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The Establishment and Collapse of the Ming Dynasty

Updated on June 29, 2020
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Amelia Earhart is a Ming Dynasty history researcher dedicated to helping more people understand the details of Ming Dynasty history.

There were a total of 408 emperors in ancient Chinese history including the famous founder of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang.

The transformation from street-walking monk to emperor took just seventeen years. It must be admitted that Zhu Yuanzhang's success was tremendous. He completed a metamorphosis from a commoner to an emperor.

The smartest thing that Zhu Yuanzhang did in overthrowing the Yuan dynasty was to choose to work with landlords. Not only did he declare that he would protect the private property of the landlords but he strictly required his army not to invade the property of others.


This allowed Zhu Yuanzhang to gain the support of the majority of society. In eliminating his rivals, it was the implementation of such a policy that allowed Zhu Yuanzhang to have a better think tank than his rivals and to Army.

Among the many competitors, Chen Youliang and Zhang Shicheng and Fang Guozhen were Zhu Yuanzhang's main rivals.

In order to achieve the complete destruction of his rivals, Zhu Yuanzhang chose the strategy of attacking Chen Youliang first. This was because Chen Youliang was the strongest of them all.


In 1363, the largest water battle between Chen and Zhu erupted at Poyang Lake, the largest water battle in Chinese history. It ended with Chen Youliang's defeat.

After the defeat of his strongest rival, Zhu spent another 5 years eliminating the remaining competitors one by one. Eventually, the Ming Dynasty was officially established in 1368.

In ancient Chinese history, the Ming dynasty was the last Han Chinese regime. Its establishment meant the fall of the Yuan Dynasty and the resurgence of the Han Chinese.

But the Ming dynasty, like the Yuan dynasty, also failed to avoid the fate of the fall. From the Yongle emperors onwards, Ming emperors were generally incompetent and the genetic quality of their rulers' successors was very poor.

The most famous was the Emperor Wanli. He set a record of not attending court for 20 years. The Ming Dynasty's power declined from him until it was overthrown by the Qing Dynasty.


The root cause of the fall of the Ming Dynasty was economic. The wrong taxation policy of the Ming Dynasty led to a decrease in grain production and increased the burden on farmers. During the reign of Emperor Chongzhen, the dynasty's finances were already full of problems.

Most fatally, many peasants lost their land as a result of land annexation. They were forced to become vagrants in order to survive. With the rise of Li Zicheng, many peasants who lost their land joined the rebel army. The same scenario occurred when Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Yuan Dynasty.

In 1368, the Ming Dynasty finally disintegrated. Its founding and dissolution was merely a manifestation of the pattern of dynastic cycles. Similarly, the founding and disintegration of the Qing dynasty was a repetition of a similar pattern.

In general, history repeats itself over and over again. The change from the Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty is like the change from the Yuan Dynasty to the Ming Dynasty.

The owner of the dynasty is always changing. Even though the emperors did everything in their power to continue their rule, there was always a break in the succession of their throne.

© 2020 Amelia Earhart


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