At the end of the Yuan dynasty, millions of people died due to famines, drought, flooding, a bubonic plague pandemic, and other natural disasters. All of these disasters were a sign that they Yuan Dynasty no longer had the Mandate of Heaven. As a result, the people began to rebel. The last 20 years of the Yuan Dynasty were mostly rebellions as the people attempted to overthrow the dynasty. The next dynasty established was the Ming dynasty. And the new emperor was a peasant turned rebel leader who eventually ruled China. His name was Zhu Yuanzhang.
During his rule, Emperor Hongwu was very pro the peasants and anti the merchant class. Because he himself had grown up as a peasant, he wanted to make things better for them. He knew that peasants were occasionally slaves and starved by the rich and the official. As a result, he worked to implement public work projects. He worked to distribute land to the poor in order to allow them to migrate and settle on their own. By the end of his reign, the peasants prospered and population increased quickly. However, with the merchant class, Emperor Hongwu made attempts to weaken them. He made them pay higher taxes and even relocated some of them. Unfortunately, these changes with the merchant class did not take hold and the opposite occurred.
Just like with the Yuan dynasty, the Ming dynasty also suffered from natural disasters, wars, and rebellions. These marked the eminent end of the Ming Dynasty. Many died due to a plague, earthquakes, and famine. The people formed rebellions and revolted against the Ming Dynasty. In 1644, the Ming dynasty was overthrown and the Qing dynasty began with the Shunzhi Emperor in charge.