This chapter focuses on the political history of the Northern Wei and Southern Dynasties, which will serve as the historical background to the Northern Wei dynasty’s legitimacy dispute. It discusses the political history of contemporaneous dynasties in southern China. According to the historical records, the Xianbei people originally settled near the northern frontier of the Qin dynasty. However, an escalating social schism eventually destroyed the Northern Wei dynasty. In 317, the Western Jin dynasty collapsed after years of uprisings of the northern “barbarians”. History of the Southern Dynasties was marked by fierce infighting within the royal family. The Chen dynasty dominated only the Lower Yangtze Plain, a much smaller area than the other southern dynasties. Mark Edward Lewis says that “the southern dynasties maintained their authority by distributing troops throughout the key regions of the empire and placing each regional command under a member of the imperial family”.