Chinese Dynasties: A Focus On Yuan and Qing

For hundreds of centuries, the great empire of China was ruled over by dynasties. These dynasties, however, were not always of Chinese decent. Some, like the Qing and the Yuan, were foreigners. In studying world history, it can be observed that when a foreign power tries to take hold of another country, that foreign authority uses violence, force and power as effective tools in order to successfully conquer. This condition can also be observed with both the Yuan and Qing dynasties. The Manchus, who ruled during the Qing period, used their military expertise and technology to defeat the Chinese rebel peasants. But, the Manchus did not achieve this success by themselves because they got help from a Chinese general, Wu Sangui. On the other hand, the Yuan Dynasty, which was ruled by the Mongols, did not receive any insider help. Using sheer military power and excellent war strategy, Genghis Khan, the leader of the Mongols, seized numerous parts of China under his rule. This Mongolian kingdom, which was to be known as the Yuan Dynasty, was further expanded by Genghis Khan’s grandson, Kublai Khan.

Moreover, there are similarities regarding the decline of both the dynasties’ reign. Both were overpowered by a new and a more popular leadership. Furthermore, each foreign dynasty was weakened because the majority of their constituents supported a non-foreign influence. The Yuan dynasty was eventually defeated by the Ming rulers and this event gave rise to the Ming dynasty.  As for the Manchus, even though they tried very hard to Sinicize and to adopt Chinese ways in order to rule better, a large part of the Chinese population still remained loyal to the Ming rulers. This popular support for the Ming authority chiefly contributed to their decline.  In addition to this, the further onslaught of Western technologies and foreign religion played a part in Machurian dynasty’s deterioration. A number of Christian sects, including Jesuits, gained entry to the Chinese society and a significant number of people were converted to Christianity. Christianity was gaining support from the Chinese. But because of the sudden pull out of western sects (except the Jesuits) from China, the Chinese’ support for the Manchu dynasty waned, thus further weakening their hold to power.

 In recent history, there are examples of foreigners taking control of another country. Take, for example, the Philippines. This country was conquered by the Japanese during the World War II. However, with the help of western militia, the local rebels freed their country from the Japanese occupation. The same can be said for Korea. Korea was under the Japanese rule for 33 years, also during the World War II. The Koreans were also freed by Western powers, specifically by the United States. Hong Kong, on the other hand, despite being freed from the British authority, did not establish its own country. It only came back to being a colony and part of China, as it was before the British took control.

These nations cited above have similar experiences from the Yuan and Qing dynasties. The foreign Manchus and Mongols both used force and violence to gain control of China. The example Asian countries and territory have also experienced violence to its people in the form of war. To the Philippine and Korean people, the Japanese regime used World War II as justification for their conquests. In addition to the use of force, the foreign rule over these countries was brought to an end because of their own local uprising and help from outside forces, as can also be seen from the Yuan and Qing dynasties’ decline.


  1. Pearson and Longman. East Asia- A New History, 3rd ed. Rhoads- Murphy. 2006.

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