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Prince of Liang 梁王
DiedJanuary 6, 1382

Basalawarmi (Middle Mongolian: ᠪᠠᠵᠠᠯᠠᠸᠠᠷᠮᠠᠢ, Chinese: 把匝剌瓦爾密, died January 6, 1382), commonly known by his hereditary title, the Prince of Liang, was a descendant of Kublai Khan and a Yuan Dynasty loyalist who fought against the ascendant Ming Dynasty in China. He was a descendant of Khökhechi, the fifth son of Kublai Khan.[1]

Before the fall of the Yuan[edit]

Before the Yuan Dynasty's fall in 1368, Basalawarmi had been the Yuan Viceroy of Yunnan and Guizhou, in southwestern China. He held the title of Prince of Liang, a hereditary title passed down from one of his forebears, a son of Kublai Khan.[2] Following the Ming Dynasty's overthrow of the Yuan, Basalawarmi, from his capital city of Kunming, led one of the last pockets of Mongol resistance to Ming rule in China. He was able to withhold the advance of other forces of his time due to the relatively remote location of his domain.[1] Meanwhile, Emperor Taizu of Ming, the first emperor of the Ming dynasty, decided to approach Basalawarmi with an overture of peace, believing that conquering a remote region with force would be a costly action.[1]

The connection between Basalawarmi and the remaining Mongol empire was limited but not terminated. Ayusiridara Khan dispatched a messenger to Basalawarmi in order to confirm his sovereignty over Yunnan.[1] Despite the fact that Basalawarmi was truly royal to the disintegrated Mongol empire, Yunnan was independent of any political forces during the reign of Basalawarmi.

Defeat and death[edit]

The Hongwu Emperor initially sent a diplomat, Wang Wei, to attempt to negotiate with Basalawarmi in 1372, but Basalawarmi executed Wang Wei in 1374 after negotiations broke down. The Hongwu Emperor then dispatched the generals Fu Youde and Ma Hua to deal with Basalawarmi. In 1381, Ma Hua attacked Basalawarmi from Guiyang while Fu Youde's deputies, Mu Ying and Lan Yu, attacked from another direction. The combined Ming forces, which numbered 300,000 men, met Basalawarmi's 100,000 units. Basalawarmi's forces were decisively defeated. Following his defeat, Basalawarmi drowned his wife, ordered his ministers to commit suicide, and committed suicide himself on January 6, 1382.[3][4][5]

After his death, his family was exiled to Tamna island of Korea according to the edict of Emperor Taizu of Ming.[1]

Zheng He[edit]

Zheng He, the renowned Ming eunuch admiral and head of the Ming "treasure fleet", would rise to his position indirectly because of Basalawarmi's resistance to the Ming. Zheng He was born in Yunnan in 1371 while Basalawarmi ruled the province. The Ming army that had been sent to deal with Basalawarmi captured and castrated Zheng He at the age of 11 and brought him to the Ming imperial court.[6]

Mythical account[edit]

In The Deer and the Cauldron, a novel written by Jin Yong, the main character retells a humorous mythical account of Basalawarmi's defeat. In this legend, Basalawarmi is said to have hundreds of war elephants, obtained from what is now Myanmar, in his army. The Ming general Ma Hua defeats Basalawarmi by unleashing ten thousand mice which drive Basalawarmi's war elephants to terror, alluding to the widespread myth that elephants are afraid of mice. Basalawarmi himself is not presented favorably; he is described as a drunken, fat, and cowardly old man.

Related articles[edit]

  • Khatso - Mongols who remained in Yunnan after the death of Basalawarmi.


  1. ^ a b c d e Zhang,Tingyu et al.History of Ming.vol.124
  2. ^ Parker, E. H. (1893). "The Old Thai or Shan Empire of Western Yunnan" (PDF). The China Review. 20.6: 345.
  3. ^ Twitchett, Denis & John K. Fairbank (2004). The Cambridge History of China. Cambridge University Press. pp. vol. 7, p. 25, 143–146.
  4. ^ Crossley, Pamela; Helen F. Siu; Donald S. Sutton (2006). Empire at the Margins: Culture, Ethnicity, and Frontier in Early Modern China. University of California Press. p. 143.
  5. ^ Dillon, Michael (1999). China's Muslim Hui Community: Migration, Settlement, and Sects. Curzon Press. p. 34.
  6. ^ "Chronology of Zheng He: His Life and Voyages and Related Events". International Zheng He Society. 2006-09-25. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 1382 15th yr Hongwu: Ma He’s father, Ma Haji, died. Ming army occupied Yunnan and defeated the remnants of Yuan forces led by prince of Liang. Ma He aged 11 was captured and castrated.