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Climatic Change

, Volume 156, Issue 3, pp 405–423 | Cite as

Climatic change and the rise of the Manchu from Northeast China during AD 1600–1650

  • Jianxin CuiEmail author
  • Hong Chang
  • George S. Burr
  • Xiaolong Zhao
  • Baoming Jiang
Article

Abstract

The Ming-Qing transition (MQT) was a watershed in Chinese history. Events in three critical regions—North China Plain (NCP), southern Inner Mongolia (IM), and the Liaodong Peninsula (LP)—paved the way for political change in the latter years of the Ming dynasty. These developments occured in part as a response to climate change. Climate in these regions is controlled by topography and monsoon intensity (summer and winter). Here, we compare historical records with multi-proxy temperature and moisture reconstructions to understand the linkage between climate, the rise of the Manchu, and the collapse of the Ming dynasty and Mongolian steppe. In the last decades of the Ming, both the Ming and Mongolian steppe suffered from the most severe drought and winter cold of the past 500 years. Under the stress of this event, the political and economic systems of the Ming dynasty collapsed, although drought and cooling in the LP were not so intense, due to a maritime effect on climate. This allowed for enhanced precipitation by typhoons, and sustained agricultural development. During this period, the Later Jin (then Qing) seized an opportunity and occupied the LP. Simultaneously, a Manchu-Mongolian alliance formed. They defeated Lindan Khan and conquered North Korea, which removed the military threat from the east. This alleviated the economic pressure imposed by war, and rapid population expansion ensued. Finally, a new dynasty was established in the Central Plains.

Notes

Funding information

This research was supported by the Special Program for Basic Resources Investigation of the Ministry of Science and Technology (Grant No.2017FY101002), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41571190 and 41572166) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10584_2019_2471_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 28 kb)
10584_2019_2471_MOESM2_ESM.docx (18 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 18 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianxin Cui
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hong Chang
    • 2
  • George S. Burr
    • 2
  • Xiaolong Zhao
    • 1
  • Baoming Jiang
    • 1
  1. 1.Northwest Institute of Historical Environment and Socio-Economic DevelopmentShaanxi Normal UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth EnvironmentCASXi’anChina

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