When Zhu Yuanzhang officially proclaimed himself the Hongwu Emperor and declared the founding of the Ming Dynasty, he was doing more than simply asserting his control over China. Becoming the Hongwu Emperor was the final culmination of Zhu Yuanzhang's transformation from the child of a peasant farmer to one of the most significant figures in Chinese history. On the way, he would be a novice at a Buddhist monastery, a wandering beggar, a rebel fighter, a general of his own army, and the effective leader of much of Southern China. His singular life would be permanently transformed once he was able to say he was worthy of taking the Mandate of Heaven as the Emperor of China.
Which is What Happened Today, January 23, in 1368.