An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Zhu Yujian 朱聿鍵, Prince of Tang 唐王, the Longwu Emperor 隆武

Jan 25, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhu Yujian 朱聿鍵 (1602-1646), known as the Longwu Emperor 隆武 (r. 1645-1646), was an emperor of the Southern Ming 南明 (1644-1661). He was a descendant of Zhu Jing 朱桱, Prince of Tang 唐王, one of the many sons of Emperor Taizu 明太祖 (r. 1368-1398), the founder of the Ming dynasty 明 (1368-1644). He inherited the title of his father in 1632. In 1644, when the rebel Li Zicheng 李自成 advanced to the capital Beijing he offered military support to the central government and, without awaiting a response, set his troops into movement. For this disobedience he was demoted to the position of commoner. Yet a few months later he was pardoned.
After the Hongguang Emperor 弘光 (r. 1644-1645) had been captured by the Manchus in 1645, the officials Zheng Hongkui 鄭鴻逵, Zheng Zhilong 鄭芝龍 (father of the famous "Coxinga" Zheng Chenggong 鄭成功) and Huang Daozhou 黃道周 urged Zhu Yujian to adopt the title of emperor of the Ming. At that time he resided in Fuzhou 福州, Fujian, and chose the reign motto Longwu 隆武 "Abundant Martiality". His empire formally comprised most Chinese provinces south of the Yangtze River, but he had a rival, namely Zhu Yihai 朱以海, the Prince of Lu 魯王, who also aspired to become emperor of the Ming. The continued campaigns against the Manchu invasion of northern China devoured huge sums of money that was pressed out of the people. Yet general Zheng Zhilong had not the intention to shed so much blood and decided, together with Hong Chengchou 洪承疇 to contact the Manchu generals for negotiations. He disbanded his whole contingent, and the Manchus were able to advance further tot he south. The Longwu Emperor fled to Dingzhou 汀州 in southern Fujian, where he was captured and executed. His temple name is Emperor Shaozong 明紹宗.

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