July 1, 2022

Emperor Wan-li (Chinese pin-yin Wàn lì, characters 萬曆; September 4, 1563 - August 18, 1620) by his proper name Chu I-ünün (Chinese pin-yin Zhū Yì jūn, characters 朱翊鈞) From the Ming Dynasty ruled Ming China from 1572 to 1620. He succeeded his father, Emperor Lung Qing. After taking over the government with the new year, he declared the era of "Countless Years", Wan-li. The name of the era is also used as the name of the emperor. Wan-li ascended the throne at the age of nine. During the first ten years of his reign, the young emperor was assisted and effectively led by the imperial secretary and capable administrator, Zhang Jücheng, with the support of the emperor's mother, Ms. Li, and the imperial eunuchs, led by Feng Pao. The country prospered economically and militarily and grew to a level never seen since the first quarter of the 15th century. The emperor deeply respected and appreciated his secretary. However, as time went on, various factions within the government began to openly oppose Chang, and his strong position in the government and at court began to be seen by the monarch as burdensome. Chang died in 1582, and in a few months the emperor removed Feng Pao, then gained freedom in decision-making and changed a number of Chang's administrative measures. In the Wan-li era, there was a great boom in industry, especially the production of silk, cotton and porcelain. Agriculture developed, interregional and foreign trade increased significantly. The impact of development was strongest in Jiangnan, whose cities, Suzhou, Sungjiang, Jiaxing and Nanjing, flourished. Despite the rise of the empire's economy, state finances remained in poor shape, and despite the splendor of the life of wealthy merchants and gentry, masses of peasants and laborers lived in poverty. The military area was dominated by three major campaigns in the final decade of the 16th century, all victorious. The first was the uprising of a large garrison in Ning-sia. The rebels destroyed the commanding generals and took control of the city of Ningsia and the surrounding area. The insurgents had 20 or 30 thousand soldiers, the city had a population of 300 thousand. The Ming government has amassed 40,000 troops to quell the rebellion. After mid-October 1592, the city was conquered and Ming troops could be moved to the opposite side of the empire, to Korea. In the same year, 1592, the de facto ruler of Japan, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, invaded Korea with 200,000 soldiers. Wan-li responded by immediately sending three thousand men, who succumbed to the Japanese. Thereafter, the emperor strengthened the Chinese army in Korea to 40,000 troops; the combined Korean-Chinese troops gained the upper hand and in 1593 pushed the Japanese out of most of Korea to the southeast coast. Four years later, in 1597, the Japanese launched a second invasion, but withdrew after a series of defeats and Hideyoshi's death the following year. The third major conflict was the suppression of the Yangtze Lung Uprising in southwestern China in 1587-1600. Due to the war with Japan, Ming forces could be concentrated in the southwest only from 1599, then more than two thousand Ming army liquidated the uprising within a few months. Over the years, the emperor was increasingly disillusioned with constant moralizing attacks and counterattacks by officials, to whom he gradually became estranged. During the 1980s and 1990s, he promoted his third son, Zhu Changsun (son of Ms. Cheng's favorite concubine), to the position of crown prince, but there was strong opposition among officials. Subsequent clashes between the monarch and the ministers lasted over fifteen years. The emperor eventually retreated and in October 1601 appointed Chu Changhua's eldest son, the later emperor Taichang, as the crown prince. After 1596, Wan-li tried to build a parallel administration composed of eunuchs, independent of the officials still exclusively governing the empire, an attempt to