1368 - 1644. 21st dynasty of China.
Preceded by the Yuan Dynasty and followed by the Qing Dynasty.

Years (CE):  Personal name:   Imperial name:  Reign motto:
1368-1399    Zhu Yuanzhang    Ming Taizu      Hongwu
1399-1403    Zhu Xunwen       Ming Huidi      Jianwen
1403-1425    Zhu Di           Ming Chengzu    Yongle
1425         Zhu Gaochi       Ming Renzong    Hongxi
1426-1436    Zhu Zhanji       Ming Xuanzong   Xuande
1436-1450    Zhu Qizhen       Ming Yingzong   Zhengtong
1450-1457    Zhu Qiyu         Ming Daizong    Jingtai
1457-1465    Zhu Qizhen again                 Tianshun
1465-1488    Zhu Jianshen     Ming Xianzong   Chenghua
1488-1506    Zhu Youcheng     Ming Xiaozong   Hongzhi
1506-1522    Zhu Houzhao      Ming Wuzong     Zhengde
1522-1567    Zhu Houcong      Ming Shizong    Jiajing
1567-1573    Zhu Zaihou       Ming Muzong     Longqing
1573-1620    Zhu Yijun        Ming Shenzong   Wanli
1620         Zhu Changluo     Ming Guangzong  Taichang
1621-1628    Zhu Youjiao      Ming Xizong     Tianqi
1628-1644    Zhu Youjian      Ming Sizong     Chongzhen


Source: "Chinese History - Ming Dynasty", http://www.chinaknowledge.de/History/Ming-Qing/ming.htm

The Ming dynasty followed the Yuan dynasty in China, returning rule to native Chinese from the foreign Mongols.

The first law instituted by Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor in this dynasty, was the outlaw of White Lotus Societies, in a somewhat paranoid effort to ensure he would maintain control of China during his reign.

During this time, orthodoxy of religion was especially monitored and even enforced by law; any drifting from orthodoxy was treated as witchcraft. Also in the Ming dynasty, the three religions of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism were blurred into one religion combining Confucianist filial piety, Daoist magic, and Buddhist compassion. To do this, stories were created that presented these "three sages" as having been related in some way, such as through friendship, brotherhood, or reincarnation. This new religion emphasized that Buddhism cannot stand without Confucist ethics and the Dao.

The Ming dynasty ended with power struggles among the leadership, culminating in a loss of the empire to the Manchus, who took over China in 1644 and established the Qing dynasty.

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