Sunday 21 May 2017

Emperors of Song Dynasty of China

Emperor Taizu of Song (r. 960–976) unified the empire by conquering other lands during his reign. He ensured administrative stability by promoting the civil service examination system of drafting state bureaucrats by skill and merit. The Song court maintained diplomatic relations with Chola India, the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt, Srivijaya, the Kara-Khanid Khanate of Central Asia, the Goryeo kingdom in Korea, and other countries that were also trade partners with Japan.

Emperor Taizu of Song

Emperor Taizong of Song (939 – 997 CE), younger brother of first Emperor Taizu, became the emperor in 976 and remained on throne until his death in 997. He adopted the policies previously enacted by Emperor Shizong of the Later Zhou dynasty, which include increasing agricultural production, broadening the imperial examination system, compiling encyclopaedias and  expanding the civil service. He also reunified China proper by conquering Northern Han, the last kingdom in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period.

Emperor Taizong of Song

Emperor Zhenzong of Song (968 – 1022 CE),  was the third emperor of the Song dynasty. He reigned from 997 to his death in 1022. He was the third son of Emperor Taizong. He  stressed the importance of Taoism at his imperial court. In 1004, the Khitans waged war against the Song Empire. Emperor Zhenzong, leading his army, struck back at the Khitans. Despite initial successes, in 1005, Emperor Zhenzong concluded the Shanyuan Treaty. The treaty resulted in over a century of peace, but at the price of the Song Empire agreeing to an inferior position to the Liao Empire.

Emperor Zhenzong of Song

Emperor Renzong of Song (1010 – 1063 CE), reigned for about 41 years from 1022 to his death in 1063, and was the longest reigning Song dynasty emperor.  He was the sixth son of his predecessor, Emperor Zhenzong. His reign marked the high point of Song influence but was also the beginning of its slow disintegration. The official policy of the Song Empire at the time was one of pacifism and this caused the weakening of its military. The Tangut-led Western Xia state took advantage of this deterioration and waged small scale wars against the Song Empire near the borders.

Emperor Renzong of Song

Emperor Shenzong of Song (1048 – 1085 CE), was the sixth emperor of the Song dynasty in China. He reigned from 1067 until his death in 1085. He sent failed campaigns against the Vietnamese ruler Lý Nhân Tông of the dynasty in 1076. Emperor Shenzong's other notable act as emperor was his attempt to weaken the Tangut-led Western Xia state by invading and expelling the Western Xia forces from Gansu Province. The Song army was initially quite successful at these campaigns, but during the battle for the city of Yongle, in 1082, Song forces were defeated.

Emperor Shenzong of Song

Emperor Zhezong of Song (1076 – 1100 CE),  was the seventh emperor of the Song dynasty in China. He reigned from 1085 until his death in 1100, and was succeeded by his younger brother, Emperor Huizong, because his son died prematurely. Emperor Zhezong was the sixth son of Emperor Shenzong. He ascended the throne at the age of nine under the supervision of his grandmother, Grand Empress Dowager Gao.

Emperor Zhezong of Song

Emperor Huizong of Song (1082 – 1135 CE), personal name Zhao Ji, was the eighth emperor of the Song dynasty in China. Born as the 11th son of Emperor Shenzong, he ascended the throne in 1100 upon the death of his elder brother. In 1126, when the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty invaded the Song dynasty during the Jin–Song Wars, Emperor Huizong abdicated and passed on his throne to his eldest son, Emperor Qinzong, while he assumed the honorary title of Taishang Huang (or "Retired Emperor").

Emperor Huizong of Song

The following year, the Song capital, Bianjing, was conquered by Jin forces in an event historically known as the Jingkang Incident.  The Jurchen ruler was Emperor Taizong. Emperor Huizong, along with Emperor Qinzong and the rest of their family, were taken captive by the Jurchens and brought back to the Jin capital, Huining Prefecture in 1128. Emperor Huizong died in Wuguocheng after spending about nine years in captivity.

Emperor Taizong of Jin

Emperor Qinzong of Song (1100 – 1161 CE),  was the ninth emperor of the Song dynasty in China and the last emperor of The Northern Song Dynasty. In 1141, as the Jin Empire normalised relations with the (Southern) Song Empire, he lived the rest of his life as a captive in the Jin Empire, which used him as a hostage to put pressure on the empire. He died as a sick and broken man in 1161. He was 61.

Emperor Qinzong of Song

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