China 979 CE

The dynastic cycle of Chinese history repeats itelf with the fall of the Tang dynasty, and the rise of the Song to rule most of China.

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What is happening in China in 979CE

In 755, one of the most disastrous events in China’s history occurred when a powerful frontier army commander, An Lushan, revolted and seized the capital, Loyang. His rebellion was not crushed until 763, after causing great destruction and loss of life throughout China. The later Tang emperors were unable to assert the same degree of control over their empire as their predecessors had done, and the centralized rule of the early Tang was never fully restored.

One of the feature of the late Tang period was that the regime turned against the Buddhist establishment. It confiscated its vast wealth and ordered thousands of monks back to secular life. Buddhism would remain a popular religion in China right up to the present day, but mostly without official patronage.

Eventually, the familiar tale of child-emperors, factionalism at court and widespread peasant revolt led to the fall of the Tang dynasty in 907, and China again fragmented into several states.

This period of division did not last nearly as long as the earlier one in China’s history, following the fall of the Han dynasty. By 969 China was largely reunified under the Song dynasty.

In northern China, however, two barbarian dynasties reign, the Liao and the Western Xia (the latter founded as a recognized dynasty in 1038, but existing as a state from the mid-10th century). In the Liao, a small ruling nomad group governs the state along Chinese lines, and under them Chinese gentry families participate fully in the Chinese culture of the period. The Western Xia is a more purely nomadic tribal confederation.

Next map, China in 1215

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