Link: Satellite Image with Schematic of the Location and path of the Great Wall of China during the Ming Dynasty. Passes on the Great Wall included.
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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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The only Son of Zhu Jianshen, named Crown Prince in the year 1492 AD. Ascended the Throne in 1505 AD, naming reign period Zhengde in 1506 AD.
Achievements: The Zhengde Reign of the Ming Dynasty is considered an absolute lowpoint in Imperial Prestige and authority. The Emperor was promiscuous, decadent, only interested in pleasure and had a lust for women. A weakling as a leader, Zhu Haozhao, unlike many predecessors trusted his shrude Eunuchs and Courtiers. With his taste for pleasure Zhu Haozhao found it a burden to be obliged to read stacks of State Affair related documents, taking decisions and signing more documents. Dismissing himself from these tiring but crucial tasks, he soon he instuted a system manned by 8 trusted Eunuchs, the so called "8 Tigers", who could manage most daily State Matters for him. Occupying the 8 most important positions, and backed by lazy and morally destitude Emperor, the 8 eunuchs reigned brutally and tyranically. In a consilidation move by the eunuchs, 53 officials were identified as traitors, then banished from the Empire. Thereafter power was in the hands of eunuchs who reigned Supreme over all at Court.
After some more maneuvering by his Courtiers the Emperor was further persuaded to hand over All remaining State Matters to his Chief Eunuch Liu Jin, so as to have all time to indulge himself in Carnal Pleasures. The Emperor set off on a decadent pleasure trip trying out all the women-folk he could find, inside the Palace (Forbidden City) and later outside of it. Not surprisingly, the Chief Eunuch Liu Jin was left plotting, selectively passing information to the Emperor, who he would rather have undisturbed. This was a public secret, the word on the street in Beijing being that there were really two Emperors, one named Zhu and on named Liu. The Chief Eunuch took his chance and severely abused his near autocratic power, greatly enriching himself and his family. At the end however, both the Emperor and tragedy caught up with the Chief Tiger Eunuch. In 1510 AD Liu Jing was executed for plotting a Coup D'Etat. When the Emperor and his bodyguards searched the House of Liu Jin, a large amount of jewelry was recovered.
The Emperor, himself of questionable moral stature, made more mistakes in trusting Officials or simply didn't care. Among them the corrupt Qian Ning and Jiang Bin. Greatly favoring such Men led the Ming fast to impopularity and the Empire to disaster. Another unpopular move was the adoption of one hundred sons by the Great Emperor. These were then dispatched to the Provinces, unjustly seizing lands for the Emperor. The lands would be used to build leisure Estates for the pleasure seeking Emperor and his large following of parasites. Not surprisingly the move futher plummeted sympathy for the Ming, especially under the suffering Peasantry and common Folk.
In the beginning of the Zhengde Reign period, the newly arisen northern enemies, the Khalka's kept relatively quiet as they quarelled among themselves and recovered from the 1501 AD Ming counter attack which had temporarily sent them back to the Mongolian Plains. By 1510 AD, the same year that eunuch Liu Jing took his fall, Dayan Khan returned southward to crush the rebellious Three Right Wing Tumens (Ordos, Tümed and Yöngshiyebü) while succeeding in killing his former ally Mandulai giving him control over the Ordos Tribes. Allied western Mongolians and Uighurs lead by Iburai Taishi (also known as Ibrahim), an Uighur adventurer or an Oirat/Kharchin warlord, fled the regions and settled in the Kokonor Region (now: lake Qinghai in Qinghai Province of the Peoples Republic of China) where they remained independent fighting the Ming untill the year 1533 AD.
From 1513 AD onwards Mongolian invasions of China recommenced. Still under leadership of the succesful Dayan Khan they built fortresses in Xuanhua and broke through the Great Wall of China taking the City of Datong. At Datong another Mongolian Fortress stronghold arose on the ashes of the defenses built by the Chinese.
At the same time that the Khalka Tribes took control of these vital strongholds, 15,000 cavalry were stationed there to take and hold what was previously Ming territory. In the years 1514 AD and again in 1517 AD large scale incursions, involving up to 70,000 Mongolian Horsemen probed the Chinese defenses further while pillaging and ravaging the country-side.
After his death, the Sons of Dayan Khan worked together and established a series of permanent bases along the Chinese border where the Mongols could keep watch on the Chinese awaiting the right time for the next incursion or even invasion. In the years following 1514 AD, the new leader Batumongke Dayan Khan repeatedly sought trade relation with the Ming, but the Ming continued to reject even negotiations on such a point. Thus, the impoverished and needy Mongolians felt they had little choice but to continue to take from the Chinese what they needed, while putting as much pressure as possible on the Ming Court in Beijing, hoping that they would cave in, or be forced in the end.
A temporary climax of the Khalka Invasions of northern Ming territories came in the year 1517 AD, when Dayan Khan moved from Datong and north Shanxi on the Imperial Capital of Beijing itself. Although, the Chinese held the Mongols off in a major battle, Dayan Khan and his successors continued to threaten China until 1526 AD.
The Mongolian armies raided the Ming Dynasty not only in the north, but also in the hitherto quiet west. Before his death Zhu Haochao, the Zhengde Emperor lost his protectorate Hami (kumul) to Turpan at the same time. At that time, Dayan Khan and Mandukhai's nation stretched from the Siberian tundra and Lake Baikal in the north, across the current day Republic of Mongolia and the Gobi Desert, to the edge of the Yellow River and south of it into the Ordos Desert and north Shanxi Province. The lands extended from the forests of Manchuria in the East past the Altai Mountains and out onto the steppes of Central Asia.
Overview of the Nine Dragon Screen of Datong, last remnant of the Ming Dynasty Era temporary palace in this remote but strategically important outpost underneath the Great Wall. The Datong Dragon Screen is the largest and oldest such screen surviving in China today.
Heavily defended Fengzhen Pass on the Great Wall of China). While at Datong underneath the Great Wall, some 50.000 Tartar Troops led by their "Dayan Khan" decided to descend to the South and harass the border area. On the occasion of the meeting of the two armies, the Ming Emperor, Zhu Haochao lost his calm. As always overconfident of himself, the Emperor went as far as to ride out and personally tout the Tartars to Battle. Luckily, by that time the fast moving Tartars had just withdrawn their Troops.
Mistaking the Tartar withdraw for a defeat in Battle, the
Emperor, against advise from his Military Advisors who had seen the nomadic horsemen use this strategy for setting up a trap many times before, set out in pursuit of the Tartars, eventually doing Battle with a small rearguard army. It was only a minor clash and nothing like the real battle that could have taken place. Only 16 Tartars were killed, but on the Chinese side hundreds lost their lives, mainly protecting their exposed Emperor. Regardless of these facts, the Emperor thought he had won a major Victory and went on for a long time bragging about his achievement of killing an enemy soldier with his own sword. Zhu Haozhao was simply elated. The Imperial Military Advisors however, remembering the TumuBao Incident in which the 6Th Ming Emperor (YingZhong) had been captured and
hostaged were horrified by the risks the Emperor had taken. Submitting a jointly signed letter soon after the border incident they urged him not to engage in such acts, and never to personally do battle with enemy soldiers again. A wise leader might have listened to such a united request, however the proud and vain Zhu Houzhao responded by having his advisors either arrested, beaten to death, executed or in the mildest case dismissed from Office.
With an incompetent, overconfident, lazy and vain Emperor in charge, by the Time of the second half of the 16Th Century corruption and misrule had largely consumed the Empire and the Chinese Political situation was a shambles. The Death of Zhu Haozhao came as great relief to many, if not all, within the Empire.
Death & Succession : Regardles of his immense sexual appetites, the Wuzong Emperor Zhu Houzhao never produced an elligable male heir. As such, their was no Crown Prince. In 1519 AD a rebellion arose in the South. After a military expedition to the South near Nanjing, winning a victory against the Rebellion led
by the Prince of Ning, the Emperor decided to keep this Victory a secret and used the opportunity to press on with his army. This time however the whole party would be in search of Southern Women for the Emperor to have pleasurable times with. The Emperor stayed on expedition for an entire year, only returning to the Beijing Palace in 1520 AD. Soon after this southern expedition the Emperor fell seriously ill. He never recovered and died in the following year of 1521 AD.
Zhu Haochao, The Wuzong Emperor, was a spoiled child, not too bright, and was further known for a number of ridiculous incidents. In an earlier period of his life he had led his troops to inspect the border near Datong (A small trading city near the