Yung-lo (yōng-lô) [key], 1359–1424, reign title of the 3d emperor (1403–24) of the Chinese Ming dynasty, whose personal name was Chu Ti. He rose to power in N China after being delegated by his father, the Ming founding emperor Hung Wu (reigned 1368–98), to lead the fight against the retreating Mongols. He usurped the throne from his nephew, Emperor Chien Wen (reigned 1399–1402), after a devastating civil war. Under his reign six maritime expeditions led by the Muslim eunuch Cheng Ho sailed as far as Arabia and E Africa, and tributary relations were established with many kingdoms in SE Asia. Yung-lo focused his energy, however, on securing defense in the north. As emperor he personally led five vast military campaigns far across the steppe to subdue the Mongol tribes. The importance of the north was confirmed when in 1421 he moved the capital from Nanjing to Beijing, just S of the Great Wall.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.