Lungqing

Article

July 1, 2022

Emperor Lungqing (Chinese Pinyin Lóngqìng, characters 隆慶; March 4, 1537 – July 5, 1572) with the real name Zhu Caichou (Chinese Pinyin Zhu Zaihou, characters 朱載垕) of the Ming Dynasty ruled in 1567 –1572 Ming China. He succeeded his father, the Jiaqing Emperor. After assuming power with the new year, he proclaimed the era of "Magnificent Glory", Lungqing. The name of the era is also used as the name of the emperor. After Jiaqing's death, the new Emperor Lungqing inherited a country in disarray after years of mismanagement and corruption. Realizing the depth of the chaos caused during his father's long reign, the emperor restored the orderly running of the state administration, resuming the previously exiled talented officials, and dismissing the corrupt officials and Taoist priests who surrounded Jiaqing. He further boosted the empire's economy by lifting the ban on foreign trade and also strengthened security on the inland and coastal borders by reorganizing the border troops. The seaports of Zhejiang and Fujian were fortified against the coastal pirates, a constant nuisance during the previous government. The emperor also repulsed Altan Khan's Mongol army, which penetrated the Great Wall as far as Beijing. Shortly after, a peace treaty was signed resuming the exchange of horses for silk. The reign of Lung Ching differed from the previous ones in the lower influence of the palace eunuchs. However, later the Grand Secretary Kao Kung supported the eunuch Meng Chong, who came to dominate the inner court towards the end of the emperor's reign. Meng gained the emperor's support by introducing Nu Er Hua-chua, a dancer of Turkish descent, to the emperor, whose beauty is said to have won the emperor's undivided attention. Despite initial promising beginnings, the emperor quickly abandoned his governmental duties and began to devote himself to personal pleasures. In addition, he returned the Taoist priests to the court, thus reversing his decision from the beginning of the reign.

Childhood and youth

Lung Qing was born on March 4, 1537 to the then Emperor Jiaqing and a concubine surnamed Tu. Lung Ching's own name was Chu Caichou, Lung Ching is the name of his era of rule. He was the emperor's third son. Jiaqing's eldest son died in infancy (before Lungqing was born). Jiaqing's second son, Zhu Caijue, was six months older than Lungqing, a month after Lungqing, the emperor's fourth son, Zhu Caisun, was born. In February 1539, Jiaqing appointed Zhu Caijue as the heir to the throne in one day. , Chu Cai-chou was given the title of Prince of Yu and the fourth son of Chu Cai-sun was given the title of Prince of Jing. In 1549, Crown Prince Chu Caijuei died. After his death, Jiaqing was overcome with grief and blamed himself for not heeding the (alleged) advice of his Taoist priest Chao Zhongwen that "two dragons should avoid looking at each other". Perhaps because of this prophecy, he did not want to grant the title of heir to the throne again, nor to see Lung Ching. According to another version, the emperor despised Lung-ching because he did not observe sexual abstinence during the period of mourning (the impetus for this version was the fact that Lung-ching's son was born in October 1555, only 18 months after his mother's death). From September 1552, Lung- Qing taught together with his younger brother, two months later their wives were chosen. They married in February 1553, after which he moved from the Forbidden City to his princely palace. Thirteen years of living outside the Forbidden City gave him experience with conditions outside the Imperial Palace and an understanding of the country's problems. Jiaqing maintained an equal relationship between himself and the officials towards the third and fourth sons, which caused speculation at court about who the new successor would be. The speculation was also strengthened by Jiaqing's liking for the mother of the younger Chu Caisun, with whom he spent a lot of time. On the contrary, when Lung Ching's mother died in February 1554, he had to change twice