五代、辽、宋、 夏、金、元 The Continued Development of Feudal Society and the Co-existence of Ethnic Regimes
封建社会的继续发展和民族政权并立时期—— 五代、辽、宋、 夏、金、元
The Continued Development of Feudal Society and the Co-existence of Ethnic Regimes——The Five Dynasties, and the Liao, Song, Xia, Jin and Yuan Dynasties
The period of the Five Dynasties (the Later Liang, Later Tang, Later Jin, Later Han and Later Zhou) and Ten Kingdoms (Wu, Southern Tang, Southern Ping, Chu, Former Shu, Later Shu, Min, Northern Han, Southern Han and Wu-Yue) started in 907, when the Later Liang Dynasty was established. It ended in 960, when Later Zhou fell and the Northern Song Dynasty was established.
Northern Song was under threat for most of its existence from states set up by minority ethnic groups, such as Liao and Jin in the northeast and Western Xia in the northwest. In 1127, the Jin army captured Kaifeng, the Northern Song capital. Zhao Gou, the emperor, escaped to the south, and set up what is historically known as the Southern Song Dynasty, with Hangzhou as its capital. In 1206, Genghis Khan united the Mongolian tribes. The Mongols went on to build a huge empire. In 1260, Genghis Khan's grandson Kublai founded the Yuan Dynasty, with its capital in today's Beijing. The Yuan army seized Hangzhou in 1276, and in 1279 it crushed the remaining forces of the Southern Song Dynasty and united the whole of China. The Yuan Dynasty endured until 1368, when a rebel army led by Zhu Yuanzhang seized Beijing and established the Ming Dynasty.
Trade flourished in the Northern Song period, as did science and technology. In China there appeared the earliest paper currency in the world, firearms were widely used, the compass assisted navigation, and moveable type was used to print large numbers of books. The territory of the Yuan Dynasty was broader than that of any of the preceding dynasties, and Beijing became a world-renowned commercial metropolis. An Italian merchant named Marco Polo came to China during the reign of Emperor Shizu (1271-1294 AD), and stayed for over 10 years. He described the prosperity of Dadu (today's Beijing) and other parts of China in his book The Travels of Marco Polo. The Song and Yuan dynasties were a golden age for literature. In the Yuan Dynasty, especially, great achievements were made in drama, Guan Hanqing being the most outstanding dramatist.