Empress Dowager Cixi By Christina Lelon Early Life – Origins unclear – Low ranking Machu family, father named Huizheng • Member of blue banner of the eight banners • Served in Shaxi prince • Commisioner of Anhui Province – Born Nov. 29, 1835 – LanKueu (Little Orchid) or Yu Lan (Jade Orchid) – Relative insists her name was Xing’er, and she used Xingzhen during schooling – Either from: Yangtze Region, Changzhi, Shanxi, Suiyuan, Inner Mongolia or Beijing – Moved to Beijing somewhere between third and fifteenth birthday – In September 1851 Cixi became a concubine for the Xianfeng Emperor – Became pregnant and gave birth to the only male heir Death of Xianfeng Emperor • September 1860, Xianfeng Emperor fell into a depression because of the destruction of his Imperial Summer Palace Complex • August 22, 1861, Xianfeng Emperor died • Chose eight ministers and titled them the “Eight Regent Ministers” to support his son, who was five years old at the time • Also gave the Empress and Cixi power, to balance out the power of the Regent Ministers Xinyou Coup • While the Emperor’s body was being transported to Peking, Empress Dowager Cixi plotted to gain power by suggesting she and the Empress become co-reigning Empress Dowagers • Empress Cixi caused tension between ministers and the Empress, and gained support from the people, including Prince Gong • Regents were dismissed from power for having negotiated with barbarians Regency over Guangxu Emperor • In 1875, Zaitian, the first-born of Cixi’s sister, became ruler at age four, and Cixi essentially ruled for him • It is thought that Cixipoisioned the Empress, Ci’an, to gain more power • Even after he officially had power, Cixi made decisions and ruled for him • After Cixi retired, Zaitian began the Hundred Day’s Reform, a period in which there was much political, legal and social change • This began the Boxer Uprising, which was a movement towards traditional Chinese styles of rule Death • Cixi died on November 15, 1908 • She installed Puyi as the new Emperor the previous day, when the Guangxu Emperor, Zaitian, died due to posioning • The Empress, before she died, was unsatisfied with her tomb and built a new one in 1985, which was large and ornate • Her tomb was later robbed in July, 1928, and all the precious jewels and other items were stolen So What? • Cixi was important for many different reasons – Woman doing a man’s job – One of the most powerful women ever to come out of China – Last true Emperor or Empress of China – Many Chinese regard her as the reason the Dynasty fell and the reason other forms of government began Bibliography • "Empress Dowager Cixi." May 8 2009. 18 May 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Dowager_Cixi>. • “Cixi.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2009. Ecyclopaedia Britannica Online. 17 May 2009. http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9074044 • Upshur, Jiu-Hwa Lo. "Cixi." In Ackermann, Marsha E., Michael Schroeder, Janice J. Terry, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, and Mark F. Whitters, eds. Encyclopedia of World History: Age of Revolution and Empire, 1750 to 1900, vol. 4. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2008. Modern World History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp? ItemID=WE53&iPin=WHIV061&SingleRecord=True (accesse d May 18, 2009).