History of The Ming Dynasty

The Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), founded by the peasant rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang (known posthumously as Emperor Taizu), was an imperial dynasty of China. It was the successor to the Yuan Dynasty and the predecessor of the short-lived Shun Dynasty, which was in turn succeeded by the Qing Dynasty. Scholars have traditionally divided Ming history into three distinct periods: Early (1368–1436), Middle (1436–1573), and Late (1573–1644). At its height, the Ming Dynasty had a population of 160 million people, while some assert the population could actually have been as large as 200 million.

Ming rule saw the construction of a vast navy and a standing army of 1,000,000 troops. Although private maritime trade and official tribute missions from China took place in previous dynasties, the size of the tributary fleet under the Muslim eunuch admiral Zheng He in the 15th century surpassed all others in grandeur. There were enormous projects of construction, including the restoration of the Grand Canal, the restoration of the Great Wall as it is seen today, and the establishment of the Forbidden City in Beijing during the first quarter of the 15th century.

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