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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 surname (shi) Gaodi, holy place name (miaohao) Taizu, original an individual name (xingming) Zhu Chongba, later on Zhu Yuanzhang, (born Oct. 21, 1328, Haozhou , China—died June 24, 1398, Nanjing), regime name (nianhao) the the Chinese emperor (reigned 1368–98) who started the Ming dynasty that ruled China for nearly 300 years. During his reign, the Hongwu emperor denote military, administrative, and educational reforms that centred strength in the emperor.

Early life

The future Hongwu emperor was born in 1328 as Zhu Chongba, a negative peasant the Haozhou (about 100 miles <160 km> northwest the Nanjing, near China’s east coast). Orphaned at 16, he became a monk at the Huangjue monastery close to Fengyang to prevent starvation—a usual practice because that the sons of poor peasants. As a wandering mendicant, he often begged for food at Hefei (some 100 mile west that Nanjing) and also surrounding areas, wherein no constituted authority existed. Indeed, every of main and northern China was experiencing from drought and also famine, and more than seven million human being starved, a situation that motivated the famous rebellions that began from around 1325. Led through plebeian bandits, the rebels attacked the rich, distributing their wealth and also goods among the people.

Emergence as general

One such rebel to be Guo Zixing, who in 1352 led a huge force come attack and take Haozhou. Zhu join the rebel pressures and changed his name to Zhu Yuanzhang, increasing from the ranking to end up being second-in-command. Guo Zixing, a only bandit leader, became jealous that Zhu Yuanzhang, who differentiated himself together a army leader. These problems were later on mitigated once Zhu Yuanzhang married Guo’s embraced daughter, the princess Ma, who was significant in reconciling the 2 men.

In 1353 Zhu Yuanzhang recorded Chuzhou (now in Anhui province, northwest the Nanjing). Subsequently he received essential commissions, getting a following of impressive men, several of whom later came to be officials under the at an early stage Ming dynasty. In 1355 Guo Zixing died, and 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 men of the gentry class. Some made decision to join his movement, and also Zhu had actually the foresight to look for their guidance. Native them the learned the rudiments of the Chinese language and also studied Chinese history and the Confucian Classics. An ext significantly, that learned the ethics of government and accumulated an effective administration in local areas alongside the army structure. Moreover, that was encouraged by his scholars to existing himself together a national leader against the Mongols fairly than as a famous rebel. His an option of advisers and also his shrewd ability to adopt sound government measures ultimately made the the most formidable leader against the Mongols.

Now determined to overthrow the Yuan (Mongol) empire (1206–1368), Zhu marched toward Nanjing and also captured that in 1356. Nanjing was a strategic point, close to the well-off lands that the Yangtze delta. Proclaiming himself fight it out of Wu, Zhu established an effective management over the Nanjing area through the assist of the scholars and also on their advice refrained indigenous roaming aimlessly from location to location to plunder. He also encouraged farming by granting unused land come the landless peasants, but, in spite of his successes, he was still reluctant to proclaim self king (wang). At the time he acknowledged the Song dynasty pretender, Han Lin’er, together his superior, also though Han was ineffectual.

Meanwhile, the northern provinces were together restless together the south, and, when various rebels defied the Mongols, the qualified Mongol minister Tuotuo personally led troops to subdue them. The north, thus, had actually a sembleance of peace, whereas the south might not be controlled by the Mongol authorities.

National armed forces leadership

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

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

With the fatality of Chen Youliang, occasions moved easily to a climax. In 1367 the song pretender Han Lin’er feel so intimidated by the Mongols in ~ his headquarters in ~ Chuzhou the he made decision to flee come 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 very same year Zhang Shicheng was captured and also brought to Nanjing, wherein he committed suicide. Other rebels made decision to submit or were eliminated. One such was Fang Guozhen, one of the an initial to rebel versus the Mongols, who had actually operated as a pirate follow me the coast; once he surrendered come Zhu, he was provided honours and also a stipend yet 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 come Nanjing because that execution.

Reign together emperor

With the southern pacified, Zhu sent his generals Xu Da and also Chang Yuchun to lead troops against the north. In ~ the beginning of 1368 Zhu lastly proclaimed himself emperor the 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 much more strictly correct.

The troops sent out to overcome the north were very successful. Shandong and Henan provinces submitted to Ming authority. By respectable 1368, Ming troops had entered the Yuan capital of Dadu (later renamed Beijing). The Mongol emperor Shundi fled to Inner Mongolia, and, return Mongol strength was not immediately destroyed, in history the Yuan dynasty now concerned an end. The rest of the nation fell easily as Ming troops subdued an initial the northwest, climate the southwest (Sichuan and also Yunnan). Marriage was completed by 1382.

The Hongwu emperor was cruel, suspicious, and also irrational, especially as he flourished older. Rather of remove Mongol influence, that made his court resemble the Mongol court, and also the despotic power of the emperor was institutionalized because that the remainder of the dynasty.

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One the his politics acts was to provide principalities to all his sons, ostensibly from are afraid of another Mongol invasion, so the the royal princes might be offered military strength to aid the constant armies. A contributing element was his interest in maintaining an individual control over the empire through his sons’ principalities.