Born 1399 as Zhu Zhanji, eldest son of Emperor Hongxi and Empress Zhang, Xuanzong ascended to the throne on February 8, 1426 with reign title of Xuande.
He successfully suppressed an early internal rebellion by an uncle after which he kept grip on power till his death in 1435. The rebel leader, his uncle Zhu Gaoxu, was strong as an ox and could lift the heavy bronze vessel under which he was being roasted to death for his betrayal.
Xuande fought natural calamities, safeguarded the borders and patronized the arts. Supported by his mother, Empress Dowager Zhang, his 10 years of rule brought peace and prosperity to the empire.
His first Empress Hu was childless and abdicated in 1425 in favor of second Empress Sun who gave birth to two sons and two daughters. Both empresses survived the emperor who died 36 years old in 1435.
Whereas his uncle and his father wisely had eliminated all political influence by the palace eunuchs, Xuande as part of his otherwise sound reforms made the monumental mistake of re-introducing power to the eunuchs. He established a palace school for eunuchs and even appointed them as military supervisors.
This unfortunately was the one reform that would prove to be the beginning of the end of the entire Ming dynasty, the last genuine Chinese imperial rule.