The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China for 276 years (1368–1644) following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, described by some as "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng (who established the Shun Dynasty, soon replaced by the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty), regimes loyal to the Ming throne – collectively called the Southern Ming – survived until 1662.
The Hongwu Emperor (ruled 1368–98) 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 also 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 published dynastic instructions. This failed spectacularly when his teen-aged successor attempted to curtail his uncles' power, prompting the 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, and 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 coast of Africa.
The Mukden Palace (simplified Chinese: 盛京宫殿; traditional Chinese: 盛京宮殿; pinyin: Shèngjīng Gōngdiàn) or Shenyang Gugong (simplified Chinese: 沈阳故宫; traditional Chinese: 瀋陽故宮; pinyin: Shěnyáng Gùgōng), also known as the Shenyang Imperial Palace, is the former imperial palace of the early Qing Dynasty of China.
It was built in 1625 and the first three Qing emperors lived there from 1625 to 1644. Since the end of monarchy in China, the palace was converted to a museum that lies in the center of Shenyang city, Liaoning province.
Early construction began in 1625 by Nurhaci. By 1631, additional structures were added under Emperor Huang Taiji.
After the Qing Dynasty replaced the Ming Dynasty in 1644 in Beijing, the Mukden palace lost its status as the official residence of the Emperor. Instead, the Mukden Palace became a regional palace.