In 1368, Zhu Yuanzhang founded the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in Nanjing, and reigned as Emperor Taizu. When his son, and successor, Zhu Di, ascended the throne, he started to build the palace, temples, city walls, and moat in Beijing. In 1421, he officially made Beijing his capital.

In the late Ming Dynasty, the Manchus in northeast China grew in strength. Under the leadership of Nurhachi, the Manchus invaded the Central Plain for three generations in succession, and finally founded the Qing Dynasty(1644-1911).

The two most famous emperors of the Qing Dynasty were Emperor Kangxi (r. 1661-1772) and Emperor Qianlong (r. 1735-1796). The Kangxi and Qianlong reign periods were known as the "times of prosperity".

China was reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country since the first Opium War in 1840. The Revolution of 1911, led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, ended the rule of the Qing Dynasty.