Sui, Song, and Tang Dynasty
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The Founder of the Sui Dynasty Wendi, also known Yang Jian. Wendi worked to build a centralized government. He created a new legal code, and he reformed the Bureaucracy, which was the government. He also created policies to provide all adult males with land and to ensure the availability of grain. The greatest accomplishment was the completion of the Grand Canal. A 1,000-mile waterway that linked northern and southern China. China could more easily access the resources of the south, and rice was produced in the lower Chang Jiang valley. He also expanded the Great Wall of China. The Sui Dynasty was mainly a Buddhist Dynasty.
The Tang Dynasty ruled Ancient China from 618 to 907. When the old Emperor Yang was assassinated, Li Yuan then declared himself as emperor and established the Tang Dynasty. He was a old Military leader.
Perhaps the most important was the invention of woodblock printing. Woodblock printing allowed books to be printed in mass production. Another major invention of the time was gunpowder. Gunpowder was mostly used for fireworks during the Tang Dynasty. Porcelain, gas cylinders for natural gas, advances in medicine, and advancements in clock making.
Poetry was a required study for those who wished to pass the civil service exams. Some of the great poets in Chinese history lived during this time such as Li Bai, Du Fu, Li Po, and Wang Wei. Many forms of literature were written including short stories, encyclopedias, and histories.
The Tang Dynasty ruled over a vast area that stretched from Korea to Northern Vietnam. It even reached west as far as Afghanistan. The Tang established a detailed code of laws. They taxed the people based on their land and also required that farmers serve in the army for a period of time.
The capital was the city of Chang'an. Government officials were assigned based on their scores on the civil service examinations. There were even government run schools to help educate more people.
Buddhism became a very popular religion throughout China. Near the end of the dynasty, the rulers made Confucianism the national religion and banned all other religions. Many Buddhist monasteries and temples were shut down.
The Song dynasty ruled Ancient China from 960 to 1279. Important inventions in the Ancient China were the moveable type, gunpowder, and the magnetic compass. The invention of moveable type allowed for mass printings of documents and books. Print on paper in great quantities including paper money, playing cards, and calendars. The magnetic compass was part of many improvements in boating and navigation. They had the first navy in world history. They built large ships over 300 feet long that had watertight compartments and onboard catapults that could toss huge rocks onto their enemies.
Gunpowder had a lasting impact on warfare. The Song used gunpowder for fireworks, but also found ways to use it in battle. They developed various bombs, rockets, and fire arrows.
Poetry and literature were especially popular with the invention of moveable type and the availability of books to many people. Painting and the performing arts were also very popular. A high value was put on education and many of the nobles were very well educated. The Song established a capital at Kaifeng and restored centralized government control. The Song Dynasty was mainly Confucians. Emperor Taizu reunited much of China under his rule. He also appointed scholars to lead his army.
Painting of Emperor Tazio