The Empress Dowager Cixi (akaTzu-Hsi) was born into the Manchurian Yehenara clan, on the 29th November 1835. She became a powerful and charismatic woman who unofficially, but effectively, controlled the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China for 47 years, from 1861 until her death in 1908. Cixi has been referred to as a “Qing Dynasty Dragon Empress, who was both vain and manipulative as well as being power crazy. She was considered to be ruthlessly ambitious and ruled a quarter of the world’s population for over 50 years. She once said of her standing: “I have often thought that I am the most clever woman that ever lived, and others cannot compare with me … I have 400 million people dependent on my judgement.” Other interesting facts include:
- Selected as an imperial concubine for the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence, Cixi was originally known as Yehonala although her actual birth name is unknown.
- Cixi gave birth to a son via the Emperor, in 1856 and upon the Emperor Xianfeng’s death in 1861; the young boy became the Tongzhi Emperor; and Cixi became the Empress Dowager.
- Cixi took control over the dynasty upon the death of the Tongzhi Emperor, contrary to the dynastic rules of succession. She installed her nephew as the Guangxu Emperor in 1875.
- Empress Dowager Cixi died in the Hall of Graceful Bird at the Middle Sea of Zhongnanhai on 15th November 1908, after having installed Puyi as the new Emperor of the Qing Dynasty on 14 November. Her death came only a day after the death of the Guangxu Emperor.
All I can say is – Cixi was some she-she!”