The Hongwu Emperor 洪武帝 Hongwudi; 1328-1398, known variably by his given name Zhu Yuanzhang 朱元璋; and by the name Taizu of the Ming 明太祖, was the brutal founder and first emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China. He was one of the first peasants to found a new Chinese dynasty. |
Born into a poor family in 1328. When young both his parents died. Zhu Yuanzhang was a peasant, a beggar and then became a Buddhist monk. Later he joined the Red Turban rebels and started his march to power.
Zhu Yuanzhang founded one of the longest dynasties in China history, but the peasant-born emperor did so by killing thousands of followers, old friends and adversaries. He was very careful to develop and maintain his power. For example, when he heard that his Prime Minister was plotting against him, Zhu Yuanzhang killed the Prime Minister and about 40,000 of his followers.