The Hongwu Emperor (Chinese: 洪武帝; Wade-Giles: Hung-wu Ti; October 21, 1328 – June 24, 1398), known variably by his given name Zhu Yuanzhang (Chinese: 朱元璋; Wade-Giles: Chu Yuan-chang) and by the temple name Taizu of the Ming (Chinese: 明太祖) was the founder and first emperor (1368–98) of the Ming Dynasty of China. His era name, Hongwu, means "great military power".
In the middle of the 1300s, with famine, plagues and peasant revolts sweeping across China, Zhu became a leader of an army that conquered China, ending the Yuan Dynasty and forcing the Mongols to retreat to the Mongolian steppes. With his seizure of the Yuan capital Dadu (present-day Beijing), he claimed the Mandate of Heaven and established the Ming Dynasty in the year 1368.
In trying to destroy a local rebellion, the Mongol army burned down Zhu's monastery. In 1352 Zhu joined one of the many groups of local rebels who were starting to appear throughout China. Zhu's natural abilities (leadership, determination, skill as a warrior, and a brilliant mind) allowed him to rise rapidly within his group to a position of command. Zhu's local rebels soon joined with the Red Turban Movement, a millenarian sect related to the White Lotus Society, and a sect combining cultural and religious traditions of Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and other religions.
The rejection of things associated with the Mongols also continued into other areas. These included Mongol dress, which was discarded, and Mongol names, which stopped being used. Indeed, attacks on Mongol-associated items and places also included the attack of palaces and administrative buildings used by the Yuan rulers.