Liu Song Dynasty

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The Liu Song Dynasty (simplified Chinese: 刘宋朝; traditional Chinese: 劉宋朝; pinyin: Liú Sòng Cháo; Wade-Giles: Liu Sung Ch'ao), also known as Song Dynasty (宋朝), Former Song (前宋), or Southern Song (南宋) (420-479 CE), was first of the four Southern Dynasties in China, followed by the Southern Qi Dynasty.

The dynasty was founded by Liu Yu 劉裕 (363–422), whose surname together with "Song" forms the most commonly used name for the dynasty, the Liu Song 劉宋. This appellation is used to distinguish it from a later dynasty of the same name, the Song Dynasty 宋 (960–1279), which is much more famous and significant. The Liu Song is also at times referred to as the "Southern Song Dynasty" (南宋), as it is one of the Southern Dynasties period, i.e., one of those with its capital at Jiankang (modern Nanjing). However, the later Song Dynasty, after 1127, when it moved its capital south to Lin'an (modern Hangzhou, Zhejiang), is most commonly referred to as "Southern Song Dynasty" (南宋). Thus, for the shorter dynasty which is the subject of this article, "Liu Song" has become the term preferred in most contexts.

The Liu Song was a time when there was much internal turmoil. A number of emperors were incompetent and/or tyrannical, which at least partially led to many military revolts. These rulers include Liu Shao, Emperor Xiaowu, Emperor Qianfei, Emperor Ming, and Emperor Houfei. Emperor Ming was especially vicious, murdering a large number of his brothers, nephews, and other male relatives — many of them children. Such internal instability eventually led to the dynasty's destruction. However, its founder Emperor Wu was considered one of the greatest generals during the Southern and Northern Dynasties period, and the reign of its third emperor, Emperor Wen, is known for its political stability and capable administration, not only of its emperor but its strong and honest officials. This is known as the Reign of Yuanjia (425–453) and one of the relative golden ages for the Southern Dynasties.


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