Chinese Emperor. Born Zhu Di, he was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty. He ascended the throne on 17 July 1402, and much of his reign was fraught with border disputes. Counter to long-standing Chinese custom, he initiated battles against neighboring nations. During his reign he sent his armies on campaigns against Mongol forces that were remnants of the Yuan Dynasty, and also attempted, but ultimately failed, to make Vietnam a fully fledged province of China. He oversaw a period of exploration for China, financing the seafaring expeditions of Zheng He to destinations as remote as Arabia and Africa. Yongle also commissioned the construction of the Ming Tombs and became the first of 13 emperors buried there.
Bio by: Chris Nelson