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Portal:History of Imperial China

History of Imperial China

The history of Imperial China spans from the beginning of the Qin dynasty in 221 BC to the end of the Qing dynasty and the formation of the Republic of China in 1912 AD.

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The Ming Dynasty Tombs located near Beijing.
The Ming Dynasty (Chinese: 明朝; pinyin: Míng Cháo), or Empire of the Great Ming (simplified Chinese: 大明国; traditional Chinese: 大明國; pinyin: Dà Míng Guó), was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Hans (the main Chinese ethnic group), before falling to the rebellion led in part by Li Zicheng and soon after replaced by the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty. Although the Ming capital Beijing fell in 1644, remnants of the Ming throne and power (collectively called the Southern Ming) survived until 1662.

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 Muslim eunuch 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...)

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Zhang Heng.jpg
Zhang Heng (Chinese: 張衡; pinyin: Zhāng Héng; Wade–Giles: Chang Heng) (AD 78139) was an astronomer, mathematician, inventor, geographer, cartographer, artist, poet, statesman, and literary scholar of the Eastern Han Dynasty in ancient China. He had extensive knowledge of mechanics and gears, applying this knowledge to several of his known inventions. He is best known for inventing the world's first water-powered armillary sphere to represent astronomical observation, improving the inflow clepsydra clock with an additional tank, and inventing the world's first seismometer device, which discerned the cardinal direction of earthquakes from incredibly far distances. In addition to writing an extensive star catalogue, Zhang also posited theories about the moon and its relationship to the sun, specifically the moon's sphericity, its illumination by reflecting sunlight, and solar and lunar eclipses. (read more...)

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