Longqing Emperor

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Longqing Emperor
13th Emperor of the Ming dynasty
Reign4 February 1567 – 5 July 1572
Coronation4 February 1567
PredecessorJiajing Emperor
SuccessorWanli Emperor
Born4 March 1537
Died5 July 1572(1572-07-05) (aged 35)
Empress Xiaoyizhuang
(m. 1553; died 1558)

(m. 1558⁠–⁠1572)

(m. 1560⁠–⁠1572)
IssueWanli Emperor
Zhu Yiliu
Princess Shouyang
Princess Yongning
Princess Rui'an
Princess Yanqing
Full name
Zhu Zaiji (朱載坖)
Era name and dates
Longqing (隆慶): 9 February 1567 – 1 February 1573
Posthumous name
Emperor Qitian Longdao Yuanyi Kuanren Xianwen Guangwu Chunde Hongxiao Zhuang
Temple name
Ming Muzong
HouseHouse of Zhu
FatherJiajing Emperor
MotherEmpress Xiaoke

The Longqing Emperor (simplified Chinese: 隆庆; traditional Chinese: 隆慶; pinyin: Lóngqìng; 4 March 1537 – 5 July 1572), personal name Zhu Zaiji (朱載坖), was the 13th Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1567 to 1572. He was initially known as the Prince of Yu (裕王) from 1539 to 1567 before he became the emperor. His era name, Longqing, means "great celebration".


After the death of the Jiajing Emperor, the Longqing Emperor inherited a country in disarray after years of mismanagement and corruption. Realizing the depth of chaos his father's long reign had caused, the Longqing Emperor set about reforming the government by re-employing talented officials previously banished by his father, such as Hai Rui. He also purged the government of corrupt officials namely Daoist priests whom the Jiajing Emperor had favoured in the hope of improving the situation in the empire. Furthermore, the Longqing Emperor restarted trade with other empires in Europe, Africa and other parts of Asia. Territorial security was reinforced through the appointment of several generals to patrol both land and sea borders. This included the fortification of seaports along the Zhejiang and Fujian coast to deter pirates, a constant nuisance during the Jiajing Emperor's reign. The Longqing Emperor also repulsed the Mongol army of Altan Khan, who had penetrated the Great Wall and reached as far as Beijing. A peace treaty to trade horses for silk was signed with the Mongols shortly thereafter.

The Longqing Emperor's reign, which was not unlike that of any previous Ming emperor, saw a heavy reliance on court eunuchs. One particular eunuch, Meng Cong, who was introduced by the Longqing Emperor's chancellor Gao Gong, came to dominate the inner court towards the end of the emperor's reign. Meng Cong gained favours by introducing Nu Er Huahua, a female dancer of ethnic Turkish origin, to the Longqing Emperor, whose beauty was said to have captured the ruler's full attention. Despite initial hopeful beginnings, the Longqing Emperor quickly abandoned his duties as a ruler and set about pursuing personal enjoyment. The emperor also made contradictory decisions by re-employing Daoist priests that he himself had banned at the start of his reign.

In October 1567, Xu Jie firmly told the Emperor to stop eunuchs supervising the capital training divisions.[1] Enraged, Longqing said "I ordered eunuchs to sit with the training divisions, and the speaking officials objected, and you all objected too. What's the idea? Explain your disobedience."[1] Xu Jie explained that the Jiajing Emperor had abolished eunuch-run divisions and that the founder never set up eunuchs to run divisions.[1] Longqing backed down for now.


The Longqing Emperor died in 1572 and was only 35. Unfortunately, the country was still in decline due to corruption in the ruling class. Before the Longqing Emperor died, he had instructed minister Zhang Juzheng to oversee affairs of state and become the dedicated advisor to the Wanli Emperor who was only 10.


The Longqing Emperor's reign lasted a mere six years and was succeeded by his son. It was said that the emperor also suffered from speech impairment which caused him to stutter and stammer when speaking in public.[2] He is generally considered one of the more liberal and open-minded emperors of the Ming dynasty, even though he lacked the talent keenly needed for rulership and he eventually became more interested in pursuing personal gratification rather than ruling itself.[citation needed]

The Longqing Emperor was buried in Zhaoling (昭陵) of the Ming tombs.


Consorts and Issue:

  • Empress Xiaoyizhuang, of the Li clan (孝懿莊皇后 李氏; d. 1558)
    • Zhu Yiyi, Crown Prince Xianhuai (憲懷皇太子 朱翊釴; 15 October 1555 – 11 May 1559), first son
    • Zhu Yiling, Prince Jingdao (靖悼王 朱翊鈴), second son
    • Princess Penglai (蓬萊公主; 1557), first daughter
  • Empress Xiao'an, of the Chen clan (孝安皇后 陳氏; d. 1596)
    • Princess Taihe (太和公主; d. 1560), second daughter
  • Empress Dowager Xiaoding, of the Li clan (孝定皇太后 李氏; 19 November 1546 – 9 February 1614)
    • Zhu Yijun, the Wanli Emperor (神宗 朱翊鈞; 4 September 1563 – 18 August 1620), third son
    • Princess Shouyang (壽陽公主; 1565–1590), personal name Yao'e (堯娥), third daughter
      • Married Hou Gongchen (侯拱辰) in 1581
    • Princess Yongning (永寧公主; 11 March 1567 – 22 July 1594), personal name Yaoying (堯媖), fourth daughter
      • Married Liang Bangrui (梁邦瑞; d. 9 May 1582) in 1582
    • Zhu Yiliu, Prince Lujian (潞簡王 朱翊鏐; 3 March 1568 – 4 July 1614), fourth son
    • Princess Rui'an (瑞安公主; 1569–1629), personal name Yaoyuan (堯媛)
      • Married Wan Wei (萬煒; d. 1644) in 1585, and had issue (one son)
  • Consort Duanjingshu, of the Qin clan (端靜淑妃 秦氏)
    • Princess Qixia (棲霞公主; 1571–1572), personal name Yaolu (堯𡞱), seventh daughter
  • Consort Gonghuizhuang, of the Liu clan (恭惠莊妃 劉氏; d. 1582)
  • Consort Zhuangxirong, of the Wang clan (莊僖榮妃 王氏; d. 1580)
  • Unknown
    • Princess Yanqing (延慶公主; b. 1570), personal name Yaoji (堯姬), sixth daughter
      • Married Wang Bing (王昺) in 1587


Emperor Yingzong of Ming (1427–1464)
Chenghua Emperor (1447–1487)
Empress Xiaosu (1430–1504)
Zhu Youyuan (1476–1519)
Shao Lin
Empress Xiaohui (d. 1522)
Lady Yang
Jiajing Emperor (1507–1567)
Jiang Xing
Jiang Xiao
Empress Cixiaoxian (d. 1538)
Lady Wu
Longqing Emperor (1537–1572)
Du Lin
Empress Xiaoke (d. 1554)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Dardess, John W. (25 September 2013). A Political Life in Ming China: A Grand Secretary and His Times. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 179. ISBN 9781442223783.
  2. ^ Mote, Frederick W. (2003). Imperial China 900–1800. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. p. 725. ISBN 0-674-01212-7.
Longqing Emperor
Born: 4 March 1537 Died: 5 July 1572
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Jiajing Emperor
Emperor of the Ming dynasty
Emperor of China

Succeeded by
Wanli Emperor