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Born:October 21, 1328China(Born top top this day)...(Show more)Died:June 24, 1398 (aged 69)NanjingChina...(Show more)Title / Office:emperor (1368-1398), China...(Show more)Founder:Ming dynasty...(Show more)House / Dynasty:Ming dynasty...(Show more)

Hongwu, Wade-Giles romanization Hung-wu, posthumous name (shi) Gaodi, holy place name (miaohao) Taizu, original an individual name (xingming) Zhu Chongba, later Zhu Yuanzhang, (born Oct. 21, 1328, Haozhou , China—died June 24, 1398, Nanjing), power name (nianhao) of the Chinese emperor (reigned 1368–98) who established the Ming empire that rule China for virtually 300 years. Throughout his reign, the Hongwu emperor instituted military, administrative, and also educational reforms that centred strength in the emperor.

Early life

The future Hongwu emperor to be born in 1328 together Zhu Chongba, a poor peasant the Haozhou (about 100 mile <160 km> northwest of Nanjing, near China’s east coast). Orphaned at 16, he became a monk in ~ the Huangjue monastery close to Fengyang to protect against starvation—a usual practice because that the boy of bad peasants. Together a wandering mendicant, he frequently begged for food at Hefei (some 100 miles west of Nanjing) and surrounding areas, whereby no comprised authority existed. Indeed, all of central and northern China was suffering from drought and also famine, and more than 7 million people starved, a situation that motivated the famous rebellions that started from around 1325. Led by plebeian bandits, the rebels struck the rich, distributing their wealth and also goods amongst the people.

Emergence as general

One such rebel to be Guo Zixing, who in 1352 led a big force come attack and take Haozhou. Zhu joined the rebel pressures and adjusted his name to Zhu Yuanzhang, climbing from the ranks to come to be second-in-command. Guo Zixing, a just bandit leader, came to be jealous the Zhu Yuanzhang, who distinguished himself together a army leader. These troubles were later on mitigated as soon as Zhu Yuanzhang married Guo’s embraced daughter, the princess Ma, that was significant in reconciling the 2 men.

In 1353 Zhu Yuanzhang caught Chuzhou (now in Anhui province, northwest of Nanjing). Consequently he received crucial commissions, getting a following of outstanding men, some of whom later became officials under the at an early stage Ming dynasty. In 1355 Guo Zixing died, and also Zhu Yuanzhang took over the leadership of the rebel army.


Zhu Yuangzhang attacked and also captured towns and cities in eastern China and, on getting to the Yangtze river (Chang Jiang) delta, encountered educated males of the gentry class. Some determined to join his movement, and also Zhu had actually the foresight to look for their guidance. From them the learned the rudiments of the Chinese language and studied Chinese history and the Confucian Classics. An ext significantly, he learned the ethics of government and built up an effective administration in local locations alongside the armed forces structure. Moreover, that was persuaded by his scholar to existing himself together a national leader against the Mongols rather than as a well-known rebel. His an option of advisers and also his shrewd capacity to take on sound governmental measures at some point made the the many formidable leader against the Mongols.

Now figured out to fall the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty (1206–1368), Zhu marched towards Nanjing and also captured that in 1356. Nanjing to be a strategic point, close come the wealthy lands the the Yangtze delta. Proclaiming himself duke of Wu, Zhu created an effective management over the Nanjing area v the aid of the scholars and also on their advice refrained indigenous roaming aimlessly from ar to place to plunder. He additionally encouraged agriculture by giving unused land come the landless peasants, but, in spite of his successes, he to be still reluctant to proclaim self king (wang). At the time he recognized the Song dynasty pretender, Han Lin’er, together his superior, even though Han was ineffectual.

Meanwhile, the north provinces were as restless together the south, and, when assorted rebels defied the Mongols, the capable Mongol minister Tuotuo personally led troops come subdue them. The north, thus, had a sembleance of peace, vice versa, the south might not be managed by the Mongol authorities.

National army leadership

Zhu now arised as the national leader versus the Mongols, despite he had actually other rivals for power. Chief among them to be Chen Youliang and Zhang Shicheng. Chen Youliang to be the self-proclaimed emperor that the Han dynasty and also was based in Wuchang (in Hubei province, around 400 miles <650 km> west of Shanghai), regulating a large portion of central China. Zhang Shicheng, the self-proclaimed prince Cheng of the Zhou dynasty, activate at Pingjiang (now Suzhou, in Jiangsu district adjoining the eastern coast and including Nanjing) in the east.

In 1363 a decisive naval battle at Lake Poyang (south that the Yangtze in the north of Jiangxi province) to be fought in between Chen Youliang’s vast fleet of war junks and also Zhu’s tiny but swift barges. The three-day fight ended with Chen’s death and the damage of his fleet. Wuchang, Chen’s stronghold, was captured in 1364, complied with by the capture of Hubei, Hunan (a huge province west of Jiangxi), and Jiangxi provinces. In the exact same year Zhu proclaimed himself prince that Wu.

With the fatality of Chen Youliang, occasions moved easily to a climax. In 1367 the track pretender Han Lin’er feeling so threatened by the Mongols in ~ his headquarters at Chuzhou that he made decision to flee to Nanjing for protection. Escorted by one of Zhu’s men during the trip, Han died by drowning when his watercraft capsized—an event perhaps contrived by Zhu. In the same year Zhang Shicheng was captured and also brought to Nanjing, where he cursed suicide. Other rebels determined to submit or were eliminated. One such to be Fang Guozhen, one of the first to rebel versus the Mongols, who had operated as a pirate follow me the coast; when he surrendered to Zhu, the was offered honours and also a stipend but no genuine power. On the other hand, Chen Youting, a Yuan loyalist who protected Fujian province (on the south-east coast, opposite Taiwan), was captured and brought to Nanjing for execution.

Reign as emperor

With the southern pacified, Zhu sent out his generals Xu Da and also Chang Yuchun to lead troops versus the north. In ~ the start of 1368 Zhu finally proclaimed self emperor of the Ming dynasty, developing his capital at Nanjing. Hongwu (“Vastly Martial”) was adopted as his power title, and also he is usually described as the Hongwu emperor, despite Taizu is more strictly correct.

The troops sent out to conquer the north were extremely successful. Shandong and Henan provinces submitted come Ming authority. By august 1368, Ming troops had entered the Yuan capital of Dadu (later renamed Beijing). The Mongol emperor Shundi fled come Inner Mongolia, and, back Mongol power was not automatically destroyed, historically the Yuan dynasty now involved an end. The remainder of the nation fell easily as Ming troops subdued first the northwest, climate the southwest (Sichuan and Yunnan). Unification was completed by 1382.

The Hongwu emperor to be cruel, suspicious, and also irrational, specifically as he grew older. Instead of removed Mongol influence, the made his court resemble the Mongol court, and the despotic strength of the emperor was institutionalized for the rest of the dynasty.

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One that his political acts was to approve principalities to every his sons, ostensibly from are afraid of an additional Mongol invasion, so the the royal princes can be offered military powers to assist the constant armies. A contributing aspect was his interest in maintaining personal control end the empire through his sons’ principalities.