Timeline of China's "Period of Disunity," 220-589 CE
Wei (220-265)
capital: Luoyang
Shu Han (220-265)
capital: Chengdu
Wu (222-280)
capital: Jiankang (Nanjing)
Wei briefly reunites China
under Western Jin (265-317),
capital: Luoyang
   

The Xiongnu people occupy northern China, including Chang'an (Xian) and Luoyang, the Western Jin capital;
as a result, Western Jin is forced to move capital to Jiankang (Nanjing)

The Western Jin after this period is called the Eastern Jin (317-420)

The establishment of the Eastern Jin
marks the beginning of the era now known as...

The Eastern Jin and its four successor dynasties, all with their capital at Jiankang (Nanjing), are called...

— The Southern Dynasties —

The north is now dominated by the Sixteen Kingdoms (304-438) ruled by five non-Chinese peoples: the Xiongnu, Jie, Xianbei, Qiang, and Di.

 

Liu Song (420-479)  

A branch of the Xianbei people unifies the north under the Northern Wei dynasty (386-535), capital Pingcheng (Datong)

The Northern Wei and its five successors are called...

— The Northern Dynsties —

Southern Qi (479-502)  
Liang (502-557)   Frontier rebellions in 534 result in separation of the Northern Wei into...
Eastern Wei (534-550),
capital Ye (Linzhang)
Western Wei (535-557),
capital Chang'an (Xian)

Chen (557-589)

Northern Qi (550-577),
capital Ye (Linzhang)
Northern Zhou (557-581),
capital Chang'an (Xian)
  The Period of Disunity ends in 589 when the Northern Zhou general Yang Jian (514-604) reunifies China and establishes...

* The Period of Disunity is also often referred to as the Six Dynasties Period. The "six dynasties" refer to the five southern dynasties (Chen, Liang, Southern Qi, Liu Song, and Eastern Jin), plus the kingdom of Wu from the Three Kingdoms Period. All had their capital at Jiankang (Nanjing).

** This timeline was compiled using information from the Princeton University Art Museum's Overview of the Period of Disunity and the Chronology of Chinese history.

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