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21 -- Part 4: Continuity and Change in East Asia
The Chinese found a lot of things besides reading.
Both men and women took up pipes once tobacco was introduced from the Americas.
The plays were very popular.
Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit missionary who lived in China from 1583 to 1610, described resident troupes in large cities and traveling troupes that put on plays.
The leaders of the troupes would buy young children and train them to perform.
Most of the calories of the population in south China were supplied by rice.
The introduction of terracing and irrigation of mountain slopes in the eleventh century increased rice harvests in the south.
Good results were brought by other innovations.
Farmers began to stock the rice paddies with fish, which fertilized the paddies, destroyed mosquitoes, and enriched the diet.
Cotton, sugarcane, and indigo were cultivated by farmers.
New methods of crop rotation allow for more than one har vest per year from a single field.
reclamation of land and massive transfers of people were promoted by the Ming rulers.
Immigrants to these areas were exempt from taxation for many years.
The agricultural revolution was sparked by the regrowth of trees.
50 million lion trees were planted in the Nanjing area in order to produce lumber for the construction of a fleet.
Each family in the province had to plant two hundred mulberry, jujube, and persimmon trees.
84 million fruit trees were planted by peasants in central China in the 13th century.
According to historians, 1 billion trees were planted during Taizu's reign.
Increased food production led to the multiplication of markets, towns, and small cities.
There were permanent shops in larger towns and periodic markets in smaller towns.
They sold essential goods such as pins, matches, oil for lamps, candles, paper, incense, and tobacco to country people from the surrounding hamlets.
Moneylenders, pawnbrokers, a tearoom, and sometimes a wine shop were included in the markets.
Craftsmen and tradesmen moved constantly from market to market, carrying their wares on their backs.
The fiscal, military, and political problems of the Ming government began in the 1590s.
The government helped defend Korea against a Japanese invasion.
Natural disasters ravaged one region after another.
A "little ice age" brought a drop in average temperatures that shortened the growing season and reduced harvests.
Gangs of ex-soldiers began searching the countryside for food in areas of serious food shortages.
Hard-pressed farmers joined the gangs to survive after they stole their grain.
The last thing people needed was more taxes, that's why the government tried to increase them.
There was a sudden drop in the supply of silver.
The use of silver ingots as money came about as a result of the paper money that had been circulating.
Much of the silver came from either Japan or the New World and entered China as payment for the silk and porcelains exported from China.
Silver imports dropped when there was disruption of trade in Japan and the Philippines.
Real rents rose in China because of deflation.
There were riots among urban workers.
The Yel ow River was flooded in 1642 by a group of rebels.
The death toll was increased by a disease.
The Chinese people were descended from the Jurchens.
The Manchus founded their territories in the late 16th century and in the 17th century they founded China.
The Dynasty brought peace and prosperity.
The borders of the empire were extended into the Uighur, Tibetan, and Mongol regions, creating a multiethnic empire that was larger than any earlier Chinese dynasty.
In the northeast of modern-day China, the Manchus lived in dispersed communities.
In the southern part of Manchuria, the Manchus lived in close contact with many cultures.
They were hunters, fishers, and farmers.
They had a strong social structure with elites and slaves.
Slaves were usually acquired through capture.
Villages were often at odds with each other over resources, and men did not leave their villages without firearms.
Mon gols lived in tents in the Manchu settlements.
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