Hongxi Emperor

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Hongxi Emperor
4th Emperor of the Ming Empire
Reign 7 September 1424 – 29 May 1425
Coronation 7 September 1424
Predecessor Yongle Emperor
Successor Xuande Emperor
Born (1378-08-16)16 August 1378
Died 29 May 1425(1425-05-29) (aged 46)
Burial Xianling, Ming Dynasty Tombs, Beijing
Full name
Zhu Gaochi (朱高熾)
Era name and dates
Hongxi (洪熙): 20 January 1425 – 7 February 1426
Posthumous name

Emperor Jingtian Tidao Chuncheng Zhide Hongwen Qinwu Zhangsheng Daxiao Zhao

Respecter of Heaven, Embodiment of the Way, Pure in Sincerity, Perfect in Virtue, Extensive in Culture, Dominant in Militancy, Standard of Sageliness, Thorough in Filial Piety, Luminous Emperor
Temple name
House House of Zhu
Father Yongle Emperor
Mother Empress Renxiaowen

The Hongxi Emperor (洪熙 [xʊ̌ŋɕí]; 16 August 1378 – 29 May 1425), personal name Zhu Gaochi (朱高熾), was the fourth emperor of the Ming dynasty of China. He succeeded his father, the Yongle Emperor, in 1424. His era name "Hongxi" means "vastly bright".


Zhu Gaochi was born on 16 August 1378 and was educated by prominent Confucian tutors. He often acted as regent in Nanjing or Beijing during his father's northern military campaigns.

He was disinterested in military matters but had prowess in archery.[1]

Already in May 1421, during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, an order was issued for the suspension of Zheng He's maritime expeditions, apparently on account of their cost (although the order apparently did not affect the 6th voyage of Zheng He, staged around that time).[2] Zhu Gaochi, as soon as he was enthroned as the Hongxi Emperor in September 1424, cancelled Zheng He's maritime expeditions permanently, arguably burned down the fleet or left the ships to decompose, and abolished frontier trade of tea for horses as well as missions for gold and pearls to Yunnan and Vietnam.[3] He restored disgraced Confucian officials, such as the Yongle Emperor's minister of revenue Xia Yanji (imprisoned since 1421),[3] and reorganized the administration to give high ranks to his close advisors. Hanlin academicians became grand secretaries, and they dismantled his father's unpopular militaristic policies to restore civil government. The Hongxi Emperor improved finances by canceling requisitions for lumber, gold, and silver. Taxes were remitted so that vagrant farmers could return home, especially in the overburdened Yangtze River Delta. The Hongxi Emperor appointed a commission to investigate taxes. He overruled his secretaries by ordering that grain should be sent immediately to relieve disaster areas.

The Hongxi Emperor ordered that the capital be moved back to Nanjing from Beijing (which had been made the capital by the Yongle Emperor in 1421). However he died, probably of a heart attack, a month later in May 1425. His son had been declared heir apparent and became the Xuande Emperor at age 26. Although the Hongxi Emperor had a short reign, he is credited with reforms that made lasting improvements, and his liberal policies were continued by his son.


  • Parents:
  • Consorts and Issue:
  1. Lady Zhang (誠孝昭皇后 張氏; 1379 – 1442)
    1. Zhu Zhanji (宣宗 朱瞻基; 1399 – 1435)
    2. Zhu Zhanyong (越靖王 朱瞻墉; 1405 – 1439)
    3. Zhu Zhanshan (襄憲王 朱瞻墡; 1406 – 1478)
    4. Princess Jiaxing (嘉興公主; 1409 – 1439)
  2. Lady Guo (恭肅貴妃 郭氏; 1392 – 1425)
    1. Unnamed daughter
    2. Zhu Zhankai (滕懷王 朱瞻塏; 1409 – 1425)
    3. Zhu Zhanji (梁莊王 朱瞻垍; 1411 – 1441)
    4. Zhu Zhanshan (衛恭王 朱瞻埏; 1417 – 1439)
  3. Lady Li (恭靜賢妃 李氏)
    1. Zhu Zhanjun (鄭靖王 朱瞻埈; 1404 – 1466)
    2. Zhu Zhanyin (蘄獻王 朱瞻垠; 1406 – 1421)
    3. Zhu Zhan'ao (淮靖王 朱瞻墺; 1409 – 1446)
    4. Princess Zhending (真定公主; d. 1450)
  4. Lady Zhang (貞靜順妃 張氏; d. 1419)
    1. Zhu Zhangang (荊憲王 朱瞻堈; 1406 – 1453)
  5. Lady Zhao (恭懿惠妃 趙氏)
    1. Lady Zhu Yuantong (慶都公主 朱圓通; 1409 – 1440)
  6. Lady Wang (貞惠淑妃 王氏; d. 1425)
    1. Unnamed daughter
  7. Lady Wang (惠安麗妃 王氏; d. 1425)
  8. Lady Tan (恭僖順妃 譚氏; d. 1425)
  9. Lady Huang Jindi (恭靖充妃 黃金娣; 1396 – 1425)
  10. Lady Li (悼僖麗妃 李氏)
  11. Lady Zhang (貞靜敬妃 張氏; d. 1440)
  12. Unknown
    1. Princess Qinghe (清河公主; d. 1433)
    2. Princess De'an Daojian (德安悼簡公主)
    3. Princess Yanping (延平公主)
    4. Princess Deqing (德慶公主)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Frederick W. Mote; Denis Twitchett (26 February 1988). The Cambridge History of China: Volume 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644. Cambridge University Press. pp. 277–. ISBN 978-0-521-24332-2. 
  2. ^ Dreyer 2006, p. 90.
  3. ^ a b Dreyer 2006, p. 137.
Hongxi Emperor
Born: August 16 1378 Died: May 29 1425
Regnal titles
Preceded by
The Yongle Emperor
Emperor of China
Succeeded by
The Xuande Emperor