Hongwu Emperor Biography
(Emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368-98))
Birthday: October 21, 1328 (Libra)
Born In: Hao Prefecture
The Hongwu Emperor, personal name Zhu Yuanzhang, was a Chinese monarch who ruled from 1368 to 1398. He established the Ming dynasty and became its first emperor. Zhu Yuanzhang’s ascent happened in the 14th century when China was being ravaged by famine, plagues, and peasant revolts. He brought China under his control and deposed the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty, compelling them to fall back to the Eurasian Steppe. Hongwu only extended his trust to the members of his family, and the way he distributed power among his sons turned them into powerful feudal princes along the northern marches and the Yangtze valley. One of the most important features of his reign was ground breaking political reforms. The emperor promoted agriculture by reducing taxes, encouraging the cultivation of new lands, and creating laws that safeguarded the property of peasants. He also outlawed private slavery and seized lands controlled by large estates. He forbade free movements in the empire and designated hereditary occupational categories to households. With these actions, Hongwu ultimately established a rigid society with self-efficient farming communities.