The Info List - Hongwu Emperor

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The HONGWU EMPEROR (21 October 1328 – 24 June 1398), personal name ZHU YUANZHANG (formerly Romanized as CHU YUAN-CHANG), was the founder and first emperor of China
's Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty

In the middle of the 14th century, with famine, plagues, and peasant revolts sweeping across China, Zhu Yuanzhang rose to command the force that conquered China
and ended the Mongol -led Yuan dynasty
Yuan dynasty
, forcing the Mongols
to retreat to the Central Asian steppes. Following his seizure of the Yuan capital, Khanbaliq
(present-day Beijing
), Zhu claimed the Mandate of Heaven
Mandate of Heaven
and established the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
in 1368. Trusting only in his family , he made his many sons powerful feudal princes along the northern marches and the Yangtze valley. Having outlived his first successor, the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
enthroned his grandson via a series of instructions ; this ended in failure, when the Jianwen Emperor 's attempt to unseat his uncles led to the Ming Yongle Emperor
Yongle Emperor
(r. 1402–1424)".

Most of the historical sites related to the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
are located in Nanjing
, the original capital of the Ming dynasty.


* 1 Early life * 2 Rise to power

* 3 Reign

* 3.1 Land reform

* 3.2 Military

* 3.2.1 Nobility * 3.2.2 Consolidating control * 3.2.3 Legal reform

* 3.3 Economic reform * 3.4 Educational reforms * 3.5 Religious policy

* 3.6 Foreign policy

* 3.6.1 Vietnam * 3.6.2 "Japanese" pirates * 3.6.3 Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire

* 3.7 Development of dynasty

* 4 Death * 5 Assessment

* 6 Family

* 6.1 Parents and ancestors * 6.2 Consorts * 6.3 Sons * 6.4 Daughters

* 7 In popular culture * 8 See also * 9 Notes

* 10 References

* 10.1 Citations * 10.2 Bibliography

* 11 Further reading


Zhu was a born into a desperately poor peasant tenant farmer family in Zhongli Village in the Huai River
Huai River
plain, which is in present-day Fengyang , Anhui
Province . His father was Zhu Shizhen (朱世珍, original name Zhu Wusi 朱五四) and his mother was Chen Erniang. He had seven older siblings, several of whom were "given away" by his parents, as they did not have enough food to support the family. When he was 16, severe drought ruined the harvest where his family lived. Subsequently, famine killed his entire family, except one of his brothers. He then buried them by wrapping them in white clothes.

Destitute, Zhu accepted a suggestion to take up a pledge made by his brother and became a novice monk at the Huangjue Temple, a local Buddhist monastery . He did not remain there for long, as the monastery ran short of funds, and he was forced to leave.

For the next few years, Zhu led the life of a wandering beggar and personally experienced and saw the hardships of the common people. After about three years, he returned to the monastery and stayed there until he was around 24 years old. He learned to read and write during the time he spent with the Buddhist monks.


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The monastery where Zhu lived was eventually destroyed by an army that was suppressing a local rebellion. In 1352, Zhu joined one of the many insurgent forces that had risen in rebellion against the Mongol -led Yuan dynasty
Yuan dynasty
. He rose rapidly through the ranks and became a commander. His rebel force later joined the Red Turbans , a millenarian sect related to the White Lotus Society , and one that followed cultural and religious traditions of Buddhism
, Zoroastrianism
and other religions. Widely seen as a defender of Confucianism
and neo- Confucianism
among the predominant Han Chinese population in China, Zhu emerged as a leader of the rebels that were struggling to overthrow the Yuan dynasty.

In 1356, Zhu, and his army conquered Nanjing
, which became his base of operations, and the capital of the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
during his reign. Zhu's government in Nanjing
became famous for good governance, and the city attracted vast numbers of people fleeing from other, more lawless regions. It is estimated that Nanjing's population increased by 10 times over the next 10 years. In the meantime, the Yuan government had been weakened by internal factions fighting for control, and it made little effort to retake the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
valley. By 1358, central and southern China
had fallen into the hands of different rebel groups. During that time the Red Turbans also split up. Zhu became the leader of a smaller faction (called "Ming" around 1360), while the larger faction, under Chen Youliang , controlled the center of the Yangtze River
Yangtze River

Zhu was able to attract many talents into his service. One of them was Zhu Sheng (朱升), who advised him, "Build high walls, stock up rations, and don't be too quick to call yourself a king." Another, Jiao Yu
Jiao Yu
, was an artillery officer, who later compiled a military treatise outlining the various types of gunpowder weapons. Another one, Liu Bowen
Liu Bowen
, became one of Zhu's key advisors, and edited the military-technology treatise titled Huolongjing in later years.

Starting from 1360, Zhu, and Chen Youliang fought a protracted war for supremacy over the former territories controlled by the Red Turbans. The pivotal moment in the war was the Battle of Lake Poyang in 1363, one of the largest naval battles in history . The battle lasted three days and ended with the defeat and retreat of Chen's larger navy. Chen died a month later in battle. Zhu did not participate personally in any battles after that and remained in Nanjing, where he directed his generals to go on campaigns.

In 1367, Zhu's forces defeated Zhang Shicheng 's Kingdom of Dazhou , which was centered in Suzhou
and had previously included most of the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
Delta , and Hangzhou
, which was formerly the capital of the Song dynasty
Song dynasty
. This victory granted Zhu's government authority over the lands north and south of the Yangtze River. The other major warlords surrendered to Zhu and on 20 January 1368, Zhu proclaimed himself Emperor of the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
in Nanjing
and adopted "Hongwu" (lit. "vastly martial") as his era name . His dynasty's mission was to drive away the Mongols
and restore Han Chinese
Han Chinese
rule in China.

In 1368, Ming armies headed north to attack territories that were still under Yuan rule. The Mongols
gave up their capital, Khanbaliq (present-day Beijing
), and the rest of northern China
in September 1368 and retreated to Mongolia
. On 15 October 1371, one of the Hongwu Emperor's sons, Zhu Shuang, was married to the sister of Köke Temür , a Bayad general of the Yuan dynasty
Yuan dynasty

The Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
defeated Ming Yuchen's Xia polity, which ruled Sichuan.

The Ming army captured the last Yuan-controlled province of Yunnan
in 1381, and China
was unified under Ming rule.


Under the Hongwu Emperor's rule, the Mongol, and other foreign bureaucrats, who dominated the government during the Yuan dynasty along with Northern Chinese officials, were replaced by Han Chinese officials. The emperor re-instituted, then abolished, then restored the Confucian civil service imperial examination system, from which most state officials were selected based on their knowledge of literature and philosophy . The Ming examination curriculum followed that set by the Yuan in 1313: a focus on the Four Books over the Five Classics , and the commentaries of Zhu Xi. The Confucian scholar-bureaucrats , previously marginalised during the Yuan dynasty, were reinstated to their predominant roles in the government.

Mongol-related things, including garments and names, were discontinued from use and boycotted. There were also attacks on palaces and administrative buildings previously used by the rulers of the Yuan dynasty. But many of Taizu's government institutions were actually modelled on those of the Yuan dynasty: community schools required (not necessarily successfully) for primary education in every village are one example. ' Hongwu founded Qinhuai .


As the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
came from a peasant family, he was aware of how peasants used to suffer under the oppression of the scholar-bureaucrats, and the wealthy. Many of the latter, relying on their connections with government officials, encroached unscrupulously on peasants' lands and bribed the officials to transfer the burden of taxation to the poor. To prevent such abuse, the Hongwu Emperor instituted two systems: Yellow Records and Fish Scale Records. They served both to secure the government's income from land taxes and to affirm that peasants would not lose their lands.

However, the reforms did not eliminate the threat of the bureaucrats to peasants. Instead, the expansion of the bureaucrats and their growing prestige translated into more wealth, and tax exemption for those in the government service. The bureaucrats gained new privileges, and some became illegal money-lenders and managers of gambling rings. Using their power, the bureaucrats expanded their estates at the expense of peasants' lands through outright purchase of those lands, and foreclosure on their mortgages whenever they wanted the lands. The peasants often became either tenants, or workers, or sought employment elsewhere.

Since the beginning of the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
in 1357, great care was taken by the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
to distribute land to peasants. One way was by forced migration to less-dense areas. Some of those people were tied to a pagoda tree in Hongdong (洪洞大槐樹) and moved. Public works projects, such as the construction of irrigation systems, and dikes, were undertaken in an attempt to help farmers. In addition, the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
also reduced the demands for forced labour on the peasantry. In 1370, the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
ordered that some lands in Hunan
and Anhui
should be given to young farmers who had reached adulthood. The order was intended to prevent landlords from seizing the land, as it also decreed that the titles to the lands were not transferable. During the middle part of his reign, the Hongwu Emperor passed an edict, stating that those who brought fallow land under cultivation could keep it as their property without being taxed. The policy was well received by the people and in 1393, cultivated land rose to 8,804,623 ching and 68 mou, something not achieved during any other Chinese dynasty.

The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
instigated the planting of 50 million trees in the vicinity of Nanjing, reconstructing canals, irrigation, and transporting southern people to the north for repopulation. He successfully managed to increase the population from 60 to 100 million.


View of the Great Wall
Great Wall
at Juyong Pass , reconstructed by the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty

The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
realised that the Mongols
still posed a threat to China, even though they had been driven away after the collapse of the Yuan dynasty
Yuan dynasty
. He decided to reassess the orthodox Confucian view that the military was an inferior class to the scholar bureaucracy. He kept a powerful army, which in 1384 he reorganised using a model known as the weisuo system (simplified Chinese : 卫所制; traditional Chinese : 衛所制; literally: "guard battalion"). Each military unit consisted of 5,600 men divided into five battalions, and ten companies. By 1393 the total number of weisuo troops had reached 1,200,000. Soldiers were also assigned land on which to grow crops, whilst their positions were made hereditary. This type of system can be traced back to the fubing system (Chinese : 府兵制) of the Sui and Tang dynasties.

Training was conducted within local military districts. In times of war, troops were mobilised from all over the empire on the orders of the Ministry of War , and commanders were appointed to lead them to battle. After the war, the army was disbanded into smaller groups and sent back to their respective districts, and the commanders had to return their authority to the state. This system helped to prevent military leaders from having too much power. The military was under the control of a civilian official for large campaigns, instead of a military general.


When the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
emerged Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang's military officers, who served under him, were given noble titles which privileged the holder with a stipen but in all other aspects was merely symbolic. Mu Ying
Mu Ying
's family was among them. Special rules against abuse of power were implemented on the nobles.

Consolidating Control

Manicheanism, and White Lotus were prohibited and outlawed by Hongwu.

The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
expected everyone to obey his rule and was infamous for killing many people during his purges . His tortures included flaying , and slow slicing . One of his generals, Chang Yuchun , carried out massacres in some places in Shandong
and Hunan provinces to take revenge against people who resisted his army. As time went on, the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
became increasingly fearful of rebellions and coups, even going so far as to order the execution of those of his advisers who dared criticise him. He was also said to have ordered the massacre of several thousand people living in Nanjing after having heard one talked about him without respect. In 1380, after much killing, a lightning bolt struck his palace and he stopped the massacres for some time, as he was afraid divine forces would punish him.

The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
also noted the destructive role of court eunuchs under the previous dynasties. He drastically reduced their numbers, forbidding them to handle documents, insisting that they remain illiterate, and executing those who commented on state affairs. The emperor had a strong aversion to the eunuchs, epitomized by a tablet in his palace stipulating: "Eunuchs must have nothing to do with the administration". This aversion to eunuchs did not long continue among his successors, as the Hongwu and Jianwen emperors' harsh treatment of eunuchs allowed the Yongle Emperor
Yongle Emperor
to employ them as a power base during his coup. In addition to the Hongwu Emperor's aversion to eunuchs, he never consented to any of his marital relatives becoming court officials. This policy was fairly well-maintained by later emperors, and no serious trouble was caused by the empresses or their relatives.

The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
attempted, and largely succeeded in, the consolidation of control over all aspects of government, so that no other group could gain enough power to overthrow him. He also buttressed the country's defences against the Mongols. He increasingly concentrated power in his own hands. He abolished the Chancellor 's post, which had been head of the main central administrative body under past dynasties, by suppressing a plot for which he had blamed his chief minister. Many argue that the Hongwu Emperor, because of his wish to concentrate absolute authority in his own hands, removed the only insurance against incompetent emperors.

However, the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
could not govern the sprawling Ming Empire all by himself and had to create the new institution of the "Grand Secretary ". This cabinet-like organisation progressively took on the powers of the abolished prime minister, becoming just as powerful in time. Ray Huang argued that Grand-Secretaries, outwardly powerless, could exercise considerable positive influence from behind the throne. Because of their prestige and the public trust which they enjoyed, they could act as intermediaries between the emperor and the ministerial officials, and thus provide a stabilising force in the court. He executed tens of thousand officials and their relatives over sedition, treason, corruption and other charges.

In the Hongwu Emperor's elimination of the traditional offices of grand councilor, the primary impetus was Hu Weiyong 's alleged attempt to usurp the throne. Hu was the Senior Grand Councilor and a capable administrator; however over the years, the magnitude of his powers, as well as involvement in several political scandals eroded the paranoid emperor's trust in him. Finally, in 1380, the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
had Hu and his entire family arrested and executed on charges of treason. Using this as an opportunity to purge his government, the emperor also ordered the execution of countless other officials, as well as their families, for associating with Hu. The purge lasted over a decade and resulted in more than 30,000 executions. In 1390, even Li Shanchang, one of the closest old friends of the emperor, who was rewarded as the biggest contributor to the founding of the Ming Empire, was executed along with over 70 members of his extended family. A year after his death, a deputy in the Board of Works made a submission to the emperor appealing Li's innocence, arguing that since Li was already at the apex of honour, wealth and power, the accusation that he wanted to help someone else usurp the throne was clearly ridiculous. The Hongwu Emperor was unable to refute the accusations and finally ended the purge shortly afterwards.

Through the repeated purges and the elimination of the historical posts, the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
fundamentally altered the centuries-old government structure of China, greatly increasing the emperor's absolutism.

The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
was extremely authoritarian, a virtual dictator, and governed directly over all affairs. He wrote essays posted in every village throughout China
warning the people to behave and of the horrifying consequences if they disobeyed. The 1380s writings of Hongwu are known as the "Great warnings" or "Grand Pronouncements". They were called "Ancestral injunctions". He wrote the Six Maxims which inspired the Sacred Edict of the Kangxi Emperor , 六諭 聖諭六言

Legal Reform

The legal code drawn up in the time of the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
was considered one of the great achievements of the era. The History of Ming mentioned that as early as 1364, the monarchy had started to draft a code of laws. This code was known as Code of the Great Ming or Laws of the Great Ming (大明律). The emperor devoted much time to the project and instructed his ministers that the code should be comprehensive and intelligible, so as not to allow any official to exploit loopholes in the code by deliberately misinterpreting it. The Ming code laid much emphasis on family relations. The code was a great improvement on the code of the Tang dynasty
Tang dynasty
in regards to the treatment of slaves. Under the Tang code, slaves were treated as a species of domestic animal; if they were killed by a free citizen, the law imposed no sanction on the killer. Under the Ming dynasty, the law protected both slaves and free citizens.


Supported by the scholar-bureaucrats , he accepted the Confucian viewpoint that merchants were solely parasitic. He felt that agriculture should be the country's source of wealth and that trade was ignoble. As a result, the Ming economic system emphasised agriculture, unlike the economic system of the Song dynasty
Song dynasty
, which had preceded the Yuan dynasty
Yuan dynasty
and had relied on traders and merchant for revenues. The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
also supported the creation of self-supporting agricultural communities.

However, his prejudice against merchants did not diminish the numbers of traders. On the contrary, commerce increased significantly during the Hongwu era because of the growth of industry throughout the empire. This growth in trade was due in part to poor soil conditions and the overpopulation of certain areas, which forced many people to leave their homes and seek their fortunes in trade. A book titled Tu Pien Hsin Shu, written during the Ming dynasty, gave a detailed description of the activities of merchants at that time.


Quan Tang, the Minister of Justice, stood up against Hongwu over his command to downgrade Mencius.

At the Guozijian
, law, math, calligraphy, equestrianism , and archery were emphasized by the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
in addition to Confucian classics and also required in the Imperial Examinations
Imperial Examinations
. Archery and equestrianism were added to the exam by Hongwu in 1370 like how archery and equestrianism were required for non-military officials at the 武舉 College of War in 1162 by the Song Emperor Xiaozong . The area around the Meridian Gate of Nanjing
was used for archery by guards and generals under Hongwu. A cavalry based army modeled on the Yuan military was implemented by the Hongwu and Yongle Emperors. Hongwu's army and officialdom incorporated Mongols.

and archery were favorite pastimes of He Suonan who served in the Yuan and Ming militaries under Hongwu. Archery towers were built by Zhengtong Emperor at the Forbidden City. Archery towers were built on the city walls of Xi'an erected by Hongwu. Main article: Huihui Lifa
Huihui Lifa

Around 1384, the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
ordered the Chinese translation and compilation of Islamic astronomical tables , a task that was carried out by the scholars Mashayihei , a Muslim astronomer, and Wu Bozong, a Chinese scholar-official. These tables came to be known as the Huihui Lifa (Muslim System of Calendrical Astronomy), which was published in China
a number of times until the early 18th century,


Main article: The Hundred-word Eulogy The Jinjue Mosque in Nanjing
was constructed by the decree of the Hongwu Emperor.

The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
ordered the construction of several mosques in Nanjing
, Yunnan
, Guangdong
and Fujian
provinces, and had inscriptions praising the Islamic prophet Muhammad
placed in mosques. He rebuilt the Jinjue Mosque (literally meaning: Pure Enlightenment Mosque) in Nanjing
and large numbers of Hui people
Hui people
moved to the city during his rule.

Chinese sources claim that the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
had close relations with Muslims and had around ten Muslim generals in his military, including Lan Yu , Ding Dexing , Mu Ying
Mu Ying
, Feng Sheng and Hu Dahai
Hu Dahai
, and that "His Majesty ordered to have mosques built in Xijing and Nanjing
, and in southern Yunnan, Fujian
and Guangdong." He also personally wrote a 100 word praise (baizizan) on Islam, Allah
and the Prophet Muhammad.

During the war fighting the Mongols, among the Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang's armies was the Hui Muslim Feng Sheng.



The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
was a non interventionist, refusing to intervene in a Vietnamese invasion of Champa to help the Chams, only rebuking the Vietnamese for their invasion, being opposed to military action abroad. He specifically warned future Emperors only to defend against foreign barbarians, and not engage in military campaigns for glory and conquest. In his 1395 ancestral injunctions, the emperor specifically wrote that China
should not attack Champa, Cambodia or Annam (Vietnam). He was advised to concentrate on defending against the Rong and Di "Barbarians", rather than attacking. With the exception of his turn against aggressive expansion, much of Taizu's foreign policy and his diplomatic institutions were based on Yuan practice.

"Japanese" Pirates

Main articles: Wokou
and Haijin

The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
sent a harsh message to the Japanese that his army would "capture and exterminate your bandits , head straight for your country, and put your king in bonds". In fact, many of the "dwarf pirates " and "eastern barbarians " raiding his coasts were Chinese and the Hongwu Emperor's response was almost entirely passive. The Ashikaga shogun cheekily replied that "Your great empire may be able to invade Japan but our small state is not short of a strategy to defend ourselves" and the necessity of protecting his state against the Northern Yuan remnants meant that the most the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
was able to accomplish was a series of "sea ban " measures. Private foreign trade was made punishable by death, with the trader\'s family and neighbors exiled ; ships, docks, and shipyards were destroyed and ports sabotaged. The initial conception seems to have been to use the Japanese need for Chinese goods to force them to terms, but it was at odds with Chinese tradition and extremely counterproductive: it tied up resources (74 coastal garrisons were established from Guangzhou
to Shandong
, albeit mostly manned by local gangs) and limited tax receipts, impoverished and provoked both coastal Chinese and Japanese against the regime, increasing piracy, and offered too little, decennial tribute missions comprising only two ships, as a reward for good behavior and enticement for Japanese authorities to root out their smugglers and pirates. In fact, piracy dropped to negligible levels upon the abolition of the policy in 1568.

Nonetheless, the sea ban was added by the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
to his Ancestral Injunctions and so continued to be broadly enforced through most of the rest of his dynasty: for the next two centuries, the rich farmland of the south and the military theaters of the north were linked only by the Jinghang Canal .

Byzantine Empire

Further information: Europeans in Medieval China
, Sino-Roman relations , Daqin
, and Byzantine-Mongol alliance
Byzantine-Mongol alliance

The History of Ming , compiled during the early Qing dynasty
Qing dynasty
, describes how the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
met with an alleged merchant of Fu lin (拂菻; the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
) named "Nieh-ku-lun" (捏古倫). In September 1371, he had the man sent back to his native country with a letter announcing the founding of the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
to his ruler (i.e. John V Palaiologos
John V Palaiologos
). It is speculated that the merchant was actually a former bishop of Khanbaliq
(Beijing) called Nicolaus de Bentra, sent by Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII
to replace Archbishop John of Montecorvino in 1333. The History of Ming goes on to explain that contacts between China
and Fu lin ceased after this point, and diplomats of the great western sea (the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
) did not appear in China
again until the 16th century, with the Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci
Matteo Ricci


A stele carried by a giant stone tortoise at the Hongwu Emperor\'s Mausoleum

Although the Hongwu era saw the introduction of paper currency , its development was stifled from the beginning. Not understanding inflation, the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
gave out so much paper money as rewards that by 1425, the state was forced to reintroduce copper coins because the paper currency had sunk to only 1/70 of its original value.

During the Hongwu era, the Ming Empire was characterised by rapid and dramatic population growth, largely due to the increased food supply from the emperor's agricultural reforms. By the end of the Ming dynasty, the population had risen by as much as 50%. This was stimulated by major improvements in agricultural technology, promoted by the pro-agrarian state which came to power in the midst of a pro-Confucian peasants' rebellion. During his reign, living standards also greatly improved.


The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
died on June 24, 1398 after reigning for 30 years at the age of 69. After his death, his physicians were penalized. He was buried at Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum on the Purple Mountain
Purple Mountain
, east of Nanjing


Historians consider the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
to have been one of the most significant emperors of China. As historian Ebrey puts it, "Seldom has the course of Chinese history been influenced by a single personality as much as it was by the founder of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang." His rise to power was fast despite his having a poor and humble origin. In 11 years, he went from being a penniless monk to the most powerful warlord in China. Five years later, he became emperor of China. Simon Leys described him this way:

'an adventurer from peasant stock, poorly educated, a man of action, a bold and shrewd tactician, a visionary mind, in many respects a creative genius; naturally coarse, cynical, and ruthless, he eventually showed symptoms of paranoia, bordering on psychopathy .'



* Great-great-great-grandfather: Zhu Zhongba (朱仲八) * Great-great-grandfather: Zhu Bailiu (朱百六), posthumously honored as Emperor Xuan (玄皇帝) with the temple name Dezu (德祖). * Great-great-grandmother: Lady Hu (胡氏), posthumously honored as Empress Xuan (玄皇后). * Great-grandfather: Zhu Sijiu (朱四九), posthumously honored as Emperor Heng (恆皇帝) with the temple name Yizu (懿祖). * Great-grandmother: Lady Hou (侯氏), posthumously honored as Empress Heng (恆皇后). * Grandfather: Zhu Chuyi (朱初一), posthumously honored as Emperor Yu (裕皇帝) with the temple name Xizu (熙祖). * Grandmother: Lady Wang (王氏), posthumously honored as Empress Yu (裕皇后). * Father: Zhu Shizhen (朱世珍, original name Zhu Wusi 朱五四) (1283–1344), posthumously honored as Emperor Chun (淳皇帝) with the temple name Renzu (仁祖). * Mother: Chen Erniang, posthumously honored as Empress Chun (淳皇后).

Zhu's parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents were given posthumous imperial titles.

The great-great-grandfather of the Emperor was given the posthumous name of Emperor Xuan and the temple name Dezu, and the great-great-grandmother was given the title of Empress Xuan. The great-grandfather was given the posthumous name of Emperor Heng and the temple name Yizu, and the great-grandmother was given the title of Empress Heng. The grandfather of the Emperor was given the posthumous name of Emperor Yu and the temple name Xizu, and the grandmother was given the title of Empress Yu. The father of the Emperor was given the posthumous name of Emperor Chun and the temple name Renzu, and the mother of the Emperor, whose maiden name was Chen, was given the title of Empress Chun.



Empress Xiaocigao 孝慈高皇后 Family name : Ma (馬) 1332 Suzhou, Anhui
1382 Ma Gong 馬公 Lady Zheng 鄭媼 Zhu Biao, Crown Prince Yiwen Zhu Shuang, Prince Min of Qin Zhu Gang, Prince Gong of Jin Zhu Di, Yongle Emperor
Yongle Emperor
Zhu Su, Prince Ding of Zhou Princess Ning Princess Anqing There are claims that she was childless and these children were adopted

Noble Consort Chengmu 成穆貴妃 Family name : Sun (孫) 1343 Chenzhou 1374 – – Princess Huaiqing

Consort Li 李淑妃 Li (李) Shouzhou – Li Jie 李傑 – –

Consort Ning 寧妃 Guo (郭) Haozhou – Guo Shanfu 郭山甫 –

Consort Hui 惠妃 Guo (郭) – – Guo Zixing 郭子興 – Zhu Tan, Prince Huang of Lu Zhu Chun, Prince Xian of Shu Zhu Gui, Prince Jian of Dai Zhu Hui, Prince of Gu Princess Zhenyi of Yongjia Princess Ruyang

Consort Zhuangjing'anronghui 莊靖安榮惠妃 Cui (崔) – – – –

Consort Jiang 江貴妃 Jiang (江) – – – – –

Consort Zhao 趙貴妃 Zhao (趙) – – – – Zhu Mo, Prince Jian of Shen

Consort Zhaojingchong 昭敬充妃 Hu (胡) – – – – –

Consort An 安妃 Zheng (鄭) – – – – Princess Fuqing

Consort Ding 定妃 Da (達) – – – – Zhu Fu, Prince of Qi Zhu Zi, Prince of Dan

Consort Shun 順妃 Hu (胡) – – – – Zhu Bai, Prince Xian of Xiang

Consort Shun 順妃 Im (任) Goryeo
– – – – Korean

Consort Xian 賢妃 Li (李) – – – – Zhu Jing, Prince Ding of Tang

Consort Hui 惠妃 Liu (劉) – – – – Zhu Dong, Prince Jing of Ying

Consort Li 麗妃 Ge (葛) - - - - -

Consort Gong 碽妃 Gong (碽) Goryeo
- - - - Korean; was given to the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
as tribute from Goryeo
; speculated by some to be the biological mother of the Yongle Emperor
Yongle Emperor

Consort Han 韓妃 Han (韓) Goryeo
- - - Zhu Zhi, Prince Jian of Liao Princess Hanshan Korean

Consort Yu 余妃 Yu (余) - - - - -

Consort Yang 楊妃 Yang (楊) - - - - Zhu Quan, Prince Xian of Ning

Consort Zhou 周妃 Zhou (周) - - - - Zhu Pian, Prince Zhuang of Min Zhu Song, Prince Xian of Han

Li Jieyu 李婕妤 Lee (李) Goryeo
- - - - Korean

Beauty Lady Cui 崔美人 Choi (崔) Goryeo
- - - - Korean

Beauty Lady Zhang 張美人 Zhang (張) - - - - Princess Baoqing

Lady Gao 郜氏 Gao (郜) - - - - Zhu Ying, Prince Zhuang of Su Was not given a formal consort name

The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
treated his ladies-in-waiting badly, forcing them to live in the palaces for life without freedom and behind cemented walls. He massacred thousands of them. He restricted the freedom of many concubines and killed several. He also forced many of them to commit suicide and ordered that they will be buried with him after his death. He had several Korean concubines, including Lady Han, who bore him a son, and Lady Gong.



1 Zhu Biao
Zhu Biao
朱標 Crown Prince Yiwen 懿文太子 10 October 1355 17 May 1392 Empress Xiaocigao Lady Chang Lady Lü Zhu Xiongying, Prince Huai of Yu Zhu Yunwen, Jianwen Emperor Zhu Yuntong, Prince of Wu Zhu Yunjian, Prince of Heng Zhu Yunhuo, Prince Jian of Xu Princess Jiangdou Princess Yilun unnamed daughter Princess Nanping

2 Zhu Shuang 朱樉 Prince Min of Qin 秦愍王 3 December 1356 9 April 1395 Empress Xiaocigao Lady Wang Lady Deng Zhu Shangbing, Prince Huai of Qin Zhu Shanglie, Prince Yijian of Yongxing Zhu Shangyu, Prince Daoxi of Bao'an Zhu Shangzhou, Prince Gongjing of Xingping Zhu Shanghong, Prince Huaijian of Yongshou Zhu Shangkai, Prince of Anding Princess Pucheng Princess Chang'an

3 Zhu Gang 朱棡 Prince Gong of Jin 晉恭王 18 December 1358 22 April 1398 Empress Xiaocigao Lady Xie Zhu Jixi, Prince Ding of Jin Zhu Jiye, Prince of Gaoping Zhu Jihuang, Prince of Jin Zhu Jixuan, Prince of Qingcheng Zhu Jihuan, Prince of Ninghua Zhu Jilang, Prince of Yonghe Zhu Jihe, Prince of Guangchang two unnamed daughters Princess Rongcheng

4 Zhu Di 朱棣 Prince of Yan 燕王 Later the Yongle Emperor
Yongle Emperor
2 May 1360 12 August 1424 Empress Xiaocigao Xu Yihua, Empress Renxiaowen
Empress Renxiaowen
20 concubines Zhu Gaochi, Hongzhi Emperor
Hongzhi Emperor
Zhu Gaoxu, Prince of Han Zhu Gaosui, Prince Jian of Zhao Zhu Gaoxi Princess Yong'an Princess Yongping Princess Ancheng Princess Xianning Princess Changning

5 Zhu Su 朱橚 Prince Ding of Zhou 周定王 8 October 1361 2 September 1425 Empress Xiaocigao – 26 children

6 Zhu Zhen 朱楨 Prince Zhao of Chu 楚昭王 5 April 1364 22 March 1424 Consort Chong – 10 sons

7 Zhu Fu 朱榑 Prince of Qi 齊王 1364 1428 Consort Ding – Zhu Xianting Zhu Xianhuo, Prince Daoyin of Le'an Zhu Xian𤊥, Prince of Changshan Zhu Xian'an, Prince of Pingyuan Zhu Xianhe

8 Zhu Zi 朱梓 Prince of Dan 潭王 – 1390 Consort Ding Lady Yu (daughter of Yu Xian (于顯)) none

9 Zhu Qi 朱杞 Prince of Zhao 趙王 October 1369 16 January 1371 unknown none none

10 Zhu Tan 朱檀 Prince Huang of Lu 魯荒王 15 March 1370 1389 Consort Hui Lady Tang (daughter of Tang He (湯和)) Zhu Zhaohui, Prince Jing of Lu

11 Zhu Chun 朱椿 Prince Xian of Shu 蜀獻王 1371 1423 Consort Hui Lady Lan (daughter of Lan Yu ) 11 children

12 Zhu Bai 朱柏 Prince Xian of Xiang 湘獻王 1371 1399 Consort Shun Lady Wu (niece of Wu Gao (吳高)) no sons

13 Zhu Gui 朱桂 Prince Jian of Dai 代簡王 25 August 1374 29 December 1446 Consort Hui Lady Xu

14 Zhu Ying 朱楧 Prince Zhuang of Su 肅莊王 1376 1419 Lady Gao – Zhu Shanyan, Prince Kang of Su

15 Zhu Zhi 朱植 Prince Jian of Liao 遼簡王 – 1424 Consort Han – 20 sons

16 Zhu Zhan 朱㮵 Prince Jing of Qing 慶靖王 6 February 1378 23 August 1438 Consort Yu Lady Sun (daughter of Sun Da (孫達)) six sons

17 Zhu Quan
Zhu Quan
朱權 Prince Xian of Ning 寧獻王 1378 1448 Consort Yang – 16 children

18 Zhu Pian 朱楩 Prince Zhuang of Min 岷莊王 10 April 1379 10 May 1450 Consort Zhou – Zhu Huiyi Zhu Huirou, Prince Gong of Min Zhu Huimei, Prince Gonghui of Jiangchuan Zhu Huiye, Prince of Guangtong Zhu Huixi, Prince of Yangzong

19 Zhu Hui 朱橞 Prince of Gu 谷王 30 April 1379 1428 Consort Hui Lady Zhou (daughter of Zhou Duo (週鐸)) Zhu Fuzhuo Zhu Fuyue Zhu Fuxin

20 Zhu Song 朱松 Prince Xian of Han 韓憲王 26 June 1380 19 November 1407 Consort Zhou Lady Feng 4 sons

21 Zhu Mo 朱模 Prince Jian of Shen 瀋簡王 1 September 1380 1431 Consort Zhao Lady Guo (daughter of Guo Ying (郭英)) Lady Zhang 7 sons

22 Zhu Ying 朱楹 Prince Hui of An 安惠王 18 October 1383 9 October 1417 – Lady Xu (youngest daughter of Xu Da
Xu Da
) no sons

23 Zhu Jing 朱桱 Prince Ding of Tang 唐定王 11 October 1386 8 September 1415 Consort Xian – Zhu Qiongjing, Prince Jing of Tang Zhu Qiongda, Prince Xian of Tang Zhu Qiongwei, Prince Daohuai of Xinye

24 Zhu Dong 朱棟 Prince Jing of Ying 郢靖王 21 June 1388 14 November 1414 Consort Hui Lady Guo (daughter of Guo Ying, Marquess of Wuding) 4daughters

25 Zhu Yi 朱㰘 Prince Li of Yi 伊厲王 9 July 1388 8 October 1414 Consort Li Lady Liu Zhu Yonggui, Prince Jian of Yi

26 Zhu Nan 朱楠 none 4 January 1394 1394 – none none Died about one month after his birth.

Main article: Vassals princes of Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty

One of the Princes was noted for delinquent behavior. Zhu Shuang 朱樉 (Prince Min of Qin 秦愍王) while he was high on drugs, had some Tibetan boys castrated and Tibetan women seized after a war against minority Tibetan peoples and as a result was reprimanded after he died from overdose. 征西番,將番人七八歲幼女擄到一百五十名,又將七歲,八歲,九歲,十歲男童,閹割百五十五名,未及二十日,令人馱背赴府,致命去處所傷未好,即便挪動,因傷致死著大

Hongu had a "mirror" 宗藩昭鑒錄 宗藩昭鉴录 宗藩昭鑑錄 written for Ming Princes to educate them and stop misbehavior after having to discilpine his nephew Zhu Wenzheng's son, grandnephew Zhu Shouqian.



1 Princess Lin'an 臨安公主 1360 17 August 1421 1376 Li Qi 李祺 (son of Li Shanchang, Duke of Han) – –

2 Princess Ning 寧國公主 1364 7 September 1434 1378 Mei Yin 梅殷 (second son of Mei Sizu, Marquess of Runan) – Empress Xiao Ci Gao

3 Princess Chongning 崇寧公主 – – 21 December 1384 Niu Cheng 牛城 – –

4 Princess Anqing 安慶公主 – – 23 December 1381 Ouyang Lun 歐陽倫 – Empress Xiaocigao

5 Princess Running 汝寧公主 – – 11 June 1382 Lu Xian 陸賢 (son of Lu Zhongheng, Marquess of Ji'an) – –

6 Princess Huaiqing 懷慶公主 – 15 July 1425 11 September 1382 Wang Ning, Marquess of Yongchun 永春侯 Wang Zhenliang 王貞亮 Wang Zhenqing 王貞慶 Noble Consort Cheng Mu

7 Princess Daming 大名公主 1368 30 March 1426 2 September 1382 Li Jian, Marquess of Luancheng 灤城侯李堅 (son of Li Ying (李英)) Li Zhuang 李莊 –

8 Princess Fuqing 福清公主 – 28 February 1417 26 April 1385 Zhang Lin 張麟 (son of Zhang Long, Marquess of Fengxiang) – Consort An

9 Princess Shouchun 壽春公主 1370 1 August 1388 9 April 1386 Fu Zhong 傅忠 (son of Fu Youde, Duke of Ying) – –

10 none – – none none none – Died young

11 Princess Nankang 南康公主 1373 15 November 1438 1387 Hu Guan 胡觀 (third son of Hu Hai, Marquess of Dongchuan) – –

12 Princess Zhenyi of Yongjia 永嘉貞懿公主 1376 12 October 1455 23 November 1389 Guo Zhen 郭鎮 (son of Guo Ying, Marquess of Wuding) Guo Zhensi 郭珍嗣 Consort Hui

13 none – – none none none – Died young

14 Princess Hanshan 含山公主 1381 18 October 1462 11 September 1394 Yin Qing 尹清 – Consort Han

15 Princess Ruyang 汝陽公主 – – 23 August 1394 Xie Da 謝達 – Consort Hui

16 Princess Baoqing 寶慶公主 1394 1433 1413 Zhao Hui 趙輝 – Beauty Lady Zhang



* The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber
The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber
(倚天屠龍記), a 1961–63 wuxia novel by Louis Cha . Zhu Yuanzhang appears as a minor character in the novel . Zhu Yuanzhang has been portrayed by various actors in the films and television series adapted from this novel.

Television series

* Born to be a King (大明群英), a 1987 Hong Kong television series produced by TVB and starring Simon Yam as Zhu Yuanzhang. * Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋), a 1993 Chinese television series produced by Beijing
TV and starring Lü Qi as Zhu Yuanzhang. * Empress Ma With Great Feet (大腳馬皇后), a 2002 Chinese television series about Zhu Yuanzhang's wife, Empress Ma . Tang Guoqiang starred as Zhu Yuanzhang. * Chuanqi Huangdi Zhu Yuanzhang (傳奇皇帝朱元璋), a 2006 Chinese television series starring Chen Baoguo as Zhu Yuanzhang. * Founding Emperor of Ming Dynasty
(朱元璋), a 2006 Chinese television series directed by Feng Xiaoning and starring Hu Jun as Zhu Yuanzhang. * The Legendary Liu Bowen
Liu Bowen
(神機妙算劉伯溫), a 2006–2008 Taiwanese television series about Zhu Yuanzhang's adviser, Liu Bowen
Liu Bowen
. It was produced by TTV and starred Huo Zhengqi as Zhu Yuanzhang. * Zhenming Tianzi (真命天子), a 2015 Chinese television series produced by Jian Yuanxin and starring Zhang Zhuowen as Zhu Yuanzhang. * Love Through Different Times (穿越时空的爱恋), a 2002 Chinese television comedy-drama that is considered the first time-travel television series produced in mainland China.


* China
portal * Monarchy portal * History portal * Biography portal

* Huang Ming Zu Xun , the "Ancestral Instructions" written by the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
to guide his descendants * Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum * Rags to riches * Sino-Tibetan relations during the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty


* ^ The Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
was already in control of Nanjing
since 1356 and was conferred the title of "Duke of Wu " (吳國公) by the rebel leader Han Lin\'er (韓林兒) in 1361. He started autonomous rule as the self-proclaimed " Prince of Wu " (吳王) on 4 February 1364. He was proclaimed emperor on 23 January 1368 and established the Ming dynasty on that same day. * ^ A B C Different from the above * ^ Name given by his parents at birth and used only inside the family and friends. This birth name, which means "double eight", was allegedly given to him because the combined age of his parents when he was born was 88 years. * ^ He was known as "Zhu Xingzong" when he reached adulthood and renamed himself "Zhu Yuanzhang" in 1352 when he started to become famous among the rebel leaders. * ^ Upon his successful usurpation in 1402, the Yongle Emperor voided the Jianwen era of his predecessor and continued the Hongwu era posthumously until the next New Year when his own new era was declared. This dating continued for a few of his successors until the Jianwen era was reëstablished in the late 16th century.


Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
has media related to: 明太祖 (category)


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Yongle Emperor
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* This article incorporates text from China
and the Roman Orient: researches into their ancient and mediæval relations as represented in old Chinese records, by Friedrich Hirth, a publication from 1885 now in the public domain in the United States. * This article incorporates text from Cathay and the way thither: being a collection of medieval notices of China, by COLONEL SIR HENRY YULE, a publication from 1913 now in the public domain in the United States. * This article incorporates text from Institutes of ecclesiastical history: ancient and modern ..., by Johann Lorenz Mosheim, James Murdock, a publication from 1832 now in the public domain in the United States.

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* Anita M. Andrew; John A. Rapp (1 January 2000). Autocracy and China\'s Rebel Founding Emperors: Comparing Chairman Mao and Ming Taizu. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 110–. ISBN 978-0-8476-9580-5 . * Brook, Timothy. (1998). The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China
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Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
HOUSE OF ZHU BORN: 21 October 1328 DIED: 24 June 1398


Preceded by Dynasty
established EMPEROR OF THE MING DYNASTY 1368–1398 Succeeded by The Jianwen Emperor

Preceded by Emperor Huizong of the Yuan dynasty
Yuan dynasty



* v * t * e

Emperors of the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty


* Hongwu * Jianwen * Yongle * Hongxi * Xuande * Yingzong (Zhengtong reign) * Jingtai * Yingzong (Tianshun reign) * Chenghua * Hongzhi * Zhengde * Jiajing * Longqing * Wanli * Taichang * Tianqi * Chongzhen


* Hongguang * Longwu (co-ruler) * Gengyin (co-ruler) * Shaowu (co-ruler) * Yongli (co-ruler) * Dongwu (co-ruler)

Xia → Shang → Zhou → Qin → Han → 3 Kingdoms → Jìn / 16 Kingdoms → S. Dynasties / N. Dynasties → Sui → Tang → 5 Dynasties border-left-width:2px;border-left-style:solid;width:100%;padding:0px">

* WorldCat Identities * VIAF : 62349118 * LCCN : n80056911 * ISNI : 0000 0000 8142 2512 * GND : 118998935 * SUDOC : 031025307 * BNF : cb12232305f (data) * NLA : 36600399 * NDL : 00625010 * NKC : jx20060714006

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