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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At the time of the death of his Father, only a year after his coming to power, the Crown Prince was away on an urgent mission to the South. An earthquake ravaged the city of Nanjing and area, a notoriously bad Omen concerning the mandate of Heaven and the city and needed to be reenforced and Garrisoned to stabilize matters. Soon after this event and the arrival of the Crown Prince at the former Southern Capital the Emperor fell seriously ill at the Imperial Palace in the Capital of Beijing. Very shortly after the news of the death of the Emperor arrived, forcing the heir apparent to return to Beijing as soon as possible. According to legend the crown prince was told of a rumor that he would been ambushed on his return to the Capital, the principal culprit being his Uncle Zhu GaoXu, who had earlier missed his opportunity at being Emperor. However, no such ambush took place. Upon his return to Beijing in that same year, Zhu Zhanji was crowned Emperor Xuanzong, naming his reign Period XuanDe in the following year of 1426 AD.
Achievements: The Reign of Zhu Zhanji is mainly recognized for his good governance and relatively stable reign, as was the short period of his fathers'. The new Emperor kept most of his Fathers' Courtiers and Advisers making good use of them, building strong alliances with them and making sure there were as few axes to grind as possible. The new Emperor distanced himself quite sharply from those whom he perceived as corrupt and surrounded himself with trusted his advisors. One such famous advisor and leader of a "Vasal State" in the south was Kuang Zhong, the prefect of Suzhou. Kuang Zhong's policies in the south stand as an example for the policies of the period, giving tax exemptions to the poor, and sending debt relief, finance and help to areas hit by natural disasters.
The Emperor himself cut his staff of courtiers at the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) in an effort to preserve money of the citizenry. As such, the reign was prosperous for many and there was little reason to revolt.
There was however an incident. In 1426 AD, not long after the Xuanzong Emperor had taken power, his uncle, the earlier mentioned Zhu GaoXu inspired a revolt in the remote southern city of Yue'An (today's Guangrao county, Guangdong Province) in an attempt to establish a rebel base. In the succeeding period the Imperial Troops descended on the far southern city, eventually quelling the uprising. Zhu GaoXu, the uncle, was captured and led before the Emperor with the imperial advisors wanting to have him executed for his treasonous acts. The Emperor however chose to ignore his advisors words and placed Zhu GaoXu under house arrest. GaoXu was left to rot there for a number of years, the Emperor completely ignoring his plight or any made on his behalf. A Few years later the life of GaoXu was nevertheless violently ended when the he chose to continue his resistance during a reconciliatory visit of the Xuanzong Emperor (XuanDe). After repeating acts of disrespect, the Emperor could find no further sympathy for his fathers brother and Zhu GaoXu was ordered to be slowly roasted to death.
Death & Succession : Zhu Zhanji died at the age of 38. By the age of 30, Zhu Zhanji had still not produced any Sons, therefor having no heirs. It is said that, realising this, one of the Emperors' concubines, the lady Sun informed the Emperor that she was happily expecting. According to the tale the lady then waited for 8 months and snatched a baby boy from one of the Palace servants. Presenting the baby to the Emperor, Lady Sun than pretended the newborn baby was their Son. As a result, the now very blissful Emperor named the baby Crown Prince only 4 months later and Lady Sun became his Empress. The stolen baby was named Zhu QiZhen, and would become the Yingzong Emperor at the age 9.
Some magnificent examples of Crown's of Empresses of the Ming Dynasty on display at Chang Ling Mausoleum (Yongle) and the Archeological Museum at the Ming Tombs World Heritage site in Beijing, Hebei Province. The examples are replicas of the originals found in Beijing and inside the excavated Tombs.