Ming dynasty

Reign of Xuande Emperor
Palace portrait on a hanging scroll, kept in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1425 Jun 27 - 1435 Jan 28

Reign of Xuande Emperor

Beijing, China

The Xuande Emperor (16 March 1399 – 31 January 1435), personal name Zhu Zhanji, was the fifth Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1425 to 1435. His era name "Xuande" means "proclamation of virtue".


The Xuande Emperor permitted Zheng He to lead the seventh and last of his maritime expeditions. After Ming garrisons suffered heavy casualties in Vietnam, the emperor sent Liu Sheng with an army. These were badly defeated by the Vietnamese. The Ming forces withdrew and the Xuande Emperor eventually recognized the independence of Việt Nam. In the north, the Ming imperial court received horses annually from Arughtai, but he was defeated by the Oirats in 1431 and was killed in 1434 when Toghon took over eastern Mongolia. The Ming government then maintained friendly relations with the Oirats. China's diplomatic relations with Japan improved in 1432. Relations with Korea were generally good with the exception of the Koreans resenting having to send virgins occasionally to the Xuande Emperor's imperial harem.


The Xuande Emperor died of illness in 1435 after ruling for ten years. He ruled over a remarkably peaceful period with no significant external or internal problems. Later historians have considered his reign to be the height of the Ming dynasty's golden age.

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Last Updated: Fri Sep 08 2023