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Transcript of China, 1450-1750
1368-1644 In 1450 C.E. What was the Ming Dynasty? By 1450, the Mings had reestablished many Chinese traditions. They established an outstanding naval capacity that would later improve their trading. The Ming political and social order was at its height. Their examination system, which was used to determine who was best for politcal positions by testing their knowledge in confucian texts, created a strong, centralized and fully functional civil service. The Mings replaced industry with advanced commercial development that promoted interregional trade. They used a tributary system as a basis for trade by limiting foreigners to certain ports. Influx Silver was very important in the Ming Dynasty and was relied on heavily, which eventually caused problems. Large amounts of silver entered Asia from Europe and Japan and caused influx. People were able to shop and trade with silver and were eventually required to pay taxes with it. As the Ming became more dependent on silver the influx started to shrink causing economic problems. Trade The Ming Dynasty reestablished the Indian Ocean Trade route. The Ming did this because the Mongols still had the Silk Road and they hated the Mongols. They engaged in a thriving trade with Europe and Japan. The Ming were involved in a lot of overseas trade. This is best shown by Admiral Zheng He's expeditions. He visited India, Indonesia, and East Africa seven times in massive fleets made of "Treasure" Junks. His ships were ten times the size of Christopher Colombus' largest. What was the Ming Dynasty? The Ming Dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China for 276 years. The Ming was established after the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty collapsed. The Ming Dynasty was the last dynasty ruled by ethnic Han chinese. Zhu Yuanzhang eliminated rivals and assumed imperial power. He took on the name Hongwu. Hongwu brought back many Chinese traditions and established a highly centralized, militarily formidable empire. Hongwu moved the capital from Beijing to Nanjing on the Yangzi River. Hongwu, who was Buddhist, used Confucianism to depict himself as the champion of civilization and virtue. Economy The Ming established a provincial bureaucracy that contained three commissions: Civil, Military, and Surveillance. The state was divided into provinces, which were divided into prefectures, followed by subprefectures, and finally counties. There were two large cities which belonged to no province, Nanjing(the Capital) and Beijing(the second capital). Examinations were used to determine who would hold political power and were significantly harder than the other eras'. Examinations were focused on Confucian texts and the Four Books outlined by Zhu Xi. The economy of the Ming Dynasty was the largest in the world at the time. Imperial rule weakened, merchants had a larger political influence, and there were many technological advances. The period was regarded as one of East Asia's three golden ages, the other being the Han and Song. The previous Yuan Empire used paper money as a means of exchange, but the Ming replaced it with silver coins. The Ming used a lot of silver, especially the Zheng clan, which was a clan of rich merchants. Because of the importance of silver they imported a lot which will eventually cause an influx. Political Grand Secretariat and Six Ministries The Ming administration had Grand Secretaries assisting the emperor. They handled the emperor's paperwork and were soon made top officials of agencies and the Grand Preceptor, a top-ranking, non-functional civil service post under the Emperor. The Grand Secretariat was considered part of the imperial authority and recruited its members from the Hanlin Academy (A academic and administrative institution found by the Tang Dynasty). The Secretariat was a coordinating agency, whereas the Six Ministries (Personnel, Revenue, Rites, War, Justice, and Public Works) were direct administrative organs of the state. The social structure of the Ming Dynasty was influenced by Confucian thought. They were four classes with in the structure; the Shi, the Nong, the Gong, and the Shang. The Shi were gentry scholars and were highly respected since they had access to books and knowledge. The Nong were peasant farmers who were actually only second to the Shi. They were essential to the empire and were seen as a vital and productive social class. The Gong were artisans and craftsmen who made objects for everyday life. They were much like the Nong except they were land-less. They were more respected than merchants and could sometimes hire apprentices. The Shang were merchants and traders and were looked down upon because they did not produce anything. They traded and transported the food and goods made by the Nong and Gong. The belief was that the Shang were only in business for money and did not contribute to the greater good of society. Government policy was not affected by the four classes. Social Shi Nong Gong Shang Ming Social Pyramid Although the examination system was very important in government and other categories, it was most important in social. It controlled how high a man went along the classes. The better he did, the higher he went. The civil service examination system had three levels of examination; Preliminary, Provincial, and Triennial Metropolitan. Preliminary examinations were held at county level to determine who would go on to the second. The winners would get a degree called Xiucai, meaning flowering talent. The winners then traveled to the provincial capitals to take the second examination. Less than 1% passed this exam and those who did received a degree called Ju ren, meaning recommended men. The victorious men then traveled to Beijing, the second capital, to take the third exam. Successful men received the highest academic title, Jinshi, meaning presented scholar. They could then take the final exam at the court, watched by the emperor himself. This exam determined the official ranking and government post of the jinshi holders. Examination System The Ming Dynasty was the last dynasty to be ruled by the ethnic Han chinese. The Ming brought many chinese traditions back that the Mongol Yuans destroyed. The Ming saw a flourishing in literature and arts. Three great, classical asian masterpieces were wrote during the Ming Dynasty; Journey to the West, Outlaws of the Marsh, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The main religions during the Ming Dynasty were the various forms of Chinese folk religion and the "Three Teachings," which were Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Islam was also present but it was not as wide spread. Cultural In 1644 C.E. The Ming Dynasty fell in 1644 due to many inner problems which ultimately led to the emergence of the Manchus. The Manchus recruited Mongols and started a campaign to establish the Qing Dynasty. The Manchus took over Korea turning it against the Ming. The peasant revolt weakened the empire from the inside when trusted men turned against the emperor. The worst being when Li Zicheng and rebels took control of Beijing, where the Emperor soon killed himself ending the Ming Dynasty. Ming resistance in the Southern Ming Dynasty continued untill 1662. The Manchus were not the main reason for the fall of the Ming, many internal problems happened as well. Wars such as the Imjin War in Korea drained their economy. There was also a sudden drop in silver due to embargoes and other factors that halted the import of silver. Changes and Continuities of the Ming Dynasty By 1450, the Ming had developed into a centralized and militarily powered state, during the 1600's the Ming started to decline and their rulers were weak and let the government decentralize and fall apart.
In 1450, the Ming were experiencing a time of great economic prosperity due to silver. Later there was an influx in silver therefore causing inflation. The Ming suffered a large economic breakdown.
The Ming stayed loyal to their traditions by not industrializing. They stayed with agriculture(even though it caused famine) because industrializing went against Confucian ideology.
The Ming also stayed loyal to their religion(Confucianism, Taoism, or Buddhism) and the Jesuits never had much success in converting the Ming to Christianity.
Another continuity was population growth. Population grew rapidly in the 1400's due to recovering from wars and diseases. It continued to grow and went too fast causing famine along with no industrialization.
Literature and arts remained very strong within the Ming dynasty and were perhaps even their strongest. The Qing Dynasty
1644-1912 What was the Qing Dynasty? The Qing Dynasty(also known as the Ch'ing Dynasty) was the ruling dynasty of Asia from 1644 to 1912. It was the last dynasty of China, being followed by the Republic of China. It was found by a vassal of the previous Ming emperor during the peasant revolts. The Manchus took over Ming China. The Qing adopted many traditional Chinese administrative policies from the Ming dynasty although the Qing were not ethnic Han. Changes and Continuities of the Qing Dynasty For the first time land started to become unavailable.
Manufacturing and trade increased.
The Qin changed the politics dramatically from what the Ming had set up.
Legalism was adopted as the offficial ideology, rather than Confucianism.
One continuity was that it was still a highly centralized state.
They still had provinces and counties, but prefectures and subprefectures were elimanted.