During the five dynasties and song dynasty, the threat from the northern nomads drove many Chinese migrating southward to the southern china. The center of Chinese economy thus shifted to the yangzi valley and started the first commercialization in china. The booming urban economy (especially in Kaifeng and Hang Zhou) and the start of maritime trade are noteworthy.  This is also an era with a lot of technological innovations such as gunpowder weapons and shipbuilding.

The Song dynasty includes the Northern Song dynasty (960 -1126) and Southern Song dynasty (1127 1279.  The Northern Song dynasty established its capital in Kaifeng.  But the invasion of the Jurchen Jin captured two emperors to the north in 1126.  One Song price revived the Song Dynasty in the south of the YangZi River and established its capital in HangZhou.  Throughout the Song Dynasty, the Song signed a lot of the treaties with these non-Chinese states and gave them large annual amount payment to buy the peace.

In order to prevent the reemergence of warlord regimes, the emperor Taizu secured the dominance of literati (scholar officials) in his government.  Neo-Confucianism flourished because the state encouraged the establishment of schools in each county town and held examinations to recruit its officials.  The spread of printing also led to a massive extension of literacy.