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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: January 2021

8 - Delimiting the Realm Under the Ming Dynasty

Summary

This chapter examines the construction and representation of borders in China under the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). It considers the spatial dimensions of the Mongol empire, which was the Ming dynasty’s immediate predecessor. It examines the Ming court’s efforts to conquer or coopt Mongol power-holders and their territories, its plans to establish lasting control over those regions and their peoples, and its discursive and administrative strategies to describe and regulate issues of diversity and distance. The chapter reviews changes in the Ming dynasty’s geopolitical engagement in eastern Eurasia, tracing the dynasty’s loss of territory and influence along the northern and western borders and simultaneously a steady expansion of state institutions into the southwestern frontier. The essay concludes with developments during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including responses to early Western European agents of empire in East Asia and, more broadly, the expansion of Chinese interest into maritime Asia.

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