The Ming dynasty (post-1521)

Authored by: Harry Miller

Routledge Handbook of Imperial Chinese History

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138847286
eBook ISBN: 9781315726878
Adobe ISBN:


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By the sixteenth century, Ming dynasty China had grown into a thriving and populous realm. The disease and warfare that had marked its founding generation was far in the past, and the long peace, disturbed only by a small number of localized revolts, ensured a sustained recovery. Not since the Song dynasty, at least, had China enjoyed such growth and prosperity; and one contemporary observer, a well-traveled governor who had reflected much on China’s demographics, believed the Ming situation to be unprecedented: “During a period of 240 years when peace and plenty in general have reigned,” he wrote, “people have no longer known what war is like. Population has grown so much that it is entirely without parallel in history.”

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