Emperor Tai  Zu, Zhu Yuanzhang

No. 1 Emperor Tai Zu, Zhu Yuanzhang
1368 -- 1398, Ming Dynasty

Zhu Yuanzhang, otherwise known as Emperor Tai Zu, founded the Ming Dynasty in 1368. He first applied himself to the task of expelling the Mongols. He chased them beyond the Gobi all the way to Karakorum. He transferred segments of the population from the Yangzi region to the north, which had been under populated due to wars. He undertook great projects to recultivate, irrigate, and re-foliate the land. Grain had to be transported from the south by a sea route. Pirates and storms impeded their transport.

Taizu's government was totalitarian reflecting the origins of Taizu, who came from peasant stock. He became suspicious of everyone and his brutality became excessive. He created a secret police who spied, made arrests, tortured, and killed without trial in 1382. He kept women and eunuchs from political affairs. He kept the eunuchs number to a hundred. He recruited eunuchs in small numbers from among the uneducated classes. However these precautions proved to be in vain, because the eunuchs soon came to command almost all the control levers of power. Taizu died in 1398 and his grandson Huidi followed him as emperor.

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