The Ming dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China – known as the Great Ming Empire – for 276 years following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng, regimes loyal to the Ming throne – collectively called the Southern Ming – survived until 1683; the Hongwu Emperor attempted to create a society of self-sufficient rural communities ordered in a rigid, immobile system that would guarantee and support a permanent class of soldiers for his dynasty: the empire's standing army exceeded one million troops and the navy's dockyards in Nanjing were the largest in the world. He took great care breaking the power of the court eunuchs and unrelated magnates, enfeoffing his many sons throughout China and attempting to guide these princes through the Huang-Ming Zuxun, a set of published dynastic instructions; this failed when his teenage successor, the Jianwen Emperor, attempted to curtail his uncles' power, prompting the Jingnan Campaign, an uprising that placed the Prince of Yan upon the throne as the Yongle Emperor in 1402.
The Yongle Emperor established Yan as a secondary capital and renamed it Beijing, constructed the Forbidden City, restored the Grand Canal and the primacy of the imperial examinations in official appointments. He rewarded his eunuch supporters and employed them as a counterweight against the Confucian scholar-bureaucrats. One, Zheng He, led seven enormous voyages of exploration into the Indian Ocean as far as Arabia and the eastern coasts of Africa; the rise of new emperors and new factions diminished such extravagances. The imperial navy was allowed to fall into disrepair while forced labor constructed the Liaodong palisade and connected and fortified the Great Wall of China into its modern form. Wide-ranging censuses of the entire empire were conducted decennially, but the desire to avoid labor and taxes and the difficulty of storing and reviewing the enormous archives at Nanjing hampered accurate figures. Estimates for the late-Ming population vary from 160 to 200 million, but necessary revenues were squeezed out of smaller and smaller numbers of farmers as more disappeared from the official records or "donated" their lands to tax-exempt eunuchs or temples.
Haijin laws intended to protect the coasts from "Japanese" pirates instead turned many into smugglers and pirates themselves. By the 16th century, the expansion of European trade – albeit restricted to islands near Guangzhou like Macau – spread the Columbian Exchange of crops and animals into China, introducing chili peppers to Sichuan cuisine and productive corn and potatoes, which diminished famines and spurred population growth; the growth of Portuguese and Dutch trade created new demand for Chinese products and produced a massive influx of Japanese and American silver. This abundance of specie remonetized the Ming economy, whose paper money had suffered repeated hyperinflation and was no longer trusted. While traditional Confucians opposed such a prominent role for commerce and the newly rich it created, the heterodoxy introduced by Wang Yangming permitted a more accommodating attitude. Zhang Juzheng's successful reforms proved devastating when a slowdown in agriculture produced by the Little Ice Age joined changes in Japanese and Spanish policy that cut off the supply of silver now necessary for farmers to be able to pay their taxes.
Combined with crop failure and epidemic, the dynasty collapsed before the rebel leader Li Zicheng, defeated by the Manchu-led Eight Banner armies who founded the Qing dynasty. The Mongol-led Yuan dynasty ruled before the establishment of the Ming dynasty. Explanations for the demise of the Yuan include institutionalized ethnic discrimination against Han Chinese that stirred resentment and rebellion, overtaxation of areas hard-hit by inflation, massive flooding of the Yellow River as a result of the abandonment of irrigation projects. Agriculture and the economy were in shambles, rebellion broke out among the hundreds of thousands of peasants called upon to work on repairing the dykes of the Yellow River. A number of Han Chinese groups revolted, including the Red Turbans in 1351; the Red Turbans were affiliated with a Buddhist secret society. Zhu Yuanzhang was a penniless peasant and Buddhist monk who joined the Red Turbans in 1352. In 1356, Zhu's rebel force captured the city of Nanjing, which he would establish as the capital of the Ming dynasty.
With the Yuan dynasty crumbling, competing rebel groups began fighting for control of the country and thus the right to establish a new dynasty. In 1363, Zhu Yuanzhang eliminated his archrival and leader of the rebel Han faction, Chen Youliang, in the Battle of Lake Poyang, arguably the largest naval battle in history. Known for its ambitious use of fire ships, Zhu's force of 200,000 Ming sailors were able to defeat a Han rebel force over triple their size, claimed to be 650,000-strong; the victory destroyed the last opposing rebel faction, leaving Zhu Yuanzhang in uncontested control of the bountiful Yangtze River Valley and cementing his power in the south. After the dynastic head of the Red Turbans suspiciously died in 1367 while a guest of Zhu, there was no one left, remotely capable of contesting his march to the throne, he made his imperial ambitions known by sending an army toward the Yuan capital Dadu in 1368; the las
Cape D'Aguilar, or Hok Tsui, is a cape in the south of Shek O and D'Aguilar Peak on southeastern Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong. The peninsula, where the cape is on its southeastern side, is known as Cape D'Aguilar, it is named after Major-General George Charles D'Aguilar. There are two small islands, known as Kau Pei Chau, in the southern vicinity of the cape, its south water is Sheung Sze Mun. Cape D'Aguilar is environmentally protected by setting the area as Cape D'Aguilar Marine Reserve. Cape D'Aguilar Lighthouse is one of the declared monuments of Hong Kong, it is known as Hok Tsui Beacon. The lighthouse is one of five pre-war surviving lighthouses in Hong Kong. Two of the five lighthouses are on Green Island while the other three are at Cape D'Aguilar, Waglan Island and Tang Lung Chau respectively. Waglan Lighthouse and Tang Lung Chau Lighthouse are declared monuments of Hong Kong; the lighthouse was named after Major-General Sir George Charles D'Aguilar and began service 6 April 1875. The light was a fixed dioptric first order Fresnel lens, emitting a white light on a focal plane of 200 feet above sea level, that could be seen in clear weather 23 nautical miles.
When the Waglan Island Lighthouse began operation in 1896 the Cape D'Aguilar light was rendered obsolete. In 1905 the light was removed and transferred to the Green Island Lighthouse to replace the forth order Fresnel light. In 1975 the Cape D'Aguilar was placed back into service with an automated system; the existing structure is 9.7 metres tall. List of lighthouses in China Green Island Lighthouse Compound Waglan Lighthouse Tang Lung Chau Lighthouse Satellite image of the peninsula by Google Maps Cape D’Aguilar Lighthouse video on YouTube
Kowloon Peak or Fei Ngor Shan or Fei Ngo Shan is a 602 m tall mountain in the northeast corner of New Kowloon, Hong Kong, situated in Ma On Shan Country Park. It is crossed by both the MacLehose Trail. On the lower slopes is Gilwell Campsite, belonging to The Scout Association; the highest point of New Kowloon is to the west of peak. List of mountains and hills in Hong Kong
Simplified Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language; the government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore. Traditional Chinese characters are used in Hong Kong and the Republic of China. While traditional characters can still be read and understood by many mainland Chinese and the Chinese community in Malaysia and Singapore, these groups retain their use of simplified characters. Overseas Chinese communities tend to use traditional characters. Simplified Chinese characters may be referred to by their official name colloquially; the latter refers to simplifications of character "structure" or "body", character forms that have existed for thousands of years alongside regular, more complicated forms.
On the other hand, the official name refers to the modern systematically simplified character set, which includes not only structural simplification but substantial reduction in the total number of standardized Chinese characters. Simplified character forms were created by reducing the number of strokes and simplifying the forms of a sizable proportion of Chinese characters; some simplifications were based on popular cursive forms embodying graphic or phonetic simplifications of the traditional forms. Some characters were simplified by applying regular rules, for example, by replacing all occurrences of a certain component with a simplified version of the component. Variant characters with the same pronunciation and identical meaning were reduced to a single standardized character the simplest amongst all variants in form. Many characters were left untouched by simplification, are thus identical between the traditional and simplified Chinese orthographies; some simplified characters are dissimilar to and unpredictably different from traditional characters in those where a component is replaced by a simple symbol.
This has led some opponents of simplification to complain that the'overall process' of character simplification is arbitrary. Proponents counter that the system of simplification is internally consistent. Proponents have emphasized a some particular simplified characters as innovative and useful improvements, although many of these have existed for centuries as longstanding and widespread variants. A second round of simplifications was promulgated in 1977, but was retracted in 1986 for a variety of reasons due to the confusion caused and the unpopularity of the second round simplifications. However, the Chinese government never dropped its goal of further simplification in the future. In August 2009, the PRC began collecting public comments for a modified list of simplified characters; the new Table of General Standard Chinese Characters consisting of 8,105 characters was implemented for use by the State Council of the People's Republic of China on June 5, 2013. Although most of the simplified Chinese characters in use today are the result of the works moderated by the government of the People's Republic of China in the 1950s and 60s, character simplification predates the PRC's formation in 1949.
Cursive written text always includes character simplification. Simplified forms used in print are attested as early as the Qin dynasty. One of the earliest proponents of character simplification was Lufei Kui, who proposed in 1909 that simplified characters should be used in education. In the years following the May Fourth Movement in 1919, many anti-imperialist Chinese intellectuals sought ways to modernise China. Traditional culture and values such as Confucianism were challenged. Soon, people in the Movement started to cite the traditional Chinese writing system as an obstacle in modernising China and therefore proposed that a reform be initiated, it was suggested that the Chinese writing system should be either simplified or abolished. Lu Xun, a renowned Chinese author in the 20th century, stated that, "If Chinese characters are not destroyed China will die". Recent commentators have claimed that Chinese characters were blamed for the economic problems in China during that time. In the 1930s and 1940s, discussions on character simplification took place within the Kuomintang government, a large number of Chinese intellectuals and writers maintained that character simplification would help boost literacy in China.
In 1935, 324 simplified characters collected by Qian Xuantong were introduced as the table of first batch of simplified characters, but they were suspended in 1936. The PRC issued its first round of official character simplifications in two documents, the first in 1956 and the second in 1964. Within the PRC, further character simplification became associated with the leftists of the Cultural Revolution, culminating with the second-round simplified characters, which were promulgated in 1977. In part due to the shock and unease felt in the wake of the Cultural Revolution and Mao's death, the second-round of simplifications was poorly received. In 1986 the authorities retracted the second round completely. In the same year, the authorities promulgated a final list of simplifications, identical to the 1964 list except for six changes (including the restoration of three characters, simplified in the First Round: 叠, 覆, 像.
Beacon Hill, Hong Kong
Beacon Hill is a large hill in the northern part of the Kowloon peninsula in Hong Kong. It is 457m tall. Beacon Hill is located within the Lion Rock Country Park; the tower and its relevant equipment on the top of Beacon Hill is not open to the public and is a secured facility controlled and maintained by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department. The hill's name date back to the Great Clearance between 1661 to 1669, which required the complete evacuation of the coastal areas of Kowloon in Hong Kong in order to fight against and subsequently defeat the anti-Qing movement, first started and led by surviving Ming Dynasty loyalists. Qing military garrisons were created and stationed throughout most of Kowloon's coastal areas to enforce the Qing government's decree in locations which became referred to as beacons. Geography of Hong Kong List of mountains and hills in Hong Kong Beacon Hill School, Hong Kong Beacon Hill Tunnel
Convention of Peking
The Convention or First Convention of Peking, sometimes now known as the Convention of Beijing, is an agreement comprising three distinct treaties concluded between the Qing dynasty of China and the United Kingdom, French Empire, Russian Empire in 1860. In China, they are regarded as among the unequal treaties; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China keeps the original copy of the Convention in the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. On 18 October 1860, at the culmination of the Second Opium War, the British and French troops entered the Forbidden City in Beijing. Following the decisive defeat of the Chinese, Prince Gong was compelled to sign two treaties on behalf of the Qing government with Lord Elgin and Baron Gros, who represented Britain and France respectively. Although Russia had not been a belligerent, Prince Gong signed a treaty with Nikolay Ignatyev; the original plan was to burn down the Forbidden City as punishment for the mistreatment of Anglo-French prisoners by Qing officials.
Because doing so would jeopardize the treaty signing, the plan shifted to burning the Old Summer Palace and Summer Palace instead. The treaties with France and Britain were signed in the Ministry of Rites building south of the Forbidden City on 24 October 1860. In the Convention, the Xianfeng Emperor ratified the Treaty of Tientsin; the area known as Kowloon was leased in March 1860. The Convention of Peking ended the lease, ceded the land formally to the British on 24 October 1860. Article 6 of the Convention between China and the United Kingdom stipulated that China was to cede the part of Kowloon Peninsula south of present-day Boundary Street and Hong Kong in perpetuity to Britain. Article 6 of the Convention between China and France stipulated that "the religious and charitable establishments which were confiscated from Christians during the persecutions of which they were victims shall be returned to their owners through the French Minister in China"; the treaty ceded parts of Outer Manchuria to the Russian Empire.
It granted Russia the right to the Ussuri krai, a part of the modern day Primorye, the territory that corresponded with the ancient Manchu province of East Tartary. See Treaty of Aigun, Treaty of Nerchinsk and Sino-Russian border conflicts; the governments of the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China concluded the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong in 1984, under which the sovereignty of the leased territories, together with Hong Kong Island, ceded under the Treaty of Nanjing, Kowloon Peninsula, was transferred to the PRC on 1 July 1997. However, the parts of Outer Manchuria ceded to Russia were never returned and remain as a part of Russia today. Second Convention of Peking History of Hong Kong Imperialism in Asia A timeline of the history of Hong Kong from 1840 to 1999 Full text of the Convention of Peking between China and the United Kingdom Full text of the Convention of Peking between China and France Full text of the Convention of Peking between China and Russia