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Song Dynasty

Page history last edited by Dominic B 12 years, 10 months ago


 960C.E. - 1279 C.E.

History of the Song Dynasties

The main leader of the Song Dynasty was Zhao Kuangyin, who is known as the emperor who founded the Song Dyansty of China in 960.  He was also known as Emperor Taizu.  Taizu conquered these lands and ended the upheavel of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period.  With his brother Taizong's help, Taizu was able to consolidate his power and unify the empire in 978.  Following Taizu's death, Taizong became emperor and attempted to recover 16 prefectures from the Khitans (Liao Dynasty).  This marked an important trend that would later follow further generations of the Song, as the Song lost the battles with the Khitans and had to pay them an annual offering to keep the peace.  This peace treaty combined with a large defensive army allowed the Song to enjoy a near century of peace.  The Song Dynasty fell in 1126 when the Northern Song capital of Kaifeng was seiged by the Jurchens (Jin Dynasty).  An imperial prince fled south to Hangzhou and began the era of the Southern Song.  They enjoyed relative peace until 1279, when invading Mongols took Hangzhou after three decades of fighting.



Governement of Southern Song



The economy of the Song Dynasty was the most advanced economy in the world at the time. The Song invested money for funds in joint stock

companies and in sailing vessles. The Song also made many trades by overseas and along the Grand Canal and Yangzi River. They

produced over a hundred million pounds of iron a year which is found mainly in thier capital city, Kaifeng. They

used the iron to trade for food and is how they supported thier families. The Song were the first among the nations of the world to issue a paper money as a form of currency, called Jiaozi. To produce this money, they had many government-run factories.



                                                                                                                             (Above) Paper Money     



A variety of religions and thought processes made their way into the area by this time.  Among them was Neo-Confucianism, which became predominant sometime in the 12th century.  Led by a man named Zhu Xi, Neo-Confucianists believed all things were endowed with principles according to which they ought to function as part of an integral, harmonious society.  For example, they believed that humans were all born good. Essentially, Neo-Confucianism was a combination of Daoist (Taoist), Confucian, and Buddhist thoughts, all three of which had also made their way into China.  Towards the end of Zhu's life, Neo-Confucianism was outlawed. 


Zhu Xi (1130-1200)


The status of women was steadily improved during the Song Dynasty era.  They were able to do many things such as

own property, have control over the money that the family makes, inherit things, and the choice in whether or not their children got an education or not.  Women were still used as marriage tools, but they also developed their own virtues and more morals than an average male at the time.



Women working


Education was mainlly given the chance for the upper class. Education became very popular and had a very high increase when their

was a big availabity of books. Education grew very fast in China and quickly became important. The government started building a

couple schools and it grew from then. Even though is was mainly used by the upper class in the Song Dynasty, other classes also had

a little education available to them.


Chinese Characters


The visual arts during the Song Dyansty were influenced by new developments such as advances in landscape and portrait painting. Also,

they enjoyed poetry and many literature. A made a universal history text of the Zizhi Tongjian, made into 1000 volumes of 9.4

million written Chinese characters shows the effect of literacy on the Chinese population.


Famous sculpture carved


Basically, the Northern Song Empire covered all of china except for the north area where the Khitan Liao Empire had been founded in 907.

Also surrounding it in the northeastern area is the Tangut Empire of Western Xia, founded in 1038. The position of the Dynasty along with restoration of some canals brought back the Silk Road. Connections between Asia/Persia were re-opened with the flowering of the Song Dynasty.



Location of the Song Dyansty



Basically, the Song Dyansty was founded by Zhu Xi in China during 960 C.E. The population soon grew very quickly. Women and men were

almost treated equally and the children had the availabity of education and books for them to be able to succeed in life. The Song

Dyansty was split between the North and South with few differences between the two. The Song Dynasty took over all of




Comments (2)

Frances S. said

at 11:52 pm on Apr 6, 2010

Were there any major technological innovations during the Song Dynasty?

Dominic B said

at 5:31 am on Apr 7, 2010

Yeah Frances, there were some major innovations.
During the era of the Song Dynasties, movable type printing was invented, as well as the magnetic compass, paper money (though not typically counted as a technology), and gunpowder. Also, there were many other advances in agricultural production and in weaponry as well with things like the precursor to the cannon and gun, the firetube.

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