A ~300-years-old Chinese Dynasty

Given a PoD before 1900 A.D., can there be a Chinese dynasty, if not having both North and South lands, that can have a reign of ~300 years?

Why 300? Because viewing the Chinese history, starting from Qin, there were no dynasty that can reign for longer than 300 years(Song might be a bit longer I admit). And as far as I know, there were some main reasons for a dynasty to fall: corrupted emperor/leader(to me, Ming is an exception here), "barbaric" invasions, environmental disasters, etc. Can any Chinese dynasty of OTL able to fend off most, or even all, of these causes, and survive much longer?

EDIT: Sorry, that "not" is not supposed to be exist :(
 
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So, a chinese dynasty lasting up to 2200 at least? It's going to look like more a FH than anything else. (And probably not a Before 1900 thread).

Thing is, in 1900, Qing dynasty was quite weakened already, being recently defeated by Japan and with a lot of European interference.
Even the reforms of 1901 didn't really made up with growing troubles (the fact Qing were considered as foreign didn't helped).

I suppose that Qing could survive the revolution of 1911 (and I don't really see them being replaced by a new dynasty), but all the troubles of the XXth century?
 
So, a chinese dynasty lasting up to 2200 at least? It's going to look like more a FH than anything else. (And probably not a Before 1900 thread).

Thing is, in 1900, Qing dynasty was quite weakened already, being recently defeated by Japan and with a lot of European interference.
Even the reforms of 1901 didn't really made up with growing troubles (the fact Qing were considered as foreign didn't helped).

I suppose that Qing could survive the revolution of 1911 (and I don't really see them being replaced by a new dynasty), but all the troubles of the XXth century?

Well, I do also think that Late Qing period was not very possible, so that's why I was trying to explore possibilities of other dynasties, like Song for instance.
 
Late Qing is possible with a few stretches of imagination, chief among them to be changing Yuan Shikai into a Zeng Guofan-esque person instead of a man interested in power for himself.

The only rocky bit is having to traverse China's early economic and social development. Once that bit passes, a Chinese dynasty can easily become stable - even more so, if it a) develops nuclear weapons and b) adopts the Green Revolution (to eliminate famine).

It's much harder once the Qing is gone, of course, because the 'traditional legitimacy' of a monarchy would have to be rebuilt from scratch, and then you also will have to add in the constant struggle between monarchists and republicans, and eventually Communists as well.
 

RousseauX

Donor
Given a PoD not before 1900 A.D., can there be a Chinese dynasty, if not having both North and South lands, that can have a reign of ~300 years?

Why 300? Because viewing the Chinese history, starting from Qin, there were no dynasty that can reign for longer than 300 years(Song might be a bit longer I admit). And as far as I know, there were some main reasons for a dynasty to fall: corrupted emperor/leader(to me, Ming is an exception here), "barbaric" invasions, environmental disasters, etc. Can any Chinese dynasty of OTL able to fend off most, or even all, of these causes, and survive much longer?

I'm gonna assume you meant "before 1900 AD"

In that case, it's really not that hard, a couple were most of the way there (267), the Ming (276), the Tang (289). Add 50 years to the Ming or the Tang might not be all that hard.
 
I'm guessing this particular negative adverb was not meant to be there?

If you meant 'before 1900', it's worth noting that Chinese dynasties usually fell due to one of two problems:

1) Overcentralization, leading to massive bureaucratic outgrowths which impose burdens of the people, as well as administrative inefficiencies. (Song, Ming)

2) Decentralization, leading to a situation where central power is gradually lost to the provinces and the Emperor becomes little more than an irrelevancy (Han, Tang, Qing?)

Oftentimes the way one dynasty fell directly influenced how the next dynasty would fall as well, as the new dynasty attempted to avoid the 'mistakes' of the previous dynasty. The most obvious cases are Eastern Han > Cao Wei > Jin, and Tang > Song.

The problem with China is that its size and bureaucracy, for the most part, prevented any meaningful reforms from happening once the basic path had been set. You'd need extraordinarily powerful monarchs just to make trivial changes in policy (somewhat like the CCP's situation now), yet for the most part the quality of Chinese monarchs declined precipitously once the first 3/4 generations passed away, a result of palace isolation.

One option would be to make sure Chinese princes got adequate experience/had to fight for the throne a la Ottoman Empire (Yongzheng being the most famous case); another option would be to do away with the whole meritocratic bureaucracy, and restrict positions of power to a select group of people with personal links to the monarch (such as what the Manchus did). This would make the process of reforming state structures much easier, and thus give the dynasty some flexibility in meeting new challenges.
 

RousseauX

Donor
another option would be to do away with the whole meritocratic bureaucracy, and restrict positions of power to a select group of people with personal links to the monarch (such as what the Manchus did).
This is basically what happened during the Eastern Han dynasty (when the Mother's side of the emperor's family dominated) and it turned out really badly.

The three pillars of power at the Emperor's court (beside the emperor himself) tended to be one of

1) The bureaucracy
2) The Emperor's family
3) The Enunchs

Of the three, at least in history authored by themselves, the scholar-bureaucrats are the best bunch. 2) tend to be the worst and 3) has a mixed record.
 
I'm gonna assume you meant "before 1900 AD"

In that case, it's really not that hard, a couple were most of the way there (267), the Ming (276), the Tang (289). Add 50 years to the Ming or the Tang might not be all that hard.

Would the Ming not spending themselves into oblivion on projects like the treasure fleets and Forbidden City done the trick?
 
Would the Ming not spending themselves into oblivion on projects like the treasure fleets and Forbidden City done the trick?

Remember that the Ming were conquered instead of collapsing. I once read a book called Vermeer's Hat that dealt with the fall of the Ming in some of the chapters. (The book used Vermeer's paintings to illustrate how interconnected the 17th century world was).

*Digs out book*

"What devastated China in the 1640s was not its monetary system so much as the impact of cold weather, and with it, virulent epidemics, falling grain production, and huge military spending to hold back the Manchus to the north." (Timothy Brook 175).
 
This is basically what happened during the Eastern Han dynasty (when the Mother's side of the emperor's family dominated) and it turned out really badly.

The three pillars of power at the Emperor's court (beside the emperor himself) tended to be one of

1) The bureaucracy
2) The Emperor's family
3) The Enunchs

Of the three, at least in history authored by themselves, the scholar-bureaucrats are the best bunch. 2) tend to be the worst and 3) has a mixed record.

Fair point. I was thinking more of the lines of the Zhou Dynasty, with feudalism slowly taking hold and everybody benefiting from a powerless emperor in the center. Maybe 'ethnic group' a la Manchus is better, then.

Seeking a long dynasty in China is probably slightly antithetical to seeking 'stability', imho, because periods of instability help remove structural problems within the Chinese state that prevent it from reacting to changed circumstances. But the problem is that instability in China usually also meant a change in dynasties.
 
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One thing is a must, the Chinese must somehow overcoming the firmly planted Confucian Conservativeness and Centralized State Ideals...

perhaps with more successful Buddhist Influences... or even the coming of Christianity / Islam...
 

RousseauX

Donor
Would the Ming not spending themselves into oblivion on projects like the treasure fleets and Forbidden City done the trick?

I think that's way too far back, I doubt conserving money in the 15th century is going to affect events that much in the 17th.

Avoiding the Imjin war with Japan might help though
 

RousseauX

Donor
One thing is a must, the Chinese must somehow overcoming the firmly planted Confucian Conservativeness and Centralized State Ideals...

perhaps with more successful Buddhist Influences... or even the coming of Christianity / Islam...

The thing is the stable political equilibrium in imperial China -was- a weak, centralized government.

Too much dencentralization and the country fall apart, as it did during the Tang, whoever pulls the country together again will be scared to the death of trying it again.

Attempts at further centralization don't work because the pre-modern state lacks the technology and the administrative techniques/apparatus to impose further centralization.

So you are kinda stuck with weak, centralized government which is reasonably good at administrating the country in the good years and when population levels are stable. In bad years however.......
 
Indeed, either too centralized or too decentralized would affects the longevity of the dynasty, also, the State Confucianism had stopped any possibility of putting reforms that could really helped the dynasty, like what happened in Song dynasty.

So, I am thinking that, maybe during the Warring States period, another state was unified China, yet the king just reenacting feudalism instead of turning them into provinces, but the Tianzi still reformed the system, like choosing the heir by a sort of exam system, using the new land dividing policy to increase the agricultural productivity so the other states won't starting battles for resources etc. in order to ensure peace among the social hierarchy, or say, avoiding the mistakes taken by the Zhou dynasty. That way, the dynasty wouldn't be too centralized to fell, and although the feudatories might still fight each other, the dynasty still, although namely, exists.

Also, divided states provides academic freedom. As the dynasty won't pursue the One True Thought for centralization, thus banning the heretics in the process, while various feudatories would find for different ideologies fitting its own social-economic situation, various schools of thought could be found in this environment. That way, a Tianzi can be able to pull reforms based on different ideologies when in crucial times, instead of being entrenched by Confucian doctrines, thus a prolonged reign can be ensured.

I am not quite sure about this, yet looking through history, it seems that feudal dynasties like Xia, Shang and Zhou were reigned longer than "unified" dynasties like Qin and Han.
 
I think that's way too far back, I doubt conserving money in the 15th century is going to affect events that much in the 17th.
Chinese dynasties, because of their inertia and conservativeness, tend to suffer from errors built in on the founding of dynasty or early in the history. So if Ming made different reforms before 1450, these might have become status quo traditions... and averted the collapse in 1644.
Avoiding the Imjin war with Japan might help though
And making Ming wealthier and stronger from 15th century on might make Imjin war shorter.
But note: Korea also has dynastic change, yet Choson dynasty unlike Ming did survive the aftermath of Imjin war and Manchu invasion, clocking 300 years in 1692.
 
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