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The Ming dynasty was a Chinese state that existed from 1368 to 1644 CE. The Ming founder, Zhu Yuanzhang (1328–1398), led an army that defeated the Yuan dynasty of the Mongol Empire and restored ethnic Chinese rule in China. Unlike the Mongols before them or the Qing dynasty after them the Ming never seriously attempted to rule the Tibetan regions, preferring instead to manage border affairs by granting titles and trading rights to friendly Tibetan monks and secular leaders. Nevertheless, several early Ming emperors had close personal relations with Tibetan lamas, and relations of trade and cultural interchange flourished between Chinese and Tibetan regions.