The Ming and Qing (Ch’ing) Dynasties Global History and Geography I name

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The Ming and Qing (Ch’ing) Dynasties

Global History and Geography I Name: ___________________

E. Napp Date: ___________________
In 1368, the Mongol dynasty fell and the Ming emperors gained power. During the Ming dynasty, China enjoyed nearly three hundred years of stability and prosperity. Ming emperors expanded the Chinese empire to include Korea, Burma, and Vietnam. The Ming constructed a magnificent Imperial palace in Beijing, known as the Forbidden City, which became home to all later Chinese emperors. In addition, art and literature flourished in Ming China. Trade prospered. The Ming even sponsored great naval expeditions, such as the voyages of Zheng He to India, Arabia, and Africa in the early 1400s. However, the Chinese elite looked down upon Europeans and other foreigners. They believed that foreigners lacked the civilized ways of the “Middle Kingdom” or China. This belief in one’s own cultural superiority is known as ethnocentrism. In the 1500s, the Ming emperors began to isolate China from other countries. They decided to keep foreigners out and the Chinese in. Isolation kept the Chinese from learning exciting new things happening elsewhere. During the 1500s, the Chinese did little traveling of trading. China began to change. It had been ahead of other civilizations, but isolation caused it to fall behind. Towards the end of the Ming Dynasty, corruption among public officials weakened the dynasty. Eventually, the Ming lost the Mandate of Heaven or right to rule.


  1. What were the accomplishments of the Ming emperors? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. Who was Zheng He and why was he important? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  3. What is ethnocentrism and why were the Chinese ethnocentric? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  4. Why did the Ming emperors begin to isolate China? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  5. How did isolationism harm China? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In 1644, the Manchus, a people from northeast Asia, invaded and conquered China. The Manchu conquerors founded the Qing (Ch’ing) or Manchu dynasty. Like the Mongols centuries earlier, the Manchus adopted Chinese ways to rule their new empire. They continued the traditional civil service examinations and governed through local officials. They also became strong patrons of Chinese literature, art, and music. However, the Manchus did introduce changes to China. They forced Chinese men to wear their hair in pigtails as a symbol that they had submitted to Manchu rule.

Like the Ming, the Manchu initially brought a period of peace and prosperity to China for the first 150 years of the dynasty. They built new roads and canals, cleared additional land for agriculture, and built store houses for grain. They even promoted scholarship and education while reducing taxes. However, European technology eventually surpassed China. China’s isolation from the West and the imperial government’s resistance to change prevented China from keeping pace with Western advances in industry and science. Eventually, the Europeans began to challenge China’s independence. The Manchu dynasty was China’s last dynasty.


  1. Who were the Manchus and what did they do? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. What were the accomplishments of the Qing or Ch’ing dynasty? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  3. What did the Manchus insist Chinese men wear? Why? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  4. What eventually threatened the Qing or Ch’ing dynasty? Why? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Word Bank:
Mandate of Heaven, Ethnocentrism, Qing, Middle Kingdom, Isolation, Technology, Dynasty, Forbidden City, Manchus, Zheng He, Ming, Pigtail

The Chinese empire was conquered by about 120,000 Manchus. They had the strengths of discipline, unity, military readiness and brilliant strategy, but the decline of the Ming dynasty was just as important to their success.

Despite a number of problems at the beginning of the Qing dynasty - their small number, the fact that the first emperor was mentally unstable, and remaining pockets of Ming resistance, especially in the south - the Manchus managed not only to take power but to hold onto it for 250 years.

While eagerly learning from Chinese culture, the Manchus also were careful to keep a separate identity. They were a society within a society. In every government department there were Manchus in a superior position working alongside Chinese officials. Manchu women were perhaps less oppressed than their Chinese counterparts. Female children were not despised, and did not have their feet bound - one of the things that perpetuated Chinese contempt for the 'barbarian' Manchus. The Manchus, like the Chinese, prized chaste widowhood, although the suicide of loyal widows was strongly disapproved of. Marriage between Manchus and Chinese was forbidden, and the Han were obliged to adopt Manchu dress and wear the pigtail as a sign of their subjugation.


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