4. China Under the Ming and Qing
During the era of Ottoman and Mughal rule, two dynasties governed China, the Ming and the Qing (ching). Both dynasties took power during times of upheaval. To restore order, they established strong, centralized rule and revived traditional Chinese values, including Confucian ideals.
The Ming Revival In the mid-1300s, China was in turmoil. The Mongol Yuan dynasty was still in power, but disease and natural disasters had weakened the Mongol grip. Bandits and rebels roamed the countryside. In 1368, a Chinese rebel army overthrew the Mongols. The rebel leader, Zhu Yuanzhang (JOO yuwen-JAHNG), took power and established the Ming dynasty. In Chinese, the word Ming means “brilliant.”
The new Ming emperor set out …show more content…
The expeditions were expensive, and China decided to focus attention on the defense of its northern border. The decision also reflected the conservative Chinese view that other cultures were inferior and had little to offer China. Increasingly, the Ming rulers looked inward and isolated China from the rest of the world.
The Qing Dynasty Ming rule lasted for nearly three centuries. By the early 1600s, however, the Ming dynasty had grown weak and corrupt. Famine and rebellions ravaged the country. In Chinese terms, the Ming had lost the Mandate of Heaven, the traditional right to govern. In 1644, Manchu invaders from the north stormed into China and seized power with the aid of gunpowder weapons. They formed a new dynasty, the Qing (ching), which means “pure.”
The Manchus came from Manchuria, a region just north of Korea. Although the Chinese saw them as foreign barbarians, the Manchus had long been influenced by Chinese culture and had adopted many Chinese customs. At first they met strong resistance to their rule. Over the next few decades, however, they brought all of China under their …show more content…
They preserved the structure of Ming government and ruled according to Confucian principles. They supported the state exam system and allowed Chinese officials to hold high positions in government. They upheld the values of classical Chinese culture. In this way, the Manchus gradually won acceptance from the Chinese people.
The Qing dynasty also benefited from having two outstanding emperors. The first, Kangxi (kahng-shee), ruled from 1661 to 1722. His grandson, Qianlong (chyahn-lung), gained the throne in 1735 and held power just as long. Both men were wise and capable rulers. They expanded the boundaries of the empire and brought peace and prosperity to China. Qing China became the largest and richest empire in the world.
Isolation and Decline As in the past, most of China’s wealth came from agriculture. But trade and commerce also played an important role. Like good Confucian rulers, the Qing officially discouraged trade, while allowing it in limited form. They restricted European traders to the port of Canton, in southern China, and showed little interest in European goods. In 1793, Emperor Qianlong wrote to King George III of England: “Our Celestial Empire possesses all things in abundance. We have no need for barbarian products.” Nevertheless, the Qing agreed to exchange Chinese goods—including silk and tea—for silver from the