Agricultural science during the Song Dynasty fertilized land that was not suitable for growing crops.
Then two or three annual harvests were possible leading to a green revolution, which supported the population of China to exceed one-hundred million—at that time the largest population in the world.
One scientist discovered that petroleum made better ink for writing and predicted that petroleum would be used greatly in the future.
Although China’s four greatest inventions came long before then, it wasn’t until the Song Dynasty that papermaking, the large-scale application of printing, the compass and gunpowder made their mark.
In fact, the German inventor Johannes Gutenberg wouldn’t invent his printing press until 1440 AD.
Before the Song Dynasty, the primitive compass invented centuries earlier was not accurate.
However, the compass was improved for navigation making it less likely for ships get lost at sea and allowed ships to travel farther from China.
To preserve these innovations, Shen Kuo published his Dream Pool Essays in 1088 AD, a huge encyclopedic book that covered a wide range of subjects, including literature, art, military strategy, mathematics, astronomy, meteorology, geology, geography, metallurgy, engineering, hydraulics, architecture, zoology, botany, agronomy, medicine, anthropology, archeology, etc.
Return to Song Dynasty – Part 2
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