The Ming Dynasty
Alsocalled the Great Empire of Ming, the Ming Dynasty ruled ancient chinafor 276 years between 1368 and 1644 after the collapse of the Yuandynasty. Described as one of the most organized and socially stablegovernment in history, this paper will explore the influence of thedynasty in the Chinese past history. impacted themost significant influence on the political and social systems of theancient Chinese empire and the current Chinese social-politicaldynamics. The governance by the authorities of the dynasty formed anexemplary social system and established Chinese values of protectingtheir kingdom.
TheEstablishment of the Dynasty
Themain reasons for the rise of the Ming Dynasty proves that the regimewas inspired by social stability that later came to influencesuccessive regimes. was established to overcomeethnic discrimination that was practiced by the prior to the regimesagainst the Han Chinese (Langlois 108). The Yuan and previousdynasties were marked by increased prices, unmanaged flooding of theyellow river, high taxation, and abandoned economic practices ofagriculture and ethnic in-fighting (Ebrey 25). To overcome thesesocial injustices, the Ming Dynasty was established after successfulconquest of the Yun dynasty that was led by the Mongol (Gascoigne26). was particularly unique because it wasestablished after a revolt against these injustices that had definedprevious regimes.
Thebattle against the Yuan industry was led by Zhu Yuanzhang as theleader of the ethnic Han Chinese was fought at the lake Poyang. Thisrevolutionary battle of Lake Poyang became one of the largest navalbattles in world history due to the use of ambitious ships. Itinvolved over 200,000 sailors led by Zhu and was able to defeat theHan rebel military that were over 650,000 in number (Hucker, 9). Theoverthrowing of the Yun dynasty gave the Qin dynasty the control ofthe country. After ruling the country through socially just policies,the dynasty became the last Chinese regime led by an ethnic HanChinese that ended in 1644 after their defeat by the Qing dynasty ledby the Machu.
Theexpansive land that the Ming Dynasty controlled also points out tothe level influence that the empire had on the Chinese land.Immediately after defeating the Han rule, the new Ming Dynasty underZhu controlled the vast Yangtze River Valley and extended his powertowards the south (Gascoigne 34). Later, Zhu extended his rule overthe red turbans empire after his death in 1367. Through the strengththat the dynasty gained, the dynasty sent an army in 1368 that tookover the capital city of Yun, Dadu which is the current day Beijing(Ebrey 34). After this conquest, the last empire of the Yun fled tothe north which gave the Ming Dynasty an unprotected rule of the vastChinese empire. was cemented by the declaration ofZhu as the founder of the Ming and renaming of the capital as Beipingin 1368 (Ebrey 19).
In1370, the Salar Muslims in the region of Qinghai voluntarily joinedthe Ming rule which strengthened the kingdom. They assisted the MingDynasty to suppress any rebellions that came against the dynasty thatemanated from the Muslim enemies. In 1381, the Ming Dynasty conqueredthe southwest in support of the Hui Muslim troops and controlled theYunnan province (Hucker, 11). During the end of the 14 century, theMing Dynasty had extended over 350,000 acres of land that covered theYunnan and the Guizhou.
EmperorZhu ruled the new dynasty with fairness at the time while stillreinforcing his rule against any decent. Ebrey (29) argues that Zhustarted drafting a constitution for the dynasty as early as 1364, thelaw he called the Da Ming Lu. This constitution was completed in 1397that incorporated law codes of the old Tang Dynasty that ruledbetween 618 and 907 (Langlois 119).
Afterthe rule of the Zhu, he was succeeded by emperor Hongwu who madeimmediate measures to establish proper infrastructure. He startedbuilding a 30 mile wall that extended around Nanjing in addition tonew infrastructure at the cities where the government was represented(Langlois 109). He built government walls and established new palacesaround the kingdom to cement the rule and ensure that the governmentwas felt on the ground. In addition, emperor Hongwu started amilitary that was institutionalized and called Weisuo specificallyestablished to protect the empire (Hucker, 14). Through suchinstitutional set ups, the dynasty of Ming became an influentialregime that shaped the social and political set ups of the precedingrules.
Theinfluence of the Ming Dynasty on the preceding regimes also includedthe element of authoritarian leadership where the emperor controlledtotal power. Emperor Hongwu was assertive in his rule and fought anyresentment against him. For instance, in 1380, he executed hischancellor Hu Heiyong for alleged conspiracy to overthrow his ruleeventually, Hongwu trashed the position of the chancellery and wenton to take full control (Ebrey 21). Since then, the precedentdynasties had their emperor have total control as the emperor in thedynasty which describes the origin of the full authoritarian emperors(Gascoigne 45). To cement his rule, Hongwu formed an intelligencepolice from his guards that were responsible for finishing suspicionin the government.
Influenceover Foreigners and Tibet
TheMing Dynasty involved itself in overseas trade and had friendlyrelations with other kingdoms and countries. According to Langlois(114), the dynasty had diplomats sent regularly to establishrelations to other regimes over the west to benefit their rule. TheMing Dynasty had a strong influence over the neighboring regimes themost conspicuous being the Tibet empire. At the time of the MingDynasty, the Tibet rule was totally different from the Chinese rule.However, it is unclear how the two sides related during the MingDynasty. This is because the Ming Dynasty did not attempt to conqueror subdue the sovereignty of the Tibetans (Hucker, 61). This is theopposite of the complicated modern political conflicts betweenChinese mainland and Tibet. Some scholars argue that the Ming Dynastyhad strong sovereign influence over Tibet.
Langlois(156) found out that the Ming courts and authorities were givingTibetan leaders titles that they accepted. This illustrates thatdespite having no conflict between the two sides the Ming Dynastyhad a superior hand over Tibet. This level of influence presents thediplomatic nature of the Ming Dynasty that was not part of theoriginal perception about the kingdom. However, it was establishedthat the Ming industry had established some military presence in theeastern parts of Tibet even though there was no aggression (Langlois169). It is a challenge to the preceding rules, especially thepresent day rulers to maintain a diplomatic relationship between thetwo sides (Hucker, 53). The relationship between the Ming and Tibetillustrates how influential and significant the dynasty was.
Endof the dynasty
Afterthe rule of emperor Hongwu, his sons staged a political showdown thatwas sparked by his preference of Zhu Yunwen, his grandson over hisson, Zhu Di (Langlois 149). The military disagreed and led to adivision between the two sides. The rebellion by Zhu Di led to acivil war that lasted for three years and he destroyed the palaceNanjing together with the family of his nephew Jianwen to take overpower (Hucker, 19). Zhu Di took over the empire as the Yongle Emperorbut became unpopular since he reversed the policies and governancesystems of his father. By moving the capital city from the Nanjing toBeijing, he introduced a new frontier of Chinese history that sawBeijing as the new historical Chinese capital. As the kingdomweakened, the rise of the Manchu defeated the regime in 1644 whentheir last emperor Zhang Xianzhong was defeated. Despite the defeat,the loyalists lived on until the formation of the republic of china(Langlois 179).
Extendingfrom 1368 to 1644, the Ming Dynasty is one of the most stable andorganized regimes in the history of china and largely in the worldhistory. This is because the dynasty came to power as a rebellionagainst human injustices and bad governance. In addition, the dynastyestablished fair and assertive rule that gave ethnic Chinese socialspace and related well with neighboring regimes and empires.Moreover, the empire established social and political structures andgovernance institutions that influenced preceding regimes. These arethe historical illustrations that assert the influence that the MingDynasty had over the past Chinese history, which can be highlightedin the present day china.
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