The Hongwu Emperor (21 October 1328 – 24 June 1398), also known by his given name Zhu Yuanzhang and his temple name Ming Taizu (lit. "Great Ancestor of the Ming"), was the founder and first emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China. His era name Hongwu means "vastly martial".
In the middle of the 14th century, with famine, plagues, and peasant revolts sweeping across China, Zhu rose to command the force that conquered China and ended the Yuan Dynasty, forcing the Mongols to retreat to the central Asian steppe. Following his seizure of the Yuan capital Khanbaliq (modern Beijing), Zhu claimed the Mandate of Heaven and established the Ming Dynasty in 1368. Trusting only in his family, he made his many sons powerful feudal princes along the northern marshes and the Yangtze valley. Having outlived his first successor, the Hongwu Emperor enthroned his grandson via a series of instructions; this ended in failure when the Jianwen Emperor's attempt to unseat his uncles led to the Yongle Emperor's successful rebellion.
Most of the historical sites related to Zhu Yuanzhang are located in Nanjing, the original capital of his dynasty.