Empress Dowager Cixi

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Empress Dowager Cixi in Summer Palace

Empress Dowager Cixi (Chinese: 慈禧太后; Hanyu Pinyin: Cíxī Tàihòu; Wade-Giles: Tz'u-Hsi T'ai-hou) (29 November, 183515 November, 1908), popularly known in China as the West Empress Dowager (Chinese: 西太后), was from the Manchu Yehe Nara Clan. She was a powerful and charismatic figure who became the de facto ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty, ruling over China for 47 years from 1861 to her death in 1908. Coming from a fairly ordinary Manchu family and having been selected by the Xianfeng Emperor as a concubine, she exercised almost total control over the court under the nominal rule of her son the Tongzhi Emperor and her nephew the Guangxu Emperor, both of whom attempted to rule unsuccessfully in their own right. Largely conservative during her rule, many historians considered her reign despotic, and attribute the fall of the Qing Dynasty, and therefore Imperial China, as a result of Cixi's rule.


  • I have read a great deal about Queen Victoria. Still, I think her life isn't half as interesting and memorable as mine.
    • To her lady-in-waiting Der Ling