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6th Grade UBD - Unit 5 – The Ming Dynasty

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1 6th Grade UBD - Unit 5 – The Ming Dynasty

2 Preview Chinese Ideas Spread- After the Ming dynasty took control of China back from the Mongols, Chinese ideas and goods spread across the world. As Trade Expands, the Empire Grows- The expansion of trade led to the growth of the Ming dynasty’s empire and its people. Overseas Trade Ends- China produced several goods other nations were eager to import. But in 1433, the Ming emperor cut off trade and outlawed overseas expeditions.

3 Reach Into Your Background
At the height of its commercial activity, Chinese leaders decided to reduce their contact with the rest of the world. How do you think this impacted China’s economy and culture. (5 minutes)

4 Partner Activity Work with a neighbor and compare your answer with theirs. What things are the same and what things are different? (3 minutes)

5 Key Ideas- Chinese Ideas Spread
Admiral Zheng He’s ocean journeys increased China’s trade and status. The Chinese continued to use and improve on navigational tools and developed new improvements in ship design, which helped improve trade and lead to exploration. During the Ming dynasty, the Chinese improved the process of papermaking and continued to use moveable type which made the manufacture of books much quicker.

6 Birth of a Dynasty In 1363, China was a fragmenting group of kingdoms making up the eastern realm of the Mongol Empire. The Mongols had overrun China and seized power from the Song dynasty.

7 Birth of a Dynasty Ironically, the Mongols admired Chinese culture and were dedicated to preserving it. But the Chinese people could never accept the rule of people they considered to be barbarians.

8 Birth of a Dynasty Despite the wealth and peace China experienced the Mongols were overthrown in 1368. The man who led the rebellion, Zhu Yuanzhang, called his new dynasty Ming, which means “brilliant.”

9 Key Term Zhu Yuanzhang- Founder and first emperor of the Ming dynasty, became the leader of a rebel army and led them against the Mongols.

10 The Forbidden City Video- The Forbidden City

11 The Forbidden City Reading Handout- The Forbidden City

12 Culture and Trade The Ming period, which lasted from 1368 to 1644, was indeed a high point of Chinese civilization. Literature and painting thrived, and new arts were introduced, including silk weaving and porcelain pottery.

13 Key Term Porcelain- A type of pottery first developed in China. It is famous for its white, smooth, nonporous surface.

14 Culture and Trade New crops and farming tools helped build the population and were part of the expanding trade that fueled China’s economy. Naval innovation and trade especially marked the Ming period.

15 Key Term Economy- The way a country manages its money and resources (such as workers and land) to produce, buy, and sell goods and services.

16 Masters of the Oceans As well-built ships were critical to a successful sea trade, elaborate systems were in place to keep the ships in good working order.

17 Masters of the Oceans Supporting industries around the shipyards created sails, ropes, and nails and helped provide jobs to the Chinese people. The most popular type of boat in the Chinese fleet was called a junk.

18 Key Term Junk- An ancient Chinese sailing vessel/ship design still in use today.

19 Masters of the Oceans Through advances in naval technology and navigating skill, Chinese ships explored India and Africa and established trade relationships with West Asian kingdoms and with Europe.

20 Masters of the Oceans This growth in trade increased China’s wealth and power and created a large demand for Chinese luxury goods. It also encouraged an exchange of ideas that opened the west’s eyes to China’s achievements and exposed Chinese culture to new ideas.

21 The Explorations of Admiral Zheng He
The voyages of Admiral Zheng He characterize the energy and daring of Ming China. Zheng led a fleet of 62 large ships and approximately 30,000 sailors on an expedition to the “Western Oceans” in 1405. 


23 Key Term Admiral Zheng He- Commanded the Ming dynasty's fleet of immense trading vessels on expeditions ranging as far as Africa.

24 The Explorations of Admiral Zheng He
The three-year voyage took Zheng to western India.  Zheng voyages helped to spread Chinese goods and trade and also served to increase China’s influence and control of the waters around Asia.

25 The Explorations of Admiral Zheng He
Zheng continued exploring through 1433, reaching the Persian Gulf and eastern Africa, establishing trade relations and, in some cases, receiving tribute payments from peoples who were impressed by the power of the Ming emperor.


27 Crash Course- 15th Century Mariners
Video- 15th Century Mariners

28 Key Ideas- As Trade Expands, the Empire Grows
Porcelain, jade, silk, and other goods reached the West by the Silk Road. The growth in trade led to a higher standard of living for Chinese merchants. The stability of the Ming Empire allowed art, poetry, and literature to thrive.

29 Transcontinental Trade
China’s luxury goods were in high demand outside of China. Chinese merchants carried these goods to other countries using the Silk Road, a network of interconnected trade routes.

30 Transcontinental Trade
Chinese trade routes linked Asia with Europe and Africa. Ideas, technology, and culture were also exchanged by the traders as they traveled the Silk Road.

31 Global Demand To wealthy European leaders and nobles, silk, porcelain, and other goods from China were symbols of success and power. Explorers and traders from Europe were eager to expand this trade.

32 Global Demand Because of the increased trade by land and sea during the first years of the Ming dynasty, the merchant class grew in wealth, power, and status.

33 Key Ideas- Overseas Trade Ends
Traders were forced to come to China to obtain Chinese goods. Explorers sought new trade routes to the East. The Chinese junk was such a successful design that it is still in use today. In 1433, the Chinese government halted the construction of large ships, forcing explorers to find new ways to reach China.

34 The Empire Turns Inward
After Zheng’s death in 1433, the emperor decided that the expensive voyages of exploration could be halted. The size of the fleet was cut by two-thirds.

35 The Empire Turns Inward
After Zheng’s death Western traders had to come to China to get its goods, which made Chinese trade more expensive. As the supply of Chinese goods like and silk fell, the prices for those goods rose.

36 Key Term Supply and Demand- An economic concept that states that the price of a good rises and falls depending on how many people want it (demand) and depending on how much of the good is available (supply).

37 Supply and Demand Video- Supply and Demand

38 The Empire Turns Inward
China reveled in its status as the most desirable trading partner of the West and in its power to command trade without making the effort to transport its goods to foreign markets.

39 The Empire Turns Inward
Finding the fastest way to China became the driving goal of European exploration—a goal that led Christopher Columbus to look for a western route to China. He found the Americas while looking for Ming China.

40 Crash Course- 2,000 Years of Chinese History
Video- 2,000 Years of Chinese History

41 Independent Activity What has been the “muddiest” point so far in this lesson? That is, what topic remains the least clear to you? (4 minutes)

42 Partner Activity Work with a neighbor and compare your muddiest point with theirs. Compare what things are the same and what things are different? (3 minutes)

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