Commercialization in Song Dynasty China
Song dynasty China had an advanced commercial economy that resulted from various new ideas and technologies that allowed more Chinese to shift their focus from agriculture to commercial production.
The Song dynasty continued the economic success of previous Chinese dynasties by further commercializing China’s economy.
What is commercialization?
During this period in history, Song China was one of the most urbanized places in the world. Urban areas depended on trade and commerce to import everyday use products such as rice and export luxury goods like silk and porcelain for profit. Exchange within rural areas also expanded.
Commercialization in the Song dynasty
During this period in history, Song China was one of the most urbanized places in the world. Urban areas depended on trade and commerce to import staple products such as rice and export luxury goods like silk and porcelain for profit. Exchange within rural areas also expanded.
The Chinese capital of Hangzhou: The Song capital city of Hangzhou numbered over one million people, and dozens of other cities had populations in the hundreds of thousands. A Chinese writer in 1235 described Hangzhou as having specialized markets that sold various food products and manufactured goods such as books, silk, and porcelains. Italian explorer Marco Polo, who visited Hangzhou in the 13th century, described the city as “beyond dispute the finest and noblest city in the world.” The city also had
- A thriving restaurant and bar scene
- Inns and hotels
- Schools for studying Confucianism and the arts
- Social clubs for citizens with varied interests like Buddhism, fitness, fishing, and poetry.
Comparing economic production levels
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the value of all goods and services produced in an economy in a year. The values below are in billions of 2011 international dollars and adjusted for inflation.
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China will remain one of the world’s largest economies until western powers dominate it in the 2nd half of the 19th century.
The causes of Chinese commercialization
Several factors were important in the advanced commercial economy that had developed in China by the 13th century China.
The global impacts of Chinese commercialization
Technologies that promoted commercial production in China diffused along global trade networks. These technologies changed the course of history.
Chinese technologies slowly diffused across international trade routes. Non-Chinese civilizations adopted and improved upon these technologies. The technologies below are three of the most historically influential Chinese technologies.
You must know how eastern technologies from places like China arrived in the western world and what those technologies’ impacts were on the west.