The middle of 15th century was an era when whole world was undergoing great changes. In 1448, Portugal established its first colonial foothold on west coast of Africa, beginning colonial expansion of Western Europe. In 1453, Ottomans captured Constantinople, announcing final collapse of Eastern Roman Empire and formal emergence of a new Turkish Empire. In China, in 1449, Battle of Tumubao took place, announcing decline of Ming Dynasty. The change of Tumubao was not only starting point for decline of Ming dynasty, but also beginning of China's lagging behind world trend. Since then, Western countries have raged over ocean, plunging humanity into age of ocean. China, on other hand, is moving towards self-defense and moving away from global trend.1. Prehistory of Civilian Castles: The Decline of Ming Dynasty
In 1368, Zhu Yuanzhang founded Ming Dynasty. Subsequently, after Hongwu period of restoration, Yongle expansion period, and Renxuan period of decline, Ming dynasty fell into decline. From founding of Ming dynasty to its decline, only more than 60 years passed. Why Ming Dynasty declined so quickly is mainly due to economic policies and political shortcomings of Ming Dynasty.
In terms of economy, Ming Dynasty pursued policy of "emphasis on agriculture and suppression of trade" and "marine prohibition" which severely persecuted industry and trade. This has held back an advanced resource-based economy since Tang and Song dynasties. As a result of suppression of industry and trade, Ming business tax was greatly reduced, which affected fiscal revenues of entire country. For comparison, fiscal income of Northern Song Dynasty was 60 million taels, of which commercial tax was 70%; The fiscal income of Yongle period of Ming Dynasty was 10 million taels, of which commercial tax accounted for only 5%.
In response to situation of low budget revenues, Ming Dynasty introduced "integration of soldiers and farmers" system of military calculations. During reign of Zhu Yuanzhang, there were 1.8 million military personnel in country, and during Yongle period, it increased to 2.7 million. These armies are basically organized through a guard system and deployed throughout country. And half of grain produced in farmland must be handed over to authorities. That is why armies of early Ming Dynasty did not require large financial outlays. One day, Zhu Yuanzhang proudly said, "My capital is raising millions of soldiers, so people don't have to waste a grain of rice." In first year of Yongle, national tax and grain was 31 million shi, while grain paid by the army field was over 23 million shi.
However, military-settlement system is based on brutal exploitation of military enlistment office and household registration. Since introduction of military settlement system, military registration and residence registration have continued to run. According to Records of Ming Yingzong, there were "1.2 million fugitive sergeants" at that time, which was about half of total number of troops in country at that time. The flight of military yards resulted in abandonment of a large amount of farmland, which caused serious difficulties in country's finances. The financial sources decreased, but financial expenses of government continued to increase, such as tribute trade during Ming Dynasty, Southern Expedition and Northern War during Yongle period, and salaries of clan officials required Dalian's funds. For normal operation of state organs of Ming Dynasty, it was necessary to intensify exploitation of peasants, which led to frequent peasant uprisings. The Ming Dynasty was one of most frequent eras of peasant uprisings in China. According to Mr. Zhang Xianqing's Political History of Ming Dynasty, there were more than 190 peasant uprisings in Ming Dynasty during Hongwu period. During Ming Yingzong period, peasant uprisings became more frequent.
Politically, central system of Ming Dynasty had obvious flaws. Zhu Yuanzhang abolished system of prime ministers, which complicated emperor's state affairs, which concealed a hidden danger for eunuch's monopoly. Zhu Yuanzhang can still defend against eunuchs everywhere, and Zhu Di has already begun to reuse eunuchs. During Zhu Di period, Xi Li Jian eunuch institute had already seized power to "approve Zhu", which gave eunuchs ability to control ministers' memorials. Zhu Di established Eastern Factory, which resulted in Jinyiwei being controlled by eunuchs.
During Ming Yingzong period, since emperor was still a minor, eunuchs gradually came to power. In 1442, eunuch Wang Zhen began to monopolize power. He made great efforts to build temples, sell officials and nobles, and take bribes; This quickly corrupted policies of Ming Dynasty. Faced with Wang Zhen's behavior, Ming Yingzong almost bowed to his words. In 1443, Liu Qiu, a minister of Imperial Academy, wrote a letter proposing ten reform measures. These measures were against Wang Zhen's interests, so Wang Zhen ordered Ma Shun, Jin Yiwei's commander, to kill him. It can be seen that policy of Ming Dynasty was already dying.Secondly, elevation of Shafts
As Ming dynasty continued to decline and corrupt, Oala in north grew stronger. The Oala are a Mongol Oirat tribe in western Moxi that suffered many blows from Ming Dynasty and fell into decline during Yongle period. During Renxuan period, Ming dynasty adopted an all-encompassing policy of reduction, and Wala also took advantage of opportunity for development. In 1434, Tuo Huang, leader of Oirats, united various tribes of Mongolia. In 1439, he was also first to ascend throne and decided to reclaim territory of original Yuan Dynasty and destroy Ming Dynasty. Yexian is also a leader with a very strategic vision. After he inherited throne, he did not directly attack Ming dynasty, but strengthened himself first.
After fall of Yuan Dynasty, Mongol forces mostly retreated to Mongol Plateau, and remaining Mongol forces in hinterland were virtually annihilated. There are two more powerful Mongol forces in northwest and northeast. The seven Kansai tribes in northwest were originally descendants of royal families such as Chubo of Chagatai, organized by Kublai Khan from Hexi Corridor to western regions. The Ming Dynasty was founded and they were forced to submit. At beginning of Ming Dynasty, they were canonized as Anding, Aduan, Qiuxian, Handong, Shazhou, Chijin Mongolia, and Hami Qiwei. The Wulianga, Wennyute, Uqiyet, and Zalayer tribes also lived in mountains of Greater Khingan in northeast, where Ming Dynasty established shrines of Duoyan, Taining, and Fuyu Sanwei. After Oala united Mongolian highlands, he first attempted to unite these areas. In 1445, he also sent troops to besiege Hami, threatening Shazhou, Handong and Chijin Mongolia, etc., but Ming Dynasty did not send a single soldier to help, so far Hami and others were under control of Oal; in 11th year of Orthodoxy, he also took lead in attacking three tribes of Wulyangha. The Ming dynasty sat back and ignored it, so it also "broke Wuliang and threatened North Korea".
The prosperity of Wala has awakened vigilance of some Ming Dynasty officials. Liu Qiu, lecturer on duty, once offered to fix military system, eliminate rank and file sergeants, and train them in time, but was killed by Wang Zhen. Kuan Ye, Minister of War, and courtiers said, "Please increase number of soldiers," "Stop battle in Beijing camp to build a city, and let rest be prepared for urgency." But Ming Yingzong and Wang Zhen ignored this. Not only that, Wang Zhen also had a secret relationship with Yixian. Wang Zhen secretly asked his Datong confidant, eunuch Guo Jing, to "make steel arrows every year and use them in urns to contain his envoys." . . .
The former also nominally surrendered to Ming Dynasty and extorted property from Ming Dynasty through tribute. First, "tribute" to Ming Dynasty was very frequent, and scale of sending was very large. After 1439, more than 2,000 envoys of tribute from Wala arrived in Beijing every year. The larger scale, greater amount of "rewards" from Ming Dynasty. At same time, getting entertainment also cost Ming Dynasty a lot of expenses. The Datong district alone supplies 300,000 "messengers of tribute" taels every year. In 1449, "also sent over 2,000 men on horseback, falsely claiming 3,000." But this time, Wang Zhen asked Ministry of Ceremonies to issue a reward according to actual number of tribute messengers and deducted four-fifths of price of a horse, which at first enraged him. Afterwards, Yesian used pretext that Ming had not made peace with Wala, so in July he led four armies totaling 50,000 men to attack Ming. Among them, Tuotuobuhua and Wuliankha tribes, who attacked from east, attacked Liaodong, western road attacked Gansu; After Yexian's troops arrived at Datong, "the castle behind Great Wall was flooded" and Datong's general Wu Hao died in battle.Third, changing civil castle
When news came, Wang Zhen encouraged Ming Yingzong to enlist in military. The ministers, including Kuan Ye, minister of war, Yu Qian, minister of war, and Wang Zhi, official minister, tried their best to convince him. However, Yingzong insisted on going his own way, believed in Wang Zhen, and decided to defeat himself. Therefore, Zhu Qiu was ordered to remain in capital, while Yu Qian, minister of war, remained in Beijing to act as minister. Civilian and military officials such as Zhang Fu, Minister of Ministry of War, Kuang Ye, Minister of Ministry of War, Wang Zuo, Minister of Household Ministry, and Cao Nai, Zhang Yi, armchair bachelors, accompanied them on trip. expedition. Although there are many officials on expedition, all military and political affairs are in hands of Wang Zhen. Within a few days, Ming Yingzong and Wang Zhen gathered officers and soldiers of five armies, Shenji and Sanqian battalions, in capital, and their total number reached 500,000. Due to hasty expedition, soldiers did not take enough food and grass with them, and lack of strict organization led to a decline in morale in army: "Before arriving in Datong, soldiers did not have enough food and there were zombies everywhere." 3,000 vanguard units led by Song Ying, Zhu Mian, and Shi Heng arrived in Yanghe and fought against Yexian army. Because they were held back by Guo Jing, eunuch in charge of army, they could not properly command army, which led to destruction of entire army. When army approached Yanghe and saw corpses lying all over field, "the hearts of all people turned cold."
On first day of August, Ming army entered Datong. He also took initiative to retreat north first, adopting a tactic to lure enemy inland. Wang Zhen insisted on going north, and ministers who followed him tried to dissuade him. Only when Guo Jing, who was guarding eunuch, informed Wang Zhen about situation on front line, Wang Zhen gave order to troops. In process of retreating, Wang Zhen asked emperor to go to his hometown of Weizhou to show off his prestige, so he ordered army to retreat. But Wang Zhen was afraid to trample his pasture crops, so he ordered army to retreat from Xuanfu. On tenth day of eighth month, Yexian's troops suddenly gave chase, commanders Wu Kezhong and Wu Keqin fought back and fought enemy, but they all died in battle. They also sent Zhu Yong and Xue Shou to lead 30,000 cavalry to help, but they were surrounded by Oal and 30,000 cavalry were "killed and plundered". Faced with Yexian's attack, Ming Yingzong and Wang Zhen panicked and fled to Tumubao in confusion.
Tumubao is only 20 miles from Huailai and most officials favor "to Baohuailai". But Wang Zhen insisted on not leaving. Quan Ye repeatedly asked Yingzong to enter Juyongguan and suggested that well-organized troops stop enemy and resist him, but all this was rejected by Wang Zhen. The next day, Ming Yingzong left Tumubao, but was surrounded by Oala and unable to move. The fortress of Tumu was high and waterless, and river fifteen miles to south was also occupied by Oirat army. Hundreds of thousands of Ming troops had not drunk water for two days, and they were extremely hungry and thirsty. In desperation, Ming Yingzong sent envoys to seek peace. Having received it first, he ordered army to pretend to retreat. However, Ming army moved their camps one by one and scene was chaotic. At this time, Oirat cavalry suddenly jumped out, and Ming army "danced to death naked, engulfing wilderness and Saichuan." In end, 500,000-strong Ming army was destroyed, and Ming Yingzong was captured. He was surrounded by British Duke Zhang Fu, Du Wei's son-in-law Jingyuan, Minister of War Quan Ye, Court Minister Wang Zuo, members of cabinet Cao Nai , Zhang Yi and ministers Ding Ming, Wang Yonghe and more than 50 people were killed in battle. Wang Zhen was beaten to death by Guard General Fan Zhong during war, and eunuch Xining surrendered to Oala after telling whole truth about Ming Dynasty.
In Battle of Tumubao, Ming army lost 500,000 elite soldiers, which seriously weakened national strength. After that, he first received 200,000 mules and horses from Ming army, more than 200,000, and a large amount of military materials and weapons. A month later, Admiral of Juyongguan Detachment, Admiral Yang Jun, reported to Beijing that he had found more than 6,000 helmets, 5,800 armor and more than 11,000 sharp guns, more than 600 guns and 18 barrels of gunpowder. On September 13, Chang Pingbo Yang Hong, chief warrior of Xuanfu, reported again: “I found more than 3,800 helmets and armored armor in civil engineering. Over 120 collars, over 290 round cards, over 22,000 divine cannons, 440,000 divine arrows, and 800 cannons. "Thanks to this data, we can learn about heavy losses of Ming Dynasty."
Ming Wax Figures: Changes in Tumubao
In Tumubao Incident, Ming Yingzong was captured and Wang Zhen killed, which dealt a severe blow to Ming Dynasty eunuch group for a while. This allowed Zhu Qiyu and You Qian, who were in background, to vigorously implement New Deal, strengthen border defenses, and finally win "Beijing Defense War". However, after failure of Beijing's defense, Ming Yingzong was pushed back again, and then Ming Yingzong came to power after "Gate Seizure Change", launched a counter-offensive, killed Yu Qian and other important officials, and reused eunuchs deep in corruption. Mubao's change also caused military reform of Ming Dynasty. As 500,000-strong elite army was destroyed, Ming Dynasty was forced to introduce a recruitment system, and Ming Dynasty's military system collapsed. At same time, foreign policy of Ming Dynasty has since turned to defense. In order to protect Mongolia from advance to south, Ming Dynasty built Great Wall on a large scale and built a defense system with nine borders. The change of Tumubao was not starting point or cause of decline of Ming Dynasty, but was a symbolic event of turn of Ming Dynasty from prosperity to decline.