China 1648 CE

The Qing dynasty is now taking control of the Chinese empire from the Ming, opening a new phase in China's history.

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What is happening in China in 1648CE

The Ming dynasty presided over a reasonably tranquil period in Chinese history. However, the Ming emperors, for the most part nonentities, fell increasingly under the control of eunuch factions at court. These factions were frequently in bitter conflict with the scholar-officials of the imperial bureaucracy. The turbulence of life at the centre meant that some deep-seated problems in the administration of the Ming empire were not addressed properly.

In the 16th century the Ming dynasty showed the classic symptoms of dynastic decline, repeated at regular intervals throughout China’s history: corrupt and ineffective administration in the provinces, famine and floods inadequately dealt with, peasant revolt and invasion from across the frontiers.

One group of invaders are a people from the northern steppes who, having developed a Chinese-style state in Manchuria (hence the name by which they are known to history, the Manchus), have taken advantage of rising chaos in China to march on the capital and seize the throne (1644). They have thus established a new dynasty, the Qing (“brilliant”), and, under their regent, Dorgon, are now in the process of pacifying the entire country. After initial struggles a final, glorious phase in China’s imperial history will begin.

Next map, China in 1789

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