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Eastern Jin Dynasty 317 AD - 420 AD

When the Western Jin Dynasty was overcome, the government retreated east of the Yangze River and the unified country no longer existed. Sima Rui, a member of the Jin royal family living in Jiankang, took power. Not learning any lessons from the Western Jin, the noble families who had helped with the restoration lived a luxurious life, and the struggles between them for supremacy continued. They did, however, attempt to improve the economic situation. The largest concentration of population was south of the Yangzi where the peasants had retreated as a result of the continuous invasions in the north which meant that there was plenty of labour. The large number of rivers in that area assisted with irrigation so that agriculture was very successful. In addition, the northerners had brought more advanced agricultural implements with them and also methods of industrial production.

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