Early construction began in 1625 by Nurhaci, the founder of the Qing dynasty. By 1631, additional structures were added during the reign of Nurhaci's successor, Huangtaiji.
The Mukden Palace was built to resemble the Forbidden City in Beijing. However, the palace also exhibits hints of Manchu and Tibetan styles.
After the Qing dynasty replaced the Ming dynasty in 1644 in Beijing, the Mukden Palace lost its status as the official residence of the Qing emperor. Instead, the Mukden Palace became a regional palace.
In 1780, the Qianlong Emperor further expanded the palace. Successive Qing emperors usually stayed at Mukden Palace for some time each year.