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6th Grade UBD - Unit 5 – The Ming Dynasty
Chinese Ideas Spread- After the Ming dynasty took control of
China back from the Mongols, Chinese ideas and goods spread
across the world.
As Trade Expands, the Empire Grows- The expansion of trade
led to the growth of the Ming dynasty’s empire and its people.
Overseas Trade Ends- China produced several goods other
nations were eager to import. But in 1433, the Ming emperor
cut off trade and outlawed overseas expeditions.
 At the height of its
commercial activity, Chinese
leaders decided to reduce
their contact with the rest of
the world. How do you think
this impacted China’s
economy and culture.
(5 minutes)
Work with a
neighbor and
compare your
answer with theirs.
What things are
the same and what
things are
different? (3
Admiral Zheng He’s ocean journeys increased China’s
trade and status.
The Chinese continued to use and improve on navigational
tools and developed new improvements in ship design,
which helped improve trade and lead to exploration.
During the Ming dynasty, the Chinese improved the
process of papermaking and continued to use moveable
type which made the manufacture of books much quicker.
In 1363, China was a
fragmenting group of
kingdoms making up the
eastern realm of the
Mongol Empire.
The Mongols had overrun
China and seized power
from the Song dynasty.
Ironically, the Mongols
admired Chinese culture
and were dedicated to
preserving it.
But the Chinese people
could never accept the rule
of people they considered
to be barbarians.
Despite the wealth and peace
China experienced the
Mongols were overthrown in
The man who led the
rebellion, Zhu Yuanzhang,
called his new dynasty Ming,
which means “brilliant.”
Key Term
Zhu YuanzhangFounder and first
emperor of
the Ming dynasty,
became the leader
of a rebel army and
led them against
the Mongols.
Video- The Forbidden City
Reading Handout- The Forbidden City
The Ming period, which
lasted from 1368 to 1644,
was indeed a high point of
Chinese civilization.
Literature and painting
thrived, and new arts were
introduced, including silk
weaving and porcelain
Key Term
Porcelain- A type
of pottery first
developed in
China. It is
famous for its
white, smooth,
New crops and farming
tools helped build the
population and were part of
the expanding trade that
fueled China’s economy.
Naval innovation and trade
especially marked the Ming
Key Term
Economy- The way a
country manages its
money and
resources (such as
workers and land) to
produce, buy, and
sell goods and
As well-built ships
were critical to a
successful sea trade,
elaborate systems
were in place to keep
the ships in good
working order.
Supporting industries
around the shipyards
created sails, ropes, and
nails and helped provide
jobs to the Chinese
The most popular type of
boat in the Chinese fleet
was called a junk.
Key Term
Junk- An
Chinese sailing
design still in
use today.
Through advances in
naval technology and
navigating skill, Chinese
ships explored India and
Africa and established
trade relationships with
West Asian kingdoms
and with Europe.
This growth in trade increased
China’s wealth and power and
created a large demand for
Chinese luxury goods.
It also encouraged an
exchange of ideas that opened
the west’s eyes to China’s
achievements and exposed
Chinese culture to new ideas.
The voyages of Admiral Zheng
He characterize the energy
and daring of Ming China.
Zheng led a fleet of 62 large
ships and approximately
30,000 sailors on an expedition
to the “Western Oceans” in
Key Term
Admiral Zheng HeCommanded the
Ming dynasty's fleet
of immense trading
vessels on
expeditions ranging
as far as Africa.
The three-year voyage took
Zheng to western India.
Zheng voyages helped to
spread Chinese goods and
trade and also served to
increase China’s influence
and control of the waters
around Asia.
Zheng continued exploring
through 1433, reaching the
Persian Gulf and eastern
Africa, establishing trade
relations and, in some cases,
receiving tribute payments
from peoples who were
impressed by the power of
the Ming emperor.
Video- 15th Century Mariners
Porcelain, jade, silk, and other goods reached
the West by the Silk Road.
The growth in trade led to a higher standard
of living for Chinese merchants.
The stability of the Ming Empire allowed art,
poetry, and literature to thrive.
China’s luxury goods were in
high demand outside of
Chinese merchants carried
these goods to other
countries using the Silk
Road, a network of
interconnected trade routes.
Chinese trade routes
linked Asia with Europe
and Africa.
Ideas, technology, and
culture were also
exchanged by the traders
as they traveled the Silk
To wealthy European
leaders and nobles, silk,
porcelain, and other goods
from China were symbols of
success and power.
Explorers and traders from
Europe were eager to
expand this trade.
Because of the
increased trade by land
and sea during the first
years of the Ming
dynasty, the merchant
class grew in wealth,
power, and status.
Traders were forced to come to China to obtain
Chinese goods.
Explorers sought new trade routes to the East.
The Chinese junk was such a successful design that
it is still in use today. In 1433, the Chinese
government halted the construction of large ships,
forcing explorers to find new ways to reach China.
After Zheng’s death in
1433, the emperor
decided that the
expensive voyages of
exploration could be
The size of the fleet was
cut by two-thirds.
After Zheng’s death Western
traders had to come to China
to get its goods, which made
Chinese trade more
As the supply of Chinese
goods like and silk fell, the
prices for those goods rose.
Key Term
Supply and DemandAn economic concept
that states that the
price of a good rises
and falls depending on
how many people
want it (demand) and
depending on how
much of the good is
available (supply).
Video- Supply and Demand
China reveled in its status
as the most desirable
trading partner of the West
and in its power to
command trade without
making the effort to
transport its goods to
foreign markets.
Finding the fastest way to
China became the driving
goal of European
exploration—a goal that led
Christopher Columbus to
look for a western route to
He found the Americas while
looking for Ming China.
Video- 2,000 Years of Chinese History
What has been the
“muddiest” point so far in
this lesson? That is, what
topic remains the least
clear to you? (4 minutes)
Work with a
neighbor and
compare your
muddiest point with
theirs. Compare
what things are the
same and what
things are different?
(3 minutes)