From the Mongols to the Ming Dynasty: How a Begging Monk Became Emperor of China

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  • PDF eBook: 261 pages
  • Author: Hung, Hing Ming
  • Published: 2016

A beggar, an itinerant monk, leapt to greatness during a tumultuous epoch and went on to found the Ming Dynasty of China (1368-1644).

As a destitute peasant with nothing to lose, he started a local rebellion; success built on success. Defeating local warlords, Zhu Yuan Zhang conquered all the southern part of China, then sent his army north and unified the rest.

Zhu Yuan Zhang broke out of a desperate life of poverty to reach the heights, using his intelligence, strength and integrity to win a new opportunity, a bigger battle, a more powerful position at every turn. Building a local rebellion into a great fighting force, he crushed the Yuan Dynasty, where the Mongols ruled, and brought together a large and powerful nation.

The Ming Dynasty was a brilliant stretch of three centuries of native Chinese rule, during which China’s influence left its mark on cultures and societies from Vietnam in the east to the Turks in the west.

This history traces the rise of one exceptional man during turbulent times, noting along the way the contributions of bold commanders, fearless fighters, wise leaders, and loyal servants who protected the interests and the dignity of their noble lords, illustrating values that underlie traditional Chinese culture.

This is the only English-language popular history book about Zhu Yuan Zhang, founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China. It introduces some of the key figures in Chinese history and illustrates the values that were prized during China’s rise to greatness. It’s written for students of history and Chinese language, business people, and everyone else who wishes to see inside the Great Wall.

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  • PDF eBook: 261 pages
  • Author: Hung, Hing Ming
  • Published: 2016

From the books Introduction:

This book is about Zhu Yuan Zhang, Emperor Taizu of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history. A dirt-poor peasant, he was struggling to survive under the abusive rule of the foreign Mongolian rulers of the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). In 1344 when he was seventeen years old, a great famine struck Fengyang area (now Fengyang, Anhui Province), Zhu Yuan Zhang’s home, and there were acute epidemics. His father, mother, elder brother and younger brother died. He was so poor that he did not have a small plot of
land to bury his father. He could not find anything to eat, so he became a monk in a temple. Soon there was no more food in the temple, either. He had to go out to beg for food as a monk, a wandering mendicant.

Under the corrupt rule of the Yuan Dynasty, the Chinese people lived in great suffering. Uprisings broke out everywhere. Zhu Yuan Zhang joined the rebel forces under Guo Zi Xing in Haozhou (in Anhui Province). Zhu Yuan Zhang was a man of great talent and bold vision. Very soon he established his own army. In 1356 he and his army crossed the Yangtze River and took Jinling (now Nanjing, Jiangsu Province).

He had many good generals under his command such as Xu Da, Chang Yu Chun, Deng Yu and Hu Da Hai. Zhu Yuan Zhang’s aim was to save the people from suffering. He prohibited his troops from looting and burning houses and killing civilians. This led many capable men such as Liu Ji, Li Shan Chang
and Song Lian to join him.From the Mongols to the Ming Dynasty.

At that time local warlords occupied different parts of China. Chen You Liang occupied the vast areas of Hubei Province, Jiangxi Province, Hunan Province and Guangdong Province. He established the State of Han. Zhang Shi Cheng occupied the areas of the northern part and southern part of Jiangsu Province and the western part of Zhejiang Province. He established the State of Wu. Fang Guo Zhen occupied the eastern part of Zhejiang Province. Chen You Ding occupied Fujian Province. Zhu Yuan Zhang took Liu Ji’s advice to knock out Chen You Ling,
the strongest enemy, first.

From 1361 to 1363, Zhu Yuan Zhang’s army and Chen You Liang’s army fought many battles. At last in the battle of Poyang Hu Lake (in Jiangxi Province) Chen You Liang was killed. The State of Han was conquered. In 1367 Zhu Yuan Zhang’s army took Suzhou (in Jiangsu Province), the capital of Zhang Shi Cheng’s State of Wu, and captured Zhang Shi Cheng. In 1367 Fang Guo Zhen surrendered. The eastern part of Zhejiang Province was pacified. In 1368 Chen You Ding was captured. Fujian Province was pacified.

On 4 January 1368, Zhu Yuan Zhang ascended the throne of the Ming Dynasty in Yingtian (now Nanjing, Jiangsu Province). In August 1368, the army of the Ming Dynasty took Dadu (now Beijing), the capital of the Yuan Dynasty. Emperor Toyan Temür of the Yuan Dynasty ran away to the north. The Yuan Dynasty fell. Very soon the whole of China was pacified.

Emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang adopted many measures which were beneficial to the people. He reduced or canceled the land tax in war-stricken areas. He practiced thrift. He prohibited officials from corruption. Under his rule,

China entered into a period of peace and prosperity. Emperor Kangxi (1654–1722) of the Qing Dynasty (1636–1912) praised him highly, saying, “The Ming Dynasty under the reign of Emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang was more prosperous than the Tang Dynasty and the Song Dynasty.”

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