Empress Dowager Cixi

Nov 29, 1835 - Nov 15, 1908

Empress Dowager Cixi, of the Manchu Yehe Nara clan, was a Chinese empress dowager and regent who effectively controlled the Chinese government in the late Qing dynasty for 47 years, from 1861 until her death in 1908. Selected as a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence, she gave birth to a son, Zaichun, in 1856. After the Xianfeng Emperor's death in 1861, the young boy became the Tongzhi Emperor, and she became the Empress Dowager. Cixi ousted a group of regents appointed by the late emperor and assumed regency, which she shared with Empress Dowager Ci'an. Cixi then consolidated control over the dynasty when she installed her nephew as the Guangxu Emperor at the death of the Tongzhi Emperor in 1875, contrary to the traditional rules of succession of the Qing dynasty that had ruled China since 1644.
Cixi supervised the Tongzhi Restoration, a series of moderate reforms that helped the regime survive until 1911. Although Cixi refused to adopt Western models of government, she supported technological and military reforms and the Self-Strengthening Movement.
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“I have often thought that i am the most clever woman that ever lived, and others cannot compare with me.... Although I have heard much about Queen Victoria...I don't think her life was half so interesting and eventful as mine.... she had... really nothing to say about the policy of the country. Now look at me. I have 400,000,000 people dependent on my judgement.”

Empress Dowager Cixi
Nov 29, 1835 - Nov 15, 1908
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