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HIS280Y1 Study Guide - Final Guide: Yongle Emperor, Zhang Juzheng, Emperor Yingzong Of Ming


Department
History
Course Code
HIS280Y1
Professor
Paul Thompson
Study Guide
Final

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Zhu Yuanzhang / Hongwu Emperor
- (r. 1368 1398)
- The Hongwu Emperor was the founder of the Ming dynasty in 1368
- Born in a peasant family, Zhu Yuanzhang became the leader of an army that conquered China
and ended the Mongol Yuan dynasty, claiming the Mandate of Heaven and established the Ming
Dynasty in 1368
- Revamped the traditional Confucian examination system, and reinstated the Confucian scholar-
bureaucrats to their predominant roles in the government, when they had previously been
marginalized during the Yuan dynasty
- Introduced the Yellow Records and Fish Scale Records to secure both the government’s income
from land taxes and affirm that peasants would not lose their lands
- Worked hard to consolidate control in the person of the emperor, issuing many purges of the
government
- Suspicious of eunuchs and drastically reduced their numbers and power
- Got rid of the Grand Councillor
Yongle Emperor
- (r. 1402-1424)
- The Yongle Emperor was the third emperor of the Ming dynasty, having usurped the throne
from the Hongwu Emperor’s official heir, the Jianwen emperor
- In order to do so, the Yongle Emperor started a civil war and took advantage of the loyalty of the
eunuchs to seize power in 1402
- Because many of the officials were loyal to the Jianwan emperor, the Yongle Emperor relied on
the eunuchs to maintain his power, and thus under the Yongle emperor they began their steady
rise to power in the Ming dynasty
- Launched a series of voyages to demonstrate his own greatness
- Shifted the capital from Nanjing to Beijing
- Rebuilt the Grand Canal
- Launched the emperor they began their steady rise to power in the Ming dynasty
- Launched a series of voyages to demonstrate his own greatness
- Shifted the capital from Nanjing to Beijing
- Rebuilt the Grand Canal
- Launched the Yongle Encylopedia
Tumu Incident, 1449
- The Tumu Incident of 1449 was an event during the Ming dynasty in which the Zhengtong
emperor, under the advise of eunuchs, launched an ill-planned military campaign against the
Oirat Mongols, resulting in his capture
- In 1449, a group of Mongols united into a confederation called the Oirat Mongols and began
attacking the Ming empire
- The Zhengtong emperor, who came to the throne in 1435 at the age of 8, was controlled by a
faction of palace eunuchs who advised him to lead his troops into battle

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- Against the objection of his civil officials, the emperor did so, but a disastrous defeat caused
them to retreat
- They stopped at Tumu to make camp, but the terrain was too dry and by the time they found a
nearby river the Oirats had secured the river bank, cutting them off from water supply
- The emperor ordered his chief eunuch, Wang Zhen, to sue for peace, but the eunuch disobeyed,
giving unauthorized orders for a new attempt to reach the river
- The Oirats then captured the Ming emperor and took him to Mongolia
- Although the Mongols returned the emperor a year later and did not realize any lasting gains
from their victory, the focus of Ming foreign policy shifted after 1449
- Significance
- Displays the weak character of the emperors post-Yongle and the power and corruption of the
eunuchs
- Displays the constant foreign threats the Ming dynasty had to deal with
- After this event, subsequent Ming emperors saw the Mongolian border as a major threat and
put a lot of energy into guarding against it
- Great Wall
- Prompted the court to take the most conservative of approaches to foreign powers, regularly
passing decrees banning contact and trade with overseas nations
Wanli Emperor
- (r. 1572-1620)
- His rule of 48 years was the longest in the Ming dynasty and characterizes the steady decline of
the dynasty
- Ascended the throne at the age of 9
- Spend the early part of his reign under the influence of Zhang Juzheng, a notable statesman who
helped him rule China efficiently, but after Juzheng died Wanli decided to take compelte control
of his government
- This would be devastating, because in the last 20 years of Wanli’s reign he increasingly withdrew
from the government, leaving it in the hands of increasingly corrupt officials and eunuchs
- Significance
- Incapable emperor
- Power of the eunuchs and ministers
- Corruption and factions
Zhang Juzheng
- Statesman under the Wanli emperor (r. 1572-1620) who implemented a number of reforms to
increase the efficiency of taxation
- The most notable reform was the Single Whip Reform of 1581, which ordered that all land taxes
in China be paid in silver
- One in a series of reforms (referred to in their entirety as the “Single Whip Reforms”;) that
increasingly monetized the Chinese tax system, the changes impacted even the lowliest Chinese
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peasant who could no longer pay his taxes in kind, but instead had to purchase silver in order
to do so
- The reform could not have been implemented without the large amount of silver pouring into
China from South American mines, and the resulting domestic need for silver pushed up its
global price
- Significance
- Impact of foreign trade (silver)
- Reliance of Wanli on an official
- Economic crisis that led to the fall of the Ming
Nurhaci Khan
Donglin Academy
Revolt of the Three Feudatories
- The Revolt of the Three Feudatories of 1673-81 was a rebellion in the Qing Dynasty during the
reign of the Kangxi Emperor.
- The revolt was led by the three lords of the Fiefdoms in Yunnan, Guangdong, and Fujian
provinces against the central Qing government.
- During the reign of the Shunzhi Emperor, the central government’s influence was not strong
enough and the rulers were unable to control the provinces in southern China directly, so the
Qing government intiated a policy of letting the Han Chinese govern the Han Chinese, which was
to allow some surrendered generals from the former Ming Dynasty to help them govern the
provinces in the south
- Wu Sangui, Shang Kexi, and Geng Zhongming
- In 1673, Wu Sangui and the other two lords requested retirement from their duties, and the
Kangxi Emepror agreed, ordering them to leave their respective fiefs and resettle Manchuira
- Wu Sangui then declared the formation of a new dynasty and threw off his allegiance to the
Qing Dynasty and the other two lords joined in
- Wu played on a sense of Chinese loyalty for support, ordering the restoration of Ming customs
and the cutting of queues, furthermore the name “Zhou” evoked one of china’s most revered
earlier dynasties
- Rebellion failed for five reasons:
o Wu Sangui was indecisive in not driving across he Hunan border and up to the north
o Kangxi’s ability to rally his court behind him and to develop a long-rang strategy for
conquest and retrenchment
o Courage and tenacity of a number of Manchu generals who spearheaded the qing
counterattacks
o Inability of the Three Feudatories to coordinate and unite
o Their inability to appeal to the most loyal of the Ming supporters, who were well aware
that the Three Feudatories had previously been active collaborators with the Manchus
- The feudatories were completely abolished and governor-generals were appointed to the
rebellious provinces to integrate them firmly into Kangxi’s realm
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