List of emperors of the Ming dynasty

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The Ming dynasty ruled China from 1368 to 1644, succeeding the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty and falling amidst much peasant turmoil to the Manchu-ruled Qing dynasty. Sixteen emperors ruled over the whole of China spanning 276 years. A series of claimants to the Ming throne continued to claim the throne of what was known as the Southern Ming until the last was executed in 1662.

Emperors of the Ming dynasty[edit]

Name by which most commonly known Portrait Reign years Given name Reign name Posthumous name1 (short form) Temple name1
Hongwu Emperor 1368–1398
Zhū Yuánzhāng
朱元璋
Hóngwǔ
洪武
Gāodì
高帝
Tàizǔ
太祖
Jianwen Emperor Jianwen Emperor.jpg 1398–1402 Zhū Yǔnwén
朱允炆
Jiànwén
建文
Rangdì
讓帝
Huizong
惠宗
Yongle Emperor 1402–1424 Zhū Dì
朱棣
Yǒnglè
永樂
Wéndì
文帝
Tàizōng
太宗
and
Chéngzǔ
成祖2
Hongxi Emperor 1424–1425 Zhū Gāochì
朱高熾
Hóngxī
洪熙
Zhāodì
昭帝
Rénzōng
仁宗
Xuande Emperor 1425–1435 Zhū Zhānjī
朱瞻基
Xuāndé
宣德
Zhāngdì
章帝
Xuānzōng
宣宗
Zhengtong Emperor 1435–14493
and
1457–1464
Zhū Qízhèn
朱祁鎮
Zhèngtǒng 正統
and
Tiānshùn 天順
Ruìdì
睿帝
Yīngzōng
英宗
Jingtai Emperor 1449–1457 Zhū Qíyù
朱祁鈺
Jǐngtài
景泰
Jǐngdì
景帝
Dàizōng
代宗
Chenghua Emperor 1464–1487 Zhū Jiànshēn
朱見深
Chénghuà
成化
Chúndì
純帝
Xiànzōng
憲宗
Hongzhi Emperor 1487–1505 Zhū Yòutáng
朱祐樘
Hóngzhì
弘治
Jìngdì
敬帝
Xiàozōng
孝宗
Zhengde Emperor Zhengde.jpg 1505–1521 Zhū Hòuzhào
朱厚照
Zhèngdé
正德
Yìdì
毅帝
Wǔzōng
武宗
Jiajing Emperor 明世宗.jpg 1521–1567 Zhū Hòucōng
朱厚熜
Jiājìng
嘉靖
Sùdì
肅帝
Shìzōng
世宗
Longqing Emperor 明穆宗.jpg 1567–1572 Zhū Zǎihòu
朱載垕
Lóngqìng
隆慶
Zhuāngdì
莊帝
Mùzōng
穆宗
Wanli Emperor 明神宗.jpg 1572–1620 Zhū Yìjūn
朱翊鈞
Wànlì
萬曆
Xiǎndì
顯帝
Shénzōng
神宗
Taichang Emperor 明光宗.jpg 1620 Zhū Chángluò
朱常洛
Tàichāng
泰昌
Zhēndì
貞帝
Guāngzōng
光宗
Tianqi Emperor 明熹宗像.jpg 1620–1627 Zhū Yóujiào
朱由校
Tiānqǐ
天啟
Zhédì
悊帝
Xīzōng
熹宗
Chongzhen Emperor Ming Chongzhen.jpg 1627–1644 Zhū Yóujiǎn
朱由檢
Chóngzhēn
崇禎
Lièdi
烈帝
Sīzōng
思宗
1 As posthumous and temple names were often shared by emperors of different dynasties, they are usually preceded by the dynastic name, in this case, Ming, to avoid confusion. For example, the Hongwu Emperor is frequently referred to as Ming Taizu.
2 The Yongle Emperor assumed the throne of his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor, who died in a palace fire. The Yongle Emperor wiped out the record of his nephew's reign and no temple name was given him.
3 After listening to poor advice from his eunuch advisers, the Zhengtong Emperor personally led a campaign in 1449 against the Mongols and was captured. His brother, the Jingtai Emperor, assumed the throne and, a hostage no longer of any value, the Mongols released the Zhengtong Emperor who returned to live in seclusion. However, the Zhengtong Emperor was able to reclaim his position upon the death of his brother, choosing the reign name Tianshun.

Emperors of the Southern Ming dynasty[edit]

Personal name Temple name Era name Years of Reigning Name by which
most commonly known
Zhū Yóusōng
朱由崧
Ānzōng
安宗
Hóngguāng
弘光
1644–1645 Prince of Fu
福王 Fú Wáng
Zhū Yùjiàn
朱聿鍵
Shàozōng
紹宗
Lóngwǔ
隆武
1645–1646 Prince of Tang
唐王 Táng Wáng
Zhū Chángfāng
朱常淓
None given None given,
but sometimes referred to as the

Regency of the Prince of Lu (Luh)
潞王臨國 Lù Wáng Lín Guó
1645–1646 Prince of Lu (Luh*)
潞王 Lù Wáng
Zhū Yǐhǎi
朱以海
Yìzōng
义宗
Gēngyín
庚寅
1645–1655 Prince of Lu (Lou*)
魯王 Lǔ Wáng
Zhū Yùyuè
朱聿𨮁
Wénzōng
文宗
Shàowǔ
紹武
1646–1647 Prince of Tang
唐王 Táng Wáng
Zhū Chángqīng
朱常清
Jìngzōng
敬宗
Dōngwǔ
東武
1648–1649 Prince of Huai
Huái Wáng
Zhū Yóuláng
朱由榔
Zhāozōng
昭宗
Yǒnglì
永曆
1646–1662 Prince of Gui
桂王 Guì Wáng
  • The two characters are homonyms, both pronounced Lu; to distinguish them, one is usually kept as Lu and the other spelled differently. Luh is from Cambridge History of China; Lou is from A.C. Moule's Rulers of China (1957). When one irregular spelling is used, the other is kept as regular (Lu). The two systems are distinct and not used simultaneously.
  • Other Ming claimants included Prince Dingwu of Han (Zhu Benli, 1646–1663) and Prince of Huai (Zhu Changqing, 1648–1661).

See also[edit]