Empress Dowager Cixi

CixiEmpress DowagerTzu HsiDowager Empress CixiEmpress Tz'u-hsiDowager EmpressEmpress Dowager Ci XiEmpress XiaoqinxianNoble Consort YiYehonala
Empress Dowager Cixi ([tsʰɨ̌.ɕì tʰâi.xôu]; Manchu: Tsysi taiheo; 29 November 1835 – 15 November 1908), 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.wikipedia
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Tongzhi Emperor

TongzhiTongzhi periodZaichun
Selected as a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence, she gave birth to a son, Zaichun, in 1856.
His reign, from 1861 to 1875, which effectively lasted through his adolescence, was largely overshadowed by the rule of his mother, Empress Dowager Cixi.

Boxer Rebellion

Boxer UprisingBoxersThe Boxer Rebellion
After the Boxer Rebellion led to invasion by Allied armies, Cixi initially backed the Boxer groups and declared war on the invaders.
In response to reports of an armed invasion by Eight Nation Alliance of American, Austro-Hungarian, British, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Russian forces to lift the siege, the initially hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi supported the Boxers and on June21 issued an Imperial Decree declaring war on the foreign powers.

Hundred Days' Reform

Hundred Days ReformWuxu Coupa coup
She supported the principles of the Hundred Days' Reforms of 1898, but feared that sudden implementation, without bureaucratic support, would be disruptive and that the Japanese and other foreign powers would take advantage of any weakness.
Following the issuing of the reformative edicts, a coup d'état ("The Coup of 1898", Wuxu Coup) was perpetrated by powerful conservative opponents led by Empress Dowager Cixi, though it was never confirmed but rather speculated.

Concubinage

concubineconcubinesconcubin
Selected as a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence, she gave birth to a son, Zaichun, in 1856.
Lady Yehenara, otherwise known as Empress Dowager Cixi, was arguably one of the most successful concubines in Chinese history.

Puyi

Xuantong EmperorPu YiEmperor Puyi
The death of both Cixi and the Guangxu Emperor in 1908 left the court in hands of Manchu conservatives, a child, Puyi, on the throne, and a restless, deeply divided society.
Chosen by Empress Dowager Cixi on her deathbed, Puyi became emperor at the age of 2 years and 10 months in December 1908 after the Guangxu Emperor died on 14 November.

New Policies

fiscal and administrative reformsfiscal and institutional reformslate Qing reforms
When Cixi returned to Beijing from Xi'an, where she had taken the emperor, she became friendly to foreigners in the capital and began to implement fiscal and institutional reforms aimed to turn China into a constitutional monarchy.
The reforms started in 1901 and since they were implemented with the backing of the Empress Dowager Cixi, they are also called Cixi's New Policies.

Empress Dowager Longyu

Empress XiaodingjingEmpress LongyuJingfen
For his empress, Empress Dowager Cixi chose the Guangxu Emperor's cousin Jingfen, who would become Empress Longyu.

Empress Dowager Ci'an

Ci'anEmpress XiaozhenxianAn Dehai
Cixi ousted a group of regents appointed by the late emperor and assumed regency, which she shared with Empress Dowager Ci'an. Among the other chosen candidates were Noble Lady Li of the Tatara clan (later Consort Li) and Concubine Zhen of the Niohuru clan (later the Xianfeng Emperor's empress consort).
On 27 April 1856, another of the Xianfeng Emperor's consorts, Concubine Yi (the future Empress Dowager Cixi), gave birth to the emperor's first son, Zaichun.

Peking University

Beijing UniversityUniversity of BeijingPeking
Conventionally denounced as a ruthless despot whose reactionary policies – although successfully self-serving in prolonging the ailing Qing dynasty – led to its humiliation and utter downfall in the Wuchang Uprising, revisionists suggested that Nationalist and Communist revolutionaries scapegoated her for deep-rooted problems beyond salvage, and lauded her maintenance of political order as well as numerous effective, if belated reforms – including the abolition of slavery, ancient torturous punishments and the ancient examination system in her ailing years, the latter supplanted by institutions including the new Peking University.
On Sep 21,1898, Empress Dowager Cixi, with support from conservatives, abruptly ended the Hundred Days' Reform and put Guangxu under house arrest at Zhongnanhai.

Prince Gong

YixinPrince KungYixin (Prince Gong)
Among them was Prince Gong, who had been excluded from power, yet harboured great ambitions, and Prince Chun, the sixth and seventh brothers of the Xianfeng Emperor, respectively. The once fierce and determined Prince Gong, frustrated by Cixi's iron grip on power, did little to question Cixi on state affairs, and supported Manchu involvement in the Sino-French War of 1884-1885.
Following the death of the Xianfeng Emperor, Prince Gong launched the Xinyou Coup in 1861 with the aid of the Empress Dowagers Ci'an and Cixi and seized power from a group of eight regents appointed by the Xianfeng Emperor on his deathbed to assist his young son and successor, the Tongzhi Emperor.

Empress dowager

Dowager Empressempresses dowagerEmpress Dowager of Japan
Empress Dowager Cixi ([tsʰɨ̌.ɕì tʰâi.xôu]; Manchu: Tsysi taiheo; 29 November 1835 – 15 November 1908), 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.

Tongzhi Restoration

T'ung Chih (Tongzhi) RestorationT'ung-chih [''Tongzhi''] Restoration
Cixi supervised the Tongzhi Restoration, a series of moderate reforms that helped the regime survive until 1911.
1861–1875), and was engineered by the young emperor's mother, the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908).

Wuchang Uprising

uprising in Wuchang1911 revolution1911 revolution in China
Conventionally denounced as a ruthless despot whose reactionary policies – although successfully self-serving in prolonging the ailing Qing dynasty – led to its humiliation and utter downfall in the Wuchang Uprising, revisionists suggested that Nationalist and Communist revolutionaries scapegoated her for deep-rooted problems beyond salvage, and lauded her maintenance of political order as well as numerous effective, if belated reforms – including the abolition of slavery, ancient torturous punishments and the ancient examination system in her ailing years, the latter supplanted by institutions including the new Peking University.
The reforms failed due to the Wuxu Coup by Empress Dowager Cixi.

Xinyou Coup

a coupa coup that ousted eight regents
This coup is historically known as the Xinyou Coup because it took place in the xinyou year, the name of the year 1861 in the Chinese sexagenary cycle.
Xinyou Coup was a palace coup instigated by Empress Dowagers Cixi and Ci'an, and Prince Gong to seize power after the death of the Xianfeng Emperor.

Wanzhen

Yehenara WanzhenPrimary consort
On 26 June 1852, Lady Yehe Nara's elder sister, the future Empress Dowager Cixi, entered the Forbidden City and became a consort of the Xianfeng Emperor.

Imperial Noble Consort Zhuangjing

Consort LiConcubine LiNoble Lady Li
Among the other chosen candidates were Noble Lady Li of the Tatara clan (later Consort Li) and Concubine Zhen of the Niohuru clan (later the Xianfeng Emperor's empress consort).
On the other hand, Lady Yehe Nara, another of the emperor's consorts, only caught the emperor's attention during and after Lady Tatara's pregnancy.

Yixuan, Prince Chun

Prince ChunYixuanYixuan (Prince Chun)
Among them was Prince Gong, who had been excluded from power, yet harboured great ambitions, and Prince Chun, the sixth and seventh brothers of the Xianfeng Emperor, respectively.
In 1860, by the Xianfeng Emperor's decree, Yixuan married Wanzhen of the Yehe Nara clan, who was a younger sister of Noble Consort Yi, one of the Xianfeng Emperor's consorts.

Xianfeng Emperor

XianfengXianfeng periodYizhu
Selected as a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence, she gave birth to a son, Zaichun, in 1856.
As his health worsened, the emperor's ability to govern also deteriorated, and competing ideologies in court led to the formation of two distinct factions — one led by the senior official Sushun and the princes Zaiyuan and Duanhua, and the other led by Noble Consort Yi, who was supported by the general Ronglu and the Bannermen of the Yehe Nara clan.

Sino-French War

Franco-Chinese WarSino–French WarExtrême-Orient 1884–1885
The once fierce and determined Prince Gong, frustrated by Cixi's iron grip on power, did little to question Cixi on state affairs, and supported Manchu involvement in the Sino-French War of 1884-1885.
The war strengthened the control of Empress Dowager Cixi over the Chinese government, but brought down the government of Prime Minister Jules Ferry in Paris.

Guangxu Emperor

GuangxuGuangxu periodEmperor Guangxu
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.
His reign lasted from 1875 to 1908, but in practice he ruled, without Empress Dowager Cixi's influence, only from 1889 to 1898.

Self-Strengthening Movement

institutional reformattempts to modernize its militaryself-strengthening
Although Cixi refused to adopt Western models of government, she supported technological and military reforms and the Self-Strengthening Movement.
When it was first developed by Empress Dowager Cixi, the Beiyang Fleet was said to be the strongest navy in East Asia.

Beiyang Fleet

Beiyang Navya new imperial navyChinese
When it was first developed by Empress Dowager Cixi, the Beiyang Fleet was said to be the strongest navy in East Asia.
Among the four, the Beiyang Fleet was particularly sponsored by Li Hongzhang, one of the most trusted vassals of Empress Dowager Cixi and the principal patron of the "self-strengthening movement" in northern China in his capacity as the Viceroy of Zhili and the Minister of Beiyang Commerce .

An Dehai

An-te-haiOn Tak-hoi
Some believe that rumours began circulating at court to the effect that Cixi had poisoned Ci'an, perhaps as a result of a possible conflict between Cixi and Ci'an over the execution of the eunuch An Dehai in 1869 or a possible will from the late Xianfeng Emperor that was issued exclusively to Ci'an.
In the 1860s, he became the confidant of Empress Dowager Cixi and was subsequently executed as part of a power struggle between the empress dowager and Prince Gong.

Kang Youwei

K'ang Yu-weiHong Yau-waiKang Yu-wei
Under the influence of reformist-officials Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao, the Guangxu Emperor believed that by learning from constitutional monarchies such as Japan and Germany, China would become politically and economically powerful.
Through his connections, he became close to the young Guangxu Emperor and fervently encouraged him to promote his friends and consequently soured the relationship between the emperor and his adoptive mother, the powerful Empress Dowager Cixi.