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.

According to the rules of the imperial house, the first character of the names of Ming princes is a generation name, while the second character contains a character radical that cycles through the five elements of Chinese philosophy, namely, 木 (wood) 火 (fire) 土 (earth) 金 (metal) 水 (water), starting from the generation after imperial founder Zhu Yuanzhang.

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
Vastly Martial
1368–1398
Zhū Yuánzhāng
朱元璋
Hóngwǔ
洪武
Gāodì
高帝
Tàizǔ
太祖
Jianwen Emperor
Establishing Civility
Jianwen Emperor.jpg 1398–1402 Zhū Yǔnwén
朱允炆
Jiànwén
建文
Rangdì
讓帝
Huizong
惠宗
Yongle Emperor
Perpetual Happiness
1402–1424 Zhū Dì
朱棣
Yǒnglè
永樂
Wéndì
文帝
Tàizōng
太宗
and
Chéngzǔ
成祖2
Hongxi Emperor
Vastly Bright
1424–1425 Zhū Gāochì
朱高熾
Hóngxī
洪熙
Zhāodì
昭帝
Rénzōng
仁宗
Xuande Emperor
Proclamation of Virtue
1425–1435 Zhū Zhānjī
朱瞻基
Xuāndé
宣德
Zhāngdì
章帝
Xuānzōng
宣宗
Emperor Yingzong of Ming 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
Exalted View
1449–1457 Zhū Qíyù
朱祁鈺
Jǐngtài
景泰
Jǐngdì
景帝
Dàizōng
代宗
Chenghua Emperor
Accomplished Change
1464–1487 Zhū Jiànshēn
朱見深
Chénghuà
成化
Chúndì
純帝
Xiànzōng
憲宗
Hongzhi Emperor
Great Governance
1487–1505 Zhū Yòuchēng
朱祐樘
Hóngzhì
弘治
Jìngdì
敬帝
Xiàozōng
孝宗
Zhengde Emperor
Rectification of Virtue
MingWuzong1.jpg 1505–1521 Zhū Hòuzhào
朱厚㷖
Zhèngdé
正德
Yìdì
毅帝
Wǔzōng
武宗
Jiajing Emperor
Admirable Tranquility
Jiajing.jpg 1521–1567 Zhū Hòucōng
朱厚熜
Jiājìng
嘉靖
Sùdì
肅帝
Shìzōng
世宗
Longqing Emperor
Great Celebration
MingMuzong1.jpg 1567–1572 Zhū Zǎijì
朱載坖
Lóngqìng
隆慶
Zhuāngdì
莊帝
Mùzōng
穆宗
Wanli Emperor
Ten Thousand Calendars
MingShenzong1.jpg 1572–1620 Zhū Yìjūn
朱翊鈞
Wànlì
萬曆
Xiǎndì
顯帝
Shénzōng
神宗
Taichang Emperor
Grand Prosperity
MingGuangzong1.jpg 1620 Zhū Chángluò
朱常洛
Tàichāng
泰昌
Zhēndì
貞帝
Guāngzōng
光宗
Tianqi Emperor
Heavenly Opening
TianqiZhe.jpg 1620–1627 Zhū Yóujiào
朱由校
Tiānqǐ
天啟
Zhédì
悊帝
Xīzōng
熹宗
Chongzhen Emperor
Honorable and Auspicious
明思宗坐像 軸.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, Emperor Yingzong of Ming personally led a campaign in 1449 against the Mongols and was captured. His younger brother, the Jingtai Emperor, assumed the throne in 1449, and a hostage no longer of any value, the Mongols released the Emperor Yingzong of Ming who returned to live in seclusion. However, Emperor Yingzong of Ming was able to reclaim his position upon the illness of Jingtai Emperor in 1457.

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 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
none Gēngyín
庚寅
1645–1655 Prince of Lu (Lou*)
魯王 Lǔ Wáng
Zhū Yùyuè
朱聿鐭
none Shàowǔ
紹武
1646–1647 Prince of Tang
唐王 Táng Wáng
Zhū Chángqīng
朱常清
none Dōngwǔ
東武
1648–1649 Prince of Huai
淮王 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.
  • After the death of these princes, there is no temple name. The temple name appearing on the Internet has no source.[1]
  • Other Ming claimants included Prince Dingwu of Han (Zhu Benli, 1646–1663) and Prince of Huai (Zhu Changqing, 1648–1661).
  • If Zhu Benli existed, he would be the last legal emperor of Southern Ming from the execution (1662) of Zhu Youlang. However, Zhu Benli's identity and existence is of some dispute, and Zhu Youlang is generally taken to be the last emperor of Southern Ming.[2]

Timeline[edit]

Zhu ChangqingZhu YoulangZhu YuyueZhu YihaiZhu ChangfangZhu YujianZhu YousongChongzhen EmperorTianqi EmperorTaichang EmperorWanli EmperorLongqing EmperorJiajing EmperorZhengde EmperorHongzhi EmperorChenghua EmperorEmperor Yingzong of MingJingtai EmperorEmperor Yingzong of MingXuande EmperorHongxi EmperorYongle EmperorJianwen EmperorHongwu Emperor

Legend:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lynn A., Struve (1984). The Southern Ming, 1644-1662. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300030570.
  2. ^ Michael Dillon (ed.). Encyclopedia of Chinese History. Routledge. p. 645. ISBN 9781317817161.