History of China/The Southern and Northern Dynasties
The Southern and Northern Dynasties (南北朝), was a period when northern and southern China had separate states and their respective successions. The Northern Dynasties lasted from 493 to 581 AD, and consisted of Northern Wei and its successor states. The Southern Dynasties lasted from 420 AD to 589 AD, and consisted of the successor states of the previous Eastern Jin Dynasty, starting with Liu Song. The Northern Dynasties were mostly ruled by so-called northern barbaric peoples, for example Xianbei people, while the south had mostly Han rulers. In 581 AD, Yang Jian (楊堅), a powerful noble and general in Northern Zhou usurped the child emperor's throne and established the Sui Dynasty. Sui conquered the Chen Dynasty in the south and united China, ending 273 years of disunity.