China Limits European Contacts

Describe the Ming and Qing dynasties, their effect on foreign countries, and what life was like in China during this time.

The Ming Dynasty rose after the Chinese made an effort to drive out the Mongols that were trying to invade. This dynasty was full of very politically strict leaders. During the Ming Dynasty, trade was based on foreign isolation and only the government made trades with foreign countries. The Qing Dynasty followed this rule of isolation when it rose, but soon completley isolated all foreigners. One of the main reasons China closed on its contact with Europeans is because of the influence they had on the Chinese people involving religion. Many European countries like Portugal, The Netherlands, Spain and Britain were eager to continue trade with China for many favorable reasons. Life in China was very peaceful and had improved in abundance. During the Qing Dynasty, families continue to grow crops such as rice, corn, sweet potatoes. In the families the boys were higly favored over the girls, and sometimes girls were killed at birth or as infants.

By Tiffani Chalas.

Growth in China

The Ming dynasty was first ruled by Hongwu, which was the one who had taken the Mongols out of China. He wanted to bring back such ideals as Confucianism, restore agriculture, and make China excel so much that other existing nations should bow to China’s “superiority and greatness”. You may think he started as a great rule, well; great things always come to an end. He began getting so stressed about being ruler and maybe remembering how he brought down Mongol rule he may have thought that everyone was plotting against him, he killing lots of officials who he thought were plotting against him. When he died, the one who won (meaning that most of the time when a leader died at a specific nation a power struggle begins) was his son Yonglo. He was really a man which was full of curiosity and this made him want to- as his dad- want to show how great China was and how powerful they were by making voyages around the world giving silver and silk, since these were really expensive products, everyone stuck to China to get more from which that came for. After 7 voyages and then grew bored since they didn’t need so many people after them which really didn’t give anything back to them, so they entered to isolation. They had a few ports opened in which trade really flourished, since China had products not available to other powers. Most of the people were against this, though, for one major point. With every trading ship came missionaries to spread their religion, Catholicism not offering them much. While the population was becoming very impatient, the government kind of liked trade because ideas on technology came to them. The Ming Dynasty fell as most dynasties do, they grow weak and they grow full corruption. This dynasty finally collapsed when the Manchus invaded.

The Qing dynasty began just when that happened, these were the Manchu people. Chinese people were totally opposed to the fact that non-Chinese people were ruling their country, they constantly trying to throw them out. To their surprise, these people did their very best to make China a better place for all. They kept the Chinese beliefs, made frontiers safe, and expanded Chinese lands. Kangxi was their first ruler and was a patron of scholars, giving them government positions and also receiving missionaries at his court to understand and learn more about the developments happening in Europe at the time. He mended the economic problem that had occurred during the Ming Dynasty. Another great Qing Dynasty ruler was Qian-long, Kangxi’s grandson. He worked really hard to recover Chinese greatness and battled also nomads that attacked their territories. Trade also prospered since by the discovery of America new crops had been introduced to China.During the Qing dynasty, however, isolation came to its highest point. They told nations that in order for trade to be possible between them, they had to kowtow to them, which was sort of bowing to them 9 times. The Dutch were the only ones to perform the ritual, respecting the Chinese tradition. They did this since they were masters in trade at the time so it was great if they could, you know trade with a nation that had unique products that were needed worldwide- if it had been me I would have kowtowed like a million times if they had asked me to. The British also wanted to trade with the Chinese, but they really didn’t want to follow their restrictions- which was a really dumb idea since they could have done a lot of profit through trade with China if you ask me. The Chinese, as really proud people, responded that they didn’t need to trade with them since they had everything they needed.

-Gaby H.(:

The Ming dynasty began in 1368, and lasted until 1644 A.D. Its founder was a peasant, the third of only three peasants ever to become an emperor in China. He is known as Hongwu Emperor, and led the revolt against the Mongols and the Yuan Dynasty. The capital was originally located in Nanjing but the third emperor moved the capital to Beijing.Hongwu created laws that improved the peasant life. He kept the land tax low, and kept the granaries stocked to guard against famine. He also maintained the dikes on the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers. However, economically he lacked the vision to push trade.

A great cultural development of the Ming Dynasty was that of the novel. These novels developed from the writings of Chinese story tellers.Some of the best known novels of the Ming Dynasty are still read today. Wood-cut and block-printing of art also became more popular at this time. Porcelain production and diversification occurred. Blue and white porcelain became the normal form, but experimentation in two color and even three color porcelain began. Encyclopedias and dictionaries were written. These contained important information from a variety of fields, such as geography, music and medicine.The disctionary that had the most influence on the future was written in 1615 A.D. and reduced the number of signs for Chinese characters to 214.Another accomplishment of the Ming was the building of the Great Wall. While Great Walls had been built in earlier times, most of what is seen today was either built or repaired by the Ming. The brick and granite work was enlarged, the watch towers were redesigned and cannons were placed along the wall.

"Although merchants and trade in general were looked down upon, China had established sea routes that were used for trade with Japan and south Asia. Starting in 1405 A.D., Zheng He began a series of seven naval expeditions that went as far as the east coast of Africa. These trips followed established routes and were mainly diplomatic. The last of these voyages was completed in 1433 A.D. At this point, China was far ahead of the rest of the world in naval capabilities. Their ships could carry as many as 500 men. However, after the last voyage was completed none were ever again attempted. In fact, records of the trips were destroyed and shipbuilding was restricted to small-size vessels. As a result, China's coast was frequently attacked by pirates."Creel, Herrlee Glessner

Erialbania Lopez

Ming Dynasty

In 1368 a peasant's son, Hongwu began a movement against the Mongols, that drove them out of China for good. For such bravery he bacame the first Ming emperor. Nanjing in the south was the capital of the Ming Dynasty. He desogned agricultural reforms and also encouraged fish farming and growing commercial crops. he may sound like a wonderful ruler but when problems came, hongwu became a tyrant. he even killed thousands of officials. After his death in 1398 his son, Yonglo took over. He followed his father's steps although he changed the capital from Nanjing to Beijing. Because of his curiosity, he launched the first of seven voyages, which were commanded by Zheng He. After these a Chinese scholar told him that the voyages wasted valuable resources that could be used to defend themselves from the attacks from barbarians. In 1433, China withdrew into isolation. Only the government could conduct foreign trade and only through three coastal ports. demands for Chinese goods were high and so had a ripple effect on its economy. although this China didn't become highly industrialized because it offended the Confucian beliefs and because policies favored agriculture. Chrisitan missionaries would accompany European traders into China. they would try to spread Christianity and European science and technology.

Qing Dynasty

By 1600 the Ming Dynasty had now 200 years and was becoming weak. then in 1644 the Manchus kick in and take over. They took a Chinese name for it, the Qing Dynasty. many people resisted the ruling of these people. Over time the manchus obtained the respect from their people. The first emperor, Kangxi, came to his place in 1661. he made changes of his own like lowering taxes. Under his grandson's, Qian-long, power China reached its highest point. He established some ground rules for those who wished to trade with his country. The Dutch are an example of those who respected such rules and got in return Chinese goods. There were also those who appeared to be too proud to do so as the Dutch, Great Britain under king George III. In 1793 he sent a letter to Qian-long saying that he would not kowtow and so Qian-long refused to activate any trading between him and Great Britain. Qian-long knew too well so he said in his letter that China was self-sufficient and didn't need the British.

Gabriela Jimenez

During the Ming Dynasty, China had become the dominant power to the Asian continent. Korea was a vassal state that had been paying a tribute to China at the time. Since Korea was doing this, the Chinese expected any other foreigners to do the same. This meant the Europeans. Hongwu, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, began reforms designed to restore agricultural lands destroyed during the war against the Mongols, as agriculture was the main economic activity at the time. Hongwu also attempted to bring back Confucianist ways of life. After Hongwu died, his son, Yonglo, proceeded him. Yonglo moved the capital of China to Beijing, when he moved the royal court, and launched the first of seven voyages of exploration. Now, Chinese official trade policies in the 1500s might have been able to give off its isolated aura. China tried as hard as they could to keep the influence of outsiders to a minimum. There were a series of rules to follow for trade. Christian missionaries brought their beliefs and knowledge of technology into trade ports, like Matteo Ricci.

Now, by 1600, the Ming Dynasty had become weak and ineffective, so the Manchus invaded China and the Ming Dynasty collapsed. Alas, the Qing Dynasty arose and would rule for 260 years. Life in China during the Qing Dynasty was very rigid, to say. Korea, which was a vassal state, felt a sense of nationalism due to the invasions occurring in China and an attack in Japan. Luckily, there was general peace and prosperity in China. Agriculture remained the major form of receiving income and food for the households. The culture of this early modern China was based mainly on traditional forms, as well. There were writers, painters, sculptors and actors, as Drama was a popular form of entertainment.

Lily Sanchez

Ming and Qing Dynasties

by ely

The Ming dynasty began in 1368, and lasted until 1644 A.D. Its founder was a peasant, the third of only three peasants ever to become an emperor in China. He is known as Hongwu Emperor, and led the revolt against the Mongols and the Yuan Dynasty. Under Hongwu all aspects of society were put under the states control. The emperor was the head of state and had a large bureaucracy to help him. Confucianism flourished and to become a government official one had to take and exam on Confucian principles. (Kimball) Life for the people of China did not improve a whole lot during this time but the population exploded. Going from 60 million and the beginning of the dynasty to 150 million at the end.From the very beginning of the Ming Dynasty, money was a problem. At first, paper currency was used. However, Hongwu did not understand inflation and gave out so much paper money as rewards that by 1425 A.D. the currency was worth 1/70 of its original value. This led to a return to the use of copper coins. The government did not make enough coins and counterfeiting became a problem. At this point, the provinces were required to mint their own coins. Unfortunately, some of them added lead to the coins, which depleted their value. Due to the abundance of counterfeit coins, their value again declined. This coin problem was amplified by an increasing need for money due to the growth of trade.Although merchants and trade in general were looked down upon, China had established sea routes that were used for trade with Japan and south Asia. Starting in 1405 A.D., Zheng He began a series of seven naval expeditions that went as far as the east coast of Africa. These trips followed established routes and were mainly diplomatic. The last of these voyages was completed in 1433 A.D. At this point, China was far ahead of the rest of the world in naval capabilities. Their ships could carry as many as 500 men. However, after the last voyage was completed none were ever again attempted. In fact, records of the trips were destroyed and shipbuilding was restricted to small-size vessels. As a result, China's coast was frequently attacked by pirates.In foreign affairs the dynasty faired decently but not well. The Chinese were more worried about flaunting their power and subjugating other nations than entering into friendly relationships with them. The West did not like this attitude much and wanted to trade for the precious goods that China had. China was not very open to this but it did eventually allow it with severe restrictions on the foreigners. During this period China was a massive and powerful empire that fought off every attack that came its way.Though the Ming dynasty's power was great it eventually fell. As with the other dynasties, rebellion broke out against wide spread corruption. In combination with this was the attack of the Manchu from Manchuria. The dynasty could not withstand the combined effect of this and the Manchus took over and formed the Qing dynasty.

The Qing Dynasty lasted from 1644-1911 A.D. The reigns of the first three emperors of this dynasty were a time of peace and prosperity for China.The first Qing emperor, named Kangxi, started his dynasty by finishing off the rest of the rebels in his domain. After accomplishing this, Kangxi implemented a government much like the previous Ming government. The difference was that this time Manchus held all the highest positions while the Chinese had the lower posts. Kangxi himself was an amazing man who got up early and went to bed late. He worked hard for the success of the empire and believed in going out and visiting his different domains as well as training with his own army. It was this kind of work ethic and organization that set the Qing dynasty up as one of the most powerful in the world.During the reign of the Manchu, Chinese society was strictly segregated. The Manchus and Chinese remained separate people groups and even dresses differently. The people of the empire prospered as the Qing government favored the well being of the peasant. Also during this time China's borders reached their largest size. This great power and prosperity could not last forever. The form of military organization that the Qing used was one of the best in the world. They organized their troops under banners, each of which was a separate unit. They banned intermarriage among the Chinese, continued to speak their own language and did not make their documents available to the Chinese. They retained military strength over the Chinese by separating the duties of the Chinese troops and of the Manchu troops. The Chinese were not trained as a striking force. They also had a unique way of keeping the Mongols away. They first immobilized and divided the Mongols under a similar fashion as the Ming had done. However, they then supported the Yellow Lamaist sect of Tibetan Buddhism, which was a popular religion of the Mongols, and focused their attention on Lhasa, as a center of worship.The period of peace that followed the ascension of the Qing Dynasty allowed for growth in all areas. Public works were repaired and maintained. Taxes were very light as compared to previous dynasties, and in famine struck areas, taxes were reduced even further. Commerce and international trade grew. This peace allowed for a revival of arts and learning. The areas of the novel, short story and drama contain the most famous literary works. However, poetry, which was a more accepted form of writing, also flourished. The poems show no real innovation, they followed examples set forth by previous dynasties. Encyclopedic works were commissioned by the emperors. Porcelain production continued to be important and innovations were made in the use of new colors.At the beginning of Qing rule China was very powerful and was respected by the rulers of the world. Yet the Chinese were very set in their ways and therefore did not change much in the following centuries. As a result the West caught up with them and wanted to trade with them for valuable Chinese goods. China was not very open to this and restricted trade very heavily. Several attempts were made by the West to open up trade relations with China but they accomplished very little.Eventually China's isolationist policy led to war with the British. The first such war was the First Opium War which took place from 1839 to 1842. This was followed by a second Opium war later on in the Century. China lost both of these conflicts because it had refused to modernize. The combination of these losses along with rebellion within the Empire and corruption caused the downfall of the dynasty in 1911.


Ming and Qin Dynasty
By: Jonathan Vargas

The Qing Dynasty was the ruling Chinese dynasty between 221 and 206 BC. Trade flourished up and down the coast. Profit-minded merchants smuggled cargoes of silk, porcelain, and other valuable goods out of the country into the earger hands of European Merchants. When China was under the Ming Dynasty many Chines resisted rule by the non-Chinese Manchus. Rebellions flared up periodically for decades. In the other hand, The Ming Dynasty was one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history, was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Hans. For them to sostain influence of outsiders to a minimum, only the governmment was to conduct foreign trade, and only through three coastal ports, Canton, Macao, and Ningbo. The Ming and Qing Dynasty life in china, culturally, was based main on traditional forms. The great masterpiece of traditional Chinese fiction was written during this period. Most artists of the time painted in traditional styles, which valued techniques over creativity. In pottery, technical skill as well as experimentation led to the production of high-quality ceramics, including porcelain. Drama was a popular entertainment, especially in rural China where literacy rated were low. Plays that presented Chinese history and cultural heroes entertained and also helped unify Cinese society by creating a national culture.

Miraculously, Hongwu, the son of a peasant, drove the Mongols out of China. He began reforms to fix the country and encouraged fish farming and cultivating commercial crops. After his death he passed down the throne to his son Yonglo who continued many of his father's policies, but he shifted the royal court to Beijing. Under China almost everything flourished. Even during the period of isolation did trade pick up a faster track, forcing merchants to set aside the governments wishes and smuggle cargoes of silk, porcelain, and other valuable goods into the hungry hands of the Europeans.
The Manchus took over after the Ming became to weak to function. Many Chinese were a little restless about foreigners ruling over them and resisted at first, but gradually they became accepting, though not without a couple fight before their light went out. The Manchus choose to continue the Chinese choice of isolation, a very wise choice. The Chinese pride was strong and ardent. Being the cultural center of the universe for nearly 2 millennium, ego begins to rise high. They believed that if foreigners wished to trade with China they would have to do it China's way. Although the Dutch were accepting of this the english were not. They had no intentions of kowtowing to the Chinese emperor, probably seeing it as crossing the line on the Chinese's part. When they protested against it, the Chinese emperor Qian-Long simply told George Macartney that he didn't need anything the Europeans offered and refused to trade with them. Culture also flourished during this period. Modern Chinese culture was based mainly on the art and literature of the past.
-Genesis A. L.

Ming Dynasty

In the late period of the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368), a peasant's uprising - Hongjinjun (army with red scarf in the head) uprising broke out. In 1352 when the rebel army captured Haozhou (currently Fengyang in Anhui Province), Zhu Yuanzhang, a local young man from a peasant family joined the army. After that, Zhu served with distinction in the battles. In 1356, Zhu led his army into the city of Jiqing (currently Nanjing in Jiangsu Province), changed the city name into Yingtian and established his own military base there. Through several years' efforts, both the military and economical strength of Zhu's army quickly became stronger. From 1360 to 1367, his army managed to eliminate the remaining separatist military forces. In 1368, Zhu Yuanzhang officially proclaimed himself emperor in Yingtian and founded the Ming Dynasty. In the same year, the Ming army captured Dadu (currently Beijing), the capital city of Yuan, ultimately ending the Yuan Dynasty.
After the founding of the new dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang implemented a series of policies to reduce the peasants' burden and to resume the production of the whole society. On the other hand, he focused much attention on the punishment and prevention of corruption among court officials. Additionally, he sent his sons to supervise the local administration so as to strengthen his hold on imperial power. After Zhu Yuanzhang died, his grandson Zhu Yunwen took over the throne. However, his reign only lasted for four years, ending in a coup launched by Zhu Di, the fourth son of Zhu Yuanzhang. Hence, Zhu Di was Emperor Chengzu of the Ming Dynasty, whose reign was considered as one of the most prosperous periods in the Ming Dynasty.
-Kenny R. Gomez

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