Behind every great plague is the alternation of national fortune!

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Author: nanqidao source: I am nanqidao (ID: nanqidao 33)


The Yuan dynasty ruled an area of 15.26 million square kilometers, including the Mongolian Empire of more than 35 million square kilometers. It is the largest empire in human history. Although the Yuan Dynasty did some stupid things, such as indiscriminate issuance of banknotes, population classification, etc., with a short history of 98 years, it was a golden period of China’s opening up at that time, thus laying the foundation for China’s status as a world trade center in the Yuan Dynasty.

However, a great plague changed the fortunes of many countries, including China, Portugal, Spain and so on, thus completely changing the world pattern, and its influence has continued to this day.

In 1271, Kublai Khan changed the country name to yuan in Dadu (now Beijing). Culturally, since the Yuan Dynasty started as a nomadic people in the north, it was not good at manufacturing goods, and there has always been a custom of commodity exchange and trade. People are encouraged to do business and pay attention to business. There is no Han people’s idea of emphasizing agriculture and suppressing business. The overall commodity economy is very developed.

Geographically, Mongolia has established an unprecedented super empire from the Korean Peninsula to the Black Sea, with an unprecedented scale of unification and regional and cultural integration of many countries in Asia and Europe.

In terms of policy, the Yuan Dynasty implemented an open international trade policy and established a paper currency circulation system to facilitate commodity exchange. Set up the city shipping department to specially manage international trade. The foreign trade of the Yuan Dynasty adopted an official policy, prohibiting Han people from doing business overseas. However, the actual smuggling trade is prosperous and cannot be completely prohibited.

In terms of infrastructure construction, the Yuan dynasty built a post station system, established maritime transport and land trade routes, connected water transport, inland river and sea transport, and established an unprecedentedly developed land and water transport network, providing favorable hardware support for Sino foreign trade.

With Quanzhou as the center, the overseas trade of the Yuan Dynasty witnessed unprecedented prosperity. The import and export business is under the jurisdiction of the municipal shipping department. The main duties of the Department are to supervise the import and export trade of Chinese and foreign businessmen and to levy taxes. Due to the development of trade, the income of the city shipping department was astonishing. In the 26th year of the Yuan Dynasty (1289), Sha Buding, the head of the city shipping department, handed over 400 Jin of jewelry and 3400 liang of gold to the Yuan government, which greatly exceeded the tax figures of the Song Dynasty. At that time, there was a saying that the income of the market was “the capital of the military”, and the money bag of the army and the state.

In the Yuan Dynasty, more than 100 countries conducted maritime trade with China, including Japan, Korea, northeast Africa, southwest Asia and Europe. There are many kinds of imported goods. According to the records of the shibosi of the Yuan Dynasty, there were at least 220 kinds, including spices, medicinal materials, cloth, treasures, ceramics and daily necessities, and even the slave trade.

The famous Marco Polo, In his masterpiece the travels of Marco Polo, it is recorded that: “here (Quanzhou) It’s a harbor. All Indian ships come here. It carries very valuable commodities, many precious gems and many large and beautiful pearls. It is also a commercial port where merchants from the neighboring barbarian countries gather. In a word, the flourishing trade of commodity gems and pearls in this commercial port is indeed amazing… In terms of commercial volume, it is one of the two major ports in the world. “

Whether a country’s economy occupies a leading position in the world can be seen from two points: first, absolute GDP, which intuitively indicates the economic volume; Second, the degree of economic connectivity, the degree of dependence of the economies of other countries in the world on this country, or the degree of influence of this country on the world economy;

The former is the appearance, the latter is the root. Dadu, the capital of the Yuan Dynasty, became the political, economic and trade center of the world at that time. This is the first time in human history that a rudiment of globalization has really emerged.

At that time, Europe was divided into hundreds of small principalities, and wars continued, some even lasted for hundreds of years. At this time, religion was higher than imperial power. In the name of recovering the holy land of Jerusalem, the Roman Catholic Church plundered and squeezed private wealth, launched the crusade for nearly 200 years, and frequently executed people in the name of religion. More than 100000 “Witches” were burned to death. The common people were enslaved by religion and imperial power, and almost all of them were illiterate, hungry and cold. Petrac called this the “dark age of the Middle Ages”.

The black death that swept the world changed all this.

The international authoritative journal Nature pointed out that through DNA analysis, researchers speculated that the outbreak source of the pestis, known as the black death, might be located near the issyk Lake in the northeast of Kyrgyzstan, a central Asian country. This is by far the deadliest epidemic in human history. Around 1350, the Black Death swept through Europe, Asia, North Africa and other places, causing more than 50% of the population in the European continent to die and more than 200 million people in the world to die, which subverted the international social order at that time.


Victory of death, which depicts the black death in Europe

When the black death was prevalent in Europe, the trade between Europe and Asia (mainly China) was the most frequent. The original maritime trade routes between the Yuan Dynasty and Europe started from Quanzhou, China, and passed through the South China Sea, the bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Southeast Asia, India, Arab countries, Egypt and other countries and regions, and finally reached Europe. However, the black death directly destroyed the trade route between the Yuan Dynasty and Europe. At that time, the first world trade system established by the Yuan Dynasty to operate between China, India and the Mediterranean was paralyzed.

The black death had two fatal effects on China in the Yuan Dynasty at that time: first, the overseas trade was interrupted, and the whole European continent was swept by the epidemic. No king, nobles and civilians were spared, and society and commerce basically collapsed. Europe’s economy was basically destroyed by the black death, and its purchasing power declined. The export of Chinese goods, especially luxury goods, plummeted. International trade gradually declined until it stopped. An obvious corroboration is that in the historical documents of the Yuan Dynasty, from about 1350, the information about European merchants and missionaries who came to China decreased sharply and disappeared completely in the later period. This led to a straight-line decline in tax revenue in the Yuan Dynasty, government expenditure exceeding expenditure, and the lack of military supplies. This further led to the indiscriminate issuance of paper money, resulting in the collapse of the entire social economy.

Second, the Black Death spread to China at that time through the armies and foreign merchant ships and merchants who fought outside the Yuan Dynasty, resulting in the death of the people and social unrest. Among the 13 major plagues mentioned in the five elements annals of the Yuan Dynasty, they basically occurred around 1350. The plague triggered a great famine, resulting in economic collapse and political instability. Peasant uprisings continued, including the red scarf army and Zhu Yuanzhang. Only a few years later, in 1368, Zhu Yuanzhang declared himself Emperor, the Ming Dynasty was born, and the Yuan Dynasty was destroyed.

The Ming Dynasty began to implement a strict sea ban and abolished the shipping department responsible for overseas trade that had existed since the Tang Dynasty. So far, China’s overseas trade has turned from prosperity to decline, and the world center has begun to shift. After each global pandemic, it is the change of social class and mode of production at home, and the replacement of national strength and the mode of world connection at abroad. The old empire began to decline, and the new empire began to rise.

Gund Frank wrote in silver capital: before the Ming Dynasty, China had always been the center of the world system and the real world international trade center. At the same time, Europe was not worth mentioning. America was still a wild period, and silver flowed from Europe and other parts of the world to China. But after the Ming and Qing Dynasties, China began to lag behind in the world. Historian McNeil also said: “from 50000 to 100000 years ago, there has been a fragile dynamic balance between human beings and infectious diseases. Every so-called progress of human civilization often means that this balance is broken, and the reconstruction of the balance is often accompanied by rampant plague and population reduction, which has an impact on the existing social, political and economic order.”

For Europe, the black death was a catastrophe, but it was also a historical turning point. To a certain extent, it gave birth to the contemporary western civilization. Many feudal countries in Europe were reborn from the devastation and began to evolve in the direction of modern society, commerce and economy. Europe, especially western European countries, began to rise in the world until they became the world hegemony.

As a large number of young people died of the pestis, the rural labor force declined sharply, and the inefficient and inhumane European feudal tenant system began to collapse. Because of the high cost of labor, it directly promoted the improvement of tools and technological innovation, led to the sprout of modern science and technology, and even promoted the birth and development of industrial revolution in Europe. Because the maritime trade between Europe and the Yuan Dynasty had been interrupted, and the political situation of the countries along the way had changed, European countries were forced to start looking for new maritime routes. The developing science and technology also provided precise measuring tools for ocean navigation. Royal families and governments also urgently need to find new ways to increase their income.

In the middle of the 15th century, Spain and Portugal began to look for a new road to the East, marched southward along the coast of Africa, and discovered the American continent. Magellan’s fleet not only successfully found the channel leading to the Pacific Ocean through South America, but also completed the first round the world voyage in human history. In the 19th century, France, Britain and the Netherlands began to dominate the economic activities in the Atlantic Ocean. Li Lu said in the discovery of the American continent and its impact on the times that the great geographical discovery activated Europe, developed the Americas, and established a trade circle around the Atlantic Ocean. It has broken through the original restrictions on agricultural economy and land.

With the development of ocean exploration, transnational commercial activities become more and more frequent, which promotes the development of capitalism and industrial revolution. Businessmen begin to become the most powerful stratum in society. In Britain, France and other European countries, the bourgeoisie gradually controlled their own governments, modern capitalism began to emerge, and the World Trade Center began to shift to Western Europe, which has still affected the world pattern.

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