Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
scene. As far as power relationships were concerned, a certain amount
of anxiety or self-consciousness may have shaped the form and style of
Song government.
Taizu died in 976 without completely eliminating the last of the
holdout Chinese dynasties in the south. This was accomplished by his
brother and successor, known in Chinese history as Song Taizong (Grand
Ancestor of the Song). Afterward Taizongmoved to recover the northern
Chinese territories lost earlier in the century to the Kitans, but his two
attacks against the Kitan both ended in humiliating defeat. (During the
second attack, Taizong was hit by two Kitan arrows and had to be trans-
ported back to Song territory in a donkey cart.) He died in 997 without
having recovered the lost territory, and a timid and vacillating emperor
known as Zhenzong (“Naive Ancestor”) succeeded him.
The Kitans attacked China in 1004, perhaps in revenge for the Song's
two earlier attacks against them. To their probable surprise, however,
the Kitans found that Song China stoutly resisted their invasion,
and the next year the two states concluded a formal peace agreement
called the Shanyuan Treaty. The treaty stopped all fighting between
the Song and the Liao dynasty of the Kitans, and peace between the
two states prevailed for over a century. The major results of the treaty
were that the Liao called off the attack and an agreement was made that
the Song would annually pay the Kitan Liao 100,000 ounces of silver
and 200,000 rolls of silk. The fight ended in a draw between the two
sides, but each regarded itself as victorious. The Song proclaimed
victory because the Kitans stopped the attack and retreated, while the
Kitans told their people that the Song was so terrified that it agreed to
pay them every year if they would just go away. Regardless of which
side “won,” the treaty stopped the fighting and helped usher in one of
China's greatest centuries: the eleventh. In spite of its external weakness,
eleventh-century China was, overall, a very peaceful and prosperous
place. Some of China's most significant intellectual, economic, and
technological innovations were made during this century.
The peace and prosperity came to an end in the early 1100s with the
emergence in the north of another barbarian power: the Jurchens and
their Jin dynasty (1115-1234). The Jurchens, a seminomadic people,
challenged the Kitans for power north of China and eventually
defeated them in battle. Song China made tentative peaceful gestures
to the Jurchens but eventually went back on them, and in reprisal the
Jurchens attacked the Song and took over huge amounts of its territory,
including its capital city. One member of the Song royal family man-
aged to flee to southern China, where he and his supporters set up a
new capital city in Hangzhou (then called Lin'an) in 1127. From here
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