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Qing dynasty conquest of Ming dynasty

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Qing Dynasty

The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China.
Qing rulers were of the Jurchen Aisin Gioro clan, a nomadic tribe that originated northeast of the Great Wall in contemporary Northeastern China. The Aisin Gioro leader, Nurhachi, who was originally a vassal of the Ming emperors, began to unifying the Jurchen clans in the late sixteenth century. By 1635, Nurhachi's son Hong Taiji could claim they constituted a single and united Manchu people and began forcing the Ming out of Liaoning in southern Manchuria. In 1644, the Ming capital Beijing was sacked by a peasant revolt led by Li Zicheng, a former minor Ming official who became the leader of the peasant revolt, who then proclaimed the Shun dynasty.
The last Ming ruler, the Chongzhen Emperor, committed suicide when the city fell. When Li moved against Ming general Wu Sangui, the latter made an alliance with the Manchus and opened the Shanhai Pass to the Manchurian army. Under Prince Dorgon, they crushed Li's forces and swiftly occupied the capital. Portraying themselves as the restorers of imperial order under the young Shunzhi Emperor, the Qing then expanded into China proper by conquest and alliance, completing its annexation around 1683 under the Kangxi Emperor.
Over the course of its reign, the Qing became highly integrated with Chinese culture, learning Chinese and participating in rituals. The imperial examinations continued and Han civil servants administered the empire alongside Manchu ones. Early in Qing rule, the queue hairstyle was enforced upon penalty of death and servitude became more common.
The Qing reached its height under the Qianlong Emperor in the 18th century, expanding beyond China's prior and later boundaries and including parts of modern Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russian Far East and Burma, and overlord status over others including Korea, Vietnam, and Nepal. Subsequently, imperial corruption exemplified by the minister Heshen and a series of rebellions, natural disasters, and defeats in wars against European powers gravely weakened the Qing during the 19th century. "Unequal Treaties" provided for extraterritoriality and removed large areas of treaty ports from Chinese sovereignty.
Russian and Japanese expansion into Manchuria and the German seizure of Qingdao following the 1897 Juye Incident triggered a "scramble for concessions" that threatened to divide China into a number of colonies tied together by foreign-owned railroads, particularly after an attempt by the Empress Dowager Cixi to use the Boxer Rebellion to limit foreign interference failed. The 1911 Wuchang Uprising of the New Army ended with the overthrow of the Empress Dowager Longyu and the infant Puyi on February 12, 1912. Despite the declaration of the Republic, the generals would continue to fight amongst themselves for the next several decades during the Warlord Era.
Puyi was briefly restored to power in Beijing by Zhang Xun in July 1917, and in Manchukuo by the Japanese between 1932 – 1945.

Ming Dynasty

The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. Although the Ming capital Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng (who established the Shun Dynasty, soon replaced by the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty), regimes loyal to the Ming throne — collectively called the Southern Ming — survived until 1662.
Ming rule saw the construction of a vast navy and a standing army of one million troops. Although private maritime trade and official tribute missions from China had taken place in previous dynasties, the tributary fleet under the Muslim eunuch admiral Zheng He in the 15th century far surpassed all others in size. There were enormous construction projects, including the restoration of the Grand Canal and the Great Wall and the establishment of the Forbidden City in Beijing during the first quarter of the 15th century. Estimates for the late-Ming population vary from 160 to 200 million.
Emperor Hongwu (ruled in 1368–98) attempted to create a society of self-sufficient rural communities in a rigid, immobile system that would have no need to engage with the commercial life and trade of urban centers. His rebuilding of China's agricultural base and strengthening of communication routes through the militarized courier system had the unintended effect of creating a vast agricultural surplus that could be sold at burgeoning markets located along courier routes. Rural culture and commerce became influenced by urban trends. The upper echelons of society embodied in the scholarly gentry class were also affected by this new consumption-based culture. In a departure from tradition, merchant families began to produce examination candidates to become scholar-officials and adopted cultural traits and practices typical of the gentry. Parallel to this trend involving social class and commercial consumption were changes in social and political philosophy, bureaucracy and governmental institutions, and even arts and literature.
By the 16th century the Ming economy was stimulated by trade with the Portuguese, the Spanish, and the Dutch. China became involved in a new global trade of goods, plants, animals, and food crops known as the Columbian Exchange. Trade with European powers and the Japanese brought in massive amounts of silver, which then replaced copper and paper banknotes as the common medium of exchange in China. During the last decades of the Ming the flow of silver into China diminished greatly, undermining state revenues. This damage to the Ming economy was compounded by the effects on agriculture of the incipient Little Ice Age, natural calamities, crop failure, and sudden epidemics. The ensuing breakdown of authority and people's livelihoods allowed rebel leaders such as Li Zicheng to challenge Ming authority.

The War of Shanhaiguan Pass

In the last years of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), two strong forces threatened the rule of the Ming Dynasty. One was from the fierce attack of the great army led by Li Zicheng (the leader of peasant uprisings against the Ming Dynasty), and the other was from the army of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) garrisoned outside the Shanhaiguan Pass. Dorgon, the prime regent of the Qing Dynasty, commended an army of 150,000 soldiers to attack the army of Ming Dynasty, and Li Zicheng was planning a major war in Beijing (the capital of the Ming Dynasty).
At this time of emergency, Wu Sangui and his 40,000 soldiers were garrisoning the Shanhaiguan Pass. For generations, Shanhaiguan Pass was often the point of battle due to its important strategic position. Received the order of rescuing the Ming court, Wu immediately led his army back to Beijing. But on the half way, he was told that the Emperor Chongzhen had already committed suicide, which meant the end of the Ming Dynasty. Worried about the variable situation, Wu returned to Shanhaiguan Pass in a hurry.

Li Zicheng well understood the importance of the Shanhaiguan Pass. On the verge of overthrowing the Ming Dynasty thoroughly, he decided to summon Wu Sangui to surrender. On witnessing the Ming Dynasty's number up, and after much deliberation, Wu agreed. But on his way to meet Li Zicheng, he was told that his concubine Chen Yuanyuan was taken possession and his father was imprisoned by the general of Li Zicheng. In great fury, Wu immediately changed the mind, and went back to Shanhaiguan Pass and took Li Zicheng as his sworn enemy from then on.

Shanhaiguan Pass of Great Wall To be reluctant to show weakness, in May 1644, Li Zicheng headed the troop of 100,000 soldiers to crusade against Wu Sangui. Being outnumbered, Wu Sangui judged the situation and asked help from the Qing Army at the expense of his surrender. With great joy, Dorgon advanced to Shanhaiguan Pass because he also wanted to wipe out the force of Li Zicheng and set up the Qing Dynasty all over China.

Li Zicheng heavily attacked the Shanhaiguan Pass. Till the next morning after the war started, the defenders on Shanhaiguan Pass died a half and many soldiers were forced to surrender. At this time, Dorgon's army had arrived out of Shanhaiguan Pass, but Dorgon kept the troop unmoved on seeing the other two sides fight fiercely. In this critical moment, Wu Sangui ventured to meet Dorgon in person in the camp of Qing army. He showed his sincerity and loyalty to Dorgon again. Finally, they reached an agreement that Wu's army would reinforce inside Shanhaiguan Pass by tying a white list on each soldier's shoulder, and they would open the gate of Shanhaiguan Pass to welcome Dorgon's army enter.

When returned, Wu Sangui opened the gate of Shanhaiguan Pass. The Qing Army entered the pass from Nanshui Gate, Beishui Gate and Guanzhong Gate. The large army force quickly crushingly defeated the army of Li Zicheng. Li escaped to Yongping (in today's Qinhuangdao City) and finally was killed in Jiangxi.

The War of Shanhaiguan Pass is vital to the history of China. After entered Shanhaiguan Pass, the army of Dorgon smoothly marched in the center of China. The Qing Dynasty was established thereafter.