Controlling Memory and Movement: The Early Ming Court and the Changing Chinggisid World

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
David Robinson Colgate University

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The Mongol imperial enterprise produced memories and spurred migration on a continental scale among the conquerors, the vanquished, and agents of empire. During the 14th and early 15th centuries, the Ming court of China tried to shape the memory of the Mongol empire to enhance Ming political legitimacy, dampen hopes of a Mongolian revival, and facilitate the transfer of allegiance from the Mongol empire to Ming dynasty. The Ming court also integrated former Yuan personnel, including not just Chinese subjects but hundreds of thousands of Mongols and Jurchens, into the Ming polity. In examining these processes, the essay contributes to the wider discussion of how successor polities throughout Eurasia sought to turn the legacy of the Mongol empire to their own advantage, which had the unintended consequence of keeping memory of the Chinggisid age vital long after the empire’s fall.

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