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chinese expansion1
Chinese Expansion
  • The first Ming emperor, Hongwusought to improve the lives of the peasants through support of agriculture, the development of public works, opening new and untaxed lands, lowering forced labor demands, and the encouragement of skill-based industries that could supplement household incomes.

The early Ming period was one of economic growth and unprecedented contacts with overseas civilizations.

  • The commercial boom and population increase of the late Song period continued.
  • Chinese manufacturers were in demand throughout Asia and Europe.

Europeans were allowed limited trade with the Chinese.

  • Merchants gained significant profits, a portion of them passing to the state as taxes.
  • Much of the wealth went into land, which was considered to be a measure of status in the country.
  • The economic strength allowed generous patrons to support the arts.
  • Painters focused on improving established patterns.
  • Major innovation came in literature, assisted by an increase in availability of books through the spread of woodblock printing, with the full development of the novel.
chinese exploration from 1405 to 1423
Chinese Exploration from 1405 to 1423
  • The Ming Dynasty sent a series of expeditions to Southeast Asia, Persia, Arabia, and East Africa under the command of Zheng He.
  • The purpose of these voyages was to demonstrate the Chinese power as compared to other nations.

During these trips, countries were expected to show tribute to the Ming Dynasty; however, very little materialreturns resulted from the costly ventures.

  • Many Chinese argued that the national resources were better spent in defending Chinese borders.
  • Ultimately, the voyages were abandoned in the early 1430s
chinese hegemony
Chinese Hegemony
  • Hegemony is defined as the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group resulting in influence or authority over the weaker, less powerful group.
  • During the Ming Dynasty, Chinese hegemony grew in areas of Southeast Asia, India, Arabia, and Africa.

The Ming Dynasty’s primary goal was to encourage a system of tribute in which the less powerful nation would send gifts to the government to show their recognition of Chinese superiority.

  • With all of the economic strength, it is important to note that the economic benefits provided by the Ming Dynasty were often overshadowed by the growing power of rural landlords allied with the imperial bureaucracy.

Peasants were forced to become tenant farmers or landless laborers.

  • The Ming period continued the subservience of women to men, and youths to elders.
  • Severe laws forced obedience.
  • Adversaries of the ruling parties often had to flee their homes to improve their conditions.
  • Women were confined to the household; their status was tied to their ability to bear male children.

Upper class women might be taught reading and writing by their parents, but they were barred from official positions.

  • Non-elite women worked in many occupations, but the main way to gain indepentertainerendencewas to become a courtesanor.
  • By the late 1500s the dynasty was in decline.
  • Weak leadership allowed increasing corruption and led to administrative decline.
  • The failure of public works projects, especially on the Yellow River, caused starvation and rebellion.
  • Ultimately, the Manchus(from Manchuria) took control of the government and established the last imperial dynasty, the Qing Dynasty