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    Recovery: Ming China and Renaissance Europe

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    Why did the Mongol (Yuan) dynasty weaken and fall?
    Financial management led to serious economic difficulties, and political conflicts led to factional fighting among the Mongols themselves. In 1368, with bubonic plague raging, the Yuan dynasty collapsed, and the Mongols departed China en masse, leaving China in a state of both demographic and political turmoil.
    How did Hongwu come to power?
    When the Yuan dynasty fell, the governance of China returned to Chinese hands. Because of his size and strength, he came to the notice of military commanders, and he made his way through the ranks to lead the rebellious forces that toppled the Yuan dynasty.
    What does “Ming” mean?
    “Brilliant” (this dynasty lasted until 1644).
    Why did Hongwu return to using the civil service exams?
    Although he had little interest in scholarly matters, he reestablished the Confucian educational and civil service systems to ensure a supply of talented officials and bureaucrats.
    Why did he establish direct rule by the emperor?
    After suspicion of chief minister’s involvement in a treasonous plot, he executed the minister and his allies and then abolished the minister’s position altogether. From that time forward the Ming emperors ruled directly, without the aid of chief ministers.
    How did the emperors use mandarins and eunuchs?
    Mandarins, a special class of officials sent out as emissaries of the central government to ensure local compliance with imperial policy. Eunuchs had long been considered reliable because they could not generate families and build power bases that might challenge ruling houses.
    Why did the Ming use eunuchs so extensively?
    Because they expected that servants whose fortunes depended exclusively on the emperors’ favor would work especially diligently to advance the emperors’ interests.
    When and who replaced the Ming dynasty?
    Fell in 1644 to Manchu invaders, who founded the Qing dynasty.
    When did the last Chinese dynasty collapse?
    Qing dynasty – 1911.
    What was the economic situation under the Ming?
    The new rulers conscripted laborers to rebuild irrigation systems that had fallen into disrepair, and agricultural production surged as a result.
    How did the Ming reenforce the dynasty’s Chinese identity?
    Discouraged the use of Mongol names and the wearing of Mongol dress.
    Who held effective authority in the Holy Roman empire?
    German princes and the Italian city-states rather than the emperor.
    Which was the last kingdom held by the Muslims in Spain?
    Kingdom of Granada in the southern portion of the Iberian peninsula.
    What were the two most important elements in the building of state power?
    The first was the development of fresh sources of finance, usually through new taxes levied directly on citizens and subjects. The second was the maintenance of large standing armies, often composed of mercenary forces and equipped with gunpowder weapons, supported by state funds.
    Which were the five principal Italian states at the beginning of the 13th century?
    The city-states of Milan, Venice, and Florence, the papal state based in Rome, and the Kingdom of Naples.
    Why did Italy have so many prosperous cities?
    Began to finance their needs for military forces and larger bureaucracies by levying direct taxes and issuing long-term bonds that they repaid from treasury receipts. With fresh sources of finance, the principal Italian states strengthened their authority within their boundaries as well as in their surrounding areas.
    How were the kings of England and France able to gain a decisive edge over the nobility?
    Levy direct taxes and assemble powerful armies.
    What event greatly strengthened the power of the Spanish monarchy?
    The process of state building was most dramatic in Spain, where the marriage in 1469 of Fernando of Aragon and Isabel of Castile united the two wealthiest Iberian realms.
    What was the chief source of royal income in Spain?
    Receipts from the sales tax.
    When and why did the Spanish monarchy become involved in Italian affairs?
    When a French army threatened the kingdom of Naples in 1494, they seized southern Italy, and by 1559 Spanish forces had established their hegemony throughout most of the Italian peninsula.
    How did competition help Europeans increase the speed of technological innovation?
    Tightened their authority in their territories. This competition led to frequent small-scale wars between European states, and it encouraged the rapid development of military and naval technology.
    What does the world “renaissance” mean?
    “Rebirth” – refers to a period of artistic and intellectual creativity from the fourteenth to the sixtieth century in western Europe.
    What was the goal of the humanists?
    Looked to classical rather than medieval literary models, and they sought to update medieval moral thought and adapt it to the needs of a bustling urban society.
    How was Renaissance art different from Medieval art?
    Sought to depict their subjects in natural poses that reflected the actual workings of human muscles rather than the awkward and rigid postures of earlier sculptures.
    On which model did the Renaissance architects build?
    Simple, elegant styles preferred by their classical Greek and Roman predecessors.
    What was their most impressive achievement?
    Domed buildings.
    What subjects do the humanities treat?
    Literature, history, and moral philosophy and also Christianity.
    What two sources did the humanists have in obtaining ancient texts?
    New Testament and other important Christian writings.
    In what way did world trade foster the Renaissance?
    Renaissance art and thought also reflected increasing European participation in the affairs of the eastern hemisphere.
    Why were the Ming emperors not anxious to have foreigners in China?
    Having ousted the Mongols, the early Ming emperors were not eager to have large numbers of foreigners residing in China.
    How many expeditions did the Chinese government sponsor under Zheng He?
    Seven unprecedented naval expeditions designed to establish a Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean basin.
    What were the two main purposes of Zheng He’s voyages?
    To impose imperial control over foreign trade with China and to impress foreign peoples with the power and might of the Ming dynasty. Expeditions took place between 1405 and 1433.
    How successful were the voyages and why were they stopped?
    They were successful, but Confucian ministers mistrusted Zheng He and eunuchs supported the voyages, but argued that the resources for the voyages were too expensive and could be used for better uses.
    Why did Europeans venture onto the seas?
    To expand the boundaries of Roman Catholic Christianity and to profit from commercial opportunities.
    Why did Portuguese exploration really begin with the seizure of Ceuta?
    It was a blow against Islam and as a strategic move enabling Christian vessels to move freely between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
    Why did the Portuguese colonize the Mediterranean islands they discovered?
    These islands enjoyed fertile soils and a Mediterranean climate that Portuguese entrepreneurs soon began to cultivate sugarcane in collaboration with Italian investors.
    What did the Portuguese initially trade along the African coast?
    Originally they traded guns, textiles, and other manufactured items for African gold and slaves.
    How did the Portuguese change the nature of African slavery?
    Dramatically increased its volume and by sending slaves to new destinations.
    Which European nation dominated the trade in the Indian Ocean and how did they achieve this?
    Portuguese merchants and mariners dominated trade between Europe and Asia. They attempted to control all shipping in the Indian Ocean by overpowering the vessels of Arabs, Persians, Indians, and southeast Asians. They did not have enough ships to oversee all trade in the region, but the entry of Portuguese mariners into the Indian Ocean signaled the beginning of European imperialism in Asia.
    What did Columbus hope to achieve? Did he achieve it?
    He conceived the idea of sailing west to reach Asian markets. He did not achieve this goal – instead he reached the western hemisphere, specifically the Americas.

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