Chang Yuchun (Chinese: 常遇春; pinyin: Cháng Yùchūn; 1330–1369), courtesy name Boren (伯仁) and pseudonym Yanheng (燕衡), was a Chinese military general. He was a follower of the Ming Dynasty's founder, Zhu Yuanzhang, and contributed greatly to the founding of the dynasty. Chang was famous for his bravery and formidable prowess in battle, which earned him the nickname of "Chang Ten Thousand", because he alone was said to be as effective as a force of 10,000 troops.
Chang was born in Huaiyuan County, Anhui. He joined the Red Turban Rebellion in 1355 to overthrow the Mongol-ruled Yuan Dynasty in China. In the sixth month of that year, he followed Zhu Yuanzhang on a battle with the Yuan army, that took place at Caishi (near present-day southern Ma'anshan, eastern bank of the Yangtze River). The rebel forces emerged victorious in that battle and Chang became famous. He was subsequently promoted to the rank of Yuan Shuai (equivalent of Marshal).
Chang participated in major battles against Zhu Yuanzhang's rivals, Chen Youliang and Zhang Shicheng, helping Zhu eliminate them and secure his rule over China and laying the foundation for the Ming Dynasty. He was conferred the title of "Duke of E" (鄂國公) by Zhu in 1366. In 1367, Chang followed Xu Da on a military campaign north and conquered the Yuan Dynasty's capital city of Khanbaliq in the following year, ending Mongolian rule in China.
In 1369, Chang died of illness on the return journey to Nanjing at west of present-day Longguan County, Hebei. When Zhu Yuanzhang (who had become the Hongwu Emperor by then) heard of Chang's death, he wrote a poem mourning Chang and posthumously conferred Chang the title of "Prince of Kaiping" (開平王) and "Zhongwu" (忠武). Chang Yuchun had two sons, Chang Mao (常茂) and Chang Sheng (常升).
Chang is featured as a character in Louis Cha's wuxia novel The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber. In the novel, he is a member of the Ming Cult, a rebel organization that seeks to overthrow the Yuan Dynasty. He is wounded in a fight with some Yuan soldiers but is saved by Zhang Sanfeng. He agrees to bring Zhang Wuji (the protagonist) with him to Butterfly Valley to seek treatment from the eccentric physician, Hu Qingniu. Several years later, Chang becomes Zhang Wuji's subordinate after Zhang is nominated to be the cult's leader for his heroics in saving the cult from destruction. He participates in various battles against the Yuan Dynasty and eventually helps Zhu Yuanzhang found the Ming Dynasty.
Chang Yuchun is said to be the father of the famous "Kaiping spear method".
Dispute on Chang's religion and ethnic group
Chang's religion and ethnic background is still a controversial issue in Chinese historian circles. According to Muslim scholars, Bai Shouyi, Fu Tongxian, Jin Jitang, Ma Yiyu and a han scholar, Qiu Shusen, Chang yuchun belongs to a Chinese muslim group, hui. Scholars Tan Ta Sen and Dru C. Gladney have also identified him as Hui or Muslim. WEN Yong-ning, based on the manners of Chang's family, Chang's offspring and the status of semu in the yuan dynasty argued against a Muslim identity. In a later paper, another Muslim scholar, LI Jian-biao, referred to his work as speculative and not convincing.
- based on the Lunar Calendar
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- Dru C. Gladney (1991). Muslim Chinese: ethnic nationalism in the People's Republic (2, illustrated, reprint ed.). Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University. p. 198. ISBN 0-674-59495-9. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- Yong-ning, WEN (2009). "On Chang Yu-chun's Religious Belief and Forebears". Tangdu Journal 25 (3).
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- Jian-biao, Li (2001). "CHANG Ya-chun's Belief and Ethnicity——Discussion with Mr.WEN Yong-ning". Tangdu Journal 27 (2): 86–91.