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Mongol Origins
Nomadic horse people
N. China Grasslands
Raised horses, tended
Felt tents: Yerts, Ger
Language: Altaic (Rel. To
Turkic, Manchurian)
Could not marry between
tribes and clans
Tribes gathered during annual migration
Chiefs elected. Based on nobility, military
ability, wisdom, leadership skills
Religion: Shamanism
Nature deities, but key God is the Sky God
Sacred color: blue
Temujin: Ghengis Khan
b. 1167, son of tribal chief
Father poisoned…fled as youth
Returned as adult, avenged father,
Eventually chief
By age forty had unified all Mongol
 Battles, alliances, ability to survive
 Elected as the Great Khan
 Amazing talents along with sons and
positive aspects of the Mongol conquests
commercial and
exchanges global
government based
on precedents in
provided lengthy
period of peace
Mongol Army Tactics
All males 15-70 served in army
Organized into“Myriads”
Units within each of 1000, 100,
and 10
Elaborate signals
Soldiers supplied military
Intelligence gathering
high priority
Foreign experts and
Every man carried own
supplies; had 2 horses.
Loyalty oaths
Creation of Yasa, law
32 million square kilometers
Divisions at Genghis Khan’s Death
Four Khanates
Kipchak Khanate (Golden
Chagatai Khanate
Great Khanate
China, Outer Mongolia,
Border States, to which
the others owed
allegiance. Later became
the Yuan Dynasty
China under Mongol Rule
Kublai Khan conquered all
of China and defeated the
Ruled from Cambulac
Called himself the Yuan
dynasty (1271-1368)
Building Projects
Religious Toleration
Ethnic Ranking
Marco Polo spent 17 years
in Kublai’s service
Decline and succession
Chinese never really accepted as legitimate
Succession wars between heirs and generals
High Taxes, Corrupt officials
Paper money controversy
Yellow River changed course and flooded Grand Canal
among other natural disasters
Decentralization & Rise of Warlords
Last Khan fled to Mongolia in 1368 after the Red
Turbans Buddhist led revolts
The Ming Restore Chinese Rule
After Kublai Khan’s death, the
Chinese despised the foreign
Mongol rulers.
Zhu Yuanzhang defeated the
Mongols back to the other
side of the great wall & began
the Ming (brilliant) Dynasty
The Ming ended foreign rule
and restored Chinese
Revival of the arts & better
methods of printing which led
to a flood of books
The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
China under Ming Rule
Rebuilding China
• 1368, peasant named Zhu
Yuanzhang, rebel army, overthrew
last Mongol emperor
• rulers gained control of Korea,
Mongolia, parts of Central,
Southeast Asia
• Zhu took name Hongwu, “vastly
martial,” founded Ming dynasty
• worked to rebuild China
• Ming means “brilliant”; dynasty
lasted nearly 300 years, until
• Reduced taxes, improved trade,
agriculture, increased stability
In addition, Hongwu worked to eliminate Mongol influences and revive
traditional Chinese values and practices, like Confucian principles.
Ming Economy and Society
• Improved methods of irrigation increased farm production
• Peasants produced huge rice crops in southern river valleys
Growth of Crops, Population
• 1500s, new crops like corn, sweet potatoes from Americas reached China
• crops further increased farm output
• Stability, plentiful food led to substantial population growth
Growth of Cities, Industries
• As population grew, so did cities
• Industries like manufacture of porcelain, silk expanded in response to
growing European demand
• At same time, China remained mainly agricultural society
Social hierarchy and mobility
scholar-officials, farmers, artisans, and
 learning,
political power, and economic wealth
local elite (gentry) and lineage
lack of work ethic
 literati’s
long gown
 foot-binding for women
China’s Tributary System
Traditional system for managing foreign
The ``Central Kingdom” worldview
Ming dynasty had the most extensive
tributary system
 tributes
from East Asia, South Asia, Southeast
Asia, and even West Asia and Africa
Values, Traditions
• To obtain government officials
educated in Confucian ideas, Hongwu
restored, improved civil service
examination system
• To root out corruption, increased
influence of censors, officials who
monitored government
Expanded Power
• Hongwu also greatly expanded power
as emperor
• Did away with positions of some high
level officials, took over more
control of government
• As result, Ming emperors more
powerful than in previous dynasties
• Eliminated anyone challenging
authority; killed thousands of rivals
In 1398 Hongwu died
Following power struggle,
son Yonglo became
Ruled from 1402 until
Moved Ming capital to
Beijing, in northeast
Built vast imperial city
at center of Beijing
City complex became
known as Forbidden City
because most people
forbidden from entering
Zheng He’s fleet (1405 - 1433)
Over 300 ships & 20,000 men
trade and commerce
Southeast Asia, South Asia,
West Asia, and East Africa
China and the World
1405 – the voyages by
Zheng He - to promote
trade & collect tribute.
 Showed others the
power of the Chinese
 After he died, sea
trading was halted b/c
Confucian scholars were
loyal to tradition &
didn’t want foreign
 China missed its
Outside Influences
European Influence
European Learning
• Some Europeans gained influence
in China
• Ricci learned Chinese, adopted
customs to gain acceptance
• One was Matteo Ricci, Italian
Jesuit priest; arrived 1583
• Introduced European learning in
math, science
Mongol Threat
Great Wall
• Ming also faced renewed Mongol
threat to north
• Parts of earlier walls repaired,
but most construction new
• To improve defense, Ming
restored China’s Great Wall
• Much of Great Wall seen today
built during Ming period
Ming Foreign Relations
The policy to end the voyages was part of a move in Ming China toward
isolation from the outside world.
Ming Foreign Relations
• 1500s, move toward isolation
gained full force
• Ming heavily restricted foreign
trade and travel
• Foreign merchants allowed to
trade only at few ports, during
certain times
• Policies impossible to enforce;
smugglers carried out brisk
trade with foreign merchants
Beginning of Isolation
• Arrival of European traders,
Christian missionaries
influenced decision to isolate
• Europeans introduced new goods
and ideas
• Ming disliked European
• Sought to preserve Chinese
Ming Decline
Reasons for Decline
• Late 1500s, Ming Dynasty began
to decline
• Weak rulers took throne,
corruption increased under their
The Manchu
• Ming China weakened; the
Manchu, a people to northwest in
Manchuria, saw their chance
• 1644, Manchu swept into Beijing,
took capital
• Defense efforts drained
treasury; rulers raised taxes
• Last Ming emperor killed himself
to avoid capture
• 1600s, high taxes, crop failures
led to famine, hardship;
rebellions broke out
• Manchu formed own dynasty;
gave it Chinese name—Qing