Longqing Emperor

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Template:Infobox Chinese Royalty The Longqing Emperor (IPA: [lʊŋtɕʰiŋ]) (March 4, 1537- July 5, 1572) was the 12th emperor of the Ming dynasty in China between 1567-1572. His era name means "Great celebration". Born Zhu Zaihou, he was the Jiajing Emperor's son. He was created Prince Yu in 1539.

Early years

Zhu Zaihou was born in 1537, during the reign of his father Emperor Jiajing, at the Forbidden City at the Ming Dynasty capital Beijing.

Reign as Emperor

After the death of the Jiajing Emperor, Longqing inherited a country in disarray after years of mismanagement and corruption. Realizing the depth of chaos his father's long reign had caused, Longqing set about reforming the government by re-employing talented officials that were originally banished by his father and also ridding the government of corrupt officials namely Daoist priests whom the Jiajing Emperor had favoured in the hope of mending the situation. Furthermore, he reinstigated trade with other empires in Europe, Africa and other parts of Asia and also reinforced border security, nominating several generals to patrol the borders by land and on sea. This included the fortification of seaports along the Zhejiang and Fujian coast to deter pirates, a constant nuisance during the Jiajing emperor's reign. Longqing also repulsed the Mongol army of Altan Khan, who had penetrated the Great Wall and went as far as Beijing. A peace treaty to trade horses for silk was signed shortly thereafter.

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

Death and legacy

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

Emperor Longqing's reign lasted a mere six years and was succeeded by his son. It was said that Longqing also suffered from speech impairment which caused him to stutter and stammer when speaking in public[1] however he is generally considered one of the more liberal and open-minded emperors of the Ming dynasty however Longqing lacked the talent keenly needed for rulership and he eventually became more interested in pursuing personal gratification rather than ruling itself. The emperor Longqing was buried in Zhaoling (昭陵) of the Ming Dynasty Tombs.

References

  1. ^ Imperial China - 900-1800, F.W. Mote, Pages 725, First Harvard University Press, 2003.
Longqing Emperor
Born: March 4 1537 Died: July 5 1572
Regnal titles
Preceded by
The Jiajing Emperor
Emperor of China
1567–1572
Succeeded by
The Wanli Emperor