Emperor Yingzong of Ming

Last updated

Emperor Yingzong of Ming
Portrait assis de l'empereur Ming Yingzong.jpg
6th Emperor of the Ming dynasty
1st reign7 February 1435 – 1 September 1449
Coronation 7 February 1435
Predecessor Xuande Emperor
Successor Jingtai Emperor
8th Emperor of the Ming dynasty
2nd reign11 February 1457 – 23 February 1464
Predecessor Jingtai Emperor
Successor Chenghua Emperor
Born29 November 1427
Died23 February 1464(1464-02-23) (aged 36)
(m. 14421464)

Empress Xiaosu
(m. before 1464)
Issue Chenghua Emperor
Zhu Jianlin
Zhu Jianshu
Zhu Jianze
Zhu Jianjun
Zhu Jianzhi
Zhu Jianpei
Princess Chongqing
Princess Jiashan
Princess Chun'an
Princess Chongde
Princess Guangde
Princess Yixing
Princess Longqing
Princess Jiaxiang
Full name
Surname: Zhu ( )
Given name: Qizhen (祁鎮)
Era dates
  • Zhengtong (正統): 18 January 1436 – 13 January 1450
  • Tianshun [1] (天順): 15 February 1457 – 26 January 1465
Posthumous name
Emperor Fatian Lidao Renming Chengjing Zhaowen Xianwu Zhide Guangxiao Rui
Temple name
Ming Yingzong
House House of Zhu
Father Xuande Emperor
Mother Empress Xiaogongzhang
Stele commemorating rebuilding of the Temple of Yan Hui in Qufu in 1441 (6th year of the Zhengtong era) Yan Miao - eastern stele pavilion - Zhengtong 6 - seen from W - P1050439.JPG
Stele commemorating rebuilding of the Temple of Yan Hui in Qufu in 1441 (6th year of the Zhengtong era)

Zhu Qizhen (Chinese :朱祁鎮; 29 November 1427 – 23 February 1464) was the sixth and eighth Emperor of the Ming dynasty. He ascended the throne as the Zhengtong Emperor (Chinese :正統; pinyin :Zhèngtǒng; lit. 'right governance') in 1435, but was forced to abdicate in 1449, in favour of his younger brother the Jingtai Emperor, after being captured by the Mongols during the Tumu Crisis. In 1457, he deposed Jingtai and ruled again as the Tianshun Emperor (Chinese :天順; pinyin :Tiānshùn; lit. 'obedience to Heaven') until his death in 1464. [2] His temple name is Yingzong (英宗).


First reign

Ming Ying Zong Huang Di .jpg
Xiao Zhao Huang Hou 1.jpg
Emperor Yingzong of Ming's hanging portrait (left). Empress Changxiao (middle).

Zhu Qizhen was the son of the Xuande Emperor and his second wife Empress Sun. At the beginning of the Zhengtong reign, the Ming dynasty was prosperous and at the height of its power as a result of the Xuande Emperor's able administration. The Zhengtong Emperor's accession at the age of eight made him the first child emperor of the dynasty – hence the Zhengtong Emperor was easily influenced by others, especially the eunuch Wang Zhen. At first, Wang Zhen was kept under control by his father's mother, Grand Mother Empress Zhang, the unofficial regent, who collaborated closely with three ministers, all with the surname Yang (hence the common name "Three Yangs"), thus the good administration continued. In 1442 though, Empress Zhang died, and the three Yangs also died or retired around that time. [3] The emperor began to completely rely on Wang Zhen for advice and guidance.

Imprisonment by the Mongols

At the age of 21, in 1449, the Zhengtong Emperor, advised by Wang Zhen, personally directed and lost the Battle of Tumu Fortress against the Mongols under Esen Taishi (d.1455). In one of the most humiliating battles in Chinese history, the Ming army, half million strong, led by Zhengtong, was crushed by Esen's forces, estimated to be 20,000 cavalry. [4] [5] His capture by the enemy force shook the empire to its core, and the ensuing crisis almost caused the dynasty to collapse had it not been for the capable governing of a prominent minister named Yu Qian.

Although the Zhengtong Emperor was a prisoner of the Mongols, he became a good friend to both Tayisung Khan Toghtoa Bukha (1416–1453) and his grand preceptor (taishi) Esen. Meanwhile, to calm the crisis at home, his younger brother Zhu Qiyu was installed as the Jingtai Emperor. This reduced the Zhengtong Emperor's imperial status and he was granted the title of Tàishàng Huángdi (emperor emeritus).

Historians at the time, in an effort to avoid what is an obvious taboo of the country's head of state becoming a prisoner of war, referred to this chapter of Yingzong's life as the "Northern Hunt" (Chinese :北狩). [6]

House arrest and second reign

The Zhengtong Emperor was released one year later in 1450, but when he returned to China, he was immediately put under house arrest by his brother for almost seven years. He resided in the southern palace of the Forbidden City, and all outside contacts were severely curtailed by the Jingtai Emperor. His son, who later became the Chenghua Emperor, was stripped of the title of crown prince and replaced by the Jingtai Emperor's own son. This act greatly upset and devastated the former Zhengtong Emperor, but the heir apparent died shortly thereafter. Overcome with grief, the Jingtai Emperor fell ill, and the former Zhengtong Emperor decided to depose his brother by a palace coup. The emperor emeritus was successful in seizing the throne from the Jingtai Emperor when the latter was ill, after which he changed his regnal name to "Tianshun" (lit. "obedience to Heaven") and went on to rule for another seven years. Jingtai Emperor was demoted to Prince of Cheng and put under house arrest and soon died, probably murdered.

On 6 August 1461, the Tianshun Emperor issued an edict warning his subjects to be loyal to the throne and not to violate the laws. [7] This was a veiled threat aimed at the general Cao Qin (d. 1461), who had become embroiled in a controversy when he had one of his retainers kill a man whom Ming authorities were attempting to interrogate (to find out about Cao's illegal foreign business transactions). [7] On 7 August 1461, Cao Qin and his cohorts of Mongol descent attempted a coup against the Tianshun Emperor. [8] However, during the first hours of the morning of 7 August, prominent Ming generals Wu Jin and Wu Cong, who were alerted of the coup, immediately relayed a warning to the emperor. [9] Although alarmed, the Tianshun Emperor and his court made preparations for a conflict and barred the gates of the palace. [10] During the ensuing onslaught in the capital later that morning, the Minister of Works and the Commander of the Imperial Guard were killed, while the rebels set the gates of the Forbidden City on fire. [8] The eastern and western gates of the imperial city were only saved when pouring rains came and extinguished the fires. [11] The fight lasted for nearly the entire day within the city; during which three of Cao Qin's brothers were killed, and Cao himself received wounds to both arms. With the failure of the coup, in order to escape being executed, Cao fled to his residence and committed suicide by jumping down a well within the walled compound of his home. [12]

The Tianshun Emperor died at the age of 36 in 1464 and was buried in the Yuling (裕陵) mausoleum of the Ming Dynasty Tombs. Before he died, he had given an order, which was rated highly as an act of imperial magnanimity, that ended the practice of burying alive concubines and palace maids (so that they could follow emperors to the next world). [13]


Consorts and Issue:


Hongwu Emperor (1328–1398)
Yongle Emperor (1360–1424)
Empress Xiaocigao (1332–1382)
Hongxi Emperor (1378–1425)
Xu Da (1332–1385)
Empress Renxiaowen (1362–1407)
Lady Xie
Xuande Emperor (1399–1435)
Zhang Congyi
Zhang Qi
Lady Zhu
Empress Chengxiaozhao (1379–1442)
Tong Shan
Lady Tong
Emperor Yingzong of Ming (1427–1464)
Sun Fuchu
Sun Shiying
Lady Gao
Sun Zhong (1368–1452)
Ding Qiweng
Lady Ding
Empress Xiaogongzhang (1399–1462)
Dong Yangong
Lady Dong
Lady Qi

See also

Related Research Articles

Yongle Emperor 15th-century Chinese emperor

The Yongle Emperor — personal name Zhu Di — was the third Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning from 1402 to 1424.

Hongwu Emperor

The Hongwu EmperorZhu Yuanzhang, was the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning from 1368 to 1398.

Kangxi Emperor 3rd Emperor of the Qing dynasty

The Kangxi Emperor, given name Xuanye, was the third Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the second Qing emperor to rule over China.

Daoguang Emperor Prince Zhi of the First Rank

The Daoguang Emperor was the seventh Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the sixth Qing emperor to rule over China proper, reigning from 1820 to 1850. His reign was marked by "external disaster and internal rebellion," that is, by the First Opium War, and the beginning of the Taiping Rebellion which nearly brought down the dynasty. The historian Jonathan Spence characterizes the Daoguang Emperor as a "well meaning but ineffective man" who promoted officials who "presented a purist view even if they had nothing to say about the domestic and foreign problems surrounding the dynasty."

Jiaqing Emperor Prince Jia of the First Rank

The Jiaqing Emperor, personal name Yongyan, was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty, and the fifth Qing emperor to rule over China proper, from 1796 to 1820. He was the 15th son of the Qianlong Emperor. During his reign, he prosecuted Heshen, the corrupt favorite of his father, and attempted to restore order within the Qing Empire while curbing the smuggling of opium into China.

Hongxi Emperor

The Hongxi Emperor, personal name Zhu Gaochi (朱高熾), was the fourth Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1424 to 1425. He succeeded his father, the Yongle Emperor, in 1424. His era name "Hongxi" means "vastly bright".

Xuande Emperor

The Xuande Emperor, personal name Zhu Zhanji (朱瞻基), was the fifth Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1425 to 1435. His era name "Xuande" means "Proclamation of Virtue".

Chenghua Emperor 9th Emperor of the Ming dynasty

The Chenghua Emperor, born Zhu Jianshen, was the ninth Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1464 to 1487. His era name "Chenghua" means "accomplished change".

Jiajing Emperor 12Th Emperor of the Ming dynasty

The Jiajing Emperor was the 12th Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1521 to 1567. Born Zhu Houcong, he was the former Zhengde Emperor's cousin. His father, Zhu Youyuan (1476–1519), the Prince of Xing, was the fourth son of the Chenghua Emperor and the eldest son of three sons born to the emperor's concubine, Lady Shao. The Jiajing Emperor's regnal name, "Jiajing", means "admirable tranquility".

Longqing Emperor 13th Emperor of the Ming dynasty

The Longqing Emperor, 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".

Wanli Emperor

The Wanli Emperor, personal name Zhu Yijun, was the 14th Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1572 to 1620. "Wanli", the era name of his reign, literally means "ten thousand calendars". He was the third son of the Longqing Emperor. His reign of 48 years (1572–1620) was the longest among all the Ming dynasty emperors and it witnessed several successes in his early and middle reign, followed by the decline of the dynasty as the Emperor withdrew from his active role in government around 1600.

Taichang Emperor 15Th Emperor of the Ming dynasty

The Taichang Emperor, personal name Zhu Changluo, was the 15th Emperor of the Ming dynasty. He was the eldest son of the Wanli Emperor and succeeded his father as emperor in 1620. However, his reign came to an abrupt end less than one month after his coronation when he was found dead one morning in the palace following a bout of diarrhea. He was succeeded by his son, Zhu Youjiao, who was enthroned as the Tianqi Emperor. His era name, Taichang, means "grand prosperity." His reign was the shortest in Ming history.

Tianqi Emperor 16Th Emperor of the Ming dynasty

The Tianqi Emperor, personal name Zhu Youjiao, was the 16th Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1620 to 1627. He was the eldest son of the Taichang Emperor and a elder brother of the Chongzhen Emperor, who succeeded him. "Tianqi", the era name of his reign, means "heavenly opening".

Chongzhen Emperor Ming dynastys last emperor, reigned from 1627 to 1644

The Chongzhen Emperor, personal name Zhu Youjian, was the 17th and last Emperor of the Ming dynasty as well as the last Han Chinese to reign as Emperor of China. He reigned from 1627 to 1644. "Chongzhen," the era name of his reign, means "honorable and auspicious".

Jingtai Emperor

The Jingtai Emperor, born Zhu Qiyu, was the seventh Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1449 to 1457. The second son of the Xuande Emperor, he was selected in 1449 to succeed his elder brother Emperor Yingzong of Ming, when the latter was captured by Mongols following the Tumu Crisis. He reigned for 8 years before being removed from the throne by his elder brother Emperor Yingzong of Ming. The Jingtai Emperor's era name, "Jingtai", means "Exalted View".

Zhu Biao Crown Prince of the Ming Dynasty

Zhu Biao was the Hongwu Emperor's first son and crown prince of the Ming dynasty. His early death created a crisis in the dynasty's first succession that was resolved by the successful usurpation of his brother Zhu Di as the Yongle Emperor, an act with far-reaching consequences for the future of China.

Emperor Renzong of Song 11th-century Chinese emperor

Emperor Renzong of Song, personal name Zhao Zhen, was the fourth emperor of the Song dynasty in China. He reigned for about 41 years from 1022 to his death in 1063, and was the longest reigning Song dynasty emperor. He was the sixth son of his predecessor, Emperor Zhenzong, and was succeeded by his cousin's son, Zhao Shu who took the throne as Emperor Yingzong because his own sons died prematurely. His original personal name was Zhao Shouyi but it was changed by imperial decree in 1018 to "Zhao Zhen", which means 'auspicious' in Chinese.

Empress Sun

Empress Sun was a Chinese Empress consort of the Ming Dynasty, married to the fifth Ming monarch, the Xuande Emperor. She was mother of Zhu Qizhen, the Yingzong Emperor. He became the sixth Ming emperor as a child, but then as a young man led a disastrous campaign against the Mongols during which hundreds of thousands of Ming warriors were killed, and he himself was captured during an event referred to as the Tumu Crisis. He was forced to abdicate in 1449, and his half-brother Zhu Qiyu was installed as the seventh Ming ruler, the Jingtai Emperor, for several years. After Qizhen's return from Mongol hands, he eventually led a coup against his half-brother and resumed his role as monarch in a newly named reign as Tianshun Emperor before passing away in 1464. Empress Sun remained known as "Empress Dowager" through the Yingzong, Jingtai, and Tianshun reigns, until her death in 1462.

Consort Li may refer to:

Yunlu, born Yinlu, was a Manchu prince of the Qing dynasty.


  1. Tianshun (天順) was also the name of a reign era in the Yuan dynasty.
  2. Leo K. Shin (2006), The Making of the Chinese State: Ethnicity and Expansion on the Ming Borderlands, Cambridge University Press, ISBN   978-0-521-85354-5
  3. Liu, Jinze (刘金泽) (1998). 政鉴. 经济日报出版社. p. 828. ISBN   9787801275103.
  4. Haskew, Michael E. (2008). Fighting Techniques of the Oriental World AD 1200-1860: Equipment, Combat Skills And Tactics, Christer Jørgensen. Amber Books. p. 12. ISBN   9781905704965.
  5. Wen chao yue kan, Volume 5. Beijing: 全国图书馆文献缩微复制中心. 2005. p. 128.
  6. Han, Weiling. 明英宗“北狩”史料之蒙古风俗文化刍议 [The History of Ming Yingzong Emperor's "Northern Hunt": Debate over Mongolian Cultures and Customs]. 中国边疆民族研究 [Chinese Frontier Ethnic Research] (in Chinese). 2017. Retrieved 19 November 2018. 明人讳称此事为英宗"北狩"。 [Ming citizens, out of taboo, refer to this incident as Yingzong's "Northern Hunt".]
  7. 1 2 Robinson, 97.
  8. 1 2 Robinson, 79.
  9. Robinson, 101–102.
  10. Robinson, 102.
  11. Robinson, 105.
  12. Robinson, 107–108.
  13. Zhonghua quan guo fu nü lian he hui (1984). Women of China. Foreign Language Press.
Emperor Yingzong of Ming
Born: 29 November 1427 Died: 23 February 1464
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Xuande Emperor
Emperor of the Ming dynasty
Emperor of China
(Zhengtong Emperor)

Succeeded by
Jingtai Emperor
Preceded by
Jingtai Emperor
Emperor of the Ming dynasty
Emperor of China
(Tianshun Emperor)

Succeeded by
Chenghua Emperor