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Ming Dynasty


A book that drew comparisons between an inept Chinese emperor of the Ming dynasty and President Xi Jinping was recently recalled in China.


GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Ming Dynasty
  2. Achievements

Ming Dynasty

  • The Ming Dynasty governed China from A.D. 1368 to 1644.
  • Trade and Cultural Exchange: Known for expanding trade and establishing cultural ties with the West. Renowned for its drama, literature, and porcelain.
Founding and Capital
  • Founder and Capital: Established by commoner Zhu Yuanzhang (1328–1398), with Nanjing as the initial capital.
  • Capital Relocation: The third emperor moved the capital to Beijing, which has remained China’s main seat of government.
Governmental Structure
  • Continuing Legacy: The Ming’s basic governmental structure persisted through the Qing dynasty until its abolition in 1911/12.
  • Civil Service System: Perfected the civil service examination system, with top officials entering the bureaucracy through examinations.
  • Provincial Affairs: Handled by three agencies, each reporting to separate central government bureaus.
  • Prime Minister’s Abolition: The position of prime minister was eliminated, and the emperor ruled with the aid of the specially appointed Neige, or Grand Secretariat.


  • Economic and Cultural Expansion: Witnessed remarkable economic and cultural growth, including a significant population increase.
  • Notable Achievements: Refurbished the Great Wall, large naval expeditions, vibrant maritime trade, and the rise of a monetized economy.
  • Cultural Achievements: Produced exceptional porcelain, paintings, lacquers, textiles, and a publishing boom with affordable books for commoners.
  • Troubled Last Century: The last century of the Ming Dynasty was marked by border conflicts, crop failures, fiscal instability, and court corruption.
  • Manchu Invasion: Overthrown by Manchu invaders from the north, who captured Beijing in 1644.
  • Succession by Qing Dynasty: The Ming Dynasty was succeeded by the Qing (Manchu) dynasty (1644-1911).

-Source: Hindustan Times

December 2023