Chronological survey of political and military events during the Song Dynasty (960-1279)
960 Zhao Kuangyin founds the Song dynasty.
965 Sichuan becomes part of the Song territory.
971 The Song army occupies Guangzhou (Canton) in south China.
973 The first civil service examinations are held under the Song.
979 China is unified under the Song.
983 Reform of government institutions: Creation of three bureaus in charge of
the Song economy: Monopolies, land taxation, state budget.
986 Victory of the Qidan (Khitan, dynastic name after 1066: Liao) over the Song. The Qidan expand their territory into the territory of Manchuria.
983 The Qidan hold civil service exams in the style of Chinese exams.
994 Korea becomes a vassal to the Qidan.
1004 Peace negotiations between Qidan and Song lead to the Peace of Shangyuan. China ‘buys peace’ at a high price of annual deliveries of silk and silver. Diplomatic missions between Song and Qidan are documented by Chinese emissaries.
1007 A general map of Song territory is produced by artists for taxation and military purposes.
1012 First imports of Champa rice (from the area of contemporary Cambodia) to the Song. Hybridization with Champa rice improves rice production in China. Multiple crops become possible.
Ca. 1020 the Buddhist Canon is printed from woodblocks in Korea.
1024 In Sichuan, paper money in form of promontory notes is issued.
1038 Founding of the Tangut Xixia empire
1040 Military attacks of the Xixia against the Song in the northwest.
1041 The high official Fan Zhongyan (-1053) organizes the Song defense against the Xixia.
1041-48 First printing attempts with movable types
1044 Peace treaty between Song and Xixia. Again, the Song pay a high price of indemnities in form of annual deliveries of silk, silver, and tea.
1050 The Qidan are victorious over the Xixia, who have to make annual deliveries of horses and camels to the Qidan.
1066 The Qidan call their dynasty Liao dynasty.
1067 Reformer Wang Anshi (-1086) is called to serve as prime minister. He reforms the laws for taxation, administration, and the military.
1071 Wang Anshi reforms the civil and military service examinations.
1076 Wang Anshi is removed from the government, reformers are exiled.
1077 Dams of the Yellow River break east of Kaifeng.
1080 The Song attack the Xixia without success.
1083 The Xixia attack the Song.
1085 The conservative official Sima Guang (-1086) is called to office and abolishes Wang Anshi’s new laws.
1086 Death of Sima Guang and Wang Anshi.
1094 Wang Anshi’s laws are reinstated continuously, reformers return from exile.
1097 Song victory over Xixia.
1106 Conservative opponents of Wang Anshi rehabilitated.
1114 Ruzhen (after 1115: Jin) attack the Liao.
1115 Founding of the Jin dynasty.
1118 Song emissaries visit the Jin in the attempt to make them allies against the Liao.
1120 Treaty between Song and Jin.
1122 Jin attack Liao and occupy Beijing.
1124 The Xixia become Jin vassals.
1125 The Liao empire is defeated by the Jin, who invade large areas of northern China.
1126 The Jin occupy the Song capital, Kaifeng. Song emperor Huizong and his wife, his designated successor, and his mother are abducted to Jin territory.
1127 The Song flee south beyond the Yangzi and found the Southern Song dynasty.
1133 First diplomatic missions between Jin and Song.
1134 Song attacks against the Jin army on Song territory.
1135 Hangzhou becomes the Southern Song capital.
1138 Peace treaty between Jin and Song.
1139 The Mongols attack the Jin.
1141 Renewed peace treaties between Song and Jin. Death of the imprisoned General Yue Fei, who had opposed the peace treaties between Song and Jin.
1142 Peace treaty with Jin. Emperor Huizong’s casket is returned to the Song.
1148 The Yellow River changes its current.
1151 The Jin make Beijing their main capital.
1159 The Jin prepare to attack the Southern Song. Uprisings by Chinese subjects in the territories occupied by the Jin increase.
1161 Attacks of the Jin against the Song. The Jin make Kaifeng one of their capitals.
1162 In Caishi, Anhui province, the Song army defeats the Jin army.
1164 Peace negotiations between Song and Jin.
1198 The Jin fortify the defense system of the Long Wall against Mongol attacks.
1201 The fire of Hangzhou destroys 53 000 houses.
1205-1207 Song attempts to re-conquer territory from the Jin fail.
1206 Chinggis Khan becomes the leader of the Mongols.
1214 Following military pressure from the Mongols, the Jin transfer the capital from Beijing to Kaifeng.
1215 The Mongols occupy Beijing.
1217 While the Song attack the Jin, Chinggis Khan attacks the Xixia.
1221 Alliance of the Song and Mongols against the Jin.
1227 The Mongols destroy the Xixia empire. Death of Chinggis Khan.
1229 The Mongols make Yelü Chucai (a Liao descendant) leader of the administration of Northern China.
1230 Successful attack of the Jin against the Mongols.
1233 The Mongols occupy Kaifeng.
1234 A Mongol-Song alliance destroys the Jin.
1236 The Mongols issue paper money for the first time.
1239 As the Mongols make Muslim administrators responsible for tax collection in Northern China, the Song attack the Mongols.
1251 The Mongols plan to invade Sichuan.
1253 The Mongols occupy Sichuan and Yunnan, and destroy the Tibetan-Burmese empire of Dali.
1254 The Mongols attack Korea.
1254-1269 The Polo’s travel to Mongolia.
1259 The Song army fails to rid Sichuan of the Mongol occupation.
1260 Khubilai Khan become Great Khan of the Mongols.
1264 Khubilai makes Beijing his capital. Sayyid Ajall is made governor of Sichuan.
1267 Fortification of Beijing.
1271 The Mongols call their dynasty ‘Yuan’ (Origin) dynasty.
1275 The Mongol army reaches the Yangzi.
1276 Mongol invasion of Hangzhou. The Song emperor flees to Fujian province.
1279 The Song emperor commits suicide. The Mongols occupy all of China.
1979-1294 The Mongols complete the last section of the Grand Canal and link Beijing with the rice producing centers of the south.
Table of Song emperors
Personal name and dates: Temple name and reign period
Zhao Kuangyin (927-976): Taizu, reigned 960-976
Zhao Kuangyi (939-997): Taizong, reigned 976-997
Zhao Heng (968-1022): Zhenzong, reigned 998-1003
Zhao Zhen (1010-1063): Renzong, reigned 1023-1032
Zhao Shu (1032-1067): Yingzong, reigned 1063-1067
Zhao Xu (1048-1085): Shenzong, reigned 1067-1085
Zhao Xu (1077-1100): Zhezong, reigned 1085-1100
Zhao Ji (1082-1135): Huizong, reigned 1100-1126
Zhao Huan (1100-1161): Qinzong, reigned 1126-1127
Zhao Gou (1107-1187): Gaozong, reigned 1127-1162
Zhao Shen (1127-1194): Xiaozong, reigned 1162-1189
Zhao Dun (1147-1200): Guangzong, reigned 1189-1194
Zhao Kuo (1168-1224): Ningzong, reigned 1194-1224
Zhao Yun (1205-1264): Lizong, reigned 1224-1264
Zhao Qi (1240-1274): Duzong, reigned 1264-1274
Zhao Xian (1271-1323): Gongzong, reigned 1274-1276
Zhao Shi (c.1268-1278): Duanzong, reigned 1276-1278
Zhao Bing (1272-1279): Dibing, reigned 1278-1279