Ming and Qing China



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Ming and Qing China


How did the Ming Dynasty begin?

Describe Ming Rule

What changes did Yong Le make?

Who led many of the trade expeditions under the Ming?

Why did trading with Europeans almost stop?




The Ming Dynasty: 1368AD – 1644AD
After the fall of the Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty, a peasant named Chu Yüan-chang rose up to become a powerful general in charge of an army. His forces slowly began conquering more and more parts of China. By 1368AD, he was in control of all of south China and he took on the title of Emperor Hong Wu. This is the beginning of the Ming Dynasty.
The Ming emperor was an absolute ruler who worked to consolidate power around himself. He brutally repressed or executed officials and scholars who displeased him. He would have corrupt government officials publicly beaten and killed.
After Emperor Hong Wu, came Emperor Yong Le (son). To legitimize his rule, he built large monuments and strengthened the Great Wall. Moved capital from Nanjing to Beijing which became called the Imperial or Forbidden City.
The biggest changes to China that happened during the Ming Dynasty dealt with an economic revolution in all aspects of the Chinese economy. Trade, agriculture, and commerce all underwent dramatic changes.

Ming Global Trade
During the Ming Dynasty, China began to trade with European nations on an unprecedented scale. This trade and interaction would lead to dramatic historical and political effects, but in terms of the economy, it would have see China experience large economic gains.
Before the Ming Dynasty, Chinese trade mainly focused on the over-land trade routes along the Silk Road. Ming Emperors began to focus on ocean trade routes. They sponsored naval expeditions to open up new trade routes led by Zheng He. These expeditions travelled all over Southeast Asia and even to Africa and the Middle East, opening trade routes and bringing in new and exotic goods to China. These trade routes made China the world’s greatest commercial power in the world. However, in 1435, court scholars told the Ming Emperor that desire for exotic goods would lead to the end of the dynasty. So, China began ending the trade expeditions that had been so lucrative. Eventually, it would cede control of global trade to European nations.


Describe the crop rotation system.


What other agricultural advanced were made?


Why was there a population boom?

How did China become one of the leading manufacturing economies under the Ming?


The Agricultural Revolution:

    Between 1370 and 1398, China experienced an agricultural revolution that greatly increased it ability to feed its population. The main crop of China that fed the population was rice. The Ming Dynasty spread the use of champa rice throughout China. While champa rice was less nutritious than regular Chinese rice, it could be grown much faster and produced my larger harvests, allowing farmers to feed more people.


Another important innovation during the Agricultural Revolution was the use of crop rotation. Whenever a crop is grown, it takes nutrients out of the soil. Traditionally, farmers had to rest the soil and leave it fallow every few harvests so that it could replenish its nutrients. This was inefficient since land was not all devoted to food production. By using crop rotation, Chinese farmers would grow multiple types of crops and rotate them onto different fields each year. That way, the land was constantly growing food but losing different nutrients each year. For example, a farmer could grow cabbage on a field so that the soil has time to replenish whatever nutrients were lost by growing rice the year before. Crop rotation dramatically increased the amount of arable land farmers could use and thus allowed them to feed larger populations.
Other advances during the Agricultural Revolution included the practice of raising fish in rice paddies to both fertilize the crops and as an additional source of protein. Farmers also began growing cash crops, such as cotton and sugar cane.
 The Commercial Revolution:

The increased food production of the Agricultural Revolution fueled a population boom. Much of this population went to live in urban areas, so China saw a marked increase in the size of its cities. The growth of the cities helped fuel what is known as the “Third Commercial Revolution” in China.

Businesses and production grew throughout the period. Ming china (the distinctive blue and white porcelain dishes famous to this day) was quite popular. Paper and silk production also enriched the Chinese economy.




These products found ready buyers in markets around the world, but most especially with Western nations. European merchants exchanged silver for Chinese porcelain and silk. Chinese tea was imported by the Dutch and became wildly popular throughout Europe. All this trade had made China into one of the leading manufacturing economies in the world. Tons of European silver lined the pockets of Chinese merchants. It is estimated that at least half of the silver that the Spanish mined in the New World ended up in China.





Who were the Qing rulers and how did they gain control?


What did the first Qing emperor force Chinese men to do?
In what ways did the Qing relax their style of government?

Why did China and Europe start off with a bad relationship?

How did tensions with the British begin?






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