On This Day
1368 – In a coronation ceremony, Zhu Yuanzhang ascends the throne of China as the Hongwu Emperor, initiating Ming dynasty rule over China that would last for three centuries.
The Hongwu Emperor (21 October 1328 – 24 June 1398) Zhu Yuanzhang (Chinese: 朱元璋; Wade–Giles: Chu Yuan-chang), was the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning from 1368 to 1398.
As famine, plagues and peasant revolts swept across China in the 14th century, Zhu Yuanzhang rose to command the forces that conquered China, ending the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty and forcing the Mongols to retreat to the Eurasian Steppe. Zhu claimed the Mandate of Heaven and established the Ming dynasty at the beginning of 1368 and occupied the Yuan capital, Khanbaliq (present-day Beijing), with his army that same year. Trusting only his family, he made his many sons powerful feudal princes along the northern marches and the Yangtze valley. Having outlived his eldest son Zhu Biao, Hongwu enthroned Zhu Biao’s son via a series of instructions. This ended in failure when the Jianwen Emperor’s attempts to unseat his uncles led to the Jingnan Rebellion.
The era of Hongwu witnessed much tolerance with the minorities and religions; Ma Zhou, the Chinese historian indicates that the Hongwu ordered to renovate and build many mosques in Xi’an and Nanjing. Wang Daiyu also recorded that the emperor wrote 100 characters praising Islam, Baizi zan .
The reign of the Hongwu Emperor is notable for his unprecedented political reforms. The emperor abolished the position of chancellor, drastically reduced the role of court eunuchs, and adopted draconian measures to address corruption. He also established the Embroidered Uniform Guard, one of the best known secret police organizations in imperial China. In the 1380s and 1390s a series of purges were launched to eliminate his high-ranked officials and generals; tens of thousands were executed. The reign of Hongwu also witnessed much cruelty. Various cruel methods of execution was introduced for punishable crimes and for those who directly criticized the emperor, and massacres were also carried against everyone who resisted his rule.
The emperor encouraged agriculture, reduced taxes, incentivized the cultivation of new land, and established laws protecting peasants’ property. He also confiscated land held by large estates and forbade private slavery. At the same time, he banned free movement in the empire and assigned hereditary occupational categories to households. Through these measures, Zhu Yuanzhang attempted to rebuild a country that had been ravaged by war, limit and control its social groups, and instill orthodox values in his subjects, eventually creating a strictly regimented society of self-sufficient farming communities.
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Born On This Day
1813 – Camilla Collett, Norwegian novelist and activist (d. 1895)
Jacobine Camilla Collett (born Wergeland) (23 January 1813 – 6 March 1895) was a Norwegian writer, often referred to as the first Norwegian feminist. She was also the younger sister of Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland, and is recognized as being one of the first contributors to realism in Norwegian literature. Her younger brother was Major General Joseph Frantz Oscar Wergeland.
Henry Louis Aaron (February 5, 1934 – January 22, 2021), nicknamed “Hammer” or “Hammerin’ Hank”, was an American professional baseball right fielder who played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1954 through 1976. He spent 21 seasons with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the National League (NL) and two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League (AL).
Aaron is regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His 755 career home runs broke the long-standing MLB record set by Babe Ruth and stood as the most for 33 years; Aaron still holds many other MLB batting records. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and is one of only two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times. In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Aaron fifth on its list of the “100 Greatest Baseball Players”. In 1982, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Aaron was born and raised in and around Mobile, Alabama. Aaron had seven siblings, including Tommie Aaron, who played major-league baseball with him. He appeared briefly in the Negro American League and in minor league baseball before starting his major league career. By his final MLB season, Aaron was the last Negro league baseball player on a major league roster.
Aaron played the vast majority of his MLB games in right field, though he appeared at several other infield and outfield positions. In his last two seasons, he was primarily a designated hitter. Aaron was an NL All-Star for 20 seasons and an AL All-Star for 1 season, and he holds the record for the most All-Star selections (25),[a] while sharing the record for most All-Star Games played (24) with Willie Mays and Stan Musial. He was a three-time Gold Glove winner, and in 1957, he won the NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award when the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series. Aaron holds the MLB records for the most career runs batted in (RBIs) (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856). Aaron is also in the top five for career hits (3,771) and runs (2,174). He is one of only four players to have at least 17 seasons with 150 or more hits. Aaron is in second place in home runs (755) and at-bats (12,364), and in third place in games played (3,298). At the time of his retirement, Aaron held most of the game’s key career power hitting records.
After his retirement, Aaron held front office roles with the Atlanta Braves, including senior vice president. In 1988, Aaron was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1999, MLB introduced the Hank Aaron Award to recognize the top offensive players in each league. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. He was named a 2010 Georgia Trustee by the Georgia Historical Society in recognition of accomplishments that reflect the ideals of Georgia’s founders. Aaron resided near Atlanta until his death.
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