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Born:October 21, 1328China...(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 personal name (xingming) Zhu Chongba, later on Zhu Yuanzhang, (born Oct. 21, 1328, Haozhou , China—died June 24, 1398, Nanjing), power name (nianhao) of the Chinese emperor (reigned 1368–98) who started the Ming empire that ruled China for nearly 300 years. Throughout his reign, the Hongwu emperor instituted military, administrative, and also educational reforms the centred strength in the emperor.

Early life

The future Hongwu emperor was born in 1328 as Zhu Chongba, a negative peasant of Haozhou (about 100 miles <160 km> northwest that Nanjing, close to China’s eastern coast). Orphaned at 16, he became a monk in ~ the Huangjue monastery near Fengyang to avoid starvation—a typical practice because that the sons of bad peasants. Together a wandering mendicant, he regularly begged because that food in ~ Hefei (some 100 mile west that Nanjing) and also surrounding areas, whereby no comprised authority existed. Indeed, every of main and northern China was experiencing from drought and famine, and an ext than 7 million civilization starved, a instance that encouraged the well-known rebellions that began from about 1325. Led by plebeian bandits, the rebels attacked the rich, distributing their wealth and goods among the people.

Emergence as general

One such rebel to be Guo Zixing, who in 1352 led a large force to attack and take Haozhou. Zhu joined the rebel forces and changed his name to Zhu Yuanzhang, climbing from the ranking to become second-in-command. Guo Zixing, a only bandit leader, ended up being jealous the Zhu Yuanzhang, who differentiated himself together a army leader. These troubles were later mitigated as soon as Zhu Yuanzhang married Guo’s adopted daughter, the princess Ma, that was significant in reconciling the two men.

In 1353 Zhu Yuanzhang captured Chuzhou (now in Anhui province, northwest that Nanjing). Consequently he received essential commissions, obtaining a following of exceptional men, several of whom later became officials under the beforehand Ming dynasty. In 1355 Guo Zixing died, and also Zhu Yuanzhang took over the management of the rebel army.


Zhu Yuangzhang attacked and captured towns and also cities in eastern China and, on getting to the Yangtze flow (Chang Jiang) delta, encountered educated men of the gentry class. Some determined to join his movement, and Zhu had the foresight to look for their guidance. From them he learned the rudiments that the Chinese language and studied Chinese background and the Confucian Classics. An ext significantly, the learned the principles of federal government and gathered an effective administration in local locations alongside the military structure. Moreover, that was encouraged by his scholars to present himself as a national leader versus the Mongols rather than as a popular rebel. His selection of advisers and also his shrewd capability to embrace sound governmental measures eventually made him the many formidable leader against the Mongols.

Now identified to overthrow the Yuan (Mongol) empire (1206–1368), Zhu marched toward Nanjing and captured that in 1356. Nanjing was a strategy point, close come the affluent lands of the Yangtze delta. Proclaiming himself battle each other of Wu, Zhu developed an effective administration over the Nanjing area v the assist of the scholars and on your advice refrained native roaming aimlessly from place to place to plunder. He likewise encouraged farming by approving unused land come the landless peasants, but, in spite of his successes, he was still reluctant to proclaim self king (wang). At that time he recognized the Song empire pretender, Han Lin’er, as his superior, also though Han was ineffectual.

Meanwhile, the northern provinces were as restless as the south, and, when assorted rebels defied the Mongols, the capable Mongol minister Tuotuo personal led troops come subdue them. The north, thus, had a sembeant of peace, conversely, the south can not be managed by the Mongol authorities.

National armed forces leadership

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

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

With the death of Chen Youliang, occasions moved quickly to a climax. In 1367 the track pretender Han Lin’er felt so threatened by the Mongols at his headquarters at Chuzhou the he made decision to flee come Nanjing for protection. Escorted by among Zhu’s men during the trip, Han died by drowning as soon as his watercraft capsized—an event perhaps contrived through Zhu. In the very same year Zhang Shicheng to be captured and also brought to Nanjing, wherein he cursed suicide. Various other rebels determined to submit or were eliminated. One such to be Fang Guozhen, among the first to rebel against the Mongols, who had actually operated together a pirate along the coast; once he surrendered to Zhu, the was given honours and also a stipend however no actual power. ~ above the other hand, Chen Youting, a Yuan loyalist who safeguarded Fujian district (on the south east coast, the contrary Taiwan), was captured and brought come Nanjing for execution.

Reign together emperor

With the southern pacified, Zhu sent his generals Xu Da and also Chang Yuchun to lead troops versus the north. At the beginning of 1368 Zhu finally proclaimed himself emperor that the Ming dynasty, developing his resources at Nanjing. Hongwu (“Vastly Martial”) was embraced as his power title, and also he is usually referred to as the Hongwu emperor, despite Taizu is an ext strictly correct.

The troops sent out to conquer the north were extremely successful. Shandong and also Henan districts submitted come Ming authority. By respectable 1368, Ming troops had entered the Yuan capital of Dadu (later renamed Beijing). The Mongol emperor Shundi fled come Inner Mongolia, and, although Mongol power was not instantly destroyed, historically the Yuan empire now concerned an end. The rest of the country fell easily as Ming troops subdued very first the northwest, climate the southwest (Sichuan and also Yunnan). Marriage was perfect by 1382.

The Hongwu emperor to be cruel, suspicious, and 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 remainder of the dynasty.

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One that his politics acts to be to provide principalities to every his sons, ostensibly from fear of an additional Mongol invasion, so the the royal princes can be provided military strength to assist the consistent armies. A contributing variable was his attention in maintaining an individual control over the empire through his sons’ principalities.