Ming rule saw the construction of a vast navy and a standing army of 1,000,000 troops. Although private maritime trade and official tribute missions from China had taken place in previous dynasties, the tributary fleet under the Muslimeunuch admiral Zheng He in the 15th century surpassed all others in sheer size. There were enormous projects of construction, including the restoration of the Grand Canal and the Great Wall and the establishment of the Forbidden City in Beijing during the first quarter of the 15th century. Estimates for the population in the late Ming era vary from 160 to 200 million.(more...)
Du Fu (Chinese: 杜甫; pinyin: Dù Fǔ; Wade–Giles: Tu Fu, 712–770) was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty. Along with Li Bai (Li Po), he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. His own greatest ambition was to help his country by becoming a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations. His life, like the whole country, was devastated by the An Lushan Rebellion of 755, and the last 15 years of his life were a time of almost constant unrest.