Reign One month in the year 1620 AD , Reign Period Taichang
Zhu Changluo , Name as Emperor GuangZong
Son of Zhu Yijun, the previous Emperor.
Zhu Changluo was born to a "mere" maid of honor, the Lady Wang, who was promoted to rank of Concubine after the birth.
Achievements: The GuangZong Reign of the Ming Dynasty was the shortest reign of an Emperor in Chinese History, accept perhaps for the even shorter-lived attempt at restauration of the Manchu Qing Dynasty by traitor-general Yuan Shi-Kai who crowned himself Emperor but failed after one week. The Emperor reigned for only 29 days after rising to the Throne, dieing at the young age of 36. His short reign however was filled with scandal and mysterious intrigue.
In accordance with the rules of imperial primogeniture, when his Father the Shenzong Emperor died, the eldest Son Zhu ChangLuo was expected to succeed to the Throne. In this case however the succesion could not been taken for granted beforehand. During his earliest life, Wanli the Shenzong Emperor had not favored Zhu ChangLuo as a Son or Heir. As the old Emperor was greatly devoted to one of his Ladies, a concubine by the name of Cheng, he was inclined to have her eldest son named Crown Prince. The Ministers however thought otherwise and demanded the Emperor adhere to the ancient succession rules. In dillema, the Emperor took years to decide on his succession, continually questioning himself which appointment would be his "Key to Preserving the Empire". Could the eldest Son become the powerful ruler the Empire needed, or was the Son of Lady Cheng more suitable as Crown Prince ? In the end, the Shenzong Emperor reluctantly agreed to go along with the ancient primogeniture rules, and Zhu Changluo was named Crown Prince at the late Age of 20 Years, favoring him over Lady Cheng's eldest son, Zhu Changxun. The whole lengthy affair would become known in history as the "Struggle over the Key to the Empire". More was to follow. The Lady Cheng, disempowered and disgruntled by the Emperors decision launched an attack plot against the Crown Prince, who was nearly killed.
On a nice day in the May Month of 1615, Zhu Changluo the Crown Prince was reading in the CiQing Palace (Forbidden City) when a rough looking customer with an enormous wooden club burst into the room.The fellow then proceeded to attack the Crown Prince but was prevented from doing so by nearby Guards, who arrested the attacker and led him away. It was a bizarre incident as the Imperial Palace City grounds were off limits to any commoners. The most private Inner Court (Nei Ting) of which the CiQing Palace is part, should certainly have been unreachable for the assailant. Later the would be assasin. one Zhang Cha, would confess that it was Lady Cheng who, in cooperation with her two trusted eunuchs Pang Bao and Liu Cheng, had put him up to his task. This brought the truth out in the whole affair, however, the Lady Cheng being the absolute favorite of the Emperor, the official that uncovered the true nature of the plot, feared of having to inform the Emperor. Untold things could happen, including to his own person and family. As a way out of the situation the official wound up the attack case with a quick execution of Zhang Cha, explaining Zhang's action as those of an insane Man. In the period following the incident, the two eunuchs of Lady Cheng, Pang Bao and Liu Cheng were quietly eliminated, disappearing from history. Only Lady Cheng remained in her position at Court. The plot would go down in history as "The case of the club attack".
Following these strange incidents, a period of calm set in for the Crown Prince until his Father Emperor Shenzong died and he, Zhu Changluo, was crowned Emperor. Rising to the throne at the late age of 36, the new Emperor immediatly had to deal with ongoing power struggles within the elite ruling class of the Time. However, the prudent doubts of Emperor Shenzong proved to be no mistake and as a result of his sons poor skills and lack of character the whole reign-period succeeding the Shenzong period was a farce. The Emperor had no eye for the acute political matters and instead spent nearly all his daily time with the Palace Ladies while indulging in food, drink and carnal pleasures. The Lady of the East and the Lady of the West were his favorite maids of honor. Soon the new Emperors' already poor health declined even further making it impossible for him to sit on his Throne not long after his Crowning. The Emperors' complaining about his health to his ministers then created a final incident.
Among the officials who had learned of the Emperors' weakness and poor health was one named Li Kezhuo. During a Court meeting of minsters and Emperor Li stepped forward offering some mysterious red colored pills to the Emperor as a cure for his problems. Reflecting the ongoing power struggle at Court, the other ministers immediatly grew jealous and suspicious of Li's intentions. En bloque they demanded Li swallow a pill before the Emperor did so, proving that Li wasn't attempting to poison the Emperor. Being left little choice, Li now had to swallow his own pill or cast serious doubt upon himself in front of his enemies and the Emperor. The red pill seemed to have no effect on Li, who remained healthy. Strangely however, the Emperor died the next morning, having ingested two of Li's red pills. Until today, the "Red Pill Incident" remains a mystery of Chinese History. Did one power group at Court poison Emperor Guangzong through the red pills of Li Kezhuo or did the Emperor die of other causes ?
Death & Succession : The death of Emperor Guangzong was a relief for the Nation, his short reign marking a sharp decline of Ming authority within the Empire. Marred with ongoing intrigue and power brokering at court, the Ming Dynasty was going through a period a relative chaos entering what would prove its final years. The new Emperor, rising to the throne at the vulnerable young age of 15 would have a serious challenge on his hands in leading the Empire to more stability and prosperity.
Emperor Guangzong (光宗) - Taichang (泰昌) Reign Period of the Ming Dynasty (1620 AD)
Chronologic Timeline of Ming Emperors 1368 AD - 1644 AD ; Descendancy of the Ming House explained.
Imperial Ming-styled Dragon Logo, symbolising the Emperor, his might, longevity of Reign and prosperity. During the early Ming Dynasty China was the most influential trade nation and most important military power in East and South-East Asia.
This page was last updated on: May 22, 2017
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