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The Mongol and Ming Empires

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1 The Mongol and Ming Empires
Focus Question  What were the effects of the Mongol invasion and the rise of the Ming dynasty on China?

2 Mongol Armies Build an Empire
The Mongols were a nomadic people who grazed their horses and sheep on the steppes, or vast, treeless plains, of Central Asia. Rival Mongol clans spent much of their time warring with one another. In the early 1200s, however, a brilliant Mongol chieftain united these warring tribes.

3 Conquests of Genghis Khan
Under the leadership, of Genghis Kahn, Mongol forces conquered a vast empire that stretched from the Pacific Ocean to Eastern Europe.

4 Genghis Khan Originally called Temüjin, Genghis Khan (c. 1162–1227) was renowned for being ruthless, determined, and courageous. When Temüjin was nine years old, a rival Mongol clan poisoned his father. At the age of 15, Temüjin was taken prisoner. For the rest of his life, he never forgot the humiliation of being locked in a wooden collar and paraded before his enemies.

5 When he regained his freedom, Temüjin wandered among drifting clans
When he regained his freedom, Temüjin wandered among drifting clans. He took revenge on the clan that had imprisoned him and in time, became supreme ruler of all the Mongols. Once despised, Genghis Khan would be admired and feared across two continents

6 The Conquests of Genghis Khan
He imposed strict military discipline and demanded absolute loyalty. His armies had some of the most skilled horsemen in the world. Genghis Khan did not live to see his conquest of China be completed. His heirs continued to expand the empire.

7 Mongols Invade China Genghis Khan had a reputation for fierceness. He could order the massacre of an entire city. Yet he also could be generous, rewarding the bravery of a single fighter.

8 Genghis Khan & Mongol Rule
The Mongols were not oppressive rulers. They often allowed conquered people to live as they had before—as long as they regularly paid tribute to the Mongols. Khan believed in tolerance of others and an overall sense of justice.


10 Political stability set the stage for economic growth
Political stability set the stage for economic growth. Under the protection of the Mongols, who now controlled the great Silk Road, trade flourished across Eurasia.

11 Strength of the Mongols
Cultural exchanges increased as foods, tools, inventions, and ideas spread along protected trade routes. Kublai Khan (Genghis Khan’s grandson) spread Mongol rule even further.

12 Marco Polo Writes About China
Italian merchant Marco Polo spent time in China during the Yuan dynasty. (Kublai Khan renamed the Mongol Dynasty the Yuan Dynasty). His writings made Europeans very interested in China’s wealth.

13 The Ming Restore Chinese Rule
Yuan dynasty declined after the death of Kublai Khan. Zhu Yuanzhang (a peasant leader) defeated the Mongols and founded the Ming (brilliant) Dynasty .

14 Achievements of the Ming
Restored the civil service system, and Confucian learning again became the road to success. Farming methods improved. Classic literature Valuable porcelain exported abroad

15 Culture Flourishes

16 Chinese Fleets Sail the Seas
Ming rulers sent fleets into distant waters to show the glory of their government and promote trade. The most extraordinary of these overseas voyages were those of Zheng He (jeng he).


18 “The countries beyond the horizon and from the ends of the earth have all become subjects We have traversed immense waterspaces and have behold in the ocean huge waves like mountains rising skyhigh, and we have set eyes on barbarian regions far away while our sails loftily unfurled like clouds day and night continued their course, traversing those savage waves as if we were treading on a public thorough fare.” —Zheng He, quoted in The True Dates of the Chinese Maritime Expeditions in the Early Fifteenth Century (Duyvendak)

19 Exploration Ends In 1435, the year Zheng He died, the Ming emperor suddenly banned the building of seagoing ships. We are not sure why. Possible reasons: cost? Some Confucian scholars may have believed it was better to focus inward and ignore the outer world.

20 How would this ‘turning inward’ have hurt China?
How do you think the course of history may have been changed by this decision to abandon the great overseas voyages?

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