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Yongle


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(1359–1424)

Ming Emperor of China (1403–24). Yongle was a usurper who seized the throne when the second Ming emperor, his young nephew, disappeared in a mysterious palace fire. A man of great enterprise, he obliged Japan to pay tribute and extended the empire by campaigns in the steppes and in Annam. He and his successor sent Zheng He on prestigious voyages as far as the east coast of Africa. In 1421 he transferred the main capital from Nanjing to Beijing, his power base, and assured its food supplies by restoring the Grand Canal, linking it to the Huang He and Yangtze rivers. He built the great halls and palaces of the Forbidden City in Beijing and arranged for the preparation of definitive editions of the Confucian classics.

Subjects: World History.


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