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Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World

Lesson C: China — Mongol to Ming Rule

Activity 4: Rise of Ming China

Painting of Ming Emperor Hon Wu

Ming Emperor Hon Wu [2]

Map of Early Ming Empire under Hon Wu

Early Ming Empire under Hon Wu [1]

The Mongols under the Yuan Dynasty became the latest empire to lose control over China in the 14th century. The difficulty of meeting the challenges of maintaining a large, diverse empire proved to be too much to handle for the Yuan. The Ming Empire, under Emperor Hon Wu, succeeded Yuan rule over China. The time period of Ming rule is often divided in half, with the first half or "early" Ming representing a period of reaction against threats to traditional Chinese culture and customs.

The early Ming Empire's rule over China faced challenges similar to other ruling dynasties. The government responded to the political, economic, and social issues in varying ways. Many of the developments were caused by Ming concern with strengthening the Chinese economy and defending against threats to the security of the Empire. Their policies resulted in a renewed period of Chinese control over East Asia through the 16th century.

Interactive IconDirections: Listed below are examples of some of the developments of the early Ming Empire. Read each of the actions or "causes" and then match it with the correct impact or "effect."

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Printer Icon When you have completed the activity, print a copy of the answers and keep it in your notebook for reference.

The Ming government's efforts to strengthen their economy and protect their borders helped establish a lasting empire. While some actions resulted in problems such as inflation and tension with Confucian scholars, trade and transportation inside Ming borders improved. However, leaders during the early Ming period eventually decided to limit their interaction with outsiders. Foreign contact declined under a period of isolation. Think about how the events above may have led to this decision to become isolated.

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Written Activity - Student Resource

Answer the following questions on your Student Resource: Mongol to Ming Rule Graphic Organizer.

  • Why might the Ming government have decided to limit interaction with outsiders?
  • What aspects of Chinese society may have been threatened by foreign interaction?


Page Notes:

[1] Source: This image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ming-Empire2.jpg is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

[2] Source: This image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hongwu1.jpg is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.