Three Bureaus

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The Three Bureaus (三司) was an office in imperial Chinese governments that had different functions in different eras.

History of China Account of past events in the Chinese civilisation

The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty, during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentioned as the twenty-first Shang king by the same. Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals describe a Xia dynasty before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, and Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia. The Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, which is commonly held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River. These Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, and is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization.

The office was particularly important in the Song dynasty before 1080, during which it managed the state's fiscal affairs. (The term is usually translated as State Finance Commission for the Song dynasty). State Finance Commission was one of the three key central government agencies, along with Secretariat-Chancellery and Bureau of Military Affairs.

Song dynasty Chinese historical period

The Song dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The Song often came into conflict with the contemporaneous Liao, Western Xia and Jin dynasties to its north. It was eventually conquered by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Song government was the first in world history to issue banknotes or true paper money nationally and the first Chinese government to establish a permanent standing navy. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as the first discernment of true north using a compass.

Secretariat-Chancellery was a central government department in several dynasties in imperial China and Korea. It was created in the Tang dynasty by combining the Secretariat and the Chancellery. It was a particularly important office in late Tang, the Song dynasty, and Goryeo.

The Bureau of Military Affairs was the central government agency in charge of a state's military forces during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, Liao dynasty, Song dynasty and Yuan dynasty. It was headed by the shumishi.

The three bureaus during the Song dynasty were:

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