Later Jin (1616–1636)

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Jin State
or ᠠᡳ᠌ᠰᡳᠨ

Aisin gurun
Later Jin (后金) c. 1626 shown in light green
Later Jin (后金) c. 1626 shown in light green
Common languagesJurchen (renamed Manchu after 1635), Mongolian, Chinese[1]
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
• 1616–1626
• 1626–1636
Hong Taiji
Historical eraImperial era
• Enthronement of the Tianming Khan
• Proclamation of the Seven Grievances
• Annexation of the Northern Yuan
CurrencyChinese coin,
Chinese cash
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Jianzhou Jurchens (tribal principalities)
Ming dynasty
Northern Yuan
Qing dynasty
Today part ofChina
North Korea
Later Jin
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese後金
Simplified Chinese后金
Literal meaningLater Gold(en) State
Manchu name
Manchu scriptᠠᠮᠠᡤᠠ
Romanization(Amaga) Aisin Gurun
History of China
Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BCE
Xia c. 2070 – c. 1600 BCE
Shang c. 1600 – c. 1046 BCE
Zhou c. 1046 – 256 BCE
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn
   Warring States
Qin 221–207 BCE
Han 202 BCE – 220 CE
  Western Han
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu and Wu
Jin 266–420
  Western Jin
  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms
Northern and Southern dynasties
Sui 581–618
Tang 618–907
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

Liao 916–1125
Song 960–1279
  Northern Song W. Xia
  Southern Song Jin W. Liao
Yuan 1271–1368
Ming 1368–1644
Qing 1636–1912
Republic of China on the mainland 1912–1949
People's Republic of China 1949–present
Republic of China in Taiwan 1949–present

The Later Jin (1616–1636) was a Jurchen-ruled dynasty of China in Manchuria and the precursor to the Qing dynasty. Established in 1616 by the Jianzhou Jurchen chieftain Nurhaci upon his reunification of the Jurchen tribes, its name was derived from the former Jurchen-led Jin dynasty which had ruled northern China in the 12th and 13th centuries. In 1635, the lingering Northern Yuan dynasty under Ejei Khan formally submitted to the Later Jin. The following year, Hong Taiji officially renamed the realm to "Great Qing", thus marking the start of the Qing dynasty. The Qing subsequently overran Li Zicheng's Shun dynasty and various Southern Ming claimants and loyalists, going on to rule an empire comprising China proper, Tibet, Manchuria, Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Taiwan until the 1911 Xinhai Revolution established the Republic of China.


Historians debate whether the official Chinese name of the state was "Jin" (, Jīn), "Later Jin" (後金, Hòu Jīn), or both. Either describes it as a continuation or successor to the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty established by the Wanyan clan in 1115. The Manchu form of the name was ᠠᡳ᠌ᠰᡳᠨ ᡤᡠᡵᡠᠨ (Aisin Gurun),[2] meaning simply "Golden State".


Rise of Jianzhou Jurchens[edit]

The Jurchen people had traditionally lived in Manchuria and were then divided into three tribes, the most powerful of which during the Ming dynasty was called Jianzhou Jurchens, living around the Changbai Mountains. In order to attack and suppress the Northern Yuan dynasty, the Hongwu Emperor sent military commissions to gain control of the Jurchen tribes in Manchuria. The Ming government divided the Jianzhou Jurchens into three wei (a military subdivision during the Ming dynasty), collectively known as the "Three Wei of Jianzhou". The leaders of the Jurchen tribes were usually chosen as commanders of the wei.

The northern tribe Wild Jurchens were strong at that time, and attacked the Jianzhou Jurchens. Mengtemu, commander of the Jianzhou Wei, was killed. The Jianzhou Jurchens were forced to move southwards, and finally settled at Hetu Ala.

Establishment of the Khanate[edit]

Nurhaci, a Jurchen khan, promoted the unification of the Jurchens living in Manchuria at the beginning of the 17th century. He organized "Banners", military-social units that included Jurchen, Han Chinese, and Mongol elements. Nurhaci formed the Jurchen clans into a unified entity (which was renamed "Manchu" in 1635 by Hong Taiji), completing the establishment of the new state in 1616. This marks the start of the Later Jin dynasty.


Nurhaci, originally a Ming vassal, took a hostile attitude towards the Ming for favoritism and meddling in the affairs of the Jurchen tribes. In 1618, he proclaimed his Seven Grievances (nadan amba koro; 七大恨) which effectively declared war on the Ming dynasty. He occupied Fushun, Qinghe (清河) and other cities before retreating. The death of the Ming Vice-General Zhang Chengyin (張承蔭) during the Battle of Fushun stunned the Ming court. In 1619, he attacked the Yehe (葉赫) in an attempt to provoke the Ming. The Ming responded by dispatching expeditionary forces led by Military Commissioner Yang Hao along four routes to besiege Hetu Ala. In a series of winter battles known collectively as the Battle of Sarhū Nurhaci broke three of the four Chinese Ming armies, forcing the survivors and the fourth to retreat in disorder. This caused the power sphere of the Later Jin to extend over the entire eastern part of Liaoyang.

Relocating his court from Jianzhou to Liaodong provided Nurhaci access to more resources; it also brought him in close contact with the Khorchin Mongol domains on the plains of Mongolia. Although by this time the once-united Mongol nation had long since fragmented into individual and hostile tribes, these tribes still presented a serious security threat to the Ming borders. Nurhaci's policy towards the Khorchins was to seek their friendship and cooperation against the Ming, securing his western border from a powerful potential enemy.[3]

The unbroken series of military successes by Nurhaci came to an end in January 1626 when he was defeated by Yuan Chonghuan while laying siege to Ningyuan. He died a few months later and was succeeded by his eighth son, Hong Taiji, who emerged after a short political struggle amongst other potential contenders as the new khan.

Although Hong Taiji was an experienced leader and the commander of two Banners at the time of his succession, his reign did not start well on the military front. The Jurchens suffered yet another defeat in 1627 at the hands of Yuan Chonghuan. As before, this defeat was, in part, due to the Ming's newly acquired Portuguese cannons.

To redress his technological and numerical disparity, Hong Taiji in 1634 created his own artillery corps, the ujen cooha (Chinese: 重軍) from among his existing Han troops who cast their own cannons in the European design with the help of defector Chinese metallurgists. One of the defining events of Hong Taiji's reign was the official adoption of the name "Manchu" for the united Jurchen people in November 1635. In 1635, the Manchus' Mongol allies were fully incorporated into a separate Banner hierarchy under direct Manchu command. Hong Taiji conquered the territory north of Shanhai Pass by Ming Dynasty and Ligdan Khan in Inner Mongolia. In April 1636, Mongol nobility of Inner Mongolia, Manchu nobility and the Han mandarin held the Kurultai in Shenyang, recommended the khan of Later Jin to be the emperor of the Great Qing empire. One of the Yuan dynasty's jade seals was also dedicated to the emperor (Bogd Sécén Khaan) by nobility. When he was said to be presented with the imperial seal of the Yuan dynasty by Ejei Khan, Hong Taiji renamed his state from "Jin" to "Great Qing" and elevated his position from Khan to Emperor, suggesting imperial ambitions beyond unifying the Manchu tribes, and marking the formal end of the Later Jin period.


This was followed by the creation of the first two Han Banners in 1637 (increasing to eight in 1642). Together these military reforms enabled Hong Taiji to resoundingly defeat Ming forces in a series of battles from 1640 to 1642 for the territories of Songshan and Jinzhou. This final victory resulted in the surrender of many of the Ming dynasty's most battle-hardened troops, the death of Yuan Chonghuan at the hands of the Chongzhen Emperor (who thought Yuan had betrayed him), and the complete and permanent withdrawal of the remaining Ming forces north of the Great Wall.

Hong Taiji died suddenly in September 1643 without a designated heir. His five-year-old son, Fulin, was installed as the Shunzhi Emperor, with Hong Taiji's half brother Dorgon as regent and de facto leader of the Qing dynasty.

In 1644, Shun forces led by Li Zicheng conquered the Ming capital, Beijing. Rather than serve them, Ming general Wu Sangui made an alliance with the Manchus and opened the Shanhai Pass to the Banner armies led by Dorgon, who defeated the rebels and seized the capital. Remnants of the Ming imperial family remained in control of southern China as the Southern Ming.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hong Taiji mediator wood letter card,have three languages of Manchu,Mongolian and Chinese. Chinese Economy (in Chinese). 2008-02-18. Retrieved 2013-04-28.
  2. ^ Manju i Yargiyan Kooli (滿洲實錄). Zhonghua Book Company, p. 283.
  3. ^ Bernard Hung-Kay Luk, Amir Harrak-Contacts between cultures, Volume 4, p.25