The Song Dynasty
In 960 A.D., a military commander by the name of Zhao Kuangyin took control of the empire and established the Song Dynasty. For the next 300 years, Song emperors would rule China from their new capital of Kaifeng.
The Song Dynasty emperors collected taxes and then used these taxes to build important public works projects that helped to spur on the economy of the empire. As a result, a new middle class grew in China as well as a large group of wealthy city dwellers. These families lived in nice homes and had modest grounds with gardens, ponds and flowers. They spent their free time in restaurants, markets, sporting events, and viewing dramatic plays.
Under the Song Dynasty China also flourished in the area of science. New technologies were developed, including gun powder. This gun powder was first used in fireworks and later in weaponry, including the first missiles, which were made from bamboo poles stuffed with gun powder.
In 1234 A.D., nomadic invaders from the North known as the Mongols invaded China. By 1279 A.D., they were able to completely overthrow the Song Dynasty.