Lost all relatives by age of 16 & joined the monks, who were poor but gave Chu an education. He left the monastery and joined up with Kuo Tzu-hsing, the local criminal gang leader. Because the government broke down, he is in charge of the small part of central China. Thanks to his leadership ability, he quickly rises up in Kuo's criminal organization. 1355, he was 2nd in command. After Kuo died of natural causes, Chu moves quickly to take over Kuo's criminal organization and eliminates all potential rivals. His brothers in law, Kuo's sons. He married Kuo's daughter. Chu runs this area but there are hundreds of guys like him spread throughout China. During the next 13 years, 1355- 1368, (pika)Chu conquered all of China. He drives the Mongols out once and for all and China was finally liberated from Mongol rule. 1368. Chu makes himself emperor of China. Issued a proclamation saying he had the right to rule because Mongols no longer had support of heaven. Ended anarchy, restored peace throughout China. His success indicated that Chu now had support of heaven. Title "HungWu Emperor".