Ming Dynasty Timeline

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  • 1356
    Zhu Yuanzhang, leader of the rebel Red Turbans Movement and future Ming Hongwu Emperor, takes control of Nanjing.
  • 1368 - 1398
    Reign of the Hongwu Emperor, founder of the Ming Dynasty in China.
  • 1368 - 1644
    Reign of the Ming Dynasty in China.
  • 23 Jan 1368
    Zhu Yuanzhang, founder of the Ming Dynasty, declares himself Emperor of China, taking the reign name Hongwu.
  • 1370
    Civil service entrance examinations are reintroduced in China.
  • 1371 - 1433
    Life of the great Chinese mariner and explorer Zheng He.
  • 1398 - 1402
    Reign of the Jianwen Emperor of the Chinese Ming Dynasty.
  • 1401
    Japan joins the tribute system of China's Ming Dynasty.
  • 1403 - 1424
    Reign of the Yongle Emperor (aka Chengzu) of the Ming Dynasty.
  • 1405 - 1433
    The mariner and explorer Zheng He makes seven voyages from China to India, Arabia and East Africa.
  • 1407
    Work begins on the Forbidden City in Beijing.
  • 1420
    The Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty establishes the Eastern Depot, a secret service branch of the state bureaucracy.
  • 1421
    Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty moves the capital of China from Nanjing to Beijing.
  • 1424
    Death of the Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty while on campaign against the Mongols.
  • 1472 - 1529
    Life of the Chinese philosopher Wang Yangming.
  • c. 1557
    The Chinese Ming Dynasty grants the Portuguese a trading base of their own at Macao.
  • 1557
    Ming dynasty forces capture the wako pirate chief Wang Chih.
  • 1573 - 1620
    Emperor Wanli of the Ming Dynasty reigns in China.
  • 1598
    The popualr Chinese play The Peony Pavilion by Tang Xianzu is written.
  • 1604
    The Donglin Academy is founded in Ming Dynasty China.
  • 1628 - 1644
    Reign of Chongzhen, the last Ming Dynasty emperor.
  • 1644
    A rebel army led by Li Zicheng attacks Beijing, the Ming Dynasty's capital.