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Ming Dynasty's Great Wall

Ming Dynasty's Great Wall


Attacks from Mongolian Cavalrymen

In 1368, the Yuan Dynasty, which was established by the Mongols, was overthrown by Zhu Yuanzhang and his peasant army. Zhu adopted a lenient policy toward his former enemies, allowing them to decide whether to stay or to return to Mongolia. As a result, the last Yuan emperor led his concubines, children and civil and military officials out of Juyong Pass back to the Mongolian grasslands where he established the Northern Yuan Dynasty.



However, still not resigned to their defeat and ungrateful for Zhu Yuanzhang's leniency, the Mongolians rebuilt their strength, hoping to enter the Great Wall again.


In 1375, Nahachu, general of the Northern Yuan Dynasty, led a force of cavalrymen to attack eastern Liaoning.


In 1449, Yexian, head of the Waci tribe of the Mongolians, led troops to attack Datong and Xuanfu (today's Xuanhua of Hebei) and arrested Ming Emperor Zhu Qizhen.


In 1540, Andahan, head of the Anda tribe of the Mongolians, ordered his troops to attack Datong and swept Shanxi.


In 1550, Andahan, in collaboration with his grandfather who lived in eastern Liaoning, launched an all-out attack against the Ming Dynasty's north frontier, covering Gansu, Ningxia and Liaoning. For a time, Andahan's cavalrymen broke into Gubeikou and advanced near Beijing, causing much panic in the Ming court.


After these battles, the Ming government adopted a policy of appeasement with the Mongolians. It also opened the horse market and exchanged commodities with the Mongolians. Relations between both sides improved; however, the Nuzhen nationality, who lived in the northeast part of the Ming Dynasty and once established its own Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), became powerful again. In 1616, Aisin-Gioro Nurhachi broke away from the Ming Dynasty and established the Later Jin Dynasty. In 1636, Later Jin changed its title to Qing, creating much havoc in the northeast by attacking Ming cities and capturing land. In 1644, Qing soldiers broke into Shanhai Pass on the Great Wall and bested Li Zicheng's peasant army. The Ming Dynasty was replaced by the Qing Dynasty. In the more than 200 years of the Ming Dynasty, its northern frontier was never in peace.


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