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Xuande Emperor Zhu Zhanji -- The Same Encounter and A Different Ending

Encounters of Xuande Emperor Zhu Zhanji (1298 -- 1435) in his early life were quite similar with emperor Zhu Yunwen of the Ming Dynasty, who had his throne snatched by his own uncle Zhu Di.  

 

Learning of Military Skills From the Best

Zhu Zhanji had a brave and remarkable grandfather, the Emperor Zhu Di, who highly appreciated him, and educated him as the heir of his Empire.

 

Zhu Di sent the most intelligent offcials to teach him, while he passed on military skills himself, by taking Zhu Zhanji along with him in the Northern Expedition War against the nomadic regimes. 

 

Zhu Zhanji’s father, a very kind emperor, published many benevolence policies; those people who were executed or expelled because of their opponent to Emperor Zhu Di’s throne were all recognized as loyal and honorable. After this emperor cleansed those faithful people’s names and brought them a late justice, he departed at a young age. 

Consequently, Xuande Emperor Zhu Zhanji, also respected as Ming Xuan Zong, ascended to the throne as a young monarch.

 

Aggressive Uncle Trying to Snatch the Throne

Xuande Emperor Zhanji also had an ambitious uncle named Zhu Gaoxu.

 

Zhu Gaoxu was tall, brave, and had made great contributions assisting emperor Zhu Di in taking the throne through that rebel war.

 

If Emperor Zhu Di’s beloved queen and some important ministers were not against Gaoxu being the heir, he would have been nominated as the crown prince. 

After Xuande Emperor ascended to the throne, his uncle Gaoxu was unsatisfied and started a war, exactly the same as Emperor Zhu Di did decades ago.

 

Now, Xuande Emperor Zhu Zhanji was facing the same situation as the Emperor Zhu Yunwen, a young emperor fighting against an experienced uncle with excellent military skills. 

Command Army on His Own and Defeat the Rebel Uncle

Based on Emperor Zhu Yunwen's failed experiences, Xuande Emperor didn’t trust his army with any generals; instead, he led his army on his own.

 

Thanks to his early battle experiences with his grandfather Zhu Di and his excellent judgment, he successfully captured Zhu Gaoxu alive and put him in prison.

 

Then he nicely asked another uncle to give up all military power, and finally eliminated potential threats from the rest half-independent kings of the Empire Ming.

 

After those efficient military successes, Xuande Emperor started his governance as an excellent monarch.  

 

Xuande Emperor's Excellent Governance 

As other diligent and intelligent emperors in history of China did, Xuande Emperor made his government more efficient and hard working, lowered taxes, and encouraged development of agriculture and business.

 

Himself also frequently paid visits to the civilian’s world wearing plain clothes, then refined and adjust his policies to improve people’s wellbeing. 

 

He was very good at selecting talented people and assigning them into a proper position, together with his excellent leadership, the Empire Ming was flourishing under his governance. ​

 

Xuande Emperor summoned Zheng He back, and commanded him to finish his seventh voyage in the history of China.

 

Few years later, Zheng He passed away on his way back; then lots of ministers were strongly against with more voyages, which Xuande Emperor followed.

 

At that time, threats from nomad regimes on the northern border still existed, so Xuande Emperor paid more attention to that and frequently toured armies there.

 

Once when he was paying a tour in the north, one nomad army with 10,000 cavalrymen was trying to invade Ming’s border.

 

Xuande Emperor then led 3000 first class cavalrymen, commanded by himself, actively attacked this nomad army, achieved big success and captured them. 

 

Abolishing of the First Queen and Educating of Eunuchs 

Xuande Emperor was frequently criticized for having abrogated his queen and nominated his favorite concubine named Sun, his childhood sweetheart, as his new queen; this made him the only emperor who abolished a queen without any proper reason in the entire Ming Dynasty.

He also allowed to teach eunuchs to read and write, and asked them to assist to go through political documents when he was too busy.

 

Unlike his ancestors who all strictly forbidden eunuchs from politics, this behavior gave eunuch servants political power gradually.

 

Though a good emperor like himself could control eunuchs and restrain their power, other weaker or lazier ones would lose authority. 

Xuande Emperor Zhu Zhanji was also a great painter, with many exceptional masterpieces left behind. 

Some Paintings of Xuande Emperor Zhu Zhanji of the Ming Dynasty in the History of China 

Xuande Emperor's Special Hobby - Cricket Fight 

 

Xuande Emperor was a huge fan of the cricket fight as well; civilians could tribute aggressive crickets as their taxes under his governance, which was a very special phenomenon in the history of China. 

 

He passed away when he was only 38 years old because of sickness; the crown prince, his first son, became the next emperor, with assistant of five intelligent ministers that Zhu Zhanji left to him. With their assistance, any ordinary emperor could run the kingdom very well.

 

Though this heir Zhu Qizhen turned out to be an unusual emperor, wihch wasn't something that Xuande Emperor had ever expected. 

 

Besides the weird passion to the cricket fights, Xuande Emperor was a good person and an exceptional emperor in the history of China.

 

He never initiated wars against other regimes; but whenever his empire was under attack, he always could successfully defend his kingdom, bravely and decisively.

 

He also had selected and trusted the most intelligent ministers who helped him build an efficient and diligent administration system.

 

Under Xuande Emperor's ruling, offcials were hardworking and qualified, some of them were very famous and talented , while there were no partial conflicting or unbalanced super powerful clans. Civilians were living in peace and wealth.

 

He didn’t implement any magnificent projects like his grandfather did, so that his people could rest and live a better life.

 

However, he did bring eunuchs to politics, which was proved to be quite negative in the history of China.