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Ming Dynasty Background (Year: 1368 - 1644)

Chinese symbol for Ming DynastyZhu Yuan Zhang (Cantonese: Taizu) founded the Ming dynasty in 1368. "Ming" means bright or in this context bright shinning. The first capital of the Ming dynasty was Nanjing. Zhu Yuan Zhang abdicated in 1398 and In 1403 Zhu Di became the new emperor. In 1421 the Forbidden City and the Imperial Palace of the Ming emperors and the Qing emperors were built. The Forbidden City is the biggest palace of the world with 9,999 chambers in the palace. (Replica of the Forbidden City in the U.S. at Forbidden Gardens). The Great Wall was also built in this time period. The height of this great sight is different, from 4 m to 12 m. Every 200 m we can find a tower. When it came to a fight at the wall this message was shown with fire signals from one tower to the next tower until the emperor was informed.


The Ming Dynasty rulers distinguished themselves by being fatter, lazier, crazier, and nastier than the average Imperial family. After the first Ming Emperor discovered that his prime minister was plotting against him, not only was the prime minister beheaded, but his entire family and anyone even remotely connected with him. Eventually, about 40,000 (no, that is not a misprint) people were executed in connection with this case alone. They were also virulent Neo-Confucianists. 

In the early 1400s, a sailor named Zheng He (with a fleet of some 300-plus ships) sailed as far west as Mogadishu and Jiddah, and he may (or may not) have gotten to Madagascar. This is nearly 100 years before Columbus had the idea of trying to sail to Asia the long way around. But once the sailors came back, the trips were never followed up on. Conservative scholars at court failed to see the importance of them. For the first time in history, China was turning inwards, clinging to an incorrect interpretation of an outmoded philosophy.

To give the Ming Dynasty their due, however, they did do some positive things. Among other things, they moved the capital to Beijing, fortified the Great Wall, built the Forbidden City, and gave Macao to the Portuguese. 


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