Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Emperor Hong Wu was one of the most violent emperors in the history of China. He had many people killed including his prime minister because the prime minister was plotting to have him assassinated. You might say that happens all the time. However, Hong Wu not only killed the prime minister but his entire extended family. The death toll was 40,000 people!!

Upon his death Hong Wu had 38 sons and 18 daughters. He had 38 concubines killed and placed in his tomb to serve him in the afterlife.

This was the only time the Chinese explored outside of their region. Exploration was between the years of 1405-1433. The Admiral of the Chinese Navy was Zheng He. They sailed on the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and also entered the Atlantic Ocean. They were called back to China after the death of Zheng He and the entire fleet was destroyed. China never pushed the boundaries of their country after this.
The Mandate of Heaven

The Mandate of Heaven was a belief that the right ruler came from the gods. A Chinese ruler was considered a Son of Heaven. They were able to rule as long as the gods were pleased with their actions. This was called the Dynastic cycle. Every dynasty follows this cycle; some are a little quicker than others.

New Dynasty

The Emperor:
Restores the peace of the land
Appoints new loyal officials
Redistributes land to peasants
Builds canals, irrigation systems, and roads
Repairs defensive structures

After several generations (if they are lucky), the dynasty becomes an aging dynasty
Aging Dynasty

The Emperor:
Neglects governmental duties
Ignores corrupt officials
Loses control of provinces
Taxes people heavily
Defenses start to decay

At this point, the dynasty has lost its Mandate of Heaven and the gods start to show their displeasure.

Problems:

Floods, famine, earthquakes
Invasions
Bandits and lawlessness
Peasant’s revolt

A new dynasty replaces the old dynasty and the cycle of the Mandate of Heaven starts again.