The Song dynasty was an era in Chinese history
that began in 960 and continued until 1279. It
succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms
period, coincided with the Liao and Western Xia
dynasties, and was followed by the Yuan dynasty.
It was the first government in world history to
issue banknotes or true paper money nationally
and the first Chinese government to establish a
permanent standing navy. This dynasty also saw
the first known use of gunpowder, as well as the
first discernment of true north using a compass.
The Song dynasty is divided into two distinct
periods, Northern and Southern.
During the Northern Song ( 960–1127), the Song
capital was in the northern city of Bianjing (now
Kaifeng) and the dynasty controlled most of what
is now Eastern China.
The Southern Song (1127–1279) refers to the
period after the Song lost control of its northern
half to the Jurchen Jin dynasty in the Jin–Song