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Empire rankMing
Primary culture
Jianghuai (Chinese)

Capital province
Beijing (1816)

Celestial EmpireGovernment monarchy.png

State religion

Technology group
ChineseChinese technology group
Great Ming ideas
Traditions.png Traditions:
−20% Fort maintenance
−10% Idea cost

Fort defense.png Nine Garrisons of The Great Wall

+5% Fort defense
+25% Garrison size

Discipline.png Revive the Three Grand Divisions

+5% Discipline

Stability cost modifier.png Inward Perfection

−10% Stability cost modifier

Production efficiency.png Repair the Yellow River Dykes

+10% Production efficiency

Trade efficiency.png Restore the Salt Monopoly

+10% Trade efficiency

National tax modifier.png Single Whip Law

+10% National tax modifier

Land leader fire.png The Red Cannon

+1 Land leader fire

Idea bonus.png Ambition:

+30% Improve relations
Shield Ming.png
The Great Ming Empire owes its origins to the collapse of the Flag of Yuan Yuan dynasty from Flag of Mongolia Mongolia and the period of rebellion and strife that struck China in the mid-14th century. From this age of chaos, the Ming emerged as the greatest power in China, eliminating their Han rivals and pushing the descendants of Kublai Khan back to the Great Wall. After eighty years of governance, the Ming have firmly established themselves as the preeminent power in East Asia.

Even though Ming continues to prosper, its international presence has flagged since the end of Zheng He's voyages, and new realms have posed fresh challenges to the empire. In the divided north, nomads have begun to coalesce under the leadership of the Flag of Oirat Oirat warlord Esen, who aspires to become the new Great Khan of all the Mongols. Ming diplomacy at least prevented a similar movement from happening among the Jurchen tribes to the northeast, where Imperial policy has encouraged infighting among the nomads. While the fractious and distracted Jurchens are unlikely to pose a threat any time soon, Esen's Oirats may prove to be a very formidable foe indeed.

Ming's relations in the south are somewhat better. Flag of Dai Viet Dai Viet freed itself from Ming domination only two decades prior, and still remains wary of its Chinese neighbor to the north. Other powers in the region have a more positive opinion of Ming, but mountains and jungles mean that Ming receives little more than token tributes from the southern kingdoms.

Ming's relations are strongest with the Joseon dynasty of Flag of Korea Korea. Both Ming and the Joseon dynasty emerged from the ashes of the Great Yuan, and thanks to their common adherence to Confucian philosophy both have maintained strong bonds ever since.

Not all of Ming's troubles are external; the Mandate of Heaven is a fickle one, and if the Emperor's authority wavers too much then there are those who may choose to shun the Ming altogether. China would have to fall far indeed to reach such dire straits; in the 15th century, the Great Ming Empire is by far the strongest realm in Asia, and quite possibly on Earth!"

Flag of Ming Ming is an extremely large country in eastern Asia. The Ming era has traditionally been held as one of the high points of China's long history. Chinese maritime trade prospered, and Zheng He's mission brought to Ming both diplomatic reputation as the Celestial Empire and valuable trade goods from India and East Africa. By the game's start in 1444, however, these merchant adventures have stopped and China has turned inward; the Ming court has begun to adopt an isolationist outlook to foreign affairs.

Strategically, Ming is in the best position in the game. Holding the entirety of the extremely populous Chinese Zhongyuan region, it has an unrivaled development and more provinces than any country in the world, with no major rivals that pose an immediate threat. However, while the Manchu and Altai hordes are fractured for the moment, given enough time, unified horde armies can pose an existential threat to Ming, as a disaster will trigger if a large bordering horde is not subdued as a tributary, or not allied with Ming. The later arrival of western powers, especially Russia, will be another threat to Ming if not dealt with immediately.

Celestial Empire[edit]

Flag of Ming Ming has a unique monarchy form with fixed Empire rank empire rank and fixed dynasty called the Celestial Empire, reflecting the Chinese belief that a well-governed empire was evidence of divine sanction and blessing, whereas a poorly governed or tyrannical one was evidence that the Emperor could be deposed.

Without the Mandate of Heaven.png Mandate of Heaven expansion, there is a way for Ming to reform and remove this archaic system, that is to embrace the institutions Renaissance.png Renaissance, Colonialism Colonialism, Printing Press.png Printing Press, and at least one of the following: Global Trade.png Global Trade, Manufactories Manufactories, or Enlightenment.png Enlightenment. Upon embracing the required institutions, a decision can be made to change into a constitutional monarchy, but only with a ruler with 4 monarch points in any category. With Mandate of Heaven.png Mandate of Heaven, the Celestial Empire represents Ming being the Emperor of china icon.png emperor of China in 1444, a fact that alters gameplay far beyond what is described here, and it may lose or regain this government form like other eligible nations.

The Celestial Empire provides the following:

  • Prestige.png +0.5 Yearly prestige


Main article: Factions

Three factions compete for power and influence within the Ming Empire. Each faction has unique events that can increase or decrease their influence, and the player can use 10 monarch points of the faction's type to boost its influence by 10. The faction with the greatest influence gives bonuses and maluses to the nation. This system replaces the estate system used by most countries unless the Mandate of Heaven.png Mandate of Heaven expansion is active.

Name Type Effects Description & notes
China temple.png Commanderies of the Five Armies Military power.png
  • Manpower recovery speed.png +10% manpower recovery speed
  • Unjustified demands.png −25% unjustified demands
  • Diplomatic relations.png 0−1% diplomatic relations
The Commanderies are the system of generals and commanders of the Imperial armies. Eager to prove their valor and loyalty they seek to promote war over diplomacy to be able to advance in rank.
China eunuch.png Offices of Maritime Trade Diplomatic power.png
  • Provincial trade power modifier.png +10% provincial trade power modifier
  • Diplomatic reputation.png 0+1% diplomatic reputation
  • Stability cost modifier.png +10% stability cost modifier
The office organizing the provincial bureaucrats in charge of trade and seafaring. Seeking to promote profitable trade they are often opposed to the militaristic ambitions of the Commanderies.
China bureaucrat.png Grand Secretariat Administrative power.png
  • Construction cost.png −10% build cost
  • Possible advisors.png 0+1% possible advisors
  • Discipline.png 0−5% discipline
The corps of administrators promoted through the Imperial Examination system. Brilliant Confucian scholars, these men are the diplomats and bureaucrats of the Empire. They promote policies to build a strong and stable Empire.


Main article: Chinese missions


Main article: Ming events

The events for Ming China are a mixture of religious, reformation, and political events, from "The Arrival of Jesuits" to "The Closure of China" and "Qi Jiguang's Army Reforms". They will affect the country in many diverse ways, bringing factions in and out of favor and adding extra flavor.


Execute decision.pngRepair of the Great Wall

Parts of the Great Wall are in dire need of extensive repair. In its current state it doesn't offer sufficient protection for our northern provinces.

Potential requirements

The country:

  • is Flag of Ming Ming, Flag of Qing Qing or has enacted the ‘Celestial Empiregovernment reform.
  • owns Taiyuan (693), Hejian (695), Baoding (696), Datong (697), Lanzhou (699), Xi'an (700), Yumen (707), Alxa (709) and Beijing (1816).
  • does not have the modifier “Reparations of the Great Wall”.

If the country is AI-controlled, then it:

  • can not be a custom nation.

The country:

  • has a ruler with a military skill of at least 5.


The country:

  • gets the modifier “Reparations of the Great Wall” for the rest of the campaign with the following effects:
    • Fort defense.png +25% fort defense,
    • Fort maintenance.png +10% fort maintenance.

Execute decision.pngConstruct the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City will be a glorious national monument, increasing our prestige and promoting stability.

Potential requirements

The country:

If the country is AI-controlled, then it:

  • can not be a custom nation.

The country:

  • is not at war
  • has hired a level 3 Advisor Statesman.png statesman or has a ruler with an administrative skill of at least 3.
  • has either the faction system is disabled or the Bureaucrats faction is in power.
  • has a stability of +3.
  • has at least 1 year's worth of income in its treasury.
  • has at least 50 administrative power.


The country:

  • loses Gold Icon.png ducats equal to 1 year of income.
  • loses Administrative power.png 50 administrative power.
  • gets the modifier “The Forbidden City” for the rest of the campaign with the following effects:
    • Stability cost modifier.png −10% stability cost modifier,
    • Prestige.png +0.5 yearly prestige.

Execute decision.pngGovernment Reform

Having strengthened our government institutions sufficiently we can break the power of our court factions and ensure the direct control of our $MONARCHTITLE$.

Potential requirements

The Mandate of Heaven.png ‘Mandate of Heaven’ DLC is not enabled.
The country:


The country:

  • has a ruler with either a administrative, diplomatic or military skill of at least 4.
  • has embraced feudalism.
  • has embraced renaissance.
  • has embraced colonialism.
  • has embraced printing press.
  • has embraced either global trade, manufactories or enlightenment.

If the Dharma.png ‘Dharma’ DLC is enabled

  • then the country must have reached at least level 4 in government reforms.


The country:


Ming is the number one Great power.png Great Power in 1444 start with unparalleled economy and size. With Ming's economically focused ideas, it will likely be drowning in ducats throughout the game. Ming's hegemony, however, is much more fragile than first appearance. The advancement of Institutions will slow down its technological advancement. Northern hordes threaten its border. Unpacified borders or unchecked expansion will reduce its Mandate, which can bring about overwhelming negative effects. Colonization will reduce the relative importance of Beijing trade node. Even when all these nuances are managed, an equal nation with multiple military bonuses in their Idea bonus.pngnational ideas and traditions can still bring Ming to its knees with ease as Ming's own ideas offer little military bonuses. If Ming ever falls behind technologically or economically, its military will not hold against another Great Power.

Managing the Hell That is the Empire of China[edit]

Ming starts off being the Emperor of china icon.png Emperor of China, which confers various benefits when Mandate.png mandate is positive. There are steep penalties for negative Mandate.png Mandates. Since non-tributary neighbouring countries reduces Mandate.png mandate steeply, for every Great Power neighbour that Ming cannot make Subject tributary icon.png tributary of or quickly conquer, there need to be corresponding tributaries to make up the mandate loss. See strategy on being the Emperor of China.

Suitable tributaries depend on the overall strategies the player choose for Ming. Notable countries to nurture as future high development tributaries include Kilwa, Mali, Portugal through colonization and Japan through the need to conquer a Shintoism Shinto province. The player should be cautious of adding tributaries that can drag players into unwanted wars. Targets of Ottoman such as Mamluks and Aq Qoyunlu are examples. Ryuku starts off as Ming tributary. Player should keep in mind that, most likely, AI Japan will eventually declare war on Ryuku despite of Ming's suzerainty. The same applies to Ainu if player adds Ainu to his or her tributary system. A naval build-up no later than tech 15 when Bigship.png Galleon becomes available is usually necessary to combat Japan. Given naval dominance over Japan, it is not hard to snatch provinces from Japan with some surprise landing and subsequent blockade off isolated islands of Japan even if the player does not wish to commit too many troops on Japan or building too large of a Transport.png transport fleet. A navally weak Ming may have to abandon Ryuku as a tributary before Japan becomes too powerful.

One other side effect of the Subject tributary icon.png tributary system is Privateer.pngpiracy. Since Ming cannot declare war on its tributaries without steep penalty, being a Subject tributary icon.png tributary of Ming is a license to pirate Chinese trade nodes. In order to protect trade income, a combat fleet of either Bigship.png heavy ships or Galley.pnggalleys is required. Hunt pirates.pngHunt pirates efficiency is based on the number of guns. Galleys offer more guns per Expenses.png maintenance cost. China is also home to a number of in-land seas. Thus a small galleys offer great utility early game. As the game progresses, heavy ships will be required for their combat capacity.

Ming's vast Manpower.png manpower pool and thus Manpower recovery speed.png recovery speed in absolute terms can be cashed in for Gold Icon.png ducats or Prestige.png prestige using the subject interactions of Subject tributary icon.png tributary. Send Additional Troops.png Send additional troops to decrease Liberty desire.png liberty desire after Demand Additional Tribute.png demanding extra tribute offers a limitless mean to milk Ming's tributary subjects dry. The send troops interaction requires the subject to be War.pngat war. Setting rich subjects as countries of special interest by right-clicking the country flag on the provincial interface can help tracking such opportunities. Of course, Send Additional Troops.png Send additional troops can also be used to manage Liberty desire.png liberty desire of large tributary subjects as with any other tributary overlord.

Maintaining Power Projection[edit]

For most part of the first half of the game, Ming is too strong to have validRivalry attituderivals. Occasionally, validRivalry attituderival targets come up. For example, when Ming's Development.png development score is reduced by not having the most up to date Institutions.png institution. In case the Dharma.png Dharma DLC is active, be sure to scornfully insult the rival promptly to gain +10 Power projection.png power projection as the rival may not still be a rival as soon as next month. Privateer.pngPrivateering is often required to maintain a high level of Power projection.png power projection for Ming.

Ming's Religion[edit]

Ming starts with Confucianism Confucian with most of its China provinces under the true faith. Neo-Confucianism adds extra +2Tolerance heretic.png tolerance of heretics to the existing +2Tolerance heretic.png from Confucianism Confucian, making heretics almost as accepted as Tolerance own.pngtrue faith even without Humanist idea group.png Humanist ideas. Thus Religious unity.png religious unity is not an issue early to mid game when Ming's territory stays within the coverage of eastern religions.

Combining the high tolerance with the fact that unaccepted culture gives -33% to most forms of incomes, and that cultures under harmonized religions cannot be converted, it is usually not worthwhile to harmonize other eastern religions -- except Shintoism Shinto, which gives a valuable +5% to Infantry combat ability.png infantry combat ability. In order to harmonize Shintoism Shinto, a province in Japan is required. Player needs to plan ahead whether he or she wishes to remove the unaccepted culture malus on rich Japanese provinces -- thereby requiring either a) reserving 2 to 3 Max promoted cultures.png accepted culture slots for Japan or b) complete conquest and cultural conversion before harmonizing Shinto. These two options need to be further balanced with the need to maintain total Development.png development among Subject tributary icon.png tributary nations, among which Japan can be an ideal option. The player may have to settle with a compromise somewhere in between.

Harmonization vs Conversion (of heathens)[edit]

Expansion beyond China region and Buddhism.png Buddhism requires either religious conversion or harmonization to maintain Religious unity.png religious unity. Conversion costs harmony and the cost scales with development. This makes religious conversion highly restricted with Confucian. Harmonization also costs harmony and takes up to 34 years, with some events offering opportunities to reduce the duration, but has the effect of affecting a whole branch of religion as Tolerance own.pngtruth faith. Thus, exceptional circumstances aside, harmonization is usually the preferred option. Given the lengthy process, it is wise to a) accumulate the positive modifiers for Yearly harmony increase.png harmony as much as possible, b) avoid unnecessary spending of harmony on conversion, and c) avoid wasting harmony from overflow. The latter also means the harmonization of a religion should occur reasonably early before a lot of heathen provinces are conquered.

If the player moves Capital.png capital to outside of Asia, Subject tradecompany icon.png trade company can be used to skip the harmonization of Hinduism Hindu. (DLC Wealth of Nations.png or Dharma.png required.)

Managing Institutions[edit]

Adopting Renaissance[edit]

Ming cannot obtain Renaissance.png Renaissance through adjacency within any reasonable time frame. Forcing its adoption through Development cost.png provincial development is the reasonable option. And the All power costs.png monarch point cost is hardly an issue as the economic prowess of Ming affords the most expensive Advisor.png advisers with the only nuance being to save up sufficient monarch points in advance while using them from time to time to avoid wasteful overflow. The more interesting strategic question is where to develop.

One obvious choice is the Capital.png capital Beijing. With Ming's existing development, there would be -50% Development cost.png development cost reduction in Beijing. This can be further combined with Mandate.png imperial decreeExpand Palace Bureaucracy” and Number of states.png state edictEncourage Development”. (DLC Mandate of Heaven.png required.) There are, however, two downsides with developing in Beijing: 1) North Jiangsu is not stated and is not usually worthwhile stating (also conflicting with later addition to trade company if stated), which leaves a gap between the rich capital area and the rich southern Yangtze delta and Pearl River delta area, hindering spread via adjacency & 2) developing Beijing now adds to the cost of moving capital later. The former is less of a problem as at the time of Renaissance, before Ming expands and statify too many territories, the presence of Renaissance around North/South Hebei and Shandong is usually sufficient for a nation-wide embracement through the use of the some Expenses.png ducats. The limited stated development compared to late game also limits the Expenses.png ducat expenditure. The latter factor on moving capital is worth more consideration. If a player later decides to move the Capital.png capital, Beijing developed far enough for adopting Renaissance would usually incur a full extra 500 Administrative power.png admin points. The player needs to consider whether the -50% development cost reduction is worthwhile in light of the extra move capital cost. This is compounded by the fact that developing Hangzhou, for example, would make spreading to neighbouring (rich) provinces easier. This not only applies to Renaissance but also later Institutions.png institutions.

If Common Sense.png Common Sense is not enabled, Ming may have to move Capital.png Capital to Europe or North Africa and unstate most provinces in China -- reduces permanent cores into territorial cores in the process -- in order to obtain Renaissance reasonably early. It can take a century and more before Renaissance.png Renaissance spreads to the China region without intervention.

Adopting later institutions[edit]

Ming can reasonably compete for the origin of Colonialism Colonialism. That usually requires Exploration idea group.png Exploration as the first idea group. And that is a reasonable choice for Ming since Ming's initial economic prowess delays the need for a military idea group compared to other smaller nations. The adoption of Colonialism Colonialism is intrinsically linked to capital move as well. Moving capital to the New World enables direct control of New World provinces. Since Colonialism Colonialism does not spawn in countries whose capital is in the New World, the player should time his or her capital move in order to contend for the origin of Colonialism, which gives All power costs.png monarch powers, Prestige.pngprestige, a minor Local trade power.png local trade power boost and delays the adoption of Colonialism elsewhere. Individually, these benefits are small but combined they are worthwhile when colonization is already a part of the player's plan.

Delaying the move of Capital.png capital is more than just that. It is a valid strategy to form a few Subject colony icon.png colonial nations first before moving to the New World, reaping both the benefits of having Subject colony icon.png colonial nations and directly owning provinces in the New World. This can go hand in hand with delaying the move of capital to contend for the origin of Colonialism. Delaying the move too far though slows the player's colonization progress because colonists take substantially longer to travel from Beijing to the Americas than the capitals of most other colonial powers.

Ming can also reasonably compete for the origin of Global Trade.png Global Trade -- at least in single player. Usually, a sizable Lightship.png trade fleet to wrestle control of the Nippon trade node is required to maintain Beijing's top place in trade value among all trade nodes. This can be managed easier if Ming colonizes rapidly after Colonialism through a capital move to the Americas and subsequently steering trade to Japan. On the home front, widespread construction of manufactories is usually required. Choose provinces with decently valued trade goods. (See strategy for buildings.) If Beijing is a few Gold Icon.png ducats short, temporary Trade Embargo on England or Great Britain may reduce the trade value in English Channel just enough for the origin of Global Trade.png Global Trade to spawn in Ming. To that end, some control in the Ivory Coast trade node is helpful. Temporary diversion of trade value towards Sevilla can reduce the trade value in English Channel by a good margin.

Enlightenment.png Enlightenment is another institution that is best planned ahead for. The spread of Enlightenment.png Enlightenment is slow for countries whose capital is outside of Europe. This is a late game institution thus the player is likely to have expanded Ming's territory to many parts of the world -- raising the minimum number of Number of states.png stated provinces required for the presence of Enlightenment.png Enlightenment before adoption as well as raising the Expenses.png ducat cost of Embracement cost.png embracement. The player should decide ahead of time whether a later move to Europe will be needed. If so, it may be best to avoid developing the capital for adopting Printing Press.png Printing Press as well as Renaissance.png Renaissance to avoid the costly Development cost.png development difference penalty from the move.

Idea Groups: Exploration or Not[edit]

Ming can reach Americans reasonably early through island hops or through Alaska while being the first to colonize Africa -- seizing Cape and gaining a free merchant as a start. Colonizing Inhambane (1183) next to Kilwa can be a start of conquest in East Africa or could be the move to gain a high development tributary. In the latter case, control of Ivory.png ivory can still come but likely much later through Province trade power value.png Center of Trade upgrades and late game Provincial trade power modifier.png provincial trade power modifiers. To that end, colonization of the isolated islands in the East Africa trade region is advisable.

Since colonization is a valid strategy, and Ming's military position is not usually challenged early game, Exploration idea group.png Exploration is a valid first idea in Single Player. If a human player is present in the region, a military idea group is most likely required urgently since Ming does not have strong military national ideas. If Exploration is chosen, completion is also valid strategy -- despite of the limited use of the idea group late game. That is because Ming may have limited number of coastal provinces and thus fall behind in Naval forcelimit.png Naval Force Limit, to which the Exploration idea group.png Exploration group gives +25%. The Quality-Exploration policy gives -25% Land attrition.png land attrition. That can be another reason to complete Exploration and keep it. Complete Exploration idea group.png Exploration and a Capital.png capital in the New World will allow Ming to quickly dominate the Americas.

Subsequent idea groups are usually common with other nations. Ming will need multiple military idea groups and need them before major territorial conquests. The Core-creation cost.png core creation cost reduction from Administrative idea group.png Administrative stacks with the bonuses from being the Emperor of china icon.png Emperor of China well. As vassals are usually required for Ming as a measure to preserve mandate, the -25% Diplomatic annexation cost diplomatic annexation cost reduction and +2 Diplomatic reputation.png diplomatic reputation from Influence idea group.png Influence ideas provide great utility for Ming. Between Humanist idea group.png Humanist and Religious idea group.png Religious, Humanist likely offers greater value since as the conversion ideas will mostly be wasted on Confucianism Confucian due to the cost on harmony. Humanist also gives the much needed yet rare to come by modifier of +0.25 Yearly harmony increase.png yearly harmony growth. (DLC Mandate of Heaven.png required.) The religious idea group nevertheless offers strong military policies. Military bonuses are in short supply with Ming. Thus it's not unreasonable to choose Religious ideas late game.

Moving Capital[edit]

Under the latest patch 1.28, moving the capital of your country to a province means you need to have 50% of your development on the same continent as the new capital.

Considering the development you have on the Asian continent, it is extremely difficult, not to say completely impossible, to move your capital in Europe or in the New world. Hence it is unlikely you will have access to the Asian trade companies meaning you have to brace yourself suffering the maximum "too many territories" corruption penalty fairly quickly.


Kow-Tow icon
As Ming, have a subject from each religion group.
Country guides

Eastern technology group Eastern.png Jerusalem.png Jerusalem
Muslim technology group Muslim.png Arabia.png Arabia Hisn Kayfa.png Hisn Kayfa Oman.png Oman
Indian technology group Indian.png Assam.png Assam Bahmanis.png Bahmanis Bengal.png Bengal Orissa.png Orissa
Chinese technology group Chinese.png Bali.png Bali Brunei.png Brunei Dai Viet.png Dai Viet Japan.png Japan Khmer.png Khmer Korea.png Korea Majapahit.png Majapahit Malaya.png Malaya Pagarruyung.png Pagarruyung Pasai.png Pasai Sunda.png Sunda
Nomadic technology group Nomadic.png Jianzhou.png Jianzhou Timurids.png Timurids Uzbek.png Uzbek

Central African technology group Central African.png Mutapa.png Mutapa
East African technology group East African.png Kilwa.png Kilwa
Muslim technology group Muslim.png The Mamluks.png MamluksTunis.png Tunis
West African technology group West African.png Mali.png Mali

Western technology group Western.png United States.png United States
Mesoamerican technology group Mesoamerican.png Maya.png Maya
North American technology group North American.png Caddo.png Caddo Cherokee.png Cherokee Iroquois.png Iroquois

Andean technology group Andean.png Chachapoya.png Chachapoya Cusco.png Cusco Muisca.png Muisca
South American technology group South American.png Mapuche.png Mapuche