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. In the middle of the 14th century, with famine, plagues, and peasant revolts sweeping across China, Chu Yuan chang rose to command the force that conquered China and ended the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty, forcing the Mongols to retreat to the Central Asian steppes. Chu claimed the Mandate of Heaven and established the Ming dynasty at the beginning of 1368, later in the same year his army occupied the Yuan capital, Khanbaliq (present-day Beijing). Trusting only in his family, he made his many sons powerful feudal princes along the northern marches and the Yangtze valley.[1] Having outlived his first successor, the 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 (r. 1402–1424)".[2] Most of the historical sites related to the 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

3.7 Development of dynasty

4 Death 5 Assessment 6 Family

6.1 Spouses

6.1.1 Empresses 6.1.2 Noble Consorts 6.1.3 Consorts

6.2 Issue

6.2.1 Sons 6.2.2 Daughters

7 Ancestry 8 In popular culture 9 See also 10 Notes 11 References

11.1 Citations 11.2 Bibliography

12 Further reading 13 External link

Early life[edit] Zhu was born into a desperately poor peasant tenant farmer family in Zhongli Village in the Huai River plain, which is in present-day Fengyang, Anhui Province.[3][4] 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.[5] 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,[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] Rise to power[edit]

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Rebels and warlords at the end of Yuan Dynasty, including the territory controlled by Zhu Yuanzhang in 1363.

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. 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 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.[9] 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 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 valley. Zhu was able to attract many talents into his service. One of them was Zhu Sheng (zh) (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, was an artillery officer, who later compiled a military treatise outlining the various types of gunpowder weapons. Another one, 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 Delta, and Hangzhou, which was formerly the capital of the Song dynasty.[10][11] 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 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 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.[12][13][14] The Ming dynasty defeated Ming Yuchen's Xia polity, which ruled Sichuan.[15] The Ming army captured the last Yuan-controlled province of Yunnan in 1381, and China was unified under Ming rule.[16] Reign[edit] See also: Timeline of the Ming dynasty 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.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] Hongwu founded Qinhuai.[20] Land reform[edit] As the 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.[21] Since the beginning of the Ming dynasty in 1357, great care was taken by the Hongwu Emperor to distribute land to peasants. One way was by forced migration to less-dense areas.[22] Some of those people were tied to a pagoda tree in Hongdong (洪洞大槐樹) and moved.[23] 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 also reduced the demands for forced labour on the peasantry. In 1370, the 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.[citation needed] The 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.[24] Military[edit]

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

The 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. 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.[25] 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.[citation needed] Nobility[edit] When the 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.[26] Mu Ying's family was among them.[27][28][29][30][31][32] Special rules against abuse of power were implemented on the nobles.[33] Consolidating control[edit] Manicheanism, and White Lotus were prohibited and outlawed by Hongwu.[34] The Hongwu Emperor expected everyone to obey his rule[35][36] and was infamous for killing many people during his purges.[37] His tortures included flaying, and slow slicing.[38][39][40] One of his generals, Chang Yuchun, carried out massacres in some places[citation needed] in Shandong and Hunan provinces to take revenge against people who resisted his army.[41][42][43] As time went on, the 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.[44] 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.[45][46][47] 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.[48] The 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 to employ them as a power base during his coup.[1] 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 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.[citation needed] However, the 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.[citation needed] 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.[49][50][51][52][53][54][55] 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 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 fundamentally altered the centuries-old government structure of China, greatly increasing the emperor's absolutism. The 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.[24] The 1380s writings of Hongwu are known as the "Great warnings" or "Grand Pronouncements".[56] They were called "Ancestral injunctions".[57][58] He wrote the Six Maxims which inspired the Sacred Edict of the Kangxi Emperor,[59][60][61] 六諭[62] 聖諭六言[63][64][65][66][67] Legal reform[edit] The legal code drawn up in the time of the 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 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.[citation needed] Economic reform[edit] 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, which had preceded the Yuan dynasty and had relied on traders and merchant for revenues. The 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,[citation needed] written during the Ming dynasty, gave a detailed description of the activities of merchants at that time. Educational reforms[edit] Quan Tang, the Minister of Justice, stood up against Hongwu over his command to downgrade Mencius.[68] At the Guozijian, law, math, calligraphy, equestrianism, and archery were emphasized by the Hongwu Emperor in addition to Confucian classics and also required in the Imperial Examinations.[69][70][71][72][73][74] 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.[75] The area around the Meridian Gate of Nanjing was used for archery by guards and generals under Hongwu.[76] A cavalry based army modeled on the Yuan military was implemented by the Hongwu and Yongle Emperors.[77] Hongwu's army and officialdom incorporated Mongols.[78] Equestrianism and archery were favorite pastimes of He Suonan who served in the Yuan and Ming militaries under Hongwu.[79] Archery towers were built by Zhengtong Emperor at the Forbidden City.[80] Archery towers were built on the city walls of Xi'an erected by Hongwu.[81] Main article: Huihui Lifa Around 1384, the 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,[82] Religious policy[edit] Main article: The Hundred-word Eulogy

The Jinjue Mosque in Nanjing was constructed by the decree of the Hongwu Emperor.

The Hongwu Emperor ordered the construction of several mosques in Nanjing, Yunnan, Guangdong and Fujian provinces,[83] 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 moved to the city during his rule.[84] Chinese sources claim that the Hongwu Emperor had close relations with Muslims and had around ten Muslim generals in his military,[85] including Lan Yu, Ding Dexing, Mu Ying, Feng Sheng and Hu Dahai, and that "His Majesty ordered to have mosques built in Xijing and Nanjing [the capitals], and in southern Yunnan, Fujian and Guangdong." He also personally wrote a 100 word praise (baizizan) on Islam, Allah and the Prophet Muhammad.[86] During the war fighting the Mongols, among the Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang's armies was the Hui Muslim Feng Sheng.[87] Foreign policy[edit] Vietnam[edit] The 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.[88] He specifically warned future Emperors only to defend against foreign barbarians, and not engage in military campaigns for glory and conquest.[89] In his 1395 ancestral injunctions, the emperor specifically wrote that China should not attack Champa, Cambodia or Annam (Vietnam).[90][91] He was advised to concentrate on defending against the Rong and Di "Barbarians", rather than attacking.[92] With the exception of his turn against aggressive expansion, much of Taizu's foreign policy and his diplomatic institutions were based on Yuan practice.[93]

"Japanese" pirates[edit] Main articles: Wokou and Haijin The 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".[94] In fact, many of the "dwarf pirates" and "eastern barbarians" raiding his coasts were Chinese[95][96] 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"[97] and the necessity of protecting his state against the Northern Yuan remnants[98] meant that the most the 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;[99] ships, docks, and shipyards were destroyed and ports sabotaged.[100] The initial conception seems to have been to use the Japanese need for Chinese goods to force them to terms,[97] 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,[100] impoverished and provoked both coastal Chinese and Japanese against the regime,[97] increasing piracy,[96] 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.[97] In fact, piracy dropped to negligible levels upon the abolition of the policy in 1568.[96] Nonetheless, the sea ban was added by the Hongwu Emperor to his Ancestral Injunctions[100] 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.[101] Byzantine Empire[edit] Further information: Europeans in Medieval China, Sino-Roman relations, Daqin, and Byzantine-Mongol alliance The History of Ming, compiled during the early Qing dynasty, describes how the Hongwu Emperor met with an alleged merchant of Fu lin (拂菻; the 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 to his ruler (i.e. John V Palaiologos).[102][103][104] It is speculated that the merchant was actually a former bishop of Khanbaliq (Beijing) called Nicolaus de Bentra, sent by Pope John XXII to replace Archbishop John of Montecorvino in 1333.[102][105] 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) did not appear in China again until the 16th century, with the Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci.[102] Development of dynasty[edit]

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 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.[106] 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.[citation needed] Death[edit] The 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, east of Nanjing. Assessment[edit] Historians consider the 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."[107] 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.'[108]

Family[edit] Spouses[edit] Empresses[edit]

Title Name Born Died Father Mother Issue Notes

Empress Xiaoci Gao 孝慈高皇后 Ma Xiuying 马秀英 1332 1382 Ma Gong, Prince of Xu 徐王马公 Lady Zheng, Madame of Prince of Xu 徐王夫人郑氏 1. Crown Prince Yiwen 2. Prince Min of Qin 3. Prince Gong of Jin 4. Chengzu 5. Prince Ding of Zhou 2. Princess of Ning 4. Princess of Anqing There are claims that she was childless and these children were adopted Became Empress in 1368

Noble Consorts[edit]

Title Name Born Died Father Mother Issue Notes

Noble Consort Chengmu 成穆贵妃 Lady Sun 孙氏 1343 1374 Sun Heqing 孙和卿 Lady Chao 晁氏 1. Princess of Lin'an 6. Princess of Huaiqing 10. daughter 13. daughter Became Emperor Gao's concubine in 1360

Noble Consort 贵妃 Lady Zhao 赵氏 unknown unknown unknown unknown 21. Prince Jian of Shen

Lady Jiang 江氏 unknown unknown unknown unknown none


Title Name Born Died Father Mother Issue Notes

Pure Consort 淑妃 Lady Li 李氏 1345 unknown Li Jie 李杰 unknown none Became Consort in 1382 Became Pure Peaceful Consortd de facto Empress in 1384 Forced to commit suicide by Emperor Gao

Peaceful Consort 宁妃 Lady Guo 郭氏 unknown unknown Guo Shanfu, Duke of Ying 营国公郭山甫 unknown 5. Princess of Runing 7. Princess of Daming 10. Prince Huang of Lu Became Peaceful Consort in 1368 Became de facto Empress after Pure Consort Li's death Forced to commit suicide by Emperor Gao

Complete Consort Zhaojing 昭敬充妃 Lady Hu 胡氏 unknown unknown Hu Quan 胡泉 unknown 6. Prince Zhao of Chu Emperor Gao's concubine Became Complete Consort in 1368 Killed by Emperor Gao

Calm Consort 定妃 Lady Da 达氏 unknown 1390 unknown unknown 7. Prince Gong of Qi 8. Prince of Tan Chen Youliang's palace maid Became Emperor Gao's concubine in 1363 Executed by Emperor Gao

Peaceful Consort 安妃 Lady Zheng 郑氏 unknown unknown unknown unknown 8. Princess of Fuqing

Gracious Consort 惠妃 Lady Guo 郭氏 unknown unknown Guo Zixing, Prince of Chuyang 滁阳王郭子兴 Lady Zhang 张氏 11. Prince Xian of Shu 13. Prince Jian of Dai 12. Princess Zhenyi of Yongjia 19. Prince of Gu 15. Princess of Ruyang

Favourable Consort 顺妃 Lady Hu 胡氏 unknown unknown Hu Mei, Marquis of Yuzhang 豫章侯胡美 unknown 12. Prince Xian of Xiang Became Favourable Consort in 1370

Able Consort 贤妃 Lady Li 李氏 unknown unknown unknown unknown 23. Prince Ding of Tang Killed by Emperor Gao

Gracious Consort 惠妃 Lady Liu 刘氏 unknown unknown unknown unknown 24. Prince Jing of Ying

Elegant Consort 丽妃 Lady Ge 葛氏 unknown unknown Ge Chuan 葛川 unknown 25. Prince Li of Yi 26. Nan Entered Emperor Gao's harem in 1386 Became Elegant Consort in 1393 Killed by Emperor Gao

Gracious Consort Zhuangjing 庄靖惠妃 Lady Cui 崔氏 unknown unknown unknown unknown none

Consort 妃 Lady Han 韩氏 unknown unknown unknown unknown 15. Prince Jian of Liao 14. Princess of Hanshan Tribute from Goryeo

Lady Yu 余氏 unknown unknown unknown unknown 16. Prince Jing of Qing

Lady Yang 杨氏 unknown unknown unknown unknown 17. Prince Xian of Ning

Lady Zhou 周氏 unknown unknown unknown unknown 18. Prince Zhuang of Min 20. Prince Xian of Han

The Hongwu Emperor treated his ladies-in-waiting badly, forcing them to live in the palaces for life without freedom and behind cemented walls.[109][110][unreliable source?] He massacred thousands of them.[111][112][113][unreliable source?] He restricted the freedom of many concubines and killed several[who?].[114][115][116][unreliable source?] He also forced many of them[who?] to commit suicide and ordered that they will be buried with him after his death.[117][unreliable source?] He had several Korean concubines, including Lady Han, who bore him a son, and Lady Gong.[118] Issue[edit] Sons[edit]

# Title Name Born Died Mother Notes

1 Crown Prince Yiwen 懿文太子 Biao 标 10 Oct 1355 17 May 1392 Empress Xiaoci Gao Became Crown Prince (皇太子) in 1368 Posthumously honoured as Crown Prince Yiwen in 1392 Posthumously honoured as Emperor Xiaokang (孝康皇帝) in 1399 Posthumously demoted to Crown Prince Yiwen in 1402 Son: Huizong

2 Prince Min of Qin 秦愍王 Shuang 樉 3 Dec 1356 9 Apr 1395 Became Prince of Qin in 1370

3 Prince Gong of Jin 晋恭王 Gang 㭎 18 Dec 1358 22 Apr 1398 Became Prince of Jin in 1370

4 Chengzu 成祖 Di 棣 2 May 1360 12 Aug 1424 Became Prince of Yan (燕王) in 1370 Became Emperor (皇帝) in 1402

5 Prince Ding of Zhou 周定王 Su 橚 8 Oct 1361 2 Sep 1425 Became Prince of Wu (吴王) in 1370 Title changed to Prince of Zhou in 1378

6 Prince Zhao of Chu 楚昭王 Zhen 桢 5 Apr 1364 22 Mar 1424 Complete Consort Zhaojing Became Prince of Qi (齐王) and title changed to Prince of Chu in 1370

7 Prince Gong of Qi 齐恭王 Fu 榑 23 Dec 1364 1428 Calm Consort Da Became Prince of Qi in 1370 Stripped of his titles in 1406

8 Prince of Tan 潭王 Zi 梓 6 Oct 1369 18 Apr 1390 Became Prince of Tan in 1370 Committed self-immolation

9 Prince of Zhao 赵王 Qi 杞 1369 16 Jan 1371 unknown Became Prince of Zhao in 1370 Died in infancy

10 Prince Huang of Lu 鲁荒王 Tan 檀 15 Mar 1370 2 Jan 1390 Peaceful Consort Guo Became Prince of Lu in 1370

11 Prince Xian of Shu 蜀献王 Chun 椿 4 Apr 1371 1423 Gracious Consort Guo Became Prince of Shu in 1378

12 Prince Xian of Xiang 湘献王 Bai 柏 12 Sep 1371 1399 Favourable Consort Hu Became Prince of Xiang in 1378 Committed self-immolation

13 Prince Jian of Dai 代简王 Gui 桂 25 Aug 1374 29 Dec 1446 Gracious Consort Guo Became Prince of Yu (豫王) in 1378 Title changed to Prince of Dai in 1392

14 Prince Zhuang of Su 肃庄王 Ying 楧 10 Oct 1376 5 Jan 1420 Lady Gao 郜氏 Became Prince of Han (汉王) in 1378 Title changed to Prince of Su in 1392

15 Prince Jian of Liao 辽简王 Zhi 植 24 Mar 1377 1424 Consort Han Became Prince of Wei (卫王) in 1378 Title changed to Prince of Liao in 1392

16 Prince Jing of Qing 庆靖王 Zhan 㮵 6 Feb 1378 23 Aug 1438 Consort Yu Became Prince of Qing in 1391

17 Prince Xian of Ning 宁献王 Quan 权 27 May 1378 1448 Consort Yang Became Prince of Ning in 1391

18 Prince Zhuang of Min 岷庄王 Pian 楩 10 Apr 1379 10 May 1450 Consort Zhou Became Prince of Min in 1391 Stripped of his titles in 1399 Restored in 1403

19 Prince of Gu 谷王 Hui 橞 30 Apr 1379 1428 Gracious Consort Guo Became Prince of Gu in 1391 Stripped of his titles and imprisoned in 1417

20 Prince Xian of Han 韩宪王 Song 松 23 May 1380 19 Nov 1407 Consort Zhou Became Prince of Han in 1391

21 Prince Jian of Shen 沈简王 Mo 模 1 Sep 1380 1431 Noble Consort Zhao Became Prince of Shen in 1391

22 Prince Hui of An 安惠王 Ying 楹 18 Oct 1383 9 Oct 1417 unknown Became Prince of An in 1391

23 Prince Ding of Tang 唐定王 Jing 桱 11 Oct 1386 8 Sep 1415 Able Consort Li Became Prince of Tang in 1391

24 Prince Jing of Ying 郢靖王 Dong 栋 21 Jun 1388 14 Nov 1414 Gracious Consort Liu Became Prince of Ying in 1391

25 Prince Li of Yi 伊厉王 Yi 㰘 9 Jul 1388 8 Oct 1414 Elegant Consort Ge Became Prince of Yi in 1391


Nan 楠 4 Jan 1394 1394 Died in infancy

Main article: Vassals princes of 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.[119][120][121][122][123][124][125][126][127][128] 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 Hongwu 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.[57][129] Daughters[edit]

# Title Name Born Died Mother Spouses Issue Notes

1 Princess of Lin'an 临安公主 Yufeng 玉凤 1360 17 Aug 1421 Noble Consort Chengmu 1376: Li Qi (李祺) Li Fang (李芳) Li Mao (李茂)

2 Princess of Ning 宁国公主 unknown 1364 7 Sep 1434 Empress Xiaoci Gao 1378: Mei Yin (梅殷) Mei Shunchang (梅顺昌) Mei Jingfu (梅景福) Became Princess of Ning in 1378

3 Princess of Chongning 崇宁公主 unknown unknown unknown unknown 21 Dec 1384: Niu Cheng (牛城)

4 Princess of Anqing 安庆公主 unknown unknown unknown Empress Xiaoci Gao 23 Dec 1381: Ouyang Lun (欧阳伦)

5 Princess of Runing 汝宁公主 unknown unknown unknown Peaceful Consort Guo 11 Jun 1382: Lu Xian (陆贤)

6 Princess of Huaiqing 怀庆公主 unknown unknown 15 Jul 1425 Noble Consort Chengmu 11 Sep 1382: Wang Ning, Marquis of Yongchun (永春侯王宁) Wang Zhenliang (王贞亮) Wang Zhenqing (王贞庆)

7 Princess of Daming 大名公主 unknown 1368 30 Mar 1426 Peaceful Consort Guo 2 Sep 1382: Li Jian, Marquis of Luancheng (滦城侯李坚) Li Zhuang (李庄)

8 Princess of Fuqing 福清公主 unknown 1370 28 Feb 1417 Peaceful Consort Zheng 26 Apr 1385: Zhang Lin (张麟) Zhang Jie (张杰)

9 Princess of Shouchun 寿春公主 unknown 1370 1 Aug 1388 unknown 9 Apr 1386: Fu Zhong (傅忠) Fu Yan (傅彦)


unknown unknown unknown Noble Consort Chengmu none none Died young

11 Princess of Nankang 南康公主 Yuhua 玉华 1373 15 Nov 1438 Lady Lin 林氏 1387: Hu Guan (胡观) Hu Zhong (胡忠) Became Princess of Nankang in 1387

12 Princess Zhenyi of Yongjia 永嘉贞懿公主 unknown 1376 12 Oct 1455 Gracious Consort Guo 23 Nov 1389: Guo Zhen (郭镇) Guo Zhen (郭珍)


unknown unknown unknown Noble Consort Chengmu none none Died young

14 Princess of Hanshan 含山公主 unknown 1381 18 Oct 1462 Consort Han 11 Sep 1394: Yin Qing (尹清) Yin Xun (尹勋) Yin Yu (尹玉)

15 Princess of Ruyang 汝阳公主 unknown unknown unknown Gracious Consort Guo 23 Aug 1394: Xie Da (谢达)

16 Princess of Baoqing 宝庆公主 unknown 1394 1433 Zhang Xuanmiao, Beautiful Lady 美人张玄妙 1413: Zhao Hui (赵辉)

Raised by Empress Renxiao Wen

Princesses who killed their husbands include Princess of Anqing and Princess of Runing. Descendants of Princess of Lin'an and Princess of Shouchun were exempted from execution due to their descent from Emperor Gao. Ancestry[edit]

Ancestors of Hongwu Emperor



















Zhu Bailiu, Emperor Xuan 玄皇帝朱百六








2nd son: Zhu Sijiu, Emperor Heng 恒皇帝朱四九












Wife: Lady Hu, Empress Xuan 玄皇后胡氏








1st son: Zhu Chuyi, Emperor Yu 裕皇帝朱初一















Wife: Lady Hou, Empress Heng 恒皇后侯氏












4th son: Zhu Shizhen, Emperor Chun 淳皇帝朱世珍 1281–1344


















Wife: Lady Wang, Empress Yu 裕皇后王氏















4th son: Zhu Yuanzhang, Emperor Gao 高皇帝朱元璋 1328–1398





















Chen, Prince of Yang 杨王陈 1235–1334















Wife: Lady Chen, Empress Chun 淳皇后陈氏 1286–1344


















Madame of Prince of Yang 杨王夫人














In popular culture[edit]


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 (神機妙算劉伯溫), a 2006–2008 Taiwanese television series about Zhu Yuanzhang's adviser, 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.

See also[edit]

China portal Monarchy portal History portal Biography portal

Chinese emperors family tree (late) Huang Ming Zu Xun, the "Ancestral Instructions" written by the Hongwu Emperor to guide his descendants Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum Rags to riches Sino-Tibetan relations during the Ming dynasty


^ The 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. ^ 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.

References[edit] Citations[edit]

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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.

Dreyer, Edward. (1982). Early Ming China: A Political History. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1105-4. Stearns, Peter N., et al. (2006). World Civilizations: The Global Experience. AP Edition DBQ Update. New York: Pearson Education, Inc. History of Ming, vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3

Further reading[edit]

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. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-22154-0 (Paperback). John W. Dardess (1983). Confucianism and Autocracy: Professional Elites in the Founding of the Ming Dynasty. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-04733-4.  John W. Dardess (1968). Background Factors in the Rise of the Ming Dynasty. Columbia University. 

External link[edit] Media related to Hongwu Emperor at Wikimedia Commons

Hongwu Emperor House of Zhu Born: 21 October 1328 Died: 24 June 1398

Regnal titles

Preceded by Dynasty established Emperor of the Ming dynasty 1368–1398 Succeeded by The Jianwen Emperor

Preceded by Emperor Huizong of the Yuan dynasty Emperor of China 1368–1398

Chinese royalty

Unknown Prince of Wu 1364–1368 Merged in the Crown

v t e

Emperors of the Ming dynasty


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

Southern Ming

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

Xia → Shang → Zhou → Qin → Han → 3 Kingdoms → Jìn / 16 Kingdoms → S. Dynasties / N. Dynasties → Sui → Tang → 5 Dynasties & 10 Kingdoms → Liao / Song / W. Xia / Jīn → Yuan → Ming → Qing → ROC / PRC

Authority control

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