Southern Song 南宋


Chinese Name: 南宋

English Name: Southern Song

Duration: About 1127 AD – 1279 AD

Other Name: Later Song 后宋

King:Zhao Gou 赵构, Zhao Shen 赵昚, Zhao Dun 赵惇, Zhao Kuo 赵扩

Southern Song 南宋
Territory Map of Southern Song 南宋疆域图

Brief Introduction

The Southern Song 南宋 (1127-1279) was the second period of the Song Dynasty. Because it takes Lin’an 临安 (now Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province 浙江杭州) which is located in southern China as its capital, it is called the Southern Song Dynasty in history. The ninth emperor lasted 152 years.

In 1127, Zhao Gou 赵构, the son of Emperor Huizong of the Song Dynasty 宋徽宗, was founded and proclaimed emperor in Ying Tianfu 应天府 (now Shangqiu, Henan Province 河南商丘). He was Emperor Gaozong of the Song Dynasty 宋高宗.

He first appointed Yue Fei 岳飞 and other warring factions to fight against Jin 金, but then Qin Hui 秦桧, the advocate of peace, signed the Shaoxing peace agreement绍兴合约. In 1162, Emperor Xiaozong of Song made great efforts to develop internal affairs.

Southern Song 南宋
Cities in Southern Song Dynasty 南宋城池

After the Shaoxing peace conference, the Huai River 淮水 was the boundary with the Jin Dynasty for most of the time. The ruling area was limited to the south of the Huaihe River line in the Qinling Mountains and faced off with the Jin Dynasty and Mongolia (Yuan Dynasty 元朝) for a long time.

Major Historical Events

The southward crossing in the Jianyan period 建炎南渡

The southward crossing in the Jianyan period 建炎时期 was a historical event that Zhao Gou fled to the south of the Yangtze River 长江 in order to avoid the southward pursuit of the troops of the Jin Dynasty 金 in the North during the alternation of the two Song dynasties.

Southern Song 南宋
Emperor Gaozong of the Song Dynasty 宋高宗赵构

After the Jingkang disaster 靖康之难, Zhao Gou went south from Hebei 河北 to Nanjing 南京 to offer sacrifices to Zhao Song’s ancestral temples in YingTianFu (Shangqiu, Henan). He ascended the throne in the palace and changed his year to Jianyan 建炎. The Southern Song Dynasty was established.

Later, Emperor Gaozong of Southern Song traveled all the way from the Huaihe River to the Yangtze River, and then to Hangzhou. In 1131, Hangzhou was upgraded to Lin’an Prefecture and designated as the accompanying capital. In fact, it is the real capital. The Jin Dynasty also rushed all the way south to Lin’an. Emperor Gaozong of Southern Song had no way to escape, so he had to escape into the sea. He drifted along the coast of Wenzhou for four months.

Southern Song 南宋
Yangtze River 长江

When Jianyan crossed the south, Zhao Gou, the Emperor Gaozong of Southern Song, chose to flee south regardless of the northern army and people being caught in the flames of war. It has to be said that he did not fulfill the responsibility of an emperor. But he went south so that the Jin Dynasty did not have the opportunity to destroy the Song Dynasty. This played a certain role in the continuation of the Southern Song Dynasty and the confrontation with the Jin Dynasty later.

Yue Fei fought against the Jin Dynasty 岳飞抗金

Zhao Gou was the leader of the capitulations in the early Southern Song Dynasty. He was as afraid of fighting with the Jin Dynasty as his father and brother. In order to maintain the power and position of the emperor, he blindly sought peace and peace. Zhao Gou’s trusted ministers were also those who advocated running away and kneeling down.

Southern Song 南宋
Yue Fei 岳飞

Among the anti-Jin generals in the Southern Song Dynasty, Yue Fei’s anti-Jin attitude was the most resolute. His achievements and contributions are the greatest, but the outcome is also the most tragic.

In 1103, Yue Fei 岳飞 was born in an ordinary peasant family. It is said that when Yue Fei was born, a large bird like a swan flew into the room. So his parents named him Fei with the word Peng Ju 鹏举. When Yue Fei was a teenager, he was taciturn and dignified. And he likes reading Sun Tzu’s art of war and other books.

He once learned to ride and shoot and can bow left and right. He has learned the art of knife and gun, and his martial arts are invincible in one county. Yue Fei was born with divine power. When he was less than 20 years old, he could draw a bow of 300 Jin(Weight unit in Southern Song). People were surprised by this.

Southern Song 南宋
Hero Yue Fei 英雄岳飞

In 1122, Yue Fei was selected and appointed as a sub-captain among the brave soldiers. At the age of 20, Yue Fei began his military life. Later, Yue Fei broke through the pacification army and returned to his hometown. He witnessed the killing and enslavement of the people after the Jin invasion. He felt indignant in his heart and wanted to join the army again.

He is also worried that his mother is old and their wife and children are weak, so it is difficult to ensure their safety in the military chaos. Yue Fei’s mother is a woman who understands the great cause and actively encourages Yue Fei to serve the country in the army. She also tattooed the word “loyal to the country 尽忠报国” on Yue Fei’s back. Yue Fei kept in mind his mother’s teachings, said goodbye to his relatives, and joined the front line of the anti-Jin Dynasty.

Shaoxing peace treaty 绍兴和议

Southern Song 南宋
Shaoxing peace treaty 耻辱的绍兴和议

This Treaty of surrender was signed at the time of the great victory of the Southern Song and the successive defeat of the Jin soldiers. Yue Fei was an excellent general. He led the Yue family army to defeat the main force of the Jin army and recover many cities.

However, Emperor Gaozong of Song, who took compromise as the national policy, was not only afraid that the victory of the song army would affect his quest for peace but also afraid that the Yue family army would welcome back the captured emperor from the Jin camp, thereby threatening his throne. Therefore, he agreed with his treacherous minister Qin Hui 秦桧 to order all armies to retreat and forced Yue Fei to withdraw with twelve gold medals in a day.

Yue Fei said sadly that ten years of efforts were destroyed. Due to the withdrawal of Southern Song’s troops, the recovered land was handed over to Jin. In 1141, the Southern Song removed the military power of three marshals Yue Fei, Han Shizhong, and Zhang Jun, and abolished the special organization for fighting against the Jin Dynasty in order to show its sincerity to the Jin Dynasty.

Southern Song 南宋
treacherous minister Qin Hui 奸臣秦桧

Subsequently, the Southern Song Dynasty sent envoys to the Jin Dynasty to seek peace. Under the condition that the messenger kowtowed and begged, Jin agreed to negotiate peace on the condition that he had to kill Yue Fei. After a deal, the two sides signed the Shaoxing peace agreement. This year, Yue Fei was killed.

Important Influences

Splendid culture 光辉灿烂的文化

Song Dynasty is the most splendid period of ancient Chinese culture.

Southern Song 南宋
Zhu Xi 朱熹

The first is the formation of Neo-Confucianism 理学 and the rivalry of Confucianism. In the Southern Song Dynasty, Neo Confucianism finally took shape, including the mainstream Taoism 道学 represented by Zhu Xi 朱熹 and the psychology 心学 represented by Lu Jiuyuan 陆九渊. Each school presents a thriving scene.

Second, the great development of school education has promoted the popularization of culture and the prosperity of academia. Third, is the unprecedented prosperity of historiography. Fourth, is the prosperity of literature and art.

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