Mike O'Donnell | Oct. 10, 2017

Peace was finally negotiated between the people of the Jurchen Jin dynasty (northern China) and Han Song dynasty (southern China) after many many years of slogging it out against each other in the Jin-Song Wars (or Sing-Song Wars, for those of you less enamored by military history).

It was that same old chestnut: In 1115, the Jin people rebelled against their oppressive overlords, the Khitan Liao dynasty, and asked the Song to help them by promising that if they did lend a hand, they would return the lands the Liao had previously seized from the Song too, once the Jin were successful of course. (Got that?)

Anyway, the Jin had a much better army than anyone expected and they steamrolled through the Liao army while the Song army lost pretty much every battle they fought. Because of how good the Jin were and how bad the Song were, the Jin decided not to give those lands back to the Song and what with the whining and carping that went on every time the two sides got together for a football game or at a wedding, the Jin decided that enough was enough and sent their army to beat the snot out of the Song in November 1125.

Within a few years, the Song emperor ended up being captured in the now famous, at least amongst conspiracy theorists, Jingkang Incident. His capital was looted and northern China officially fell to the Jin. Remnants of the Song retreated to southern China and decided to start all over again down there.

The Jin subsequently followed them and attempted to also conquer southern China in the 1130’s but got bogged down with one thing or the other. A treaty eventually defined the boundary between the two empires in 1142 and a peaceful resolution to their war was finally reached on October 11th.

Of course, conflicts between the two dynasties continued on and off until the fall of the Jin dynasty in 1234, which occurred after the Song formed an alliance with Genghis Khan and the invading Mongols in 1233 and jointly beat the tar out of the Jin, which is when the pigeons finally came home to roost. The Mongols were happy controlling northern China for a few decades but eventually decided to go the whole hog and by 1279, had completely defeated the Song and occupied pretty much all of China.

Now I only mention these incidents way off in the inscrutable east and far back in time because the Jin-Song wars, like many major conflagrations between populations, engendered an era of unprecedented technological, cultural, and demographic changes and one wonders what the world would be like today if the Jin weren’t so greedy and hadn’t reneged on their undertaking to return the promised northern lands of the southern Song.

The many and varied battles between the Song and Jin brought about the introduction of various gunpowder weapons that had never been seen before. The siege of De'an in 1132 was the first recorded use of the fire lance, an early ancestor of a rifle. There were also reports of battles fought with primitive gunpowder bombs like the incendiary huopao or the exploding tiehuopao, incendiary arrows, and other early WMDs. And all of this technology was rapidly transferred to the Mongols so when they swept through the Islamic and Christian empires to the west over the next few decades, those empires rapidly crumbled with such huge losses of life that it wasn’t until the twentieth century that the world saw the like again.

And in northern China, the Jurchen tribes were the ruling minority of an empire that was predominantly inhabited by former subjects of the Northern Song. Jurchen migrants settled in the conquered territories and assimilated with the local culture. The Jin government instituted a centralized imperial bureaucracy modeled on previous Chinese dynasties, basing their legitimacy on Confucian philosophy. Song refugees from the north resettled in southern China. The north was the cultural center of China, and its conquest by the Jin diminished the international stature of the Song dynasty. The Southern Song, however, quickly returned to economic prosperity, and trade with the Jin was lucrative despite decades of warfare. The capital of the Southern Song, Hangzhou, expanded into a major city for commerce.

And what has this to do with Colorado Lending Source here in the twenty first century? Nothing as usual, but, as William Shakespeare once wrote: “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”

And aren’t those words that all three of us can live by?

I know I certainly do.