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Ming Dynasty
Learn Chinese - History and Culture

The Chinese Regain Power
Rivalry among the Mongol imperial heirs, natural disasters, and numerous peasant uprisings led to the collapse of the Yuan dynasty (yuán cháo 元朝). The Ming dynasty (míng cháo 明朝, 1368-1644) was founded by a Han Chinese peasant and former Buddhist monk turned rebel army leader Zhu Yuanzhang (zhū yuán zhāng 朱元璋).

Nanjing (nán jīng 南京, which means Southern Capital) and later at Beijing (běi jīng 北京, or Northern Capital), the Ming reached the zenith of power during the first quarter of the fifteenth century. The Chinese armies reconquered Annam (ān nán 安南), as orthern Vietnam was then known, in Southeast Asia and kept back the Mongols, while the Chinese fleet sailed the China seas and the Indian Ocean, cruising as far as the east coast of Africa. The maritime Asian nations sent envoys with tribute for the Chinese emperor. Internally, the Grand Canal (dà yùn hé 大运河) was expanded to its farthest limits and proved to be a stimulus to domestic trade.

The Ming maritime expeditions stopped rather suddenly after 1433, the date of the last voyage. Historians have given as one of the reasons the great expense of large-scale expeditions at a time of preoccupation with northern defenses against the Mongols. Opposition at court also may have been a contributing factor, as conservative officials found the concept of expansion and commercial ventures alien to Chinese ideas of government. Pressure from the powerful Neo-Confucian bureaucracy led to a revival of strict agrarian-centered society. The stability of the Ming dynasty, which was without major disruptions of the population (then around 100 million), economy, arts, society, or politics, promoted a belief among the Chinese that they had achieved the most satisfactory civilization on earth and that nothing foreign was needed or welcome.

Long wars with the Mongols, incursions by the Japanese into Korea, and harassment of Chinese coastal cities by the Japanese in the sixteenth century weakened Ming rule, which became, as earlier Chinese dynasties had, ripe for an alien takeover. In 1644 the Manchus (mǎn zhōu rén 满洲人) took Beijing from the north and became masters of north China, establishing the last imperial dynasty, the Qing (qīng cháo 清朝, 1644-1911).




与蒙古人的长期战争,日本人入侵朝鲜,倭寇长期骚扰中国沿海城市,至16世纪,明朝的统治衰弱了,和以往的中国朝代一样,会出现一个新的势力来取代它。1644年, 满洲人从北方攻占北京,统治了中国北部,确立了最后一个封建王朝,清朝(1644-1911)。


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