March 19–The End of Song Rule in China!

March 19--The End of Song Rule in China!

Written by Matthew Mendez, Journalist

March 19, 1279 C.E.

The placid waters of Yamen bay become crowded with the charred remains of once mighty warships as the Yuan defeat the Imperial Chinese Navy at the Battle of Yamen, ending more than three-hundred years of Song rule in China….

Unable to confront the Yuan head-on, the Song decided to built a vast fleet that would give the Chinese army greater mobility when moving from region to region. The Yuan, eager to knock out what remained of the Song, attacked the imperial fleet, which was stationed in the southern Chinese town of Yamen. As a last ditch effort to deter the Yuan, the Grand General of the Song, Zhang Shijie, ordered that a thousand ships be chained together, thus forming a defensive line across the Bay of Yamen and preventing any retreat by Song forces. The Yuan attempted to obliterate the fleet with fire ships, but the clever Shijie, expecting such an assault, ordered that Song ships be coated in fire-resistant mud. The Yuan eventually resorted to blockading the imperial fleet, thus preventing the importation of vital supplies. With the Song deprived of supplies and any possible reinforcements, the Yuan launched an assault on 18 March. However, the first assault was successfully deterred, thus prompting the Yuan to retreat and try a different tactic. The Yuan, in an attempt to convince the Song to lower their guard, started playing festive music from afar. The Song, much to the amazement of the Yuan, unwisely reduced their defense, an action which the invaders quickly took note of. On the 19 March, the Yuan launched a successful final assault, annihilating the last remnants of Song rule. The Yuan victory at Yamen basically removed the last major Chinese defence against the Northern aggressors, ushering in 89 years of foreign rule in China.