June 27th, 2013

China

Beijing - Ming Tombs, the Great Wall, and Beijing Duck - May 25

Okay, I found this cool quick reference for all the Chinese Dynasties on Wikipedia. The best is that there's a graphical representation near the bottom of the page as well as the table at the top. Most people don't actually start listing these until the Qin Dynasty (the sixth one down) because they don't actually consider all of China united until the Qin Emperor (for all that it only lasted 15 years because of his excesses, obsession with immortality, and having a son whose sense of entitlement was way beyond his means of influence).

The Ming Dynasty was the one just before the last Qing Dynasty, and overlapped contact with European powers. Most of the dynasties that lasted several centuries did well by art, literature, and the whole country made all kinds of progress because of their stability and treatment of the people in China. There were seventeen Emperors of this Dynasty and thirteen of them were buried, with their concubines and wives and one eunuch, in one valley. in 2003, they were designated as another of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

While some efforts on the Great Wall were started way back in the Qin Dynasty, the majority of the effort to create the vast network of communication, military coordination, and safety that was the Wall was done during the Ming Dynasty.

Just overall context for this day's explorations.

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