24 Apr: CW: The Last Ming Emperor

On 24th April 1644, the Chongzhen Emperor walked to Meishan, a small hill in present-day Jingshan Park and hanged himself on a tree, bringing a sudden end to the Ming dynasty.

The writing had been on the wall for him for some time. By 1640, the unfortunate emperor faced multiple pandemics, an invasion, two internal rebellions, persistent drought, widespread famine, and an economic collapse.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the fifth son of a low ranking concubine ultimately became emperor; reveal wythe Chongzhen Emperor used to sleep clutching a sword at night; and reveal why in medieval China, the gods could grant a monarch a mandate to rule, but they could also take it away if they felt like it… 

Further Reading:

• ‘A death on Coal Hill’ (The China Project, 2022): https://thechinaproject.com/2022/04/20/a-death-on-coal-hill/ 

• ‘The Fall of the Ming Dynasty in China in 1644’ (Thought Co., 2018): https://www.thoughtco.com/the-fall-of-the-ming-dynasty-3956385 

• ‘Why did Ming explode into chaos? (Animated History)’ (Laith – The Social Streamers, 2021):


CONTENT WARNING: suicide, mass suicide

#1400s #China