Essay on Ming Dynasty and Zhu Yuanzhang

Submitted By thunt5
Words: 986
Pages: 4

Russia and China both built governments centered on being central after casting off the Mongols. Russia imitated the culture and technology of Europe while China became isolated and built upon its own foundations. After 105+ years of rule, the Mongols began to fall. In Russia this led to the Rise of Muscovy, which was a change in power from Kiev to Moscow. After the collapse of Constantinople, Ivan III referred to his empire as "the Third Rome" and considered it heir to the Byzantine tradition. Ivan IV was the first Russian ruler to call himself czar. He pushed Russian eastward with his conquests. Ivan was succeeded by Boris Godunov, whose reign commenced the so-called Time of Troubles. Relative stability was achieved when Michael Romanov established the Romanov Dynasty that ruled Russia until 1917. Michael Romanov was elected to be Czar/Tzar/Tsar , but afterwards the ruling family of Russia was inherited. Alexis became Czar in 1645 and ruled until 1676. His son Fedor III became Czar and was basically competent, but he were physically deformed and had some problems ruling. He died and his two brothers Ivan V and Peter I was declared co-Czars. Ivan was mentally retarded, so their sister really ruled until Peter was old enough to. When Peter was young he went on a tour of Europe. He became convinced that Russia needed to become as “westernized” as Europe. Peter sought easy access to the Baltic Sea which was needed for trade and military. Peter also built a new capital called St. Petersburg. Clothing changed to German style. The Boyars were forced to shave their beards. The calendar was changed to more closely resemble that of Europe. A written language was established. There was also an increase in the number of schools. As for China, in 1352 a rebellion took place around Guangzhou. A Buddhist monk and former boy beggar, Zhu Yuanzhang, threw off his vestments, joined the rebellion, and his exceptional intelligence took him to the head of the army. The rebellion had spread through most of China by 1355. In 1356, Zhu Yuanzhang captured Nanjing and made it his capital.
While Mongols were fighting among themselves, in 1368, Zhu Yuanzhang extended his rule to Guangzhou. By 1387, all of China was liberated by Zhu Yuanzhang. As the new emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang was given the title Hong Wu and founded the new dynasty, the Ming. The first concern of China's new emperor in 1370 was military strength and preventing Mongol resurgence. Hong-Wu established garrisons at strategic points and created a hereditary military caste of soldiers who would sustain themselves by farming and be ever ready for war. Hong-Wu made his commanders new military nobility. Troops were forbidden to abuse civilians. He banned secret societies. Hong-Wu worked toward economic recovery. Farms had been devastated, and he settled a huge number of peasants on what had been wasteland and gave them tax exemptions. Between 1371 and 1379 the land under cultivation tripled, as did revenues. The government sponsored tree planting and reforestation. Neglected dikes and canals were repaired and thousands of reservoirs were rebuilt or restored. Hong-Wu died in 1398, at the age of 70. The man who had managed to rise to power and found a dynasty was followed by sons less able than he. Hong-Wu's death was followed by four years of civil war and the disappearance of his son and heir, Jianwen. Jianwen had been indecisive and scholarly and no match for his uncle, who in 1403 became the emperor. Zhi Di, also known as the Emperor of Yongle, said to have been born of a Korean concubine. Emperor Yongle ruled to 1424 and used eunuchs as spies and appointing them to high positions in government. One of Emperor Yongle's eunuchs, Zheng He, was a Muslim whose father had made a pilgrimage to Mecca. He knew the world a little more than others, and he led a group of can-do eunuchs that…