No Manchu Invasions, who Unifies China?

Who can unify China in the next century besides the Qing?

  • Shun Dynasty

    Votes: 30 63.8%
  • Xi Dynasty

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Southern Ming

    Votes: 13 27.7%
  • Other

    Votes: 4 8.5%

  • Total voters
    47
In OTL, the Ming to Qing Transition was a whole mess. It first started off with the Jurchen Tribes uniting into the Later Jin (Future Qing) and invaded Liaodong Peninsula, with natural disasters and then famine, while previously natural disasters then famine occurred, which caused a peasant uprising that took over Beijing, which lead to a Ming defector to open the gates for Manchus, who soon over ran the various short-lived dynasties and Southern Ming, conquering all of China.

So, what if the Manchus were unable to get through the gates. Either a succession crisis or something else that weakens them from forming the Qing Dynasty.

With the Qing out of the picture, who has the best chance to conquer all of China under their banner in the next century?

Options are:

1. Shun Dynasty - Founded by Li Zicheng, the person who started the peasant rebellion, he conquered Beijing, but was defeated by the Qing and Ming defectors at Shanhai Pass, before dying and his dynasty collapsing

2. Xi Dynasty- Founded by another Peasant Leader, Zhang Xianzhong, he conquered Sichuan province, and depopulated the area by mass killings. (Although, this could’ve Qing propaganda)

3. Southern Ming - The previous dynasty, after the death of the Chongzhen Emperor, various claimants appeared in the South.

4. Other - Someone else in China takes over all of the country in the coming century, and founds a new dynasty. People include Wu Sangui
 
Consider perhaps Khutugtu Khan, instead of the Xi? I don't really see the Great Xi court (let's face it, it's not even a dynasty in the Chinese sense) having aspirations to unite all of China. Shun had a chance if they did not lose the Battle of Shanhai Pass, but if the POD is the Manchus somehow being taken out of the picture, Khutugtu's fate would be the most changed.
My pet idea is another Five Dynasties Ten Statelets situation, since none of the other contenders have the political shrewdness + military force combination the Qing wielded to unite most of China within five years of the Ming's collapse. If things come to this, though, it would be very hard to predict who would be the unifier.
 
1. Most likely unless he screws up

2. He seemed to have been a regional warlord gone as far as he could

3. Maybe but the Ming was so dysfunctional the dynasty seemed spent

4. There would probably be decades of division before a clear winner emerges. But China had been unified for a thousand years at this point. A prolonged division is unlikely
 
4. There would probably be decades of division before a clear winner emerges. But China had been unified for a thousand years at this point. A prolonged division is unlikely
Such a division may last long enough for new players to enter the fray, though. The eventual next dynasty ITTL may be a completely irrelevant family IOTL.
 
The obvious answer from this list is the Shun, and otherwise "other". In 1644 the Shun controlled all of northern China, while the Xi were invading the Southern Ming already and got as far east as Jiangxi. However the Xi most likely wouldn't have been able to take over all of southern China, which mean they would just end up weakening themselves and the Ming, leaving the already larger and stronger Shun to take advantage of their wars. The Ming were struggling hard enough to keep themselves together already, there is no way they would retake all of China unless they get really lucky. There are just too many claimants and too many generals only giving lip service. The fact they're actually leading the poll rn is actually kinda funny.​

If the Shun mess up and collapse that means another dynasty will most likely rise somewhere in the north to replace them, and then they'll do what the Shun failed to do, or maybe one of those southern "Ming" generals manage to take control.
 
Such a division may last long enough for new players to enter the fray, though. The eventual next dynasty ITTL may be a completely irrelevant family IOTL.

Yes but that process would be measured in years or decades, not centuries. Ever since the Sui dynasty, all transitions have been in that time frame. Assuming the Shun and Souther Ming both fail and Qing is kept at bay, the advent of some other new dynasty wont be long coming.
 
4. There would probably be decades of division before a clear winner emerges. But China had been unified for a thousand years at this point. A prolonged division is unlikely

Such a division may last long enough for new players to enter the fray, though. The eventual next dynasty ITTL may be a completely irrelevant family IOTL.
Define prolonged division... as noted such a division might allow new players to emerge and in the 1600s this starts to include European colonial companies as well. China might reunite, but it’s likely the perifery will remain independent and/or under the influence of another power.
 
Define prolonged division... as noted such a division might allow new players to emerge and in the 1600s this starts to include European colonial companies as well. China might reunite, but it’s likely the perifery will remain independent and/or under the influence of another power.

European technology was adopted by the Ming and the Qing quickly copied it as well. When the Qing fell in 1911 there were outside players, including a very assertive Japan. None of these factors led to a division longer than a few decades at most. This is typical of all Chinese dynastic transition. The only exception was the near three centuries of disunity between the fall of Western Jin and the Sui, which was an outcome of foreign migration into the north.
 
If Shun can't quickly complete it's overthrow of Ming, I'm almost certain China would enter into a northern/southern dynasties period at least for a time between Shun and Southern Ming; Perhaps Xi would be in play as a regional power, but I doubt their viability.
 
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