The Song Dynasty in China | Asia for Educators

China in 1000 CE

The Most Advanced Society in the World

The Song Economic Revolution

The city depicted in the Beijing qingming scroll is a lively urban center, full of people and street life. The scene above is of the area just inside the city gate.

Between 750 and 1100, China’s population doubled, money supply grew tenfold, paper money came into use, and trade and industry grew rapidly. There was no single cause of this great transformation. Advances in technology helped, especially in agricultural technology, and each advance helped foster others.

A Population Boom

In 742 China’s population was approximately 50 million, very close to what it had been in 2 CE. Over the next three centuries, with the expansion of rice cultivation in central and south China, the country’s food supply steadily grew, allowing its population to grow as well.

By 1100, the population reached 100 million. China was certainly the largest country in the world at the time. Its population probably already exceeded that of all of Europe, as it has in more recent centuries.

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