Hongwu Emperor

''A Seated Portrait of Ming Emperor Taizu'', {{circa|1377}}<ref name="Image">{{cite book |editor-last1=Goodrich |editor-first1=Luther Carrington |editor-link1=Luther Carrington Goodrich |editor2=Fang Chaoying |editor-link2=Fang Chao-ying |year=1976 |title=Dictionary of Ming Biography, 1368–1644 |volume=1 |publisher=[[Columbia University Press]] |location=New York |isbn=978-0-231-03801-0 |pages=258–259 }}</ref> by an unknown artist from the Ming dynasty. Now located in the [[National Palace Museum]], [[Taipei]] | j = Hung4-mou5 dai3 | y = Hùhng-móuh dai | tl = Âng-bú tē }}Hongwu Emperor (21 October 1328– 24 June 1398),) regnal period of the Yuan dynasty. When calculated using the Proleptic Gregorian calendar, the date is 29 October.}} also known by his temple name as the Emperor Taizu of Ming (), personal name Zhu Yuanzhang (|w=Chu Yüan-chang}}), courtesy name Guorui (), was the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning from 1368 to 1398.

As famine, plague, and peasant revolt surged across China proper during the 14th century, Zhu Yuanzhang rose to command the Red Turban Rebellion that conquered China proper, ending the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty and forcing the remnant Yuan court (known as Northern Yuan in historiography) to retreat to the Mongolian Plateau. Zhu claimed the Mandate of Heaven and established the Ming dynasty at the beginning of 1368 and occupied the Yuan capital of Khanbaliq (present-day Beijing), with his army that same year. Trusting only his family, he made his many sons feudal princes along the northern marches and the Yangtze valley. Having outlived his eldest son Zhu Biao, Zhu enthroned Zhu Biao's son via a series of instructions. This ended in failure when the Jianwen Emperor's attempts to unseat his uncles led to the Jingnan Rebellion.

The era of Hongwu was noted for its tolerance of minorities and religions; the Chinese historian Ma Zhou indicates that the Hongwu Emperor ordered the renovation and construction of many mosques in Xi’an and Nanjing. Wang Daiyu also recorded that the emperor wrote the Hundred-word Eulogy praising Islam.

The reign of the Hongwu Emperor is notable for his unprecedented political reforms. The emperor abolished the position of chancellor, drastically reduced the role of court eunuchs, and adopted draconian measures to address corruption. He also established the Embroidered Uniform Guard, one of the best known secret police organizations in imperial China. In the 1380s and 1390s, a series of purges were launched to eliminate his high-ranked officials and generals; tens of thousands were executed. The reign of Hongwu also witnessed much cruelty. Various cruel methods of execution were introduced for punishable crimes and for those who directly criticized the emperor, and massacres were also carried out against everyone who resisted his rule.

The emperor encouraged agriculture, reduced taxes, incentivized the cultivation of new land, and established laws protecting peasants' property. He also confiscated land held by large estates and forbade private slavery. At the same time, he banned free movement in the empire and assigned hereditary occupational categories to households. Through these measures, Zhu Yuanzhang attempted to rebuild a country that had been ravaged by war, limit and control its social groups, and instill orthodox values in his subjects, eventually creating a strictly regimented society of self-sufficient farming communities. Provided by Wikipedia
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