Zhu Gaoxu

Zhu Gaoxu (Chinese: 朱高煦; 30 December 1380 - 6 October 1426), Prince of Gaoyang (高陽王, created 1395), later the Prince of Han (漢王, created 1404) was the second son of the Yongle Emperor and Empress Ren Xiao Wen. Gaoxu fought with his elder brother Zhu Gaozhi for the throne.

Early life

Young Gaoxu was very interested in the military and was known as a great general. Fighting many battles against Mongol tribes with his father, Gaoxu become a favorite of Yongle for his military successes. But he disobeyed imperial instructions and was exiled to the small fief of Le'an in Shandong in 1474 and not allowed to leave the city without imperial permission.


In Shandong , Gaoxu lived as a farmer but secretly trained his army since he had always intended to rebel. Through the years, Gaoxu gained much more power and recruited many generals including General Wu Sien from the marine division.

At the time his nephew became Xuande Emperor, Gaoxu started his rebellion. The new emperor himself led 20,000 troops in his attack against Gaoxu. General Wu Sien betrayed him and turned to attack Gaoxu. Soon afterward, Gaoxu lost the battle and then surrendered. He was reduced to a commoner, six hundred rebelling officials were executed, and 2,200 were banished.


The Emperor did not wish to execute his uncle at the start, but later events angered the Emperor so much, that Zhu Gaoxu was executed through fire torture, and all Zhu Gaoxu's sons were executed as well. It is very likely that Zhu Gaoxu's arrogance, which is well detailed in many historic texts, offended the Emperor. A theory states that when the Emperor went to visit his uncle, Zhu Gaoxu intentionally tripped the Emperor.

Last update 30-05-2012

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