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Chinese History - Song Dynasty map and geography

The Song empire 宋 (960-1279) covered a much smaller territory than the Han 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE), Tang 唐 (618-907) or Qing 清 (1644-1911) empires did. The Northern Song dynasty reigned over China proper, except the northern parts, where the proto-Mongolian Khitans had founded the Liao empire 遼 (907-1125), and the northwest, where the Tanguts ruled over the empire of Western Xia 西夏 (1038-1227).
The Song empire had four capitals, with Kaifeng 開封 (modern Kaifeng, Henan) serving as the main capital:

The Capitals of the Northern Song Empire
capital prefecture modern place
Dongjing 東京 "Eastern Capital" Kaifeng 開封府 (Bianliang 汴梁, Bianjing 汴京) Kaifeng, Henan
Xijing 西京 "Western Capital" Henan 河南府 Luoyang 洛陽, Henan
Beijing 北京 "Northern Capital" Daming 大名府 Daming, Hebei
Nanjing 南京 "Southern Capital" Yingtian 應天府 Shangqiu 商邱, Henan

The largest administration unit of the Song empire was the circuit or "province" (lu 路). Below it, there were prefectures (zhou 州), some of them with superior status (fu 府, in the map underlined red), some with the status of military prefectures (jun 軍, in the map underlined yellow), and some with the function of industrial prefectures (jian 監, in the map underlined green). In the remote areas in the southwest, some prefectures had inferior status (the circles in the map stand for a couple of such inferior prefectures that were administered as parts of zhou prefectures).

The Circuits or Provinces (lu 路) of the Song Empire
circuit
superior prefectures (
fu 府)
modern location
Jingji 京畿路Henan
Hebei-Dong 河北東路
Daming 大名府, Kaide 開德府, Hejian 河間府
eastern Hebei
Hebei-Xi 河北西路
Zhending 真定府, Zhongshan 中山府, Xinde 信德府, Qingyuan 慶源府
western Hebei
Jingdong-Dong 京東東路
Jinan 濟南府
eastern Shandong
Jingdong-Xi 京東西路
Yingtian 應天府, Gongqing 龔慶府, Xingren 興仁府, Dongping 東平府
western Shandong
Hedong 河東路
Taiyuan 太原府, Longde 隆德府, Pingyang 平陽府
Shanxi
Shaanxi 陜西路 (or Yongxinjun 永興軍路; from 1041 divided into: Qin-Feng 秦鳳路, Jing-Yuan 涇原路, Huanqing 環慶路, Li-Yan 酈延路, and Xihe 熙河路)
Jingzhao 京兆府, Hezhong 河中府
Shaanxi
Lizhou 利州路 (later Lizhou-Xi 利州西路 and Lizhou-Dong 利州東路)
Xingyuan 興元府, later: Longqing 隆慶府, Tongqing 同慶府
southwestern Shaanxi, northern Sichuan
Jingxi-Bei 京西北路
Henan 河南府, Yingchang 潁昌府, Huaining 淮寧府, Shunchang 順昌府
northern Hebei, southern Henan
Jingxi-Nan 京西南路
Xiangyang 襄陽府
southern Hebei
Jinghu-Bei 荊湖北路
Jiangling 江陵府, Dean 德安府, later: Changde 常德府
northern Hubei
Jinghu-Nan 荊湖南路
southern Hunan
Chengdufu 成都府路
Chengdu 成都府, later: Chongqing 崇慶府, Jiading 嘉定府
central Sichuan
Zizhou 梓州路 (later Tongzhou 潼州路, then Tongchuanfu 潼川府路)
Tongchuan 潼川府, Suining 遂寧府
southern Sichuan
Kuizhou 夔州路
Chongqing 重慶府, Xianchun 咸淳府, Shaoqing 紹慶府
western Hunan, Chongqing
Qian-Nan 黔南路 (from 1107)Guizhou, southwestern Hunan
Huainan-Dong 淮南東路 (later: Huai-Dong 淮東路)
Jiangning 江寧府
northern Jiangsu
Huainan-Xi 淮南西路 (later: Huai-Xi 淮西路)
Shouchun 壽春府, later: Anqing 安慶府
southern Anhui
Liang-Zhe 兩浙路 (later: Liang-Zhe-Xi 兩浙西路)
Pingjiang 平江府, Zhenjiang 鎮江府, later: Lin'an 臨安府, Jiaxing 嘉興府, (all west), later: Shaoxing 紹興府, Qingyuan 慶元府, Ruian 瑞安府 (all east)
Zhejiang, Shanghai, southern Jiangsu
Jiangnan-Dong 江南東路
Jiangning 江寧府 (=Jiankang 建康府), later: Ningguo 寧國府
eastern Jiangxi, southern Anhui
Jiangnan-Xi 江南西路
later: Longxing 隆興府
western Jiangxi
Fujian 福建路
later: Jianfu 建府
Fujian
Guangnan-Dong 廣難東路
Zhaoqing 肇慶府, later: Deqing 德慶府, Yingde 英德府
Guangdong
Guangnan-Xi 廣南西路
later: Jingjiang 靜江府, Qingyuan 慶遠府
Guangxi, Hainan


Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖
Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖
Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖
Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖Map Northern Song Dynasty 北宋圖

During the Northern Song period some internal rebellions and upheavals occured, in the map shown by the big yellow dots. These were the rebellions of Wang Xiaobo 王小波 and Li Shun 李順 in 993-995 in modern Sichuan, the famous rebellion of the Liangshan Swamp 梁山泊 by Song Jiang 宋江 in 1119-1121 in the west of modern Shandong (see the novel Shuihuzhuan 水滸傳 "The Water Margin"), and the rebellion of Fang La 方臘 in 1120 in modern Zhejiang.
The neighbouring states of the Northern Song empire were Vietnam (Lý Dynasty 李朝), Dali 大理 in the region of modern Yunnan, and Jinglong 景曨 in the south, Korea (Koryŏ 高麗) was governed by a house descendant of the old Silla Empire 新羅. The north was occupied by the empire of Liao, the border to which was located south of modern Beijing. The upper course of the Yellow River and the Gansu corridor were controlled by the Tangutan empire of Western Xia. More to the west, in modern Xinjiang, were the communities of the Western Uyghurs (Xizhou Huigu 西州回鶻), the Yellow Head Uighurs 黃頭回鶻, and the empire of the Qara Qans 黑汗 "Black Khans" that expanded into the Tarim Basin and the Junggar Basin.

Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖
Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖
Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖
Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖Map Southern Song Dynasty 南宋圖

When the Song court fled to the south in 1127, trying to escape the army of the Jurchens that had founded the Jin empire 金 (1115-1234) in the north, they established a new capital in the lower Yangtse area: Lin'an fu 臨安府 (Hangzhou 杭州, Zhejiang). During the 150 years of the Southern Song period there several military campaigns were undertaken between Jin and Song China.
Like before, the largest administration unit of the Song empire was the circuit (lu 路), but much of the territory was lost to the Jurchens, and many prefectures were elevated to the status of superior prefectures. Industrial prefectures were almost given up.
For the first time in Chinese history, not only peasants or religious leaders undertook uprisings against the ruling dynasty, but under the Southern Song, salt workers and tea traders rebelled. During the 1130es and 1140es the whole southeast was permanently shaken by uprisings, the most important being the rebellion of Zhong Xiang 鐘相 in 1130 around the Dongting Lake 洞庭湖, modern Hunan, and that of Luo Shichuan 羅世傳 in 1208 in the south of modern Jiangxi.
When the Jurchens conquered the Liao empire and the northern border prefectures of the Song empire, part of the elite of the Liao dynasty fled to the west, where they founded the Western Liao empire 西遼 (1124-1218). In the early 13th century Chinggis Khan was able to unite the steppe tribes and to forge a powerful federation that should conquer the empires of Western Liao, Jin and Western Xia, and finally that of the Southern Song.


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May 5, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail