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Hongwu Emperor

The Hongwu Emperor, personal name Zhu Yuanzhang, was the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, who reigned from 1368 to 1398. In the middle of the 14th century, with famine and peasant revolts sweeping across China, Zhu Yuanzhang rose to command the force that conquered China and ended the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty, 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. Trusting only in 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; the Hongwu reign was noted for his unprecedented political reforms. He abolished the position of chancellor, drastically reduced the role of court eunuchs, cracked down on corruption with draconian measures, he 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, in which tens of thousands were executed. The emperor encouraged agriculture, reduced taxes, incentivized the cultivation of new land and established laws protecting the property of peasants, he confiscated land held by large estates and forbade private slavery. Meanwhile, he banned free movement in the empire and assigned hereditary occupational categories to households. Through these measures, Zhu Yuanzhang attempted to rebuild a country, ravaged by war and control social groups, transform the people with orthodox values, create a rigid society of self-sufficient farming communities. Zhu was born into a poor peasant tenant farmer family in Zhongli Village in the Huai River plain, in present-day Fengyang, Anhui Province, his father was Zhu Shizhen and his mother was Chen Erniang. He had seven older siblings, several of whom were "given away" by his parents, as they did not have enough food to support the family.

When he was 16, severe drought ruined the harvest. Subsequently, famine killed his entire family, except one of his brothers, he buried them by wrapping them in white clothes. His grandfather on his mother's side lived to be 99 years old and in 1279 he had served in the Southern Song army and navy which fought against the Mongol invasion and told his grandson Zhu Yuanzhang about it. Destitute, Zhu accepted a suggestion to take up a pledge made by his brother and became a novice monk at the Huangjue Temple, a local Buddhist monastery, he did not remain there for long, as the monastery ran short of funds, he was forced to leave. For the next few years, Zhu led the life of a wandering beggar and experienced and saw the hardships of the common people. After about three years, he returned to the monastery and stayed there until he was around 24 years old, he learned to write during the time he spent with the Buddhist monks. The monastery where Zhu lived was destroyed by an army, suppressing a local rebellion.

In 1352, Zhu joined one of the many insurgent forces that had risen in rebellion against the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. He rose through the ranks and became a commander, his rebel force joined the Red Turbans, a millenarian sect related to the White Lotus Society, one that followed cultural and religious traditions of Buddhism and other religions. Seen as a defender of Confucianism and neo-Confucianism among the predominant Han Chinese population in China, Zhu emerged as a leader of the rebels that were struggling to overthrow the Yuan dynasty. In 1356, Zhu and his army conquered Nanjing, which became his base of operations, the capital of the Ming dynasty during his reign. Zhu's government in Nanjing became famous for good governance, the city attracted vast numbers of people fleeing from other, more lawless regions, it is estimated. In the meantime, the Yuan government had been weakened by internal factions fighting for control, it made little effort to retake the Yangtze River valley. By 1358, central and southern China had fallen into the hands of different rebel groups.

During that time the Red Turbans split up. Zhu became the leader of a smaller faction, while the larger faction, under Chen Youliang, controlled the center of the Yangtze River valley. Zhu Yuanzhang was the Duke of Wu, nominally under the control of Han Shantong's son Han Lin'er, enthroned as the Longfeng 龍鳳 Emperor of the Great Song dynasty. Zhu was able to attract many talents into his service. One of them was Zhu Sheng, who advised him, "Build high walls, stock up rations, don't be too quick to call yourself a king." Another, Jiao Yu, was an artillery officer, who compiled a military treatise outlining the various types of gunpowder weapons. Another one, Liu Bowen, became one of Zhu's key advisors, edited the military-technology treatise titled Huolongjing in years. Starting from 1360, Chen Youliang fought a protracted war for supremacy over the former territories controlled by the Red Turbans; the pivotal moment in the war was the Battle of Lake Poyang in 1363. The battle ended with the defeat and retreat of Chen's larger navy.

Chen died a month in b

East-Central Synod of Wisconsin

The East Central Synod of Wisconsin is one of the 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States. Not to be confused with other Lutheran bodies, in which the national expression is called a synod, in the ELCA, a synod is most similar to a diocese or conference in other mainline denominations; the East Central Synod of Wisconsin is made up of 97,000 baptized members. The Synod is divided into six conferences: Appleton, Green Bay, Shawano, Tomorrow River, Wisconsin River Valley; these conferences are made up of twenty counties in East Central Wisconsin which are: Door, Brown, Fond du Lac, Winnebago, Shawano, Menominee, Lincoln, Wood, Waupaca, Waushara and Green Lake. Synod offices are located at 16 Tri-Park Way, Wisconsin 54914; the East Central Synod of Wisconsin holds a Synod Assembly every year. The East Central Synod of Wisconsin has a active Lay School. Rev. Jim Justman 2000-2013 Rev. Gerald Mansholt 2013-Present East Central Synod of Wisconsin official site

A Memory of Vienna

A Memory of Vienna is an album by pianist Ran Blake and saxophonist Anthony Braxton performing jazz standards recorded in 1988 and released on the hatOLOGY label in 1997. The Allmusic review by Thom Jurek stated "This pair, despite the quirky nature of Blake's off-kilter harmonizing, know how to swing together, taking great care not to get in the way of the tunes they're playing; this is as understated and "mellow" as you will hear these two players. However, it may be the first time you hear what sensitive listeners and interpretive masters they can be with the jazz canon". On All About Jazz Troy Collins noted "Though admired for their uncompromising, avant-garde innovations, the most surprising aspect of the session is not the duo's relative lack of cacophonous pyrotechnics, but the incredible level of intuitive empathy and conceptual foresight displayed—despite the ad hoc nature of the recording. A Memory Of Vienna demonstrates Blake and Braxton's longstanding reverence for standard material, bringing new life to timeless classics with understated creativity and soulful conviction".

"'Round Midnight" - 11:06 "Yardbird Suite" - 5:37 "You Go to My Head" - 7:57 "Just Friends" - 6:24 "Alone Together" - 4:58 "Four" - 4:52 "Soul Eyes" - 7:33 "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" - 7:06 Anthony Braxton - alto saxophone Ran Blake - piano