Song Dynasty Facts

Song Dynasty Facts
The Song Dynasty began in China in 960 and ended in 1279. The Song Dynasty followed the Tang Empire, which fell in 906. For the next 54 years there was war, until Emperor Taizu established the Song Empire. The Song Dynasty was divided into two eras including the Northern Song, from 960 to 1127, and the Southern Song, from 1127 to 1279. During the Northern Song the capital was Bianjing (today Kaifeng). During the Southern Song the capital was moved to Lin'an (today Hangzhou) because it lost the northern section of China. The Song Dynasty was a time of innovation and art but was conquered in 1271 by the Mongolian leader Kublai Khan.
Interesting Song Dynasty Facts:
During the Song Dynasty there was competition from neighboring dynasties including the Western Xia and the Liao Dynasty. Treaties alternated with warfare during the Song Dynasty.
In 1127 the Jurchen Tribes, who had previously worked with the Song Dynasty to conquer Liao Dynasty, turned on the Song Dynasty and drove it south. This ended the period known as the Northern Song and began the period known as the Southern Song.
The Song Dynasty was able to restore unity to China and it experienced tremendous economic growth and advancements.
During the Song Dynasty China became the richest country in the world, and skilled workers grew in numbers to create major advances in industry.
During the Song Dynasty Confucianism was the most popular philosophy of the people. Buddhism and Daoism were also common.
Women in the middle and lower classes of the Song Dynasty were able to run businesses. Women were also given with large dowries (wedding gifts of money and property). This gave them more property rights.
The painful and disfiguring practice of foot binding began during the Song Dynasty. This involved binding a woman's feet to prevent the feet from growing more and it was a sign of social status and beauty. In the 1800s as much as half the female population had their feet bound, which often caused disabilities. Foot binding was not banned in China until 1912.
Painting and poetry flourished during the Song Dynasty. The Ci style of poetry was popular and the Shan Shui (mountain-water) style of painting was common among artists.
Many of the most important inventions from ancient China were made during the Song Dynasty including gunpowder, moveable type (which made book printing more feasible), and the magnetic compass, which made travel easier.
During the Song Dynasty the invention of moveable type made it possible to print money, documents, books, cards, and even calendars.
The Song Dynasty had the first standing navy in the history of the world, complete with large 300 foot long ships and catapults for weapons.
The Song Dynasty developed fire arrows, rockets, and even bombs with gunpowder which helped them during battle.
Education was highly valued during the Song Dynasty. The arts were an important part of culture during this time as well.
When the Mongols conquered the Song Dynasty in 1279, they used the Song's own weapons advancements against them, including gunpowder-powered weapons.

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