Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Ming dynasty (1368-1944)

Origins
The Ming dynasty ruled China from about 1368 to 1644 CE. For nearly 100 years, China had been ruled by the Mongolian empire. When a group called the Red Turbans attacked the Mongols in the mid-1300s, it began a peasant rebellion that overthrew the Mongols. The leader of that rebellion and the first emperor of the newly established Ming dynasty was Zhu Yuanzhang.
 
The Ming
 The Ming were absolute rulers .Ming emperors ruled in the Forbidden City, an imperial palace in Beijing which was the capital of the Ming and received news through servants and administrators. They never dealt with normal peasants and never left the Forbidden City. In order to protect themselves from invasion, the Ming emperors built the Great Wall of China. It featured watch towers, signal towers, and barracks for troops. The Ming encouraged study of cultural traditions and provided financial support for academics and colleges.   
Women in Ming china
Women in Ming china were seldom wealthy properties owners with a small influence. But the majority of women in Ming china were valued only to have children. Lower class women worked in fields alongside men. Middle class women worked as weavers. Though upper class women were often crippled by the foot binding practice at a very young age. Purpose was to keep their feet small and was seen as female beauty.
China during the Ming dynasty
The economy as a whole experienced growth and I rise in population in china. They had about one quarter of the world’s population during the Ming dynasty. They were a very advanced society for example they invented printing, paper and gunpowder centuries before the Europeans did.
Trade
The Chinese sent their silks, porcelain and tea to western Asia and Europe via the Silk Road. They also traded by sea to japan and countries around the Indian Ocean. Under the Ming many ships were built. The emperor sent many trade fleets to explore the Indian Ocean and the voyages were led by admiral Zheng.
 
The decline
China began looking inwards after 1433. When the Dutch attacked Chinese ships raided the south east coast the chine navy defeated them and they retreated to Taiwan. There were threats from the Mongols and also the Manchu. China became distrustful of strangers and became inward looking and concentrated on becoming strong and self-sufficient. The Ming Empire slowly went in decline and was weakened by power struggles between court officials.

Coming to the end

The growing power of the Jurchen and Manchu nomadic tribes in the northwest threatened the Ming, however peasant uprisings in the northwest kept the army busy in that area. In the 1590s Japan invaded Korea which brought Chinese armies into Manchu territory. Though they pushed back Japan, their armies were weakened and allowed the Manchu tribes to conquer Korea. The Manchu tribes then waged war with China. The cost of war could not be paid because the peasant taxpayers were still in revolt. The final Ming emperor hanged himself in 1644 in his temple surrounded by rebels and allowing the invaders to establish the Qing dynasty.