), was that she and the other Empress would be “sole decision makers.” No one would interfere with them—and by “them” we mean Cixi. Unfortunately, or well, fortunately for Cixi, the Emperor did not live long enough to see his son grow up. Without her son or his unborn baby, Cixi had no choice but to give the throne to her four-year-old nephew. Create your account. Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? She started confronting the ministers and demanding that they obey her. When he heard that the eunuch was using his friendship with Cixi as a way to extort money from Chinese citizens, the Prince immediately tattled to Cixi’s co-ruler, the Empress. Whenever the Emperor was sick, he asked Cixi to work on his behalf. Omissions? Even though the Empress never gave birth to any children, she raised all the consorts’ babies. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. She needed all her allies ready for her next act: You see, there was a traitor in the palace, and Cixi was determined to crush him. She would have known that once her child was born, he would be the rightful heir and the Empress would take Cixi’s power. The young widow had been pregnant with the Emperor’s son. She agreed, and returned to Beijing with the Emperor. Gong became the prince counsellor. They broke open her coffin and took a giant pearl that had been placed in her mouth to prevent her corpse from disintegration, according to ancient Chinese custom. Since then it was generally believed that the emperor had been poisoned, but that fact was not substantiated until 2008 when a report was issued by Chinese researchers and police officials confirming that … Announcing our NEW encyclopedia for Kids! China turned against the ministers and demanded that Cixi take power. Although Catherine's successor Queen Anne Boleyn suffered an infamously dark fate, Aragon's own life was somehow even more tragic. The Emperor’s new wife was hell-bent on making Cixi miserable. Under his leadership, China suffered a humiliating defeat in the Sino-Japanese War. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Cixi, Cixi - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Cixi - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Unfortunately, she was very wrong. Naturally, rumors quickly spread through the foreign legations that Cixi had poisoned her, although Cixi was herself probably too ill to have had any part in a plot. She was born in the ruling Manchu minority clan, which meant she had first dibs on being one of the concubines in the Emperor’s harem. She haughtily declared that she was better than Cixi. What was the old capital of Imperial China? There is no denying that she inherited a country rife with problems and did her best to make things better. This was a whopping four years later than usual. Chinese female students received their first scholarships because of her hard work. And no, if you’re wondering, the Emperor’s new bride was definitely not over her grand-dad’s horrific demise. Let’s just…, Lover of the Last Empress (1995), Fortune Star Films Company, The Empress Dowager (1989), Pearl River Film Studio, The Truth Always Comes Out: Dark Family Secrets Exposed, Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress, These People Got Revenge In The Most Ingenious Ways, 24 Pivotal Facts About Plato, The Great Philosopher, 44 Facts About Words Everyone is Pronouncing Wrong. With the kingdom at her feet, Cixi started her rule. It was a complex containing “temples, gates and pavilions” and gold and gilded ornaments. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. For starters, the Manchus forbade the archaic (and incredibly painful) tradition of foot-binding, and women had more of a voice in their culture. That is exactly what an adviser named Sushun did to Cixi and the Emperor’s other consorts. She was beautiful, clever, and ambitious. Her official position was as a “sixth-rank consort” which was was the lowest rank at the time. After his death from smallpox in 1875, Cixi's nephew was installed as the Guangxu Emperor. answer! His mother Cixi was the real power behind the throne. She chose her own niece, the Emperor’s besotted cousin, Jingfen, to be China’s new Empress—despite the fact that the Emperor didn’t return Jingfen’s feelings. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. To make matters worse, the Emperor’s wife perished soon after—and with her passing, Cixi lost more than a daughter-in-law.
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