The Early Modern Period:The Ming and the Early Qing

  • J. A. G. Roberts
Part of the Palgrave Essential Histories book series (EH)


In January 1368, nine months before the departure of the Mongol court from China, Zhu Yuanzhang ascended the throne. He adopted the reign name of Hongwu and called his dynasty Ming, meaning brightness. His reign was to last until 1398, by which time he had established what was to prove the most durable dynasty in Chinese history. He was succeeded by his grandson, but in 1403 the throne was usurped by Hongwu’s fourth son, who is known as the Yongle emperor. The reigns of Hongwu and Yongle provide examples of effective rule in the early stages of the dynastic cycle. After Yongle’s death the dynasty began a long decline, briefly interrupted by a period of reform in the second half of the sixteenth century, which culminated with its collapse in 1644 in the face of peasant rebellion and Manchu invasion.


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© J. A. G. Roberts 1999

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  • J. A. G. Roberts

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