employed in a number of battles [12] and gunpowder bombs made of cast iron were used in a siege in 1221. [13] The Jurchens migrated south and settled in northern China, where they adopted the language and Confucian culture of the local inhabitants. [1] The Jin dynasty government grew into a centralized imperial bureaucracy structured in the same manner as previous dynasties of China. [14] Both the Song and Jin dynasties ended in the 13th century as the Mongol Empire expanded across Asia. [15]

Campaigns against the Northern Song

YearDate [lower-alpha 1] EventRef(s)
1125November Jin dynasty declares war against the Song dynasty and dispatches two armies. [2]
1126JanuaryJin forces reach Taiyuan and besiege the city. [2]
January 27Jin army crosses the Yellow River on their way to the Song capital of Kaifeng. [16]
January 28 Emperor Huizong of Song abdicates and Emperor Qinzong is enthroned as Jin forces approach Kaifeng. [16]
January 31Jin forced besiege Kaifeng. [17]
February 10Siege of Kaifeng ends. [4]
March 5The Jin army retreats from Kaifeng after the Song emperor promises to pay an annual indemnity. [17]
JuneTwo armies dispatched by Emperor Qinzong to Taiyuan, Zhongshan, and Hejian are defeated by the Jin. [17]
DecemberThe Jin army that captured Taiyuan arrives in Kaifeng. The second siege of Kaifeng begins. [17]
1127January 9During the Jingkang Incident, Kaifeng surrenders and the city is looted by Jin forces. [4]
MayEmperor Qinzong, former Emperor Huizong, and members of the Song court are taken north to Manchuria as prisoners. [4]
1129Song dynasty capital moved to Nanjing. End of the Northern Song. [1] [18]
Former Song official Liu Yu is enthroned as the emperor of the Jin puppet state of Qi. [18]

Campaigns against the Southern Song

YearDate [lower-alpha 1] EventRef(s)
1132 De'an is besieged by Jin forces. The battle is the earliest known use of the fire lance, an ancestor of the firearm. [11]
1133 Yue Fei is appointed a general tasked with leading the largest army in a region near the central Yangtze River. [19]
1134Yue Fei commanded a military campaign that recaptured much of the territory seized by the Jin. [20]
1135Qi captures the town of Xiangyang. [20]
1137Jin dynasty dissolves the Qi state and demotes Liu Yu as emperor. [20]
1140Yue Fei launches a successful military expedition against the Jin and makes considerable territorial gains, but was forced to withdraw by Emperor Gaozong. [21]
1141Yue Fei is imprisoned as Gaozong moves forward with his plans for a peace treaty. [21]
OctoberNegotiations for a peace treaty begins between the Song and Jin. [21]
1142Yue Fei is poisoned in his jail cell. [21]
OctoberThe peace treaty, the Shaoxing Accord, is ratified and the Song agrees to pay an annual indemnity. The Huai River is settled as the boundary. [7] [21]

After the peace treaty

YearDate [lower-alpha 1] EventReference(s)
1152The Jin emperor Wanyan Liang moves his capital south from Manchuria to Beijing. [22]
1158Wanyan Liang blames the Song for breaching the peace treaty after it procured horses from the frontier regions. [22]
1159The Jin begins preparations for a war against the Song. [22]
1161SummerConscription of ethnic Han soldiers for the Jin war effort ends. [22]
June 14Jin envoys arrive in the Song on the eve of the invasion. Their behavior led to suspicions of a Jin plot against the Song. [9]
October 15Jin forces depart from Kaifeng. [9]
October 28The Jin army reaches the Huai River and continue their march to the Yangtze River. [9]
November 26–27Jin forces try to capture the city of Caishi during the Battle of Caishi but are repelled by the Song. [23]
The Battle of Tangdao is fought at sea between the Jin and the Song. The Song navy uses incendiary bombs and other weapons against a Jin fleet of 600 ships. [24]
December 15Wanyan Liang is assassinated in his military camp by his officers, ending the Jurchen invasion. [25]
1204Song armies begin raiding the Jin settlements north of the Huai River. [26]
1206June 14The Song declares war against the Jin. [26]
FallJin armies capture towns and military bases, slowing the Song advance. [10]
DecemberWu Xi, general and governor of Sichuan, defects to the Jin, threatening the war effort. [10]
1207March 29Wu Xi is assassinated by Song loyalists. [10]
1208JulyFollowing negotiations for peace, the war ends and Jin forces withdraw. [27]
November 2A peace treaty is signed between the Jin and the Song. The Song agreed to continue paying tribute to the Jin. [27]
1217Jin forces invade the Song to remedy the territory they had lost to the Mongols. [28]
1221A gunpowder bomb made of cast iron is used as Jin forces try to capture Qizhou, a Song city. [13]
1224The Jin and Song agreed to a peace treaty. Song discontinues its annual tributes to the Jurchens. [29]
1234February 9The Jin dynasty ends after an invasion by the Mongols and the Song. [15] [30]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Omitted if the date of the event is unknown.

Related Research Articles

Jin dynasty (1115–1234) Chinese dynasty (1115–1234)

The Jin dynasty, officially known as the Great Jin, lasted from 1115 to 1234 as one of the last dynasties in Chinese history to predate the Mongol conquest of China. Its name is sometimes written as Kin, Jurchen Jin or Jinn in English to differentiate it from an earlier Jìn dynasty of China whose name is identical when transcribed without tone marker diacritics in the Hanyu Pinyin system for Standard Chinese. It is also sometimes called the "Jurchen dynasty" or the "Jurchen Jin", because its founding leader Aguda was of Wanyan Jurchen descent.

Emperor Qinzong 12th-century Chinese emperor

Emperor Qinzong of Song, personal name Zhao Huan, was the ninth emperor of the Song dynasty of China and the last emperor of the Northern Song dynasty.

Emperor Gaozong of Song 12th-century Chinese emperor

Emperor Gaozong of Song, personal name Zhao Gou, courtesy name Deji, was the tenth emperor of the Song dynasty of China and the founding emperor of the Southern Song dynasty.

Runan County County in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Runan County is a county under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Zhumadian, in the southeast of Henan province, China.

Battle of Caishi Battle during the Jin-Song wars

The Battle of Caishi was a major naval engagement of the Jin–Song Wars of China that took place on November 26–27, 1161. It ended with a decisive Song victory, aided by their use of gunpowder weapons.

Fire lance Early gunpowder weapon

The fire lance was a gunpowder weapon and the ancestor of modern firearms. It first appeared in 10-12th century China and was used to great effect during the Jin-Song Wars. It began as a small pyrotechnic device attached to a polearm weapon, used to gain a shock advantage at the start of a melee. As gunpowder improved, the explosive discharge was increased, and debris or pellets added, giving it some of the effects of a combination modern flamethrower and shotgun, but with a very short range, and only one shot. By the late 13th century, fire lance barrels had transitioned to metal material to better withstand the explosive blast, and the lance-point was discarded in favor of relying solely on the gunpowder blast. These became the first hand cannons.

Timeline of the Mongol Empire

This is the timeline of the Mongol Empire from the birth of Temüjin, later Genghis Khan, to the ascension of Kublai Khan as emperor of the Yuan dynasty in 1271, though the title of Khagan continued to be used by the Yuan rulers into the Northern Yuan dynasty, a far less powerful successor entity, until 1634.

Gunpowder weapons in the Song dynasty

Gunpowder weapons in the Song dynasty included fire arrows, gunpowder lit flamethrowers, soft shell bombs, hard shell iron bombs, fire lances, and possibly early cannons known as "eruptors". The eruptors, such as the "multiple bullets magazine eruptors", consisting of a tube of bronze or cast iron that was filled with about 100 lead balls, and the "flying-cloud thunderclap eruptor", were early cast-iron proto-cannons that did not include single shots that occluded the barrel. The use of proto-cannon, and other gunpowder weapons, enabled the Song dynasty to ward off its generally militarily superior enemies—the Khitan led Liao, Tangut led Western Xia, and Jurchen led Jin—until its final collapse under the onslaught of the Mongol forces of Kublai Khan and his Yuan dynasty in the late 13th century.

Jin–Song Wars Series of Jurchen military campaigns against the Song Dynasty

The Jin–Song Wars were a series of conflicts between the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty (1115–1234) and the Han-led Song dynasty (960–1279). In 1115, Jurchen tribes rebelled against their overlords, the Khitan-led Liao dynasty (916–1125), and declared the formation of the Jin. Allying with the Song against their common enemy the Liao dynasty, the Jin promised to cede to the Song the Sixteen Prefectures that had fallen under Liao control since 938. The Song agreed but the Jin's quick defeat of the Liao combined with Song military failures made the Jin reluctant to cede territory. After a series of negotiations that embittered both sides, the Jurchens attacked the Song in 1125, dispatching one army to Taiyuan and the other to Bianjing, the Song capital.

Mongol siege of Kaifeng 1232-33 battle of the Mongol-Jin War

In the Mongol siege of Kaifeng from 1232 to 1233, the Mongol Empire captured Kaifeng, the capital of the Jurchen Jin dynasty. The Mongols and Jurchens had been at war for nearly two decades, beginning in 1211 after the Jurchens refused the Mongol offer to submit as a vassal. Ögedei Khan sent two armies to besiege Kaifeng, one led by himself, and the other by his brother Tolui. Command of the forces, once they converged into a single army, was given to Subutai who led the siege. The Mongols arrived at the walls of Kaifeng on April 8, 1232.

The siege of Caizhou between 1233 and 1234 was fought between the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty and the allied forces of the Mongol Empire and Southern Song dynasty. It was the last major battle in the Mongol conquest of the Jin dynasty.

Da Chu was a short-lived Chinese dynasty in 1127 ruled by Zhang Bangchang (1081–1127), a puppet emperor enthroned with the support of the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty. The dynasty was abolished scarcely a month after its formation.

Heilongjiang hand cannon Chinese bronze firearm dated to 1287

The Heilongjiang hand cannon or hand-gun is a bronze hand cannon manufactured no later than 1288 and is the world's oldest confirmed surviving firearm. It weighs 3.55 kg and is 34 centimeters long. The Heilongjiang hand cannon was excavated during the 1970s in Banlachengzi, a village in Acheng District, Heilongjiang province, China. It was found alongside other bronze artifacts made in the style of the Jurchen Jin Dynasty. The hand cannon was probably used in battles fought nearby Banlachengzi in 1287 and 1288. The History of Yuan states that a Jurchen commander by the name of Li Ting led a group of soldiers equipped with hand cannons into a military camp in 1288, as part of an anti-rebellion campaign for the Yuan dynasty. The cannon currently resides at the Heilongjiang Provincial Museum in Harbin, China.

Timeline of the Jurchens

This is a timeline of the Jurchens.

Timeline of the Song dynasty

This is a timeline of the Song dynasty (960–1279). The Song dynasty was founded by Zhao Kuangyin, posthumously known as Emperor Taizu of Song, who ended the period of division known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The Song dynasty is commonly separated into two historical periods, the Northern Song (960–1127) and the Southern Song (1127–1279), divided by the loss of the north to the Jurchen Jin dynasty (1115–1234). In 1279, the Mongol Yuan dynasty conquered the Song.

Timeline of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms

This is a timeline of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907–979), which followed the collapse of the Tang dynasty in 907 AD. The Five Dynasties refer to the succession of dynasties which ruled northern China following the Tang collapse while the Ten Kingdoms, with the exception of Northern Han, ruled in southern China. This era of division ended in 979 AD with the rise of the Song dynasty under Emperor Taizu of Song, although the Song would never reconquer the northern territory lost to the Khitans, collectively known as the Sixteen Prefectures.

Chinese siege weapons

This is an overview of Chinese siege weapons.

Zhang Bangchang Ruler of Da Chu

Zhang Bangchang, was a puppet ruler of Da Chu and a prime minister of the Song dynasty. He was executed by Emperor Gaozong of Song after he surrendered.

Military history of the Song dynasty

The military history of the Song dynasty encompasses military activity of the Han Chinese state of Song from 960 AD with the overthrow of Later Zhou until 1279 AD when China was conquered by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty.

Jurchen unification

The Jurchen unification was a series of events in the late 16th and early 17th centuries that led to the unification of the Jurchens under Nurhaci. In 1616, Nurhaci established the Later Jin dynasty.



  1. 1 2 3 4 Holcombe 2011, p. 129.
  2. 1 2 3 Lorge 2005, p. 52.
  3. Lorge 2005, pp. 52–53.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Franke 1994, p. 229.
  5. Franke 1994, pp. 229–230.
  6. Mote 2003, p. 299.
  7. 1 2 Beckwith 2009, p. 175.
  8. Franke 1994, p. 239.
  9. 1 2 3 4 Franke 1994, p. 241.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Franke 1994, p. 248.
  11. 1 2 Chase 2003, p. 31.
  12. Partington 1960, pp. 263–264.
  13. 1 2 Lorge 2008, p. 41.
  14. Franke 1994, p. 235.
  15. 1 2 Lorge 2005, p. 73.
  16. 1 2 Mote 2003, p. 196.
  17. 1 2 3 4 Lorge 2005, p. 53.
  18. 1 2 Franke 1994, p. 230.
  19. Mote 2003, p. 301.
  20. 1 2 3 Franke 1994, p. 232.
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 Mote 2003, p. 303.
  22. 1 2 3 4 Franke 1994, p. 240.
  23. Franke 1994, p. 242.
  24. Partington 1960, p. 264.
  25. Franke 1994, p. 243.
  26. 1 2 Franke 1994, p. 247.
  27. 1 2 Franke 1994, p. 249.
  28. Franke 1994, p. 259.
  29. Franke 1994, p. 261.
  30. Franke 1994, p. 264.


  • Beckwith, Christopher I. (2009). Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Princeton University Press. ISBN   978-0-691-13589-2.
  • Chase, Kenneth Warren (2003). Firearms: A Global History to 1700. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-0-521-82274-9.
  • Franke, Herbert (1994). Denis C. Twitchett; Herbert Franke; John King Fairbank (eds.). The Cambridge History of China: Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 710–1368. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-0-521-24331-5.
  • Holcombe, Charles (2011). A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilization to the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-0-521-51595-5.
  • Lorge, Peter (2005). War, Politics and Society in Early Modern China, 900–1795b. Routledge. ISBN   978-0-203-96929-8.
  • Lorge, Peter (2008). The Asian Military Revolution: From Gunpowder to the Bomb. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-0-521-84682-0.
  • Mote, Frederick W. (2003). Imperial China: 900–1800. Harvard University Press. ISBN   978-0-674-01212-7.
  • Partington, J. R. (1960). A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder . Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN   978-0-8018-5954-0.