Why did Zhu Qiyu kill Zhu Qizhen (Zhu Qizhen after the Civil Castle)

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According to historical records, in the middle and early stage of the Ming Dynasty, there was a great upheaval in the Ming Dynasty, that is, the famous “Civil Castle Change” in history.

In other words, after the rise of the Ming Dynasty, most of the Mongols who remained in the Central Plains returned to the desert, and the Northern Yuan Dynasty split into eastern and western Mongolia (the Ming Dynasty called the eastern Mongolia Tatar, and the western Mongolia Vara). They fought for each other’s strength and continued to fight against each other. Even so, in the end of the Ming Dynasty, the great threat from Mongolia could not be eradicated. Mongolian cavalry always harassed and plundered the northern border of the Ming Dynasty, and the two sides continued to conflict.



In the early years of Yongle, Zhu Di, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, sent envoys to communicate with Tatar and Vara (also known as Weilat). In order to use the power of the Ming Dynasty to deal with Tatar, Mahamu, the leader of Wara, claimed to the Ming Dynasty, and Emperor Chengzu of the Ming Dynasty also made him king respectively. After a long war, the Tatar forces have been weakened and the Vara has become stronger. After that, the son of Mahamu Tuohuan succeeded his father as King Shunning. In a few years, Tuohuan attacked Tatar and annexed its people, and Zhang Xiong became increasingly indifferent to the north.

In June of the 14th year of orthodoxy (1449), the Wara army repeatedly harassed the border of the Ming Dynasty, and the Emperor Yingzong of the Ming Dynasty, under the delusion of the eunuch Wang Zhen, decided to drive his troops. As a result, in this war, the Ming army probably lost hundreds of thousands of troops. Even the emperor Zhuqi Town, who was personally on the battlefield, was also taken away by the Waci Ministry of Mongolia, and was detained for a year before returning to Beijing.

However, in this year, the dragons could not be without their heads. In order to fight with Wa San, the ministers supported Zhu Qiyu, Zhu Qizhen’s brother, as the emperor, namely, Emperor Jingtai.

Therefore, when Zhu Qizhen returns to the middle of Beijing, he can only be the emperor.

At this time, Zhu Qiyu was very afraid that his brother would rob him of the throne when he came back. Therefore, he was very indifferent to Zhu Qizhen, sent a carriage to meet him, and put him under house arrest in the South Palace.

The Nangong is one of the most desolate palaces in the imperial palace, but Zhu Qiyu has made more efforts to demolish many of the facilities inside, and even cut down all the trees around, and ordered that no one is allowed to enter and leave the Nangong at will, even if it is to deliver food to Zhu Qizhen, the eunuchs can only deliver it through a small wall hole. This completely cut off the communication and contact between Zhuqi Town and the outside world.

So it seems that Zhu Qiyu is really strict with her brother, and even can be described as heartless. Therefore, many people have a question about this matter: since Zhu Qiyu is so unwilling to return to Zhu Qizhen, why not kill him before he comes back?



In fact, the reason is very simple. It’s not that Zhu Qiyu doesn’t want to kill him, but that he can’t find a chance to kill him. If you really want to assassinate Zhuqi Town, then you must go back to China before Zhuqi Town returns. Because if Zhu Qiyu was assassinated after he returned home, he would be spurned by the Chinese people and would also cause strong dissatisfaction and resistance from some ministers who supported Zhu Qizhen. Therefore, the best time to assassinate was on the way back to Zhu Qizhen.

However, the Taishi of Waci had already seen through Zhu Qiyu’s intention and made comprehensive preparations. He specially sent 500 cavalry guards to guard Zhuqi Town, and did not leave until Zhuqi Town was safely returned to the palace. Because if Zhu Qizhen accidentally died on the way back to Beijing, the Waci Department would have to bear a large part of the responsibility. This minute would lead to the breakdown of the relationship between Waci and the Ming Dynasty, thus triggering a war.

Wa thorn didn’t want to carry the black pot, so he carried out comprehensive personal safety protection for Zhuqi Town. In this way, even if Zhu Qiyu wanted to harm Zhu Qizhen, he could not find any chance. After Zhu Qizhen returned to Beijing, Zhu Qiyu had even fewer opportunities to start. At this time, the assassination tactics could not be used, because it was obvious that Zhu Qiyu was the most suspect.

Therefore, Zhu Qiyu found some other ways to eliminate Zhu Qizhen through legal means.

Thus, the “golden knife case” occurred.

There are several key figures in the Golden Sabre case. One of them is a eunuch named Ruan Lang, whose duty is to watch over Zhuqi Town in the South Palace. The relationship between Ruan Lang and Zhuqi Town gradually became closer after a long period of custody. In order to commemorate the friendship between the two people, Zhu Qizhen gave Ruan Lang a walking gold knife. However, soon after, the matter was reported.



Zhu Qiyu took this opportunity to frame his brother, and even made a case of “the emperor colluded with the eunuch to try to conspire”. However, Zhu Qiyu underestimated Ruan Lang’s integrity and the influence of Zhu Qizhen in the court and the public. Ruan Lang would rather be tortured to death than do anything to frame Zhuqi Town. The ministers also wrote in memorials many times to persuade Zhu Qiyu not to act alone and not to catch up with Zhuqi Town.

However, what Zhu Qiyu didn’t expect was that the emperor, who had abdicated and lived in the cold palace, still had such great influence in the court. Even the empress dowager also secretly supported Zhu Qizhen. In desperation, Zhu Qiyu had to give up the idea of eliminating Zhu Qizhen. In addition, the most important reason is that Zhu Qiyu’s son died in succession, so he never had any children.

If there are no children, the problem is very serious. If Zhu Qizhen is really killed at this time, then when Zhu Qiyu dies, the throne will still pass to Zhu Qizhen’s son. Therefore, no matter what kind of form, the throne will eventually be passed on to the family of Zhu Qizhen, rather than to his descendants. What is the difference between Zhu Qiyu killing and not killing Zhu Qizhen at this time?

Therefore, in this case, Zhu Qiyu’s killing his brother has no substantive significance for him.

In the end, because of this kind of reason, Zhu Qiyu did not kill Zhu Qizhen. Moreover, there are still some feelings between the two brothers. When Zhu Qizhen first ascended the throne, he loved his brother Zhu Qiyu very much. He not only often rewarded him with some gold and silver treasures and fertile fields, but also gave him 3000 stone grain and Wanguan cash at one time, and even helped him choose the princess in person.

Of course, Zhu Qiyu will never forget these things, so he is not as heartless to Zhu Qizhen as people say. Later, Zhu Qizhen launched a coup to seize the gate and regain the throne. He first abolished Zhu Qiyu’s throne, dug up the tomb he had built, and then gave Zhu Qiyu a derogatory posthumous title “Li”.

However, when ministers proposed to change the year used by Zhu Qiyu to “orthodox”, Zhu Qizhen hesitated. He could not bear to do that. Later, after Zhu Qizhen’s son, Ming Xianzong, ascended the throne, Zhu Jianshen restored Zhu Qiyu’s imperial title and carried out a counter-revolution for him.

At this point, the friendship and hatred between the two brothers have finally come to an end.

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