On Feb 4, 960, an important political and historical event took place in China. The coronation of Zhao Kuangyin as Emperor Taizu of Song, initiated the Song dynasty period of China that would last more than three centuries.
Born in a family of military tradition, Zhao Kuangyin began to learn martial arts at an early age and acquired marvelous feats. He was famous for his outstanding battle achievements.
Emperor Taizu launched a series of wars and managed to unify the separatist regimes in South China in thirteen years.He conquered the Northern Han Dynasty, ended the separated situation for the previous 50 years, and reunified China once again.
He was also an emperor good at dealing with state affairs. He conducted a variety of iron-handed reforms with his grand verve: strengthening centralization, taking over local military power, and appointing civilians to be local officials.
Zhao Kuangyin is remembered for his reform of the examination where the bureaucracy favors individual who demonstrate abilities rather than birth. He paid attention to talent training, setting up schools, respecting knowledge, and revitalizing Confucianism.
He supported freedom of discussions and thoughts, which facilitated the pioneering of scientific advances, economic reforms as well as achievements in arts and literature.Zhao Kuangyin (Taizu was his posthumous title) promoted agricultural production and mulberry planting, and establishing a series of important policies for agriculture.
He organized great Chinese scholars to compile important classics such as ‘Taiping Imperial Encyclopedia’, ‘The Cream of Literary World’, ‘Cefu Yuangui’ and many more.
This emperor, a true master of both the pen and the sword, reigned for 16 years and died in 976 at the age of 49, and he was succeeded by his younger brother.