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The Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) Over 300 years of Song history is divided into the two periods of Northern and Southern Song. Because of the barbarian occupation of northern China the second half of the Song rule was confined to the area south of the Huai River. Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). General Zhao Kuangyin, later known as Song Taizu, was said to have been coerced to become emperor by his subordination in order to unify China. Wary of power-hungry commanders, Sung Taizu made the military into a national army under his direct control. Under his less capable successors, however, the military increasingly lost prestige. Unfortunately for China, the weakening of the military coincided with the rise of successive strong nomad nations on the borders. In contrast to the military's loss of prestige, the civil service rose in dignity. The examination system that had been restored in the Sui and Tang was further elaborated and regularized. Selection examinations were held every three years at the district, provincial, and metropolitan levels. Only 200 out of thousands of applicants were granted the jinshi degree, the highest degree, and appointed to government posts. From this time on, civil servants became China's most envied elite, replacing the hereditary nobles and landlords.
Song dominion extended over only part of the territories of earlier Chinese empires. The Qidan controlled the northeastern territories, and the Xixia controlled the northwestern territories. Unable to recover these lands, the Song emperors were compelled to make peace with the Qidan in 1004 and with the Xixia in 1044. Massive payments to the barbarians under the peace terms depleted the state treasury, caused hardship to taxpaying peasants, and gave rise to a conflict in the court among advocates of war, those who favored peace, and reformers. In 1069 Emperor Shenzong appointed Wang An-shih as chief minister. Wang proposed a number of sweeping reforms based on the classical text of the `Rites of Chou'. Many of his "new laws" were actually revivals of earlier policies, but officials and landlords opposed his reforms. When the emperor and Wang died within a year of each other, the new laws were abolished. For the next several decades, until the fall of the Northern Sung in 1127, the reformers and anti-reformers alternated in power, creating havoc and turmoil in government. In an effort to regain territory lost to the Qidan, the Song sought an alliance with the newly powerful Jin from Manchuria. Once the alliance had expelled the Qidan, however, the Jin turned on the Song and occupied the capital of Kaifeng. The Jin established the dynasty of Jin, a name meaning "gold," which lasted from 1115 to 1234, in the north. They took the emperor and his son prisoner, along with 3,000 others, and ordered them to be held in Manchuria.

The prehistory of China
The Xia Dynastry(21st-17th centuryBC)
The Shang Dynasty(17th-11th century BC)
The Zhou Dynasty(11th century BC-256BC)
The Spring Autumn(770-476BC) and Warring States Period(475- 221BC)
The Qin Dynasty(221-206BC)
The Western Han Dynasty(206BC-25AD)
The Eastern Han Dynasty(25AD-220AD)
The Sui Dynasty(589-618)
The Tang Dynasty(618-907)
The Five Dynasties(907-960)
The Northern Song Dynasty(960-1127)
The Liao Dynasty(907-1125), Western Xia Dynasty(1038-1227) and Jin Dynasty(1115-1234)
The Southern Dynasty(1127-1279)
The Yuan Dynasty(1206-1368)
The Ming Dynasty(1368-1644)
The Qing Dynasty(1616-1911)
Republic of China(1912-1949)
The People's Republic of China(1949-)

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