Zhao Kuangyin - Emperor Taizu of the Song Dynast
Emperor Taizu of the Song Dynasty (927-976) was the founder of the Song Dynasty. His family name was Zhao, given name Kuangyin, and Taizu was his posthumous title. Born in a family of military tradition, Zhao Kuangyin began to learn martial arts at an early age and acquired marvelous feats. Later he joined the army of the Later Zhou Dynasty and was promoted to be commander of the imperial guards because of his outstanding battle achievements. In 960, Zhao Kuangyin launched a military mutiny at Chenqiao, ascended the throne, and established the Song Dynasty. After that, Zhao Kuangyin launched a series of wars and managed to unify the separatist regimes in South China in thirteen years. Later, Zhao Guangyi (named Taizong after his death) conquered the Northern Han Dynasty, ended the separated situation for the previous 50 years, and reunified China once again.
Zhao Kuangyin 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; promoting agricultural production and mulberry planting, and establishing a series of preferential policies for agriculture so as to promote the development of social economy; paying attention to talent training, optimizing the imperial examination system, setting up schools, respecting knowledge, and revitalizing Confucianism; attaching great importance to develop cultural causes, and organizing scholars to compile important classics such as Taiping Imperial Encyclopedia, The Cream of Literary World , Cefu Yuangui etc so that the publishing industry entered an unprecedentedly prosperous age in the Song Dynasty; rectifying the official administration, enacting severe laws, and punishing a great batch of corrupted officials so that the chaotic society became ordered and ran on the track of sound progress.
A master of both the pen and the sword, Song Taizu was equipped with great talent and bold vision. He not only restored the trauma of decades of wars during the Five Dynasties and Ten States Period, but also established a solid foundation for the reign of the Song Dynasty for over three centuries.