Empress Dowager Cixi



Born Anhui Province, 29 November 1835; died Zhongnanhai 15 November 1908. Initially brought to the Forbidden City to join the Manchu Emperor Xianfeng’s harem. When Xianfeng died, as mother of emperor Tongzhi, Cixi became “empress dowager” and regent, known later as ‘the Last Empress.’ While her sexuality and fertility gave her initial power, Cixi soon proved charismatic and strategic. Historians and popular writers have been deeply divided about her responsibility for the fall of the Manchu dynasty and China’s difficulty in dealing with European imperialism.


Further Reading

Bensen, Amanda. (2008) “Cixi: The Woman Behind the Throne.” Smithsonian.com. Available online: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/da-cixi.html

Chung, Sue Fawn (1979). “The Much Maligned Empress Dowager: A Revisionist Study of the Empress Dowager Tz’u-Hsi (1835-1908)”. Modern Asian Studies 13 (2): 17

Lee, Lily Xiao Hong and Agnes D. Stefanowska, ed., 1998. Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women: the Qing Period 1644-1911. Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe.

Vare, Daniel (1936) The Last Empress.  N.Y. Doubleday

Seagrave, Sterling and Peggy (1993) Dragon Lady: The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China.  N.Y. Vintage Books.

LeBaron, Genevieve

LeBaron, Genevieve

LeBaron, Genevieve

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