Chang Yuchun (1330 – 9 August 1369), courtesy name Boren and art name Yanheng, was a Chinese military general of the Ming dynasty. He was a follower of Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, and contributed heavily to the establishment of the Ming Empire. He was famous for his bravery and formidable prowess in battle, which earned him the nickname of "Chang Hundred-Thousand" (常十万), because he alone was said to be as effective as a force of 100,000 troops.[1]

Chang Yuchun
A Qing dynasty illustration of Chang Yuchun in the Wanxiaotang Huachuan, by Shangguan Zhou
Yuan Zhishun 1
Died9 August 1369(1369-08-09) (aged 38–39)
Ming Hongwu 2, 7th day of the 7th month
  • Chang Mao, first son
  • Chang Sheng, second son
  • Chang Sen, third son
  • Meirong (Empress Xiaokang), first daughter
  • Meiyu, second daughter
  • Meizhen, third daughter
Chang Yuchun
Courtesy name
Art name


Tomb guardian at the tomb of Chang Yuchun

Chang was born in Huaiyuan County, Anhui, he was described as a stalwart man with imposing look and great strength. Chang joined the Red Turban Rebellion in 1355 to overthrow the Mongol-ruled Yuan dynasty in China. In the sixth month[note 1] of that year, he followed Zhu Yuanzhang on a battle with the Yuan army that took place at Caishi (near present-day southern Ma'anshan, eastern bank of the Yangtze River). The rebel forces emerged victorious in that battle and Chang became famous. He was subsequently promoted to the rank of yuanshuai (equivalent of marshal).

Chang participated in major battles against Zhu Yuanzhang's rivals, Chen Youliang and Zhang Shicheng, helped Zhu eliminate them and secure his rule over China and laid the foundation for the Ming dynasty. He was granted the title "Duke of E" (鄂國公) by Zhu in 1366. In 1367, Chang followed Xu Da on a military campaign north and conquered the Yuan capital, Khanbaliq, in the following year, thereby ending Mongol rule in China.

In 1369, Chang died of illness on the return journey to Nanjing in the east of present-day Xuanhua County, Hebei. When Zhu Yuanzhang heard of Chang's death, he wrote a poem mourning Chang and posthumously granted Chang the title "King of Kaiping" (開平王) and the posthumous name "Zhongwu" (忠武), ranking second in the Imperial Ancestral Temples and Portrait Temples of Meritorious Officials.[2] Chang Yuchun had three sons, Chang Mao (常茂), Chang Sheng (常升) and Chang Sen (常森).

In fiction


Chang appears as a minor character in Louis Cha's wuxia novel The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber. In the novel, he is a member of the Ming Cult, a rebel movement seeking to overthrow the Yuan dynasty. He is wounded in a fight with some Yuan soldiers but is saved by Zhang Sanfeng. He agrees to bring Zhang Wuji (the protagonist) with him to Butterfly Valley to seek treatment from the eccentric physician, Hu Qingniu. Several years later, Chang becomes Zhang Wuji's subordinate after Zhang becomes the cult's leader for his heroics in saving the cult from destruction. He participates in various battles against Yuan forces and eventually helps Zhu Yuanzhang establish the Ming dynasty.

Martial arts


Chang Yuchun is said to be the creator of the martial art "Kaiping spear method".[3]

Discourse on Chang Yuchun's religion and ethnicity


Chang's religion and ethnic background is a controversial issue in Chinese historian circles. According to Bai Shouyi, Fu Tongxian, Jin Jitang, Ma Yiyu and Qiu Shusen (all Hui people except Qiu), Chang was from the Hui ethnic group. Tan Ta Sen and Dru C. Gladney also identified him as Hui or Muslim.[4][5][3] Wen Yong-ning argued that Chang might not be Hui, based on Chang's family traditions and offspring and the status of the Semu in the Yuan dynasty.[6] In a later paper, Li Jianbiao mentioned that Wen's work was speculative and not convincing.[7]

See also





  1. ^ "中国明朝开国名将:常遇春[图]-中华网-中华军事". Archived from the original on 2007-12-16. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  2. ^ "明史/卷125 - 维基文库,自由的图书馆". (in Chinese). Retrieved 2024-06-05.
  3. ^ a b Gladney, Dru C. (1991). Muslim Chinese: ethnic nationalism in the People's Republic (2nd, illustrated, reprint ed.). Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University. p. 198. ISBN 0-674-59495-9. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  4. ^ Tan Ta Sen; Chen, Dasheng (2009). Cheng Ho and Islam in Southeast Asia. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 170. ISBN 978-981-230-837-5. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  5. ^ Jonathan Lipman, Familiar Strangers, a history of Muslims in Northwest China, 39
  6. ^ Wen, Yong-ning (2009). "On Chang Yu-chun's Religious Belief and Forebears". Tangdu Journal. 25 (3).
  7. ^ Jian-biao, Li (2001). "CHANG Ya-chun's Belief and Ethnicity——Discussion with Mr.WEN Yong-ning". Tangdu Journal. 27 (2): 86–91.